Thoroughbred racing and breeding is a game full of numbers – form, odds, dollars, strike rates and a multitude of statistics. What counts most, though, are the stories the numbers tell and there are few bigger stories at Inglis Easter 2020 than those compiled by Arrowfield.
Take, for instance, Arrowfield’s 13 Group 1-winning Easter graduates since 2013. They have put their owners in the Group 1 winner’s circle 18 times, and two of them are still racing at Group 1 level. Five are category Champions, and their trophies include some of the most sought-after in our sport: the Golden Slipper, Caulfield Guineas, Randwick Guineas, Australian Guineas, Golden Rose and South Africa’s Sun Met.
Their collective earnings of $8.6 million exceed the total paid for them, and four of the colts (Alabama Express, Super Seth, The Autumn Sun and Wandjina) have been sold to studs for many times their yearling prices. The fillies Estijaab, Abbey Marie and Majmu are now highly prized broodmares and have visited Frankel, Deep Impact and Dubawi in the past two years.
But mathematically minded buyers want to know more than the gross numbers. What matters is strike rate and how it compares to what the Sale has achieved in that six-year period. Those 13 Group 1 winners make up 6.13% of the Inglis Easter 2013-18 yearlings offered by Arrowfield – more than 4 times the Group 1 strike rate of the entire Sale.
In fact, one in every 8 of those Arrowfield yearlings is at least a stakeswinner and with younger Easter graduates still racing, the record is not yet complete.
Group-winning colts Pariah and Sooboog are already forging stud careers, while Todman S. G2 winner Gunnison and Group 3 winner Stronger are now racing in Hong Kong, and Listed winners Akari, Wayupinthesky and Wild Planet and Group 1-placed Groundswell are all still building their records.
And that’s just part of the history backing Arrowfield’s status as the leading vendor of stakeswinners at Australia’s four major yearling sales since 2013.
So what makes it all possible?
Bloodstock Manager Jon Freyer says, “The secrets of Arrowfield’s success are actually in plain sight for anyone who visits the farm during our annual Open House in August: people, land, stallions and broodmares.”
Make that exceptional people, fertile and resilient land, world-class stallion power and a top-drawer band of broodmares.
The people, led by John and Kris Messara and Paul and Alice Messara, bring diverse skills and an unwavering passion to their work in the breeding shed, the foaling paddock, the vet crush, the yearling barn and the marketplace, and their constant care for Arrowfield’s 2500 acres in the famous Segenhoe Valley.
Seven General Sire Premierships in the past 14 years indicate that Arrowfield gets it right more often than most when it comes to selecting stallions.
The Stud’s Inglis Easter 2020 draft is anchored by a breath-taking collection of 26 yearlings by Snitzel – the largest group of Snitzels ever offered by a single vendor at the Sale.
The Champion Sire has already compiled 11 stakeswinners this season, heads the current 2YO Sires’ list and is chasing a fourth consecutive General Premiership.
His Class of 2020, conceived in the year of his first title, may be “peak Snitzel”, although his career path is much more like the Himalayas, one peak after another, than a solitary mountain.
The penultimate crop of Snitzel’s legendary sire Redoute’s Choice is represented by three fillies and a colt, and he appears as the damsire of Lots 3, 69, 136 and 404. Not A Single Doubt, retired but enjoying one of his best-ever seasons, including Group 1 winners Samadoubt and Scales Of Justice, has four colts and two fillies in the Arrowfield consignment.
Champion racehorse, now spectacular young sire Dundeel has left four Group 1 winners from his first two crops, among them Arrowfield graduates Super Seth, Atyaab and Castelvecchio. Arrowfield will offer six Easter colts and two fillies by the son of High Chaparral, six of them out of Danehill-line mares.
Thanks to Group 1 victories in Melbourne by Lys Gracieux, Fierce Impact, Mer de Glace and Arrowfield graduate Tagaloa, the formidable quality of Japanese bloodlines has received fresh appreciation in Australia this season. Arrowfield, a long-time supporter of Japanese breeding, is ahead of the curve with eight yearlings by three of Japan’s best, all Horses of the Year: multiple Champion Sire Deep Impact, leading sire Lord Kanaloa and freshman Maurice.
A second freshman, Invincible Spirit’s Champion 2YO son Shalaa has five colts and four fillies in Arrowfield’s draft, which is completed by a Siyouni colt from the family of multiple Group 1 winner Manighar.
Broodmares are often less visible than stallions, but the results of major investment in quality mares over the past decade are dazzlingly obvious in Arrowfield’s Inglis Easter 2020 draft.
Twenty-two yearlings boast stakes-winning dams, including six Group 1 winners, and 18 dams have already left stakeswinners, with nine of them responsible for Group 1 winners.
They are a relatively young group of mares too: almost half of the 62 yearlings are their dam’s first, second or third foal. Among the mares represented by their first foals are Group 1 winner Rising Romance, Group winners Kebede and Royal Tithe, and Listed winner C’Est Beau La Vie.
From a stellar draft, Jon Freyer selects eight likely to make it onto many buyers’ shortlists:
Lot 1 Lord Kanaloa-Kali
“A quality filly to open the Sale, she’s an attractive, medium-sized, early-looking type – Blue Diamond Mk II.”
Lot 3 Dundeel-Kebede filly
“A big, strong, scopey Oaks type of filly, the first foal of a Group 2 winner, and grand-daughter of a Champion two-year-old.”
Lot 47 Maurice-Lunaspur colt
“A big, powerful colt with tremendous scope, and a half-brother to two Group winners from the family of Lucky Bubbles and Soqrat.”
Lot 69 Shalaa-Miss Finland colt
“A son of Arrowfield’s queen, he’s a rangy, attractive individual who mightn’t be the earliest, but he’s a real Guineas type.”
Lot 84 Not A Single Doubt-Moonlight Hussey
“A smart, strong, precocious filly related to quality stakes-winning fillies Colorado Claire, Lunaspur and Selenia, she’s ready to go to the races now!”
Lot 163 Snitzel-Rising Romance filly
“The first foal of a top-notch Oaks winner and a glorious type with loads of quality and class. She could be early, but still develop into a Classic filly too. Outstanding.”
Lot 339 Snitzel-Azmiyna colt
“The Autumn Sun’s three-quarter brother, and a lengthy, attractive, great walking colt. A superb mix of Danehill and Galileo.”
Lot 450 Snitzel-Flidais colt
“A lovely colt in the style of his siblings Group 1 winner Sweet Idea and Group 2 winner Showtime. Beautifully made with tons of quality, he’s a top colt.” ©