Faith's Gust

published: 06 Aug 2014 in Pedigree analysis

JOHN MESSARA has always been one to think outside the square and perhaps that is one of the reasons the Arrowfield Stud principal has been so successful. A few years ago he took the bold step of sending superbly bred mares from Australia and Europe to Japan's super sire Sunday Silence (USA) and had them covered to southern hemisphere time between 1998-2001.

These mares, often owned in partnership with other breeders, were shipped to Australia and their foals were raced here. These southern-time Sunday Silence runners included Australian Oaks winner Sunday Joy (bred in partnership with John Singleton’s Strawberry Hill Stud and raced by Singleton and from his Queensland Oaks winner Joie Denise, a daughter of Danehill and champion race mare and producer Denise’s Joy by Seventh Hussar) who became dam of Singleton’s eight times Gr.1 winner More Joyous (More Than Ready (USA)), a result that alone justified this costly undertaking.

More Than Ready (Southern Halo-Woodman’s Girl by Woodman (USA)), a grandson of Halo, was a Gr.1- winning sprinter in the US and has been a marvellous sire for Vinery, leaving the likes of Golden Slipper winner and sire Sebring among more than 130SW. However More Joyous, a mare inbred 3mx3m to Halo, isn’t the only stakes success from these Aussie bred daughters of Sunday Silence as two more of those fillies conceived in Japan became dams of black type winners, Sunday Service producing Kneeling (Encosta de Lago) and Sunday Valentine leaving Gr.2 winner El Dana (Redoute’s Choice).

Some of the colts were given their chance at stud too including Silent Action (in NSW and then SA), Sunday Knight (Queensland and Victoria), the short-lived Any Given Sunday (who left Queensland Oaks and Derby winner Riva San in his only crop of 18 foals) and 1600m Listed winner Keep the Faith. Bred in the partnership of Sheikh Maktoum’s Gainsborough Stud Australia and the Arrowfield Group, Keep the Faith started his career for Adam Sangster at Swettenham Stud at Nagambie before moving to the McCarthy family’s Greta West Stud in north-east Victoria where he stands at $4400.

Keep the Faith (ex Duelling Girl (USA) by Dayjur) has left five stakes winners including recent dual Gr.1-winning entire Trust in a Gust, whose success has prompted this look at the “Aussie” Sunday Silences. Trust in a Gust won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes-Gr.1 (1400m) at Caulfield on September 27, surviving a protest from runner-up Dissident to give trainer Darren Weir and jockey Damien Lane their first Gr.1 win in Victoria and the horse his first stakes success. He then won the Toorak Handicap-Gr.1 (1600m) at Flemington on October 11, taking his record to 10 wins in 17 starts for earnings of more than $1.1m for his big syndicate of owners and a great return on his $45,000 purchase price at the 2012 Inglis Premier. There were 28 foals born between 1999-2002 in John Messara’s Sunday Silence “experiment”, three died, three went to Japan, one to the US and one to NZ, leaving just 20 in Australia, so the results from this small group are impressive and will improve as many of the mares have not been at stud long.

Sunday Silence (Halo-Wishing Well by Understanding) was not the handsomest of horses, quite a common occurrence in the Halo line, but he could gallop, with his wins including the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Santa Anita Derby and Californian Stakes, all Gr.1 and named Champion Three Year-Old Male and US Horse of the Year in 1989 and inducted into the US Hall of Fame in 1996. He became an immediate success at stud in Japan, standing at Shadai Stallion Station from 1990 and leaving the winners of more than $800m. He died in 2000 and was Champion Sire in Japan from 1995-2007, today he is as frequent in pedigrees in his adopted land as Danehill is in Australia.

His grandson Delta Blues (JPN) (Dance in the Dark) won the 2006 Melbourne Cup from Pop Rock (JPN), whose dam is by Sunday Silence. He has several major sire sons in Japan including dual Horse of the Year and the 2013 Champion Sire Deep Impact (a year when 10 of the top 15 sires by earnings were by the son of Halo), Stay Gold, Daiwa Major, Heart’s Cry (whose son Admire Rakti (JPN) won the 2014 Caulfield Cup), and Manhattan Café. Deep Impact, winner of seven Gr.1 races including the Japan Triple Crown, is leading the sires’ table again this year.

Several of Sunday Silence’s Japanese bred sons stood here, notably the Gr.1 winners Fuji Kiseki (JPN) for Arrowfield, Bubble Gum Fellow (JPN), also Arrowfield, Genuine (JPN) (at Chatswood) and Tayasu Tsuyoshi (JPN) (Kambula, SA). Tayasu Tsuyoshi left dual Gr.1 winner Hollow Bullet (VRC Oaks, Arrowfield Stud Stakes), SAJC Sires-Gr.3 winner Isanami, Oaklands Plate winner Nozi and dual Coongy Handicap-Gr.3 winner Baughurst.

Genuine left the dual Gr.1 winner Pompeii Ruler (Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Australian Cup) and Chester Manifold winner Rok Posa; Bubble Gum Fellow left Australian Gr.2 winners Candy Vale and Confectioner and NZ Gr.1 winner Rockabubble (dam of Listed winner Rock Magic), while Fuji Kiseki sired the South African Gr.1 winner Sun Classique, who also won the Sheema Classic-Gr.1 in Dubai and died in August after leaving four colts at stud in Australia for Patinack Farm.

