By an outstanding young sire from the all-conquering Danehill male line and from a mare who has produced two elite level winners, Vinery Stud’s dual Gr.1 hero Press Statement looks to have the right credentials to succeed in the breeding barn. He is covering his first book this spring on a $27,500 fee and has been well received by breeders.
DANEHILL (USA) has left such a huge imprint on the Australian thoroughbred that these days it’s getting harder to find a pedigree where he doesn’t feature at least once. He has only been dead for 13 years so it’s surprising to find he already has great-grandsons and great-great grandsons at stud.
Just such a horse is Danehill’s great-grandson, one of this season’s new boys, the dual Gr.1 winner Press Statement, who stands at Vinery, Scone on $27,500 and is the subject of this profile. The Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1/J.J. Atkins Stakes-Gr.1 winner is a son of Hinchinbrook, the leading first crop sire of 2014-15 and leading second crop sire of 2015-16, who only began stud duties himself at Yarraman Park, Scone in 2011.
Hinchinbrook is a son of champion sprinter Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy (USA)), already twice Champion Sire in Australia. He is the most expensive stallion at stud locally (fee private), heading the Coolmore roster at Jerrys Plains and has become an accomplished “reverse shuttler” as well from visits to Ireland since 2010, five years after he began stud duties here. Now in his 12th covering year in Australia, Fastnet Rock’s smallest book (in 2008) was 188 and his largest (2009) was 273 and at the end of this spring he will have left more than 1700 southern-born foals. He has 13 sons at stud in Australia and a further five in NZ in 2016.
It’s worth remembering Danehill’s entire southern career (13 seasons from 1990) yielded 1188 foals and his world wide tally of named foals was 2413. Remarkably, 2080 got to the races (86.2%), 1622 won (67.2%) and 347 (14.4%) were stakes winners. His progeny won more than $407m and he was nine-times Champion Australian Sire, four times Champion Sire of GB/IRE and three times Champion Sire in France. Danehill (Danzig-Razyana by His Majesty) is also a seven-time Champion Sire of Broodmares in Australia and has broodmare sire titles in GB/IRE, France and the US.
In 12 seasons his popular Darley-based son Exceed and Excel (also a reverse shuttler) has left more than 1200 foals (13 sons at stud in 2016), while Danehill’s three-time champion sire son Redoute’s Choice has left about 1800 southern foals in 16 seasons at Arrowfield. He also shuttled twice to France and has 34 sons at stud in Australia in 2016 and 20 at stud in NZ. With numbers like that it’s easy to see why Danehill, who had many more sons at stud (including Danehill Dancer 988, Commands 1560, Flying Spur 1700 foals) is now everywhere in pedigrees. Grandsons like Choisir (1500 southern foals), Snitzel (1100) and Stratum (1000) and all those daughters have also helped numbers swell.
For example, in just five covering seasons to 2015-16, Hinchinbrook (ex Snippets’ Lass by Snippets) will have left 500 foals when mares covered last year (158) have their offspring. Other Fastnet Rock sons Stryker, who retired in 2011 will have about 400, Rothesay (2011) close to 500 and Wanted, a year ahead of them at stud, about 440. Smart Missile, the Fastnet Rock son who claimed the 2015-16 Champion First Crop Sire mantle from his base at Arrowfield, will have left 500 foals by the end of this season after covering books of 196, 196, 210 and 202 in his first four seasons.
The reason those numbers are so enormous is because breeders know a winning formula when they see one and the Danehill line is delivering the goods. The immediate success of Fastnet Rock sons has heightened breeders’ interest in his direction and there is every reason to expect Press Statement (ex Kaaptive Empress by Kaaptive Edition (NZ) will follow suit and bring further sire success to this branch of the Danehill line.
Press Statement, an attractive bay standing 16 hands, won six of his 11 starts for trainer Chris Waller, was twice second (in a Gr.1 and Gr.2) and once third (Gr.1) for earnings of more than $1.8m. His debut run gave indication of his obvious ability when he came from fifth at the 400m to score a 1.5 length victory over Volante in an 1100m juvenile event at Canterbury on April 29, 2015. Stepped up in class over 1350m at Rosehill on May 30, the colt was always in command, leading all the way, and he had a half-length to spare over Shards at the post.
His third and final start as a juvenile came at Doomben on June 6 in the $600,000 J.J. Atkins Stakes-Gr.1 (1600m) which he won by three-quarters of a length from Sagaronne after sitting off the pace and coming with a strong late charge, running 1:35.40. It was a tremendous effort to go from maiden to Gr.1 winner in just three starts and in winning the Doomben feature he emulated his short-lived half-brother Pressday (Domesday), who won the race (then called the T.J.
