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Last Pentire colt arrives with a sense of timing

4 min read
Rich Hill Stud has strong ties to the G1 Melbourne Cup and a new arrival on the eve of the Flemington feature provided them with a poignant moment.

Rich Hill earned its place in Cup folklore when the home-bred Prince Of Penzance (NZ) was victorious in 2015 with rider Michelle Payne becoming the first female jockey to win the iconic race.

The Darren Weir-trained stayer’s sire Pentire (GB) (Be My Guest {USA}) was Rich Hill’s foundation stallion and was a wonderful servant until his passing last year at the age of 25.

So it was with appropriate timing that Long Lake (USA) (Distorted Humor {USA}) produced his final foal on Monday morning.

“She was a bit over and delivered a colt – the last ever Pentire colt that will be foaled so it’s a bit of history.” - John Thompson.

“She was a bit over and delivered a colt – the last ever Pentire colt that will be foaled so it’s a bit of history,” Rich Hill’s John Thompson said.

The stud was founded in 1994 and, in association Japan’s Shadai Farm, Pentire arrived three years later off the back of a successful racing career.

Pentire x Long Lake colt

Trained by the late Geoff Wragg, Pentire won six of his seven starts as a 3-year-old, including the G1 Irish Champion S., at Leopardstown, the G2 King Edward VII S., at Royal Ascot and the G2 Great Voltigeur at York.

The following year, he returned to Ascot to win the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S.

Group 1 versatility

Pentire proved to be a wonderfully versatile stallion and produced 16 individual Group 1 winners from 1200 metres to 3200 metres and, Prince Of Penzance aside, was also responsible for the minor Melbourne Cup placegetters Xcellent (NZ) and Pentastic (NZ).

His leading representative has been the two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year (King) Mufhasa (NZ), whose tally of eight home Group 1 victories remains a domestic record. He also added two at the elite level in Australia.

Pentire, who has produced winners in 23 countries, succumbed to an internal tumour last spring.

“He was 25, but I thought he was going to live forever - he was still serving and so healthy and well." – John Thompson.

Pentire

“He was 25, but I thought he was going to live forever - he was still serving and so healthy and well," Thompson said.

“We just noticed after he looked a bit uncomfortable and I got a bad feeling about it, in 20 years we'd only had the vet to him twice. We got him to the clinic and he went into surgery and when they opened him up they found a tumour that the intestine had wrapped around."

“They removed the growth and the intestine hadn't been compromised. They got him into recovery, but sadly he didn't wake up."

Stunning comeback

Pentire's stud career featured a remarkable comeback after falling out of favour.

“He only had 12 foals in 2002 and that would have finished most stallions," Thompson said.

“I was surprised at the time by the lack of interest of New Zealand breeders, but he bounced right back.”

Pentire shuttled between Japan and New Zealand in the early years and, following two shuttle seasons to Germany, he was permanently repatriated to Rich Hill in 2005.

Xtravagant, a dual Group 1-winning son of Pentire, stands at Newhaven Park

Cup theme continued

Rich Hill’s tie to the Melbourne Cup continued with the retirement to the farm in 2011 of the 2009 winner Shocking (Street Cry {IRE}), who also claimed the G1 Australian Cup during his racing days.

He has sired a dozen stakes performers, including the G1 New Zealand Oaks winner Fanatic (NZ), but Thompson said his cause hasn’t been helped by the sale to Asia of a number of promising young horses.

“Horses like The Hassler, Shocking Luck and Formidable were good stayers in the making, but they all went to Hong Kong. There’s really only one race, the Derby, for them. It’s mainly sprints and miles.

“I guess Shocking is in a building phase, but his biggest and best draft of yearlings will be sold next year.” – John Thompson.

Shocking at Rich Hill

“I guess Shocking is in a building phase, but his biggest and best draft of yearlings will be sold next year.”

Meanwhile, newcomers to the farm have been popular with the G1 Yasuda Kinen winner Satono Aladdin (JPN) (Deep Impact {JPN}) and the G1 Prix du Moulin winner Vadamos (FR) (Monsun {GER}) gaining strong breeder support.

“Satono Aladdin will have over 80 outside mares and he’s not a syndicated horse so we’re very happy with that, given our current racing environment,” Thompson said.

“Vadamos will serve 130 mares in his second season and there’s been a lot of very good talk about his foals.”

Associate stallion and multiple Group 1 winner Jimmy Choux (NZ) (Thorn Park) continues to be a source of regular winners while the Group 3 winner and Group 1 performer Proisir (Choisir) has his first 2-year-olds out this season. His two runners to date have both placed.