by Bren O'Brien
Having had phenomenal early success with Spirit Of Boom's first crop, Eureka Stud's Scott McAlpine admits he may have to show a little more patience as he awaits to see what impression the second crop will make this season.
Pre-Christmas 2-year-old stakes victories from Ef Troop and Outback Barbie created a huge buzz around the Eureka Stud stallion ahead of the sales season 12 months ago, with quality at the top matched with a depth which yielded 18 winners in total and five stakes winners for the season.
As things stand right now, Spirit of Boom, who has 18 of his progeny nominated for this year's Magic Millions 2YO Classic, has had just one of his second crop hit the track, the Listed Debutant S. winner Champagne Boom for Lindsay Park.
While tracking at 100 per cent runners to winners for his second crop is doing his stallion's reputation no harm, McAlpine admits he is anticipating more runners in the coming weeks.
"I'm not worried, but you do look at it and say, we need a few more runners but they will come. The reports are too encouraging for them not to come through," he told TDN AUSNZ.
"The reports are too encouraging for them not to come through." - Scott McAlpine
"But the (2YO) racing season has only been going six weeks and I know that if you haven’t got runners, you can’t get numbers, but once they start to the hit the track, we’ll get the results we’ve had previously."
McAlpine's insight into the early drought of runners for Spirit Of Boom is that the profile of those who train the horse has changed significantly from one year to the next.
He pointed out that many of the first crop went to Queensland trainers, where the lure of the Magic Millions, the season's earliest 2-year-old feature, meant rolling the dice much sooner.
"Peter Snowden has got seven of them and he says he loves them all, they are all good horses." - Scott McAlpine
"I think the marketing and the sales of the horses has changed the dynamic of it. Peter Snowden has got seven of them and he says he loves them all, they are all good horses," he said.
"You've got Gai (Waterhouse) with four, Bjorn Baker with two, (Tony) McEvoy has got two, Hayes has got three and with Champagne Boom, he's confident that she is one of the better ones in his stable 2-year old wise."
"The money they’ve given for those horses, they are strategically placing them and giving them a bit more time to win the races that count most for them. That's the plan they are all on."
Runs already on the board
The hype around Spirit of Boom was always going to be hard to maintain, but McAlpine said the stallion already has substantial runs on the board when it comes to success.
"It’s hard to keep the buzz there. But the horse has already done it. Last year's Magic Millions 2YO race, you had four Spirit of Booms, a quarter of the field of a major 2yo race. If we are lucky to have one or two in it this year, that's the sort of thing will be aiming for."
"It’s hard to keep the buzz there. But the horse has already done it." - Scott McAlpine
"I'm sure there are horses there that are aiming to do that same program."
Chris Munce had Magic Millions entrant Phionaix nominated for a Doomben 2-year-old race on Saturday but did not accept, while the Snowdens have their first Spirit of Boom runner with Exploration to contest a 2-year-old maiden at Gosford on Saturday.
McAlpine expects a significant increase in runners in December.
"Those other races that are coming up now in Queensland, the Phelan Ready and the Calaway Girl, the lead-up races to the Magic Millions, they are still two or three weeks' away," he said.
"There will be horses ready to go back to start popping up for those races. It's hard to keep horses up from an early start and have them right for Magic Millions, you have to time your run."
The right formula for success
Spirit of Boom's success has defied all modern breeding thinking, having had over 50 starts and racing until he was nearly seven before becoming a successful stallion.
McAlpine attributed it to the right combination pf physical and mental maturity in his progeny.
"From day one, when we started to get the foals on the ground, we thought, these are really good sorts of foals." - Scott McAlpine
"I always had faith because of his soundness and the determination and the tenacity he had as a racehorse. He was 17-times Group placed," McAlpine said.
Watch: Spirit Of Boom winning the G1 William Reid S.
"From day one, when we started to get the foals on the ground, we thought, these are really good sorts of foals. He stamped them very strongly across the board from the word go. They were all the same sort of horses."
"Everybody just loves them, because they have got the temperament, they are easy horses to deal with, they are sensible horses, everybody says they’ve been here before."
"Their education program and their sensibility allows them to adjust to racing early and maybe that's the advantage that we have."