Smith Classic) in 2010 and stood just one season at stud in 2012, leaving 34 live foals, before his death the following January. He’s already had the recent Eagle Farm winner Shuda Known Better and three placegetters from just eight runners.
Press Statement’s three year-old season began in more muted fashion on August 29, 2015 when he was runner-up to Exosphere in the Run to the Rose-Gr.2 (1.25 lengths) and then fifth to that horse in the Golden Rose-Gr.1 (1400m). He was back on track at his third start though, toying with his rivals when winning the Stan Fox Stakes-Gr.2 (1500m), also at Rosehill, on September 26, having three lengths on Shards as they passed the post in a win jockey Hugh Bowman described as “painless”. Taken to Caulfield for the $1m Guineas-Gr.1 on October 10, the son of Hinchinbrook made every post a winner, leading all the way from an outside barrier to beat Lizard Island by 1.75 lengths and with Ready for Victory third.
Starting $2.50 favourite, he defied the pattern of racing at Caulfield prompting Chris Waller to comment, “He’s a good horse and that’s what good horses do, they change the trends.” Bowman called him a “star in the making” and said, “Although we had to ride him a bit out of his comfort zone, his class came to the fore.”
Off the scene until February 20 this year, he resumed to collect the time-honoured Hobartville Stakes-Gr.2 (1400m in 1:22.56) at Randwick, beating Le Romain by 2.25 lengths and then went down narrowly when second to that horse in the $1m Randwick Guineas-Gr.1 (1600m) on March 15. He tackled the older horses in the George Ryder-Gr.1 at Rosehill on March 19 and hit the lead at the 400m before battling on bravely for third behind champion Winx and dual Gr.1 winner Kermadec, beaten 3.25 lengths. He was retired after a fifth (3.25 lengths) in the All-Aged Stakes-Gr.1 at Randwick on April 16 behind English.
Press Statement’s sire Hinchinbrook is a three-quarter brother to the Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 winner and leading sire Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice), whose 2016 fee at Arrowfield is $110,000. Hinchinbrook has had a fee increase to $38,500 for 2016 (up from $16,500) on the strength of his 50 winners of more than $5.7m, six of them stakes winners. Hinchinbrook was Australia’s Leading First Crop Sire in 2014-15 with eight winners of $1,057,035 from Beneteau, Star Witness and Rothesay and Leading Second Season Sire in 2015-16 with 43 winners of $4,299,388, a lead of more than $2m from runner-up Star Witness, followed by Beneteau and Rothesay.
Hinchinbrook, whose dam Snippets’ Lass (Snippets) and second dam Snow Finch (IRE) (Storm Bird-A Realgirl by In Reality) were Listed winners, was a talented performer on the track, winning to Gr.3 level and running second and third in Gr.1 events.
To early September his six stakes winners also include the Karrakatta Plate-Gr.2 winner Whispering Brook (Machiavellian), Blue Diamond Prelude-Gr.2 winner Samara Dancer (Singspiel), SAJC Sires’ Produce Stakes-Gr.3 winner Flying Jess (Magic Albert) and Listed winners Flippant (General Nediym) and Manaya (Zephyr Zip). He also has nine stakes placed runners, Brazen (Belong to Me), Stradbroke Handicap-Gr.1 third The Virginian (Forestry), Derryn (Unbridled’s Song), Brooklyn (Beautiful Crown), Rhi’s Rocket (Irgun), Spright (Dash for Cash), Nina’s Peak (Fuji Kiseki), Brulee (Lonhro) and Old Trieste (Choisir). His runners have a winning distance index of 1214m.
Hinchinbrook won the Skyline Stakes-Gr.3 (1200m) at Randwick and the Listed Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at two, when he was also third in the AJC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1 and Pago Pago Stakes-Gr.2 and the first colt home when fourth in Crystal Lily’s Golden Slipper-Gr.1. At three he was runner-up to champion Hay List in the All-Aged Stakes-Gr.1 and third behind unbeaten Black Caviar and Crystal Lily in the William Reid Stakes-Gr.1 and third behind Eagle Falls in the Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1.
He is a three-quarter bother to Gr.1 winner and sire Snitzel and Gr.3 winner Viennese (both by Redoute’s Choice). Their dam Snippets’ Lass, a Listed winner of seven races, is a sister to Missile Stakes-Gr.3 winner Captain Bax. As her name suggests, Snippets’ Lass is by Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1, Galaxy Handicap-Gr.1 and AJC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1 winner and successful sire Snippets (Lunchtime).
