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The Breeders' Plate sets the stage for stallion success

5 min read
When a colt makes a winning debut in the G3 Breeders’ Plate at Randwick, his connections are justifiably entitled to daydream about days of glory ahead; about Golden Slippers and Golden Roses, about Guineas and Derbys, about Lightnings and Everests.

However, looking farther ahead, they are generally also justified in thinking about their horse’s second career because the Breeders’ Plate has a remarkably good record at unearthing future stallions.

It is likely that Heroic (Valais {GB}) will always rank as the greatest horse to win the Breeders’ Plate. He won its 18th running (in 1923) and thus kick-started an outstanding racing career which saw him salute the judge 21 times, his victories including the VRC Maribyrnong Plate and AJC Champagne S. at two, the VATC Caulfield Guineas and AJC Derby at three, the VATC Caulfield S. and VRC Newmarket H. at four and the MVRC W. S. Cox Plate and the MVRC William Reid S. at five.

At stud he reigned as a champion for even longer, topping the General Sires’ Table for seven consecutive seasons starting 1932/’33.

Dubious wins the 2018 Breeders' Plate

Heroic set the bar extremely high, but many subsequent Breeders’ Plate winners have gone a fair way towards achieving similar star status. Sky High (Star Kingdom {Ire}) won the race in 1959 prior to become the first (and still only) horse to complete the STC Golden Slipper S. / VRC Derby double, as well as taking the VRC Lightning S. twice and the AJC Epsom H. once. Shipped to Claiborne Stud in the USA, he sired several top-liners in the States including Autobiography, US Handicap Horse of the Year in 1972 and ’73.

In the decades that followed, the race was won by such legends as Baguette (Rego {Ire}) and Luskin Star (Kaoru Star) but seemed to fall from grace for a while, being demoted from Group Three to listed status in 1994. Come the current century, though, its record at unearthing future stars kicked into overdrive, hence its reinstatement in the Pattern.

"The Breeders' Plate record at unearthing future stars has kicked into overdrive." John Berry

Choisir, winner of the 2001 Breeders' Plate

Top stallions at the turn of the century

The first Breeders’ Plate of the current century produced one of the race’s greatest winners. Choisir (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) won it in 2001 prior to proving himself a champion sprinter in both Australia and Europe en route to his outstanding dual-hemisphere stud career.

Two years later it was won by subsequent Group One winner Charge Forward (Red Ransom {USA) who went on to enjoy success at Arrowfield, his progeny headed by the Group One winners Headway and Response, dam of Estijaab.

The 2004 Breeders’ Plate winner Snitzel became an even better stallion for Arrowfield. By heading the General Sires’ Table in each of the past two seasons, Snitzel has politely positioned himself alongside his own sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) at the head of the Arrowfield roster. Snitzel’s progeny tally of Group One victories currently stands at 20, a total which seems sure to rise considerably.

"The first Breeders’ Plate of the current century produced one of the race’s greatest winners, Choisir." - John Berry

Sebring (More Than Ready {USA}) justified odds-on favouritism when making a winning debut in the Breeders’ Plate in 2008.

This was the start of a magnificent juvenile campaign which saw the super-tough colt come close to completing the Two-Year-Olds’ Triple Crown, taking the G1 Golden Slipper S. and the G1 Sires’ Produce S. before failing by a short head against the champion filly Samantha Miss (Redoute’s Choice) in the G1 Champagne S.

Sebring, winner of the 2008 Breeders' Plate

Since then, Sebring has established himself as one of the best stallions in the land at Widden, his progeny tally of Group One victories currently standing at 12 and his offspring including the champions Dissident and Criterion (NZ).

Top colts in the last decade

Smart Missile (Fastnet Rock) took the Breeders’ Plate in 2010 prior to confirming himself as one of the fastest colts of his generation with defeats of Sepoy (Elusive Quality {USA}) in the G2 Todman S. and Foxwedge (Fastnet Rock) in the G3 Run To The Rose S. He is now well established at Twin Hills Stud.

One might describe Smart Melody, unbeaten winner Sunday of the G2 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude, as the best of Smart Missile’s progeny.

Smart Melody by Breeders' Plate winner Smart Missile takes out the G2 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude

While Smart Missile was close to the best of his generation, Pierro (Lonhro) was even better than that. His victory in the Breeders’ Plate in 2011 was the first of his 11 Pattern race triumphs, with his victories including all three legs of the Two-Year-Olds’ Triple Crown before weight-for-age successes in the G1 Canterbury S. and the G1 George Ryder S. at three.

He has started his career at Coolmore extremely promisingly, already responsible for Group One winners Pinot and Levendi in his first crop.

"Since Pierro, Breeders’ Plate winners include both Vancouver and Capitalist." - John Berry

Since Pierro, Breeders’ Plate winners include both Vancouver (Medaglia D’Oro {USA}) and Capitalist (Written Tycoon). Both went on to prove themselves outstanding two-year-olds. Vancouver rounded off his unbeaten juvenile campaign by taking the G1 Golden Slipper S. in March 2015 and has subsequently proved very popular for Coolmore in both hemispheres.

A year later Capitalist also completed the Breeders’ Plate / Golden Slipper double, having taken the Magic Millions Classic in between. He has been extremely well supported since retiring to Newgate.

Now it's Dubious' time

Now we have this year’s Breeders’ Plate winner Dubious (Not A Single Doubt), the first Victorian-trained colt ever to land this historic prize. He clearly gives his connections plenty to look forward to during the current season and beyond.

If he could indeed build on this excellent debut, an exciting stud career would then beckon. It is easy to see where such a stud career would be, bearing in mind that he races in the increasingly prominent light blue livery of Aquis Farm.