Silverdale Farm

December 16, 2021Andrew Reichard
Steve Grant

They say a week is a long time in politics, but it is the blink of an eye in the thoroughbred breeding industry. It seems only yesterday that Steve and Eliza Grant’s Silverdale Farm at Avoca in the NSW Southern Highlands was about to offer the first draft of yearlings under its own banner at the Magic Millions January sale.

Yet here we are a full year later and the second offering of seven quality yearlings is already undergoing the farm’s meticulous sales preparation process for the 2022 Magic Millions in January.

Although the year has flown by, Steve Grant and his team have fitted a lot into that period, with infrastructure improvements and an exciting workplace program being instituted.

Steve Grant elaborated on the developments, “We’ve completed several infrastructure projects, including a new vetting facility, nine post foaling turnout yards with shelters, two undercover pavilions for our parade area, 25 turnout day yards for yearlings,
and we’ve increased the yearling preparation boxes up to a total of 28, each with its own woodchip yard. And of course we have continued with the extensive landscaping.” Steve’s background in construction and development has served him well in these endeavours. Silverdale has been widely admired by those lucky enough to visit. It was impressive on my last attendance pre-COVID, I can’t wait to check out the recent additions.

Farm manager Rob Petith takes up the story, “We were delighted with our 100% clearance rate at our first ever sale season offering yearlings under our own banner and to come second on the vendor averages at Magic Millions was a pleasant surprise. But it’s testament to Steve’s vision that we approach everything with the attitude of doing the best job possible, to prepare yearlings that are the complete package. By that I mean we realise there is more to it than just achieving good prices in the ring. We aim to offer soundly reared, well educated youngsters that buyers can take home with confidence, knowing they have a quality grounding to work with. So that whatever may occur after, they have a solid education that will see them well through their lives and ensure that they will always be desired. We aren’t just preparing horses for sale, we’re preparing them for life. Silverdale are genuine sellers.

We set modest reserves and aim to sell them in the ring.

Our farm policies also seem to be paying off with horses raised on this young property already include the G3 winner SUBTERRANEAN and Gimcrack S G3 3rd Pantonario at her only start. I have a wonderful assistant manager in Helen Boyes with a great team of passionate hard working staff members all striving to achieve our goals.”

Another exciting development during the year has been the launch of The Silverdale Farm Intern Program, in partnership with TAFE NSW, offering high school students a five day fee-free immersive experience at the farm’s world-class facilities with visits to nearby Goulburn racetrack and racing stables included. A scholarship program will also be launched. Steve Grant continued, “Without the TAFE system I wouldn’t have received such a tremendous start in business as a young bloke, so I’m delighted to be able to offer similar opportunities to young people looking to enter our industry. We need their fresh ideas and enthusiasm.”
Silverdale will offer seven yearlings in 2022 with six of them by the leading commercial sires Snitzel (2), Deep Field (2), Toronado and Smart Missile, and the other by exciting first crop sire, the undefeated USA triple crown winner Justify.”

“Ladies before gentlemen” seems to have been decreed by the fates for this offering of seven, as the four fillies will enter the ring first, followed by the three colts. They will sell in the following order-

Lot 327 ch f Justify – Now Now by Danehill Dancer, Half-sister to multiple Group winner and G1 placed Fiesta, winner of $1.59m.
Justify is one of the best credentialed sires ever to stand in Australia. He is by Scat Daddy by Johannesburg by Storm Cat.
The Scat Daddy/Danehill Dancer nick has 9 runners for 9 winners including SW (Listed) ATOMIC BLONDE in USA.
The broad Storm Cat/Danehill Dancer and reverse cross has 1117 runners for 51 stakes winners (4.56% SW/R) and 10 G1 winners.
Note: 19.6% of the SW are G1 winners. 12.5% is average and over 15% is elite.

Lot 341 b f Deep Field – Ostentatious by Shamardal, Second living foal of Ostentatious, this filly is a half-sister to Rules Don’t Apply by Dissident, City winner of $126k.

Deep Field is emerging as a leading young sire with G1 winner PORTLAND SKY and SWs COSMIC FORCE, QUANTUM MECHANIC, FITUESE etc.

The Deep Field/Shamardal nick has 1 runner for 1 winner, Astronomicelle. (3 wins 86k, Melbourne metro placed).

There are already 8 individual G1 winners out of Shamardal mares, with 6 of the 8 by Northern Dancer line sires like this filly. They include G1 winners PRIVATE EYE (ATC Epsom H) and CONVERGE (BRC JJ Atkins P). Shamardal is the broodmare sire of 6.9% SW to runners, absolutely elite.

Lot 496 b f Snitzel – Sense Of Hite by Street Sense, Third foal and half-sister to ATC Australian Oaks placed Quintessa, Dissident Stan Fox 4th Acrophobic.

Four times (consecutive) Champion sire Snitzel needs no introduction.

The Snitzel/Street Sense nick has 1 runner for 1 winner, Ortaire in Japan.

The broader Snitzel/Street Cry cross has 7 runners for 7 winners including brilliant multiple stakes winning 2YO SANDBAR,
4 wins $525k, G2 and G3 placed, 4th Gr1 ATC Golden Rose.

Lot 590 b f Snitzel – Sweet Sherry by Bel Esprit, First living foal of a G2 winning Bel Esprit mare, winner of $657K who ran 7th to Capitalist in The Golden Slipper.

Another by the peerless Snitzel and this cross is one of his best.

The Snitzel/Bel Esprit nick has 7 runners for 7 winners, 2 G3 winners. (28.57% SW/R) namely IMMORTAL LOVE and SYLVIA’S MOTHER.

This filly is bred on a reverse parallel pattern of Northern Dancer/Nijinsky and Nijinsky/Northern Dancer. The reverse parallel pattern has been a particularly successful strategy in its many forms.

The Northern Dancer/Nijinsky mix with multiple strains of both or either has yielded 588 stakes winners and 88 individual G1 winners (15% G1 W/SW) including such notables as ANAMATO, CIRRUS DES AIGLES, FLINTSHIRE, GALAXY STAR, MENDELSSOHN, NAKEETA JANE, PRIVATE EYE, QAFILA, QUICK THINKER, QUINTESSENTIAL, VEANDERCROSS and SHOALS.

Note: This cross has been particularly effective for fillies as the list above includes multiple G1 winner SHOALS, QTC Oaks winner QUINTESSENTIAL, SAJC Derby winning filly QAFILA and most significantly another SAJC Oaks winner ANAMATO who is the dam of current champion Australian 3YO ANAMOE.

Lot 668 b or br c Toronado – Vigilance by Sepoy (Mr Prospector line), The dam who won four races in succession is by Golden Slipper winner Sepoy.

Toronado is the leading 4th crop Australian sire as we go to press.

The Toronado/Sepoy nick has 1 runner for 1 winner, the stakes placed Scissor Step, 2 wins, G3 2nd and 4th, $231k from just 8 starts.

Toronado has sired 19 SW and 5 of them have a return of Mr Prospector in the mare (26.31%), just like this colt.

Lot 724 b c Deep Field – African Rainbow by Foxwedge (Danehill line), Second foal from stakes placed Foxwedge mare.

Another by the successful young G1 sire Deep Field.

The Deep Field/Foxwedge nick has 1 runner for 1 winner.

Deep Field has had 9 SW from mares by sons of Danehill including the G2 winners QUANTUM MECHANIC and COSMIC FORCE, as well as G3 winners BIG PARADE and FITUESE and Caulfield Guineas G1 runnerup Aysar.

Lot 843 b c Smart Missile – Caves by Bernardini (by A P Indy],  Half-brother to Pre-Christmas City winning 2YO and G3 winner Subterranean (winner of $257k).

Smart Missile has been a revelation, siring both quality and quantity with 70% winners to runners including G1 winner MAID OF HEAVEN, plus CROSSHAVEN, BALLISTIC BOY etc.

The Smart Missile/Bernardini nick has 3 runners for 2 winners including Finucane Missile, 7 wins $94k.

Smart Missile is by Danehill’s son Fastnet Rock. The broad Danehill/ A P Indy cross and its reverse has 26 SW including G1 winners CONVERGE (BRC JJ Atkins P), LUNAR FOX (VRC Australian Guineas) and QAFILA (SAJC Derby).

Steve Grant was happy to answer some questions for Bluebloods.
What puts the MAGIC into this race and sales series for you?
It’s all in the timing. A culmination of 3 years of planning, 14 months of nurturing, 9 weeks of preparation, for 120 seconds of Magic in the sales ring, then add 12 months of hoping for the most exciting 68.95 seconds of absolute Magic to win the Millions.

If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?
All that I know. Obviously a trick question!

What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?
Be patient.

Andrew Reichard

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