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Let's get physical

8 min read
In addition to exceptional food, wine & socialising, the Hunter Valley stallion parade weekend allows breeders and agents to have their first look at new farm recruits, especially shuttle stallions. TDN AusNZ gathered feedback on the attributes of the first season sire class of 2018, including what mares might best physically complement them.

There is always a feeling of great anticipation heading to the stallion parade weekend. The stars from the racetrack arrive on farm looking fit and fresh, ready for their new careers. All have exceptional credentials - maybe not in every single category of pedigree, physicality and performance, but they have earned their rightful place on a Hunter Valley stallion roster.

Breeder Andrew Ferguson passed on some wise words from another agent when we chatted about assessing a stallion physically at stallion parades. "Paul Willetts once said to me, never make a final decision at a stallion parade. Look at the horse, then go home and weigh that up against pedigree and race performance. If you don't like a horse physically but love his pedigree and performance, use that insight to find a mare to complement the stallion on type."

"If you don't like a horse physically but love his pedigree and performance, use that insight to find a mare to complement the stallion on type."

In today's edition we kick off the new Hunter Valley stallions alphabetically with stallions Caravaggio through to Menari. Monday we will cover Merchant Navy to Supido. Jukebox unfortunately arrived at Aquis one day too late for this series, so we'll visit him at a later date.

Caravaggio (USA)

Standing at Coolmore for $33,000

Scat Daddy (USA) - Mekko Hokte by Holy Bull

An unbeaten two-year-old including the G1 Phoenix S., Caravaggio returned at three to win the G1 Royal Ascot Commonwealth Cup (1200m) beating Harry Angel and Blue Point.

Andrew Ferguson, breeder

"When he first walked out he looked like an Australian sprinter; low to ground, terrific walk, presence, and not overly big for a European stallion. He looks like a real speed horse - very fast. Coolmore have found a stallion in Caravaggio that will be very popular in Australia."

"I think he will suit Redoute’s Choice and Fastnet Rock mares, those with size and scope. I wouldn’t go too big as I don’t like the spectrum of type being too wide, but I have confidence he’ll nick well with Danehill and Northern Dancer. This stallion on both type and pedigree is easy to mate."

Andrew Williams, agent

"This is a horse with plenty of quality. He’s a European import but has American influence through Storm Cat and Holy Bull, so has a particularly strong topline, great shape to him and a good head."

"He’ll suit a full range of those Danehill-line mares and has the ability to put in that sprinting, precocious two-year-old speed which he was on the track. He’s a particularly interesting stallion, Scat Daddy is absolutely flying at the moment and he offers the opportunity for a fast outcross option for Australian mares."

Churchill (IRE)

Standing at Coolmore for $27,500

Galileo (IRE) - Meow (USA), by Storm Cat

A four-time Group 1 winner including two as a juvenile in the Curragh National S. and Newmarket Dewhurst S. Returned at three to win the English & Irish 2000 Guineas double. Churchill was a Champion 2YO & 3YO colt.

Peter O'Brien, breeder

"This colt was a brilliant two-year-old. He had six starts and won five including two Group 1s. He's probably not your typical Galileo on type - the mix of Storm Cat can be seen there. A big, strong, tall horse. He's from an incredible speed family."

"I'd be looking to send him strong, short-coupled colonial fast mares - the typical Australian type should suit him."

Andrew Ferguson, breeder

"This is a classic thoroughbred, both in racing performance and pedigree. He is a European type horse. Is probably the most precocious Galileo to come to Australia, he couldn’t quite get a mile and a quarter but was a top miler. Churchill also has the best pedigree for a Galileo son that has come to Australia. His pedigree is unbelievable."

"The Not A Single Doubt, Snitzel-type mares will suit this horse. These horses are a bit lower to the ground and very fast. Danehill nicks so well with Galileo - the stats are out of this world. I have a short stocky thickset mare that I think would be well complemented by a horse like this."

Hellbent

Standing at Yarraman Park for $27,500

I Am Invincible - Volkaspray (NZ) by Volksraad (GB)

A debut winner at two, Hellbent raced 22 more times over a four season career. Group 1 2nd in the MVRC William Reid S. as a four-year-old, he returned a year later to take out that same G1 sprint beating Thronum & Catchy after finishing third in the G1 MRC Oakleigh P.

Andrew Ferguson, breeder

"Hellbent is a mini-I Am Invincible. A very correct, neat horse. I can see Hellbent throwing really nice yearlings. I Am Invincible stock are very good-skinned, well balanced, correct and have attractive heads. I’m excited for Yarraman having this horse to fill the space to some degree of Hinchinbrook. The other thing is the 3 x 3 Green Desert - I love to see that in the pedigree, it really excites me because what it gives the stallion is genetic purity."

"Hellbent will suit smaller mares, he will suit bigger mares, he will suit in between mares. An easy horse to mate on type. I have a Not A Single Doubt mare going to him - she’s a bigger NASD mare (not typical for him) but I think they’ll throw a great type."

Craig Rounsefell, agent

"Hellbent is a striking individual with great balance, presence and quality. To my eye he is the best physical of the first season stallions I have seen so far this year."

"I would be sending him mares with speed and substance. I think he will put that quality and refinement into his progeny like his father does."

Invader

Standing at Aquis Farm for $27,500

Snitzel - Flame of Sydney by Encosta de Lago

A smart two-year-old from the Snowden yard, Invader won the G1 Sires' Produce S. beating Summer Passage and Trapeze Artist, then finished 2nd in the G1 Champagne S.

Louis Le Metayer, agent

"Neat, powerful and elegant horse. Very correct and light on his feet. By the champion sire Snitzel and importantly out of a very good mare who already produced a Gr1 sprinter. Many top stallions are out of mares who produced several Gr1 horses."

"He needs an outcross to Danehill and Encosta de Lago and we are sending him a strong city winning Tale of The Cat mare. With chestnut stallions we always avoid chestnut mares to minimise the risk of producing a light chestnut foal with a lot of white."

Andrew Ferguson, breeder

"Invader is a very early, precocious sort. A Group 1 winning son of Snitzel is always hard to go past. This horse is correct and muscular with good skin, a lovely bright chestnut."

"I think Invader needs a mare with size and scope most likely, as he is a smaller two-year-old type."

Lord of the Sky

Standing at Kingstar Farm for $7,700

Danerich - Princess Abassi by Abassi

A winner over 1000m at two, Lord of the Sky raced on 32 occasions over five seasons. He was narrowly beaten in the G1 TJ Smith S. by a flashing Chautauqua and also ran 2nd in the G1 Goodwood H. Group wins came in the G3 VRC Standish H., G3 Bletchingly S. and G3 Sir John Monash S.

Andrew Ferguson, breeder

"I saw this horse a while ago at Robbie Laing's and was totally blown away by him. A powerful and strong individual. He has plenty of ability and was so close to being a Group 1 winner."

"If you went and saw him, you’d find a mare to send to him. Probably a touch light on page but he makes up for it in ability and physicality. He’s strong, so I wouldn’t be inclined to send him anything too heavy. He’s correct and a really good looking horse."

Menari

Standing at Newgate Farm for $27,500

Snitzel - Isurava by General Nediym

A winner on debut, Menari finished 2nd in the G3 Canonbury S. and 4th in the G1 Golden Slipper. He returned at three with wins in the Listed Rosebud S. & G2 Run to the Rose before finishing 3rd behind Trapeze Artist and Champagne Cuddles in the G1 Golden Rose.

Andrew Williams, agent

"Menari was a physical standout of the weekend for mine. Especially considering the fact that he only just retired off the track a matter of days before arriving at Newgate. He has size, scope and quality."

"I’d be sending him mares that require substance and strength. You’d have all the confidence that he would improve weaker type mares. He has size, so you’d expect him to throw forward, strong foals and weanlings."

Andrew Ferguson, breeder

"A terrific walker, Menari swanned around the parade ring with a great attitude. He had come out of the stable three days earlier but handled the crowds and noise like a total professional. He is a balanced horse, especially given he is quite a large animal. Great pedigree - one of the better bred sons of Snitzel."

"I would be sending a neater mare to him, not too small - around 15.2/16hh should complement him well. If a mare needed improving on temperament, I’d send her to this horse."