Queensland stallions on a Boom

6 min read
Over the years, Queensland has boasted some outstanding stallions who could fairly be described as winner-producing machines. John Berry takes a look at two young sires who are continuing the roll for the Northern state.

During the era in which Star Kingdom (Ire) (Stardust {GB}) was dominating the breeding game from his base at Baramul (NSW), his paternal half-brother Smokey Eyes (Ire) was churning out winners in Queensland at a rate which even now almost defies belief.

Smokey Eyes spent the final 15 years of his life under the care of Perce and Ted Kruger at Lyndhurst Stud near Warwick before dying aged 27 in December 1973. His achievements were mind-boggling, and he ended up as the sire of the winners of at least 3,121 races.

Lyndhurst Stud had previously stood The Buzzard (GB) (Spion Kop {GB}) who was twice Australia’s champion sire in the late ‘40s. Subsequently it has been home to the prolific sires of winners Grand Chaudiere (Can) (Northern Dancer {Can}) and Celestial Dancer (Ire) (Godswalk {USA}). It is still very early days, but it is looking as if Lyndhurst Stud might have found itself another star because the initial results of Better Than Ready (More Than Ready {USA}) are very promising.

Better Than Ready

Rich history of producing winners

If over the next few months Better Than Ready can build on the black-type double which he recorded at Doomben, this will be the second consecutive season that one of Queensland’s leading studs will have unveiled a very promising stallion, following the start made last term by Eureka Stud-based Spirit Of Boom (Sequalo).

Like Lyndhurst, Eureka has a rich history when it comes to standing successful sires, including the prolific winner-producer Semipalatinsk (USA) (Nodouble {USA}) who played a consistently prominent role among Queensland’s stallions during the latter years of the last century.

Bred and raced (in partnership) by Eureka Stud, Spirit Of Boom was one of two Group One winners produced by Temple Spirit (Special Dane), herself a grand-daughter of Semipalatinsk. Trained by Tony Gollan, he was a Group One-winning sprinter in both Brisbane (of the G1 Doomben 10,000) and Melbourne (of the G1 William Reid S.) while his half-brother Temple Of Boom (Piccolo {GB}) was a Group One winner in Sydney (of the G1 The Galaxy S.).

All told, Spirit Of Boom finished in the first three in 20 Group races, and Temple Of Boom in 13. They made a wonderful double-act, as was particularly evident when they provided the quinella in the G1 Doomben 10,000 in 2014.

Spirit Of Boom, now standing at Eureka Stud

Immediate success

It was easy to predict that Spirit Of Boom might become a reliable source of tough, fast horses, but less obvious that he would be so immediately successful, not least because he himself had been more progressive and durable than precocious.

Furthermore, the Hyperion sire-line had fallen out of fashion since the halcyon days of Star Kingdom, Smokey Eyes and their ilk. It turned out, though, that Spirit Of Boom was an instant hit, the runaway winner of Australia’s first-season sires’ numerical premiership last term with 18 individual winners including the stakes winners Outback Barbie, Ef Troop and Heaven’s Deal. The only other stallion in recent years to have registered that number of Australian first-crop juvenile winners was Northern Meteor (Encosta De Lago) in 2012/’13.

"It was easy to predict that Spirit Of Boom might become a reliable source of tough, fast horses, but less obvious that he would be so immediately successful." - John Berry

This season the Spirit Of Boom bandwagon has continued to roll with second-crop juvenile stakes success from the impressive Victorian-based two-year-old Champagne Boom. Outback Barbie has continued to progress, her latest victory coming when she led home Jami Lady in a Spirit Of Boom quinella in the Mode S. over 1200m at Doomben at the start of December. Over in New Zealand, another Eureka-bred three-year-old, Spirits Aubeer, landed the G3 Bonecrusher S. at Ellerslie a week later. Most recently, Outback Barbie finished second to her high-class stablemate Zoustyle (Zoustar) in the Gold Edition Plate at Doomben.

2YO Listed winner Champagne Boom

First-season contender

Last December, Outback Barbie provided Spirit Of Boom with his first stakes winner when landing the Calaway Gal S. at Doomben. Twelve months on, Spirit Of Boom again provided one of the principals in this prestigious juvenile fillies’ race, but this time his representative Boomster could only finish second, beaten a length and a half by Better Reflection (Better Than Ready).

This victory was one half of a magnificent double with which Better Than Ready announced himself as a major contender for first-season honours.

Better Reflection as a yearling

The pair of two-year-old black-type contests on Doomben’s card ten days ago were named after two locally-trained Golden Slipper winners, Phelan Ready (More Than Ready {USA}) lending his name to the race for colts and geldings and Calaway Gal (Clang) lending hers to the fillies’ race. Both races fell to the progeny of Better Than Ready, with Better Reflection’s victory in the Calaway Gal S. being matched by the success of The Odyssey in the Phelan Ready S.

This double came only a day after Girls Are Ready (Better Than Ready) had won in Sydney. She backed her debut win at Canterbury up with another commanding victory at Warwick Farm last week.

Racing in good company

While Spirit Of Boom was clearly one of the best sprinters in Australia over a lengthy period, Better Than Ready’s credentials were less clear-cut.

Trained by Kelly Schweida, he won half of his 16 starts, his best wins coming in listed company at Eagle Farm in the Falvelon Quality H. over 1200m, the Mick Dittman Plate over 1000m and the Keith Noud H. over 1200m. His ventures into Group company were not as successful as those of Spirit Of Boom, but even so he finished third to Your Song (Fastnet Rock) and Rain Affair (Commands) in the G1 Kingsford Smith Cup at Eagle Farm and fifth of 15 (only a neck behind Spirit Of Boom) in a star-studded edition of the G1 Doomben 10,000.

He ran well, too, on his trips down to Melbourne: fifth of 13 to Shamexpress (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) in the G1 Newmarket H. at Flemington in March 2013 (a head in front of Spirit Of Boom, who admittedly was giving him 4.5 kilos) and fourth to Lankan Rupee (Redoute’s Choice) in the G2 Rubiton S. at Caulfield the following year.

"While Spirit Of Boom was clearly one of the best sprinters in Australia over a lengthy period, Better Than Ready’s credentials were less clear-cut." - John Berry

Better Than Ready currently stands as the clear leader both financially and numerically in the national first-season sires’ standings.

Brazen Beau (I Am Invincible) and Deep Field (Northern Meteor) are the only other first-season sires to have been represented by more than one winner, each having sired two; Brazen Beau is the only other first-season sire to have had a stakes winner. Better Than Ready’s current figures, therefore, are very good indeed: 16 runners for six winners of nine races, with two stakes winners.

It’s early days yet, but for the second season running the early evidence is that the Queensland breeding community could have another very good stallion on its hands.