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A headline winning colt & impressive first-season sires: John Messara Q&A

5 min read

The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice) captured plenty of headlines by winning the G1 Golden Rose and G1 Caulfield Guineas in late September/early October. TDN AusNZ's Gary King caught up with Arrowfield's John Messara to get an update on the colt, and find out more about Arrowfield's strategy when it comes to standing stallions.

TDN AusNZ: The Autumn Sun is one of the most exciting stallion prospects in the world. What do you think are his greatest attributes?

JM: Well, firstly he is an elite athlete as we have seen in his short career to date. Three proper Group 1 wins from his first six starts speaks for itself.

Physically, he is a very handsome individual with quite an aura about him. Importantly, he’s done what he’s done as a somewhat immature animal. He is blooming during his current break from racing and we’re expecting to see the boy turn into the man by the time he hits the track again during our Autumn Carnival; that’s also very much the feeling of his trainer Chris Waller.

Then there’s his pedigree. He‘s from a good family, out of a Galileo (Ire) mare and by Australian super sire-maker Redoute’s Choice. Interestingly, that’s the reverse cross of Frankel (GB). So while The Autumn Sun has shown us a lot to date, we believe the depth of his talent has not yet been fully exposed.

"Three proper Group 1 wins from his first six starts speaks for itself." - John Messara

TDN AusNZ: Ideally what races would you like to target over the next campaign or two?

JM: There is a well-trodden path for Autumn 3-year-olds in both Sydney and Melbourne and we are likely to follow one or the other; that will be a matter of discussion with our trainer and partners in the next couple of weeks. Both paths lead to the Guineas.

TDN AusNZ: When the time comes, might Arrowfield be interested in shuttling him to the Northern Hemisphere with an appropriate partner?

JM: That is something we have not given much thought to at this stage.

TDN AusNZ: Arrowfield currently boasts an exciting group of young stallions. From the Japanese trio of Maurice (Jpn), Real Impact (Jpn) and Mikki Isle (Jpn), to Shalaa (Ire) and Olympic Glory (Ire). You've made no secret of your strong belief in the need for diversity and new bloodlines in Australia.

JM: The debate around the respective merits of shuttle and locally-bred stallions misses the point that Australian and New Zealand breeders have always benefited from importing new genetics from the Northern Hemisphere – Star Kingdom (Ire), Sir Tristram (Ire) and Danehill (USA) being three very significant examples.

"Relying too much on what we already have ultimately limits our progress." - John Messara

That applies to broodmares too – look at the incredible families founded in this part of the world by Scamper Away (USA) (grand-dam of Easy Date), Holiday Scene (GB) (grand-dam of Denise’s Joy), Dancing Show (USA) (grand-dam of Redoute’s Choice) and Eight Carat (GB). That’s what has allowed us to build our own extremely successful bloodlines, but their success shouldn’t blind us to the continuing need for, and immense value of, diversity.

Relying too much on what we already have ultimately limits our progress, so we have to keep our eyes open and keep seeking the new and fortunately, in this super-connected 21st century world, it’s much easier than it was 30 years ago.

Danehill

TDN AusNZ: Your strategic partnerships with Shadai, Al Shaqab and the Aga Khan Studs have obviously facilitated this.

JM: It’s very rewarding, to establish a connection and develop not only a successful business venture, but also a friendship. What I enjoy most about that process is that it’s not about money – it’s about respect and trust, and like most good things in horse-breeding, it takes time.

It’s great to look at Arrowfield list of Group 1 graduates and see horses like Weekend Hussler, Miss Finland, Mustaaqeem and The Autumn Sun, all the results of partnerships.

TDN AusNZ: It would be remiss of me not to bring up Redoute's, Snitzel, and Not A Single Doubt. Not too many farms in the world stand such an impressive trio.

JM: We’re so proud of them, and acutely aware of the privilege of standing all three of them at the same time. Their cumulative impact on the lives of everyone at Arrowfield, and so many other people is enormous and together they have exceeded even the extravagant dreams I had for this business 30 years ago.

TDN AusNZ: Finally, the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale catalogue was released this week. Who are your picks from the Arrowfield draft?

JM: Arrowfield’s international relationships are exemplified by our launch of the first yearlings by Real Impact, the first son of Japan’s supersire Deep Impact to stand in Australia, and Scissor Kick, a prospective new son of Redoute’s Choice, who has also shuttled to France. We’re looking forward to offering their first progeny to the market, along with a strong line-up of yearlings by our champion, leading and emerging sires.

John Messara is looking forward to selling the first yearling by Real Impact at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale