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Slipper winner's foals make US sales debut

6 min read
As Vancouver's first foals prepare to make their sales debuts at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton, we speak to Coolmore's Adrian Wallace about the impression his first foals made in Australia and his appeal to American buyers.

Some 26 representatives from the first Northern Hemisphere crop of the brilliant 2015 G1 Tooheys Golden Slipper winner Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro {USA}--Skates, by Danehill {USA}) are set to go under the hammer during the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which is set to run November 5-16 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Bred by John Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds--the operation also famously responsible for Winx (Street Cry {Ire})--Vancouver was a $185,000 purchase by trainer Gai Waterhouse and bloodstock agent James Harron out of the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. Vancouver, like Winx, was consigned to the sale by Coolmore Australia.

Victorious in the G3 Canonbury S. at second asking, Vancouver broke the 2-year-old Randwick track record when scooping the G2 Todman S., covering the 1200 metres in 1:08.83. A deceptively easy winner of the Golden Slipper, he stood his first season at Coolmore in the Hunter Valley in 2016 for a fee of $66,000.

"He was certainly the most precocious and highly credentialed of Medaglia’s best 2-year-olds.” - Coolmore's Adrian Wallace

Watch: Vancouver win the G1 Golden Slipper

Given the vast success of his sire in the Northern Hemisphere and particularly in America–with Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra (USA) and champion Songbird (USA) just a few examples of his brilliance–it was something of a no-brainer when it was announced that Vancouver would be shuttled to Ashford Stud in Kentucky. He covered a book of 166 mares in 2017, according to Coolmore’s Adrian Wallace.

“When you can’t get to a horse like Uncle Mo, you want to go to one of his best sons and the same is true for Medaglia d’Oro, I think,” Wallace said. “I think Vancouver certainly proved that he was that. He was certainly the most precocious and highly credentialed of Medaglia’s best 2-year-olds.”

A Stallion’s Pedigree and Physique

A son of the multiple stakes-placed Skates, Vancouver is a half-brother to G1 Robert Sangster S. winner Juste Momente (Giant’s Causeway {USA}) and to the late SW Captain Coltish (Fusaichi Pegasus {USA}). His dual Group 1-winning second dam Skating (At Talaq {USA}) produced the sires Murtajill (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}) and Bradbury’s Luck (Redoute’s Choice). And he has the looks to match his pedigree, according to Wallace.

Vancouver

“He offers the size, the scope and the strength that the American breeders are looking for and he also offers the precociousness that he had winning the world’s richest 2-year-old race, the [G1] Golden Slipper S.,” he said.

“He’s stunning. He oozes quality and he stands over a lot of ground." - Adrian Wallace

“He’s stunning. He oozes quality and he stands over a lot of ground. He’s 16.2, he’s a very good mover and he’s correct and he’s built like an athlete. He’s got the look of the eagle that you look for, just a very nice individual. He’s certainly passing on his size and the athletic bodies. They are all very good-sized and athletic horses.”

First Aussie Foals Left An Impression

Vancouver’s first Australian-bred foals went under the hammer last spring and were well-received by the purchasing public. Each of his 14 horses offered at this year’s Magic Millions National Weanling Sale changed hands, with China Horse Club going to $625,000 for a Coolmore-consigned half-sister to champion stayer Preferment (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}).

The Vancouver x Better Alternative weanling who sold for $625,000 at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale

A further six lots achieved six-figure price tags and were snapped up by such notable horse people as US-based Justin Casse, James Bester and Sheamus Mills.

“They were certainly bought by some of the best judges." - Adrian Wallace

“They were certainly bought by some of the best judges,” Wallace said. “Most of these horses are in the right hands. The key is that they are bought by the right people, are given to the right trainers and that they’re sent to the right track. If that happens, you’ve got a chance.”

A Unique Opportunity for US Breeders

Vancouver was available for $15,000 in his first year at stud in Kentucky, and Wallace feels that, along with the stallion’s physical appearance, contributed to a strong first book

“He was very attractively priced for American breeders and I think every commercial breeder in America has a chance to use a horse like a Vancouver or a Cupid or a Mo Town,” he commented. “They fall into that bracket where really commercial breeders can’t afford to be without one of those. If they get good-looking foals and they sell well as foals and yearlings, I think every commercial breeder wants a part of that.”

Optimism Rules

The Fasig-Tipton November Sale, which takes place the day after the Breeders’ Cup meeting about 100km down the road in Louisville, marks the start of breeding stock sales season and given the positive results from the year’s breeze-up and yearling sales, Wallace finds himself in an optimistic spot.

"When people see champions running in front of them Friday and Saturday, they realise that in a couple days’ time, they have a chance to breed one of their own or buy one of their own." - Adrian Wallace

“You’d hope things are going to align,” he said. “It’s always a help when the Breeders’ Cup is here in Kentucky, I think it brings a lot of people here. It creates a expectant atmosphere and I think people can’t help but get involved. When people see champions running in front of them Friday and Saturday, they realise that in a couple days’ time, they have a chance to breed one of their own or buy one of their own. Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland have put together great catalogs, so at the end of the day it should be strong sales.”

Vancouver

Some highlights on pedigree among the 26 entries at the November sale include:

A colt out of Ravenist (USA) (Philanthropist {USA}) from the family of Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Wavell Avenue (USA) (Harlington {USA});

A filly from Miss Judged (USA) (E Dubai {USA}), whose second dam bred SW & MGSP Lemon Chiffon (USA) (Lemon Drop Kid {USA}) and whose third dam includes Grade I winners Zo Impressive (USA) (Hard Spun {USA}) and Zaftig (USA) (Gone West {USA}); and

A daughter of English Belle (USA) (English Channel {USA}), a half-sister to Toast of New York (USA) (Thewayyouare {USA}), runner-up in the 2014 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic who is entered to run in this Friday’s Grade II Marathon S. on Breeders’ Cup Friday at Churchill Downs