More Arrowfield Gold with Dundeel Derby success

7 min read
There have been a 'few that got away' but Angus Gold has an incredible record when buying yearlings out of Arrowfield drafts, and Sheikh Hamdan's man on the ground has found another smart South African winner

Sheikh Hamdan's renowned bloodstock agent Angus Gold has been underbidder on some Arrowfield Stud champions including The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice), Estijaab (Snitzel) and Miss Finland (Redoute's Choice) but he still has a remarkable Group 1 strike rate and Atyaab (Dundeel (NZ) is his latest star.

That strike rate continued to grow when Atyaab, an Arrowfield graudate from Dundeel's first crop, won the G1 Cape Derby and gave his sire a first Group 1 winner with an overseas success.

Any bloodstock agent worth his sales catalogue remembers the lots he underbid on but when one of those lots is The Autumn Sun, a three-time Group 1 winner and already secured for stud duties at Arrowfield, it's hard to forget.

Watch: Atyaab winning the G1 Cape Derby

"The Autumn Sun was the one we really wanted, we thought he would make a nice Derby horse for South Africa," Gold said of the $700,000 purchase from the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

"I didn't think that being out of a Galileo (Ire) mare he would be sharp enough for the Australians and we might be able to get him. I was wrong about the price, and he obviously has enough speed and a whole lot of class."

"The Autumn Sun was the one we really wanted." - Angus Gold

After Sunday's Cape Derby at least Gold can now take solace in the fact he did get his Derby type for trainer Mike de Kock from the same extraordinary Arrowfield draft.

"He is just a lovely, tough horse. They thought he was a decent horse but these staying 3-year-olds don't get many opportunities before the big day so you never quite know where you are with them with regard to distance. He had to travel all the way down from Johannesburg to Cape Town. It's a big old journey and some of them travel and some of them don't, so you can never be confident. But he doesn't like being beaten and he is very consistent."

Atyaab as a yearling

Atyaab cost $260,000 at the Inglis Sydney Easter Yearling Sale, and was in the same draft as Group 1 winners The Autumn Sun, and Estijaab.

"He always looked a nice staying type of horse," Gold said of Atyaab. "He isn't overly big and there is a lot of length to him."

Arrowfield strike rate

Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stud has a stunning strike rate buying horses out of Arrowfield's drafts - particularly yearlings by Redoute's Choice.

Since 2013, Shadwell has found four Group 1 winners from just 14 lots at a strike rate of better than 25 per cent and an average price of $777,500.

Angus Gold with David Hayes

Rafeef, Majmu and Mustaaqeem are all by Redoute's Choice. Dundeel's Atyaab is Gold's fifth Group 1 winner overall from Arrowfield.

"That strike rate would be a lot better if I had got The Autumn Sun and Estijaab." - Angus Gold

"That strike rate would be a lot better if I had got The Autumn Sun and Estijaab," said Gold. "I have had a bad run of 'underbidder-itis' with them actually. I was underbidder on Miss Finland as well."

Gold's Arrowfield purchases also include G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Reaan (Hussonet {USA}) and another Redoute's Choice stakes winner, Mutamakkin, a Listed sprint winner for de Kock in South Africa.

Dundeel believer

"I was there the day he won the G1 Queen Elizabeth and I still remember James McDonald sitting up on him from the furlong pole and he still sauntered home," Gold recalled of the stallion's stunning career swansong at Randwick.

"It was one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen on a racecourse. I was very taken by him then. I liked a few of them at Easter last year, we have a mare in foal in to him and I have bought one from the Gold Coast. I am just a fan."

"It was one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen on a racecourse. I was very taken by him then." - Angus Gold

Gold has watched with fascination what he calls 'the Australian obsession' with speed and says Dundeel could fill a vital gap in the Australian breeding market.

Dundeel

"I quite understand the Australian obsession with speed," he said. "Those are the horses that make stallions, and that is what the commercial buyers want, but on the other hand I don't understand that you only have two major 2-year-old races, and a few 3-year-old sprints, but otherwise all of the big money is from a mile upwards."

"I think a horse like Dundeel is very exciting, especially if he can continue to get these Derby-type horses." - Angus Gold

"I think everyone concentrates on these expensive, sharper-bred horses at the expense of the horses by Dundeel or a sire like Americain (USA). I am not trying to pontificate or tell people what to do, I understand that is the market, but I think a horse like Dundeel is very exciting, especially if he can continue to get these Derby-type horses."

"He hasn't won a Derby in Australia yet as this is his first crop and I love the look of the yearling I bought from Arrowfield at Magic Millions."

Shadwell went to $250,000 for a colt out of In The Clear (Redoute's Choice) at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, the most expensive of Dundeel's lots at the sale, from Arrowfield.

Dundeel x In The Clear colt

"He is slightly immature but a real athlete," Gold said of Lot 677. "I would like to think he will be in the big Derbys in two years' time and that's why I think Dundeel is very important for the industry down there."

"Every year I arrive in Melbourne in spring and read the local press and how it's a disgrace we don't have any local runners in the Melbourne Cup, and we don't want any of these foreign-bred horses and I think 'why is anybody surprised?'"

"I think the better value is in these staying types, especially if you are prepared to give them a bit more time." - Angus Gold

"I take a different view than most in Australia. Everyone goes for 'speed, speed, speed', but those are the very hard ones to buy. So unless you are going out and spending a fortune, I think the better value is in these staying types, especially if you are prepared to give them a bit more time. The main objective for us is to find Sheikh Hamdan a horse that is good enough to go and compete at the carnival in Dubai. You have more chance of getting that with a horse that can stay than you do with an out-and-out speedball."

Active at Karaka

Gold was trackside for Atyaab's win but Hubie de Burgh was buying on behalf of Sheikh Hamdan and paid NZ$500,000 for a filly by sire-of-the-moment I Am Invincible (Lot 19), a day after the sire's dual Blue Diamond success with I Am Immortal and Catch Me.

"The South African races have clashed with Karaka for the last few years so I haven't been able to attend but I absolutely love that sale, and you can't have enough I Am Invincibles at the moment," Gold said.

Shadwell bought two more lots on day 2, including another Redoute's Choice filly; Lot 272, out of Orquidea (Montjeu {Ire}), a half-sister to champion mare Ethereal (NZ))(Rhythm {USA}) for $200,000. Shortly afterwards Sheikh Hamdan acquired Lot 275, a colt by Ifraaj (GB) for $360,000.