New Zealand breeding foundations built on staying races

5 min read

New Zealand is renowned for producing thoroughbreds that excel beyond a mile, though speedier types like Sunday’s Hong Kong G1 Stewards’ Cup winner Beauty Generation are never out of the question. But it is in the longer distance races that the Kiwi-breds tend to come into their own.

Just like the great sire line dynasties in Europe through Coolmore and in Australia through Arrowfield, so too has New Zealand. In Ireland Coolmore’s foundations are built on the back of Northern Dancer, Sadler’s Wells and Galileo, three generations of sires that Coolmore, more than anyone else have derived huge success from. And in Australia John Messara has farmed Danehill, Redoute’s Choice and now Snitzel to similar acclaim.

Sir Patrick Hogan with the great Zabeel

In the case of New Zealand, their trio of superstar sires comprise Cambridge Stud’s Sir Tristram and Zabeel, plus Waikato Stud’s Savabeel. Savabeel has big shoes to fill with his sire siring Stakes winners at a rate of 10.6% and his grandsire Sir Tristram at an excellent 13%.

"Savabeel has big shoes to fill with his sire siring Stakes winners at a rate of 10.6% and his grandsire Sir Tristram at an excellent 13%. " - John Boyce

Big shoes to fill

Savabeel, was typical of his sire’s stock in that he was top-class over 2,000 metres, winning the G1 Spring Champion and G1 Cox Plate in back-to-back runs as a three-year-old in the spring of 2004. He may well not have been among his outstanding sire’s top ten horses, that included the likes of Might And Power (Timeform 134) plus Octagonal and Vengence Of Rain (both Timeform-rated 126), but his 122 rating gives us a pretty good idea of how talented he was.

Savabeel

In recent years, he’s been the dominant stallion in New Zealand, siring 45 Stakes winners in his crops since 2010. Moreover, he has been the most successful New Zealand sire at supplying G1 winners in Australia in the period. Fourteen of his 45 Stakes winners, were successful across the Tasman, including three G1 winners. Lucia Valentina was a triple G1 winner (all over 2,000m), while Shillelagh had two G1 victories over 1,600m and Pasadena Girl took out the G1 Champagne, the premier test for staying two-year-olds in Australia.

"In recent years, he’s been the dominant stallion in New Zealand, siring 45 Stakes winners in his crops since 2010." - John Boyce

Shillelagh

All told, Savabeel sires Stakes winners at a rate of 10.5%, which puts him among the elite corps of stallions in Australia and New Zealand. Further proof of his ability can be gleaned from the fact that his stock’s siblings contain only 7.2% Stakes winners. It’s also a feather in his cap that he gets 13% Stakes when mated with mares from the top drawer. It’s a strike rate is right up with the very best: both Snitzel and Redoute’s sire 14% from elite mares. And, significantly, just as good as his famous grandsire.

Kiwi stalwarts

Danehill’s son Darci Brahma, with 24 Stakes winners from his past seven crops, is second on our list, followed by shuttler Iffraaj, who like Savabeel, has enjoyed some great days in Australia, most notably with all three of his G1 winners in the southern hemisphere. Turn Me Loose won twice at the top level, while Jon Snow won an Australian Derby and Gingernuts a Rosehill Guineas.

Australian Derby winner, Jon Snow

Pins is another New Zealand stalwart that always commands attention. With track stars like Ambitious Dragon (Timeform 129), plus Aerovelocity and El Segundo (both rated 125 by Timeform) you know that he can deliver the very best racehorses. He also sires Stakes winners at a very healthy rate of 7.5%, which again is above what we’d expect from his mares.

The Montjeu stallion Tavistock, who has seen his fee climb from $7,000 to $65,000 in just three years, can also produce a top-class horse. Look no further that the 126-rated Werther, triple G1 winner from 2,000m to 2,400m in Hong Kong. His current yearlings are from his best ever mares, so he’s set to continue to make headlines in the years to come. Like both Savabeel and Iffraaj, he’s also already had three G1 winners in Australia.

"If you are searching for a horse with the potential to be great at a mile and beyond, there is no doubt that a New Zealand sire gives you a fantastic opportunity." - John Boyce

Tavistock

If you are searching for a horse with the potential to be great at a mile and beyond, there is no doubt that a New Zealand sire gives you a fantastic opportunity. And the Karaka yearling sale is probably the best place to find them. With 52 G1 winners since the 2010 sale, Karaka also offers plenty of value. The average price of a G1 winner since 2010 is just a shade over NZ$180,000. Remarkably, 23 of the 52 sold for less than NZ$100,000.