Taste of Caviar in Qld Valley of Champions

published: 30 Aug 2015 in Nationwide

VICTORIA’S multiple champion sire Bel Esprit moves north to Queensland in 2015 and breeders would do well to consider sending him daughters of Magnus. The best of Bel Esprit’s 500 winners is unbeaten sprint champion Black Caviar (25 wins, $7.6m) and Magnus (Flying Spur) is a half-brother to Helsinge (Desert Sun (GB)), dam of Black Caviar.

  Bel Esprit (1999, Royal Academy (USA)-Bespoken by Vain) will stand at the Eliza Park International Stud at Innisplain, on $18,700 (payment on live foal). This region has a growing reputation as Queensland’s Valley of Champions and is located in the western foothills of the mountains near Beaudesert, an hour’s drive away from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

  Breeding on the Bel Esprit-Magnus cross would result in foals having about 70% of the pedigree possessed by Black Caviar, arguably the greatest sprinter produced in Australia. Conceived at Eliza Park’s prestigious headquarters at Kerrie in Victoria, she was unbeaten in her 25 starts, including 15 Gr.1 events and named a World Champion Sprinter in four successive years.

  Black Caviar is from Helsinge, a mare who is a half-sister by the Danzig grandson Desert Sun (GB), to Magnus, a son of Flying Spur (by Danzig’s supersire Danehill) and the Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 runner-up Scandinavia (Snippets-Song of Norway by Vain). Magnus is resident at the Eliza Park property in Victoria with 137 winners (64% of his runners) and progeny earnings topping $10m to his credit.

  Magnus, whose fee in 2015 is $17,600 (live foal), was also a very good sprinter, Gr.1 efforts including wins in the AJC The Galaxy, seconds in the VRC Newmarket, Lightning Stakes and MRC Oakleigh Plate and a third in the latter race. He also travelled to England and finished third at Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand Stakes.

  Magnus is nearly a three-quarter brother to 2012-13 Champion Australian Three Year-Old All Too Hard, a half-brother by the Flying Spur son Casino Prince to Black Caviar. All Too Hard and Casino Prince stand at Vinery in the Hunter Valley.

  A further indication the Bel Esprit-Magnus pattern is worth following are the performances of Iconic, a Tony McEvoy-trained four year-old gelding whose 19 starts have included four wins, two of them being the MVRC Carlyon Stakes-LR and Bendigo’s $250,000 Vobis Gold Rush (2YO). He also has five seconds, including the MRC Rubiton Stakes-Gr.2 and SAJC Morphetteville Stakes-Gr.3 and a fourth in the MRC Schillaci Stakes-Gr.2. Thought highly enough of to contest three Gr.1 events, including the Oakleigh Plate twice, Iconic is by Bel Esprit and from Danavia, a Danehill three-quarter sister to Magnus and in consequence a close relation to Black Caviar.

  He shares with Black Caviar the distinction of being among 38 stakes performers, including 21 stakes winners and 17 stakes placed runners by Bel Esprit, the source of more than 500 winners (a high 67.8% of runners) of more than 1400 races and $45.9m. All Bel Esprit’s sire career, until this year, has been in Victoria. 

  As well as working well with Danehill, Bel Esprit has nicked with Snippets mares, including Scandinavia, second dam of Black Caviar and Iconic. Bel Sprinter (eight wins, $1,072,613, won AJC Galaxy-Gr.1, MRC Caulfield Sprint-Gr.2, second Singapore International Sprint-Gr.1) and Vivacious Spirit (won MRC How Now Stakes-Gr.3, three Gr.2 seconds) are others out of Snippets mares, while Listed winner City of Song has a second dam by Snippets. Also with a second dam by Snippets is Audacious Spirit, a Bel Esprit Listed winner and Gr.2 second. She is from a Zeditave mare out of one by Snippets.