Hinchinbrook’s sire Fastnet Rock was also a champion sprinter whose wins included the Lightning-Gr.1 and Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 before a career which saw him become Australia’s Champion Sire in 2011-12 and 2014-15. Fastnet Rock’s dam, Piccadilly Circus, a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Mile-Gr.1 winner and international sire success Royal Academy (Nijinsky), was a smart juvenile whose wins included the Blue Diamond Prelude-Gr.3 and she was also third in the Blue Diamond-Gr.1. Her Listed-winning dam Gatana was runner-up in the VRC Newmarket-Gr.1 and is a daughter of Golden Slipper-Gr.1 winner Marauding (Sir Tristram).
Press Statement’s dam, Kaaptive Empress, was a tough campaigner whose nine wins (1200m-1600m) included a race in Sydney and feature events on country tracks. Her sire, Kaaptive Edition (NZ) (Kaapstad-Bevcarlyn by Sovereign Edition), was Champion Two Year-Old in NZ where his five wins in seven starts included the ARC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1 (1400m). At three he was a shock winner of the BMW-Gr.1 at Rosehill (2400m) and was also runner-up in the AJC Derby-Gr.1 and NZ Derby-Gr.1 and third in the Levin Classic-Gr.1, as well as fourth in the Caulfield and Rosehill Guineas. His seven wins came from 1100m (at two) to 2400m.
His sire Kaapstad won the VRC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1 and is a son of Sir Tristram (IRE) and Eight Carat (GB) (Pieces of Eight), and so a close relation to a host of Gr.1 winners including Octagonal (Zabeel) and Diamond Lover (Sticks and Stones). Sir Tristram (Sir Ivor-Isolt by Round Table) managed to win just two of his 19 starts over 1600m and 1800m in France and he was also fourth in Gr.3 events at Longchamp and Deauville although his owners thought enough of him to send him to Kentucky for a tilt at the Derby. His second dam, All My Eye (My Babu) won at Newmarket at two and is a sister to stakes winner and sire Mossborough and a grandaughter of outstanding broodmare Selene.
Sir Tristram lived up to his pedigree by becoming a multiple champion sire in NZ and Australia (six times), a feat followed by his son Zabeel (twice) and now grandson Savabeel is NZ’s Champion Sire of 2015-16. Sir Tristram’s blood proved a potent mix with Eight Carat and her descendants.
Although Kaapstad’s dam Eight Carat (GB) (Pieces of Eight-Klairessa by Klairon) could not win in five starts she was a half-sister to champion UK sprinter Habibti and a descendant of the flying Mumtaz Mahal (as are Nasrullah and Royal Charger among a host of others). By a Relic-line sire who was a Gr.1 winner but a failure at stud, Eight Carat nevertheless became one of the rare broodmare gems, leaving five Gr.1 winners, including Octagonal (by Sir Tristram’s son Zabeel) and an unraced daughter Cotehele House (GB), who became the dam of Gr.1 winner Danewin (Danehill) and his Gr.1 placed brother Commands. Tapping into this Eight Carat connection (Kaapstad) in Press Statemen’t pedigree could prove valuable, especially as Hinchinbrook already has Gr.3 placed Derryn and Listed placed Brulee from mares by Octagonal’s leading sire son Lonhro.
Press Statement’s second dam is the imported Listed winner Nile Empress (USA) (by the Nijinsky son Upper Nile from I Assume by the Grey Sovereign horse Young Emperor), winner of six races from 1200m-2000m and a noted producer whose descendants include Dinner Date (Mossman), Gr.1 winner The Mighty Lions (by Sir Tristram son Grosvenor) and Vaquera (High Chaparral). This is family 11 and fourth dam, Iaround (Round Table-Itsabet by Heliopolis), is the second dam of Gr.1 winners Sookera (Roberto), Is Your Pleasure (Accipiter) and Leroy S. (Honest Pleasure). Sookera’s dam, Irule, and Press Statement’s third dam I Assume are sisters.
Press Statement’s six generation pedigree shows Sir Tristram (6mx4m), Nijinsky (5mx4m) and his sire Northern Dancer (5m,6m,6m,5mx5m), plus Northern Dancer’s dam Natalma 6m,6f,6mx6m, while his dam has multiples of Round Table and Grey Sovereign. He could also suit daughters of Choisir, Street Cry, More Than Ready, Pins or those with Storm Bird’s son Storm Cat (a close relation of Royal Academy and also a son of Storm Bird) in their pedigrees.