Six years after Dundeel (NZ) confirmed himself as a future star of the turf with his first Group 1 win in the Spring Champion S., his progeny are being set to follow in his hoofprints. Dealmaker and Irukandji are tasked with carrying their sire's name in a race chock full of staying bloodlines.
Dundeel's own sire High Chaparral has three runners, while there is one runner by Dundeel's fellow Arrowfield stablemates Redoute's Choice and Smart Missile. Progeny by All Too Hard, Poet's Voice (GB), Medaglia d'Oro (USA), Pins and even a Frankel (GB) make up the field, just to make things more interesting.
There is no doubt that Dundeel's first crop are hitting new peaks early in their 3-year-old year. He had four winners from 18 runners in his first season, and now has had six from 19 so far in 2018-19.
"I think it's really encouraging," Arrowfield's Paul Messara said. "It was what we were hoping would happen and what the marketplace was expecting. No-one expected the horse to produce early 2-year-olds. We think what he did was more than satisfactory in his 2-year-old crop."
"No-one expected the horse to produce early 2-year-olds." - Paul Messara, Arrowfield
"It's great to see them getting up over distance, he's had winners up to 2100m at Newcastle, so they are getting up over a trip as expected and they are improving with age."
Messara said his experience is that, like the stallion himself, the first crop have taken huge improvement as they progress further into their 3-year-old year.
"I train a few myself and I've found that they’ve come on exponentially. The latter part of their 2-year-old year, they have developed physically and I think they are going to keep developing. I think they are horses that are going to get better as they work through that 3-year-old period," he said.
The best deal?
Dealmaker looks the better chance to emulate Dundeel and win the Spring Champion S., despite having four weeks between runs after missing the G3 Gloaming S. with a temperature spike.
"Naturally he is a very athletic horse. His father Dundeel did win this race and I think this horse is very much in the same mould," his trainer Chris Waller said. "He is athletic, very tough and has a great will to win."
"Naturally he is a very athletic horse. His father Dundeel did win this race and I think this horse is very much in the same mould." Chris Waller
"He had a slightly elevated temperature and went to the paddock for a few days but has since returned a normal blood profile and has trialled since."
"His trial last week was good and he's a handy horse. I don't think 2000 metres will be a problem and he's coming out of the right form lines."
Waller knows those form-lines well. Dealmaker charged from last in the G2 Stan Fox last start before being beaten a very small margin by Tarka (All Too Hard), who he meets again on Saturday. Third that day, albeit unluckily, was The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice), Waller's star colt who went on to win the G1 Golden Rose S. so impressively.
"That was a tough 1500 metres on a wet track so 2000 metres should be no problem," Waller said.
Dealmaker was a $160,000 buy for Star Thoroughbreds at the 2017 Classic Sale, having been bred by Arrowfield. Out of the city-winning mare Sport Chic (Redoute's Choice), who was herself out of a Group winning mare, Dealmaker's younger full brother was sold for $140,000 at this year's Easter sales.
Setting the pace
Irukandji has been setting new benchmarks for his sire ever since he was one of the first foals born by the six-time Group 1 winner in August 2016.
There were just 10 Dundeels sold as weanlings in the first crop and Irukandji was by far the most expensive at $240,000 to Musk Creek Farm, helping the stallion to leading first-season sire honours at the Magic Millions Weanling Sale.
Twelve months later he went through the ring again, fetching $500,000 on the Gold Coast when bought by Spendthrift, the second most expensive of the Dundeel yearlings in the first crop.
Prepared by Team Hawkes, he then created history as the first stakes-winner for his sire when successful in the G3 Schweppervescence S. at Rosehill in March.
Spendthrift have always had a big opinion of him and would love to see him win a Derby like Dundeel did before becoming their one colt a year that goes to stud, joining Overshare and Swear on their farm at Romsey in Victoria.
Improving the breed?
The expectations from any first crop are always high, especially from an Arrowfield stallion.
Messara indicates that the progeny are inheriting many of the characteristics of their sire, while getting the advantage of having such a strong book of mares.
"A lot of his progeny are bigger and stronger than he is and he was at the same age," he said.
"The genetic pool that we are sending him to, he's a great outcross, so he's receiving a lot of the Danehill-line mares. So you would expect them to have that little bit of extra physical help from that cross. It seems a natural cross for the horse."
"The genetic pool that we are sending him to, he's a great outcross, so he's receiving a lot of the Danehill-line mares." - Paul Messara
Few in recent times have gone to stud with such a strong racetrack record.
Dundeel, who raced as It’s A Dundeel in Australia, won his first five starts, culminating in that success in the Spring Champion S.
He would the sweep the Group 1 3-year-old features in the autumn, winning the Rosehill and Randwick Guineas and the ATC Derby and add another two Group 1s at four in the Underwood S. and the Queen Elizabeth S.
It was a stunning career which featured 10 wins in 19 starts and over $5 million in prizemoney.
They are big hoofprints to follow.