  Other leading Bel Esprit performers include Bel Mer (dam by At Talaq (USA), won SAJC Robert Sangster Stakes-Gr.1, second VRC Ascot Vale-Gr.1), Afleet Esprit (Danewin, won MRC Caulfield Guineas Prelude-Gr.2), Se Sauver (Giant’s Causeway (USA), won VRC Edward Manifold Stakes-Gr.2) and Gabbidon (Scenic (IRE), won MRC 1000 Guineas Prelude-Gr.3, SAJC National Stakes-Gr.3).

  Bel Esprit has been the “Smokey Eyes of Victoria” and like that spectacular Queensland sire of last century he is a prolific source of winners. In 2012-13 Bel Esprit was the leading Australian sire by winners (155, which at the time equalled the Australian record) and wins (249). Taking in wins abroad by his Australian-sired runners, his collective statistics for the year were 164 winners of 266 races.

  Ever since Bel Esprit, winner of eight of his 19 starts, including the MRC Blue Diamond Stakes-Gr.1 and BTC Doomben 10,000-Gr.1, had his first runners in 2006-07, starting off with nine winners and eight others placed, he has been a foremost sire. After being Victoria’s leading first, second and third crop sire, Bel Esprit took over and ruled as Victoria’s Champion Sire in 2009-10 (5th Australia), 2011-12 (6th Australia), 2012-13 (6th Australia), 2013-14 (19th Australia) and 2014-15 (17th Australia early June).

  In addition he has been Victoria’s leading sire by winners and wins in 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 (led Australia) 2013-14 (second Australia) and 2014-15 (fourth and third Australia). Bel Esprit statistics 2008-09 to 2014-15Includes international results (Australia in brackets)
Figures represent year, winners, wins, earnings

2009-10    104 (93)    169 (154)    $4,750,778     ($3,610,920)
2010-11    124 (112)    216 (196)    $7,857,236     ($7,099,233)
2011-12    139 (127)    229 (213)    $7,093,904     ($6,559,216)
2012-13   164 (155)    266 (249)    $8,188,903     ($7,386,274)
2013-14    161 (154)    254 (238)    $6,359,193     ($5,574,914)
2014-15*    139 (133)    217 (206)    $5,416,833     ($5,000,100)
*Incomplete.

  Although he has been moved north this year to Queensland, Bel Esprit has good prospects of maintaining his Victorian dominance. He has looked after more than 100 mares each season and has supplied about 1300 foals and looked after 108 mares in 2014 at $24,200 and 130 the previous season at $33,000 (87.1% fertility). His transfer to the Innisplain Valley property this year, the third season of operation for the Hong Kong-owned Eliza Park conglomerate in Queensland, will allow them to participate in the boosted rewards available for the northern breeding and racing industries. Eliza Park International will stand four sires in Queensland this year, the others being:

LOVE CONQUERS ALL, 2006, bay 16.1h, Mossman-She’s a Meanie by Prince Salieri; 24 starts, eight wins, $1,380,00, four stakes wins including ATC Shorts Handicap-Gr.2, Missile Stakes-Gr.3, four Gr.1 cheques, runner-up ATC George Ryder, Doncaster, Doomben 10,000, fourth MVRC Manikato Stakes. Fourth season, looked after 181 mares in 2014, Queensland’s busiest sire, fee $11,000, live foal.

INSTINCTION, 2008, grey 16.1h, Exceed and Excel-Del Lago Mist by Encosta de Lago; 18 starts, three Listed wins to 1400m Melbourne, Gr.3 third. By a champion sprinting son of Danehill, his dam won VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes-Gr.2, fourth AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes-Gr.1, Champagne Stakes-Gr.1. Third season, fee $5500, live foal.MONASHEE MOUNTAIN (USA), 1997, bay 16.1h, Danzig-Prospector’s Delite by Mr. Prospector, four wins, all stakes from seven starts in Ireland, sire of more than 500 winners worldwide (265 Australia including La Montagna, won QTC Stradbroke-Gr.1), 6SW, 4SP. Fee $3300 live foal.

  Eliza Park International, can be accessed by contacting Mark Lindsay 0416 334 338, Robyn Wise 0419 174 632, Mark Woolridge 0407 860 247, office (07) 5544 1204, email info@elizapark.com.au and web www.elizapark.com.au. n

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