Fuji Kiseki’s other winners included, Gr.3 winners Martiniforus and Our Fuji and Listed winners Hairy, Flashed, Hy Fuji, Just a Kiseki, Pinnacles, Rock of Cashel and Warrior Trader, while his Australian bred son Kinshasa No Kiseki won the JPN Takamatsunomiya Kinen-Gr.1 (1200m) twice following his export to Japan in 2005.

The breeding of Trust in a Gust is all down to Adam Sangster who stood Keep the Faith when he retired to stud in 2006 after a career of 12 starts that netted five wins and two thirds, the best of his success being the MRC Schweppervescence Cup-LR (1600m) at Caulfield and he was fourth in the Canterbury Guineas-Gr.1. He was also Gr.2 placed in the Kelso Stakes and won an Allowance at Belmont in three starts in the US as a five year-old. He ran 1:06.82 in his 6f win at Belmont, wining by 2.5 lengths and set a new US turf record for the distance.

Keep the Faith’s winning dam is a three-quarter sister to Gr.2 winner Always Fair and Listed winner Asaasy (both by Danzig) and half-sister to Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 runner-up Faithful Son (Zilzal). Her sire Dayjur (Danzig-Gold Beauty by Mr. Prospector) was a Horse of the Year in Britain and Champion European Sprinter with wins including the Prix de l’Abbaye-Gr.1, Nunthorpe Stakes-Gr.1 and Haydock Sprint Cup-Gr.1. Although he died young, he has become a noted broodmare sire and is bred on the Danzig/Buckpasser cross, similar to Danehill.

Adam Sangster went to the dispersal of his late father Robert’s bloodstock interests to purchase the young Storm Cat mare Subtle Breeze (USA) and she arrived in Australia in early 2008 and was covered by Soldier’s Tale (USA) (by the Nureyev son Stravinsky (USA)) later that year. Subtle Breeze is a three-quarter sister to one of the great fillies bred by Robert Sangster in Balanchine (Storm Bird), winner of the Irish Derby-Gr.1, English Oaks-Gr.1 and runner-up in the 1000 Guineas-Gr.1 for Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum (but racing for Godolphin) who purchased her privately at two.

She was rated Champion European Three Year-Old in 1994. Their dam, stakes placed Morning Devotion (Affirmed-Morning Has Broken by Prince John) also produced Gr.2 winner Romanov and Red Slippers (dam of French Oaks winner West Wind) to Nureyev. This is also the family of Gr.1 winners Art Connoisseur and Saoirse Abu. Morning Has Broken is a half-sister to US multiple Gr.1 winner It’s In The Air (Mr. Prospector- A Wind is Rising by Francis S.).

The Soldier’s Tale-Subtle Breeze mating produced a filly, Down to Luck, unplaced in two starts and now a broodmare for Adam Sangster, producing a colt by Kaphero in 2013 and a colt by Keep the Faith on September 22 this year. Subtle Breeze, whose sire Storm Cat (Storm Bird-Terlingua by Secretariat) was a Gr.1 winner before becoming Champion Sire in the US, produced Trust in a Gust in 2010, slipped in 2011 and then foaled colts by Equiano (FR), Master of Design and Pierro.

Trust in a Gust has proved a great money-spinner for Weir and his owners and was named VOBIS Horse of the Year last season. “What a great horse to train, he’s perfect,” Weir said. “He’s sound, tough and makes his own luck. It’s been a great ride for a lot of people. All the staff at home, the owners, who are a great bunch, plus John Foote who picked him out as a yearling. Also he’s been a great advertisement for VOBIS Gold. He has won from 1009m-1600m. Play best gun games on the site.

“He puts himself in the race on the corner and toughs it out in the straight. He’s a pleasure to train. We always knew he was quite a good galloper but to get to this level was a surprise,” Weir said after the Toorak. “We brought him in for the spring not knowing where we were going to end up, but it’s been a great ride so far. It took us a long time to win a Gr.1 (in Victoria) and now we’ve got a couple with a great little horse.” Trust in a Gust became the first horse since Barely a Moment (2005) to get the Rupert Clarke-Toorak double and his two Gr.1 wins, and the promise of more to come, will no doubt ensure him a bright future at stud. In the Toorak win he sat behind leader Solicit before hitting the lead in the straight to hold off Speediness and Desert Jeuney. The chestnut entire hails from family 4k.

Keep The Faith now stands at Greta West although Adam Sangster remains an enthusiastic supporter of the horse. Greta West was established by Les and Maureen McCarthy in the 1960s and these days is run by their sons John and Laurie and comprises two 120ha (300 acre) properties, one an agistment farm and the other a breeding farm. Keep the Faith stands alongside God’s Own and King of Prussia.

Since retiring to stud in 2006 he has left 149 winners (65.6% of starters) of more than $7.3m. His progeny have a winning distance index of 1316m and his other stakes winners include Dinkum Diamond (Devaraja), Socks (Mukaddamah), Lucky Penny (Flying Spur) and Honey Steel’s Gold (Bianconi). He has stakes placed runners from daughters of Danehill, Encosta de Lago (two), Anabaa (two) and Dash For Cash.