Chapada shoots for Bowness' Bullet

6 min read
The next week could be a big one for Bowness Stud, which bred the favourite for Saturday's G1 Australian Derby Chapada and presents six yearlings at the upcoming Inglis Australian Easter Sale.

Should Chapada provide his sire Bullet Train (GB) a first Group 1 in Australia in Saturday's G1 Harrolds Australian Derby, it will provide Bowness principal John North with both one of his proudest moments but also a moment of reflection.

North stood Bullet Train, the three-quarter brother to Frankel (GB) at the stud near Young in southern NSW for four seasons and pulled the plug on his shuttling at the end of 2017 when it was apparent that the Australian market wasn't receptive to his progeny, who were typically taking time to develop.

On Saturday, Chapada, bred by Bowness, and bought by Paul Moroney for just $32,500 from the second crop of his sire, is one of the top chances in one of the marquee races on the Australian calendar.

It re-enforces what North has long believed, that the marketplace and the racetrack are two completely different worlds.

"We didn’t have Bullet Train that long, but you've got to be realistic about the Australian market," North told TDN AusNZ.

"It was apparent that the Australian market doesn't want to embrace those sort of horses. They want get-up-and-go early fast 2-year-old and we took a punt thinking there might be a place in the marketplace to breed classic horses."

"We didn’t have Bullet Train that long, but you've got to be realistic about the Australian market." - John North

"We seem to look to overseas or go to New Zealand to find those type of horses. We thought there might have been a spot in the marketplace for them but there wasn't."

North said while a dearth of staying races in country and provincial racing was part of the issue, one of the significant roadblocks he encountered with the progeny of Bullet Train was getting them in front of the buyers in the first place.

Helen and John North

"The selling agents didn't think they were good enough to get into the select sale and that's another reason we stopped with Bullet Train. We were struggling to get the nice ones into the sales," he said.

"You can’t be arrogant enough to say you are going to produce an article that the market should buy, you have to produce an article that the market wants. It’s not our choice, but the marketplace that has all the say. And that's what gets in the sales."

"We were struggling to get the nice ones into the sales." - John North

Chapada is a great example of the issues North speaks of. He describes him as 'a plain, unimpressive, middle of the range yearling' when he went through the 2017 Inglis Classic Sale, but with a classic pedigree.

"Paul Moroney spotted something in him and he was bred on a good cross. It’s a Juddmonte cross, they stood Frankel (GB) and they bred Bullet Train and they also stood Oasis Dream (GB), who the mare Diamantina Dior is out of. I went with that cross because I considered that it might be significant to breed a Classic horse," he said.

"He's got a good strong European family behind him. And the idea is he would be a Classic horse."

Chapada as a yearling

Moroney's brother Michael has allowed him to fulfil that potential and having run third in the G1 Victoria Derby, he has brought him back through his autumn campaign, with the highlight to date an unlucky third behind The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice) in the G1 Rosehill Guineas.

He looks the ideal Australian Derby prospect.

His full sister, to be offered at this month's Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale as Lot 231, is another example of the difficulty of marketing the progeny of a staying sire. She is one of 12 of his penultimate Australian crop at that sale.

"She's a very similar horse to him, Plain, unassuming, nothing flash about her but nothing wrong with her," he said.

Chapada at Rosehill

Easter draft signals a change of tack

Chastened by the experience with Bullet Train, North said Bowness has changed strategy significantly over the past couple of years as is indicated by the make-up of its draft for the upcoming Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Bowness presents six horses in Sydney, four by in-vogue Widden Stud sire Zoustar and the other two by young sires Dissident and Vancouver.

"Most people are inspecting them and not putting a line through them at the moment." - John North

The Zoustar quartet, two colts and two fillies, have already been popular in the yearling parades.

"Most people are inspecting them and not putting a line through them at the moment, so they are all very popular," North said.

North said the standout of a very even quartet is Lot 240, the filly out of Saggiatore (Galileo {Ire}) from the family of Export Gold (Export Price {Fr}), Follow Gold (Export Price {Fr}) and her Group 1 winning daughter Driefontein (Fastnet Rock).

Lot 240 Zoustar x Saggiatore

The other Zoustar filly, Lot 196 out of Profit's Rock (Zabeel {NZ}) is also likely to impress, while North holds the colts, Lot 98 and Lot 283 in high regard.

Lot 89 is 'a big, strong powerful chestnut colt' out of imported mare American stakes-winner Les Ry Leigh (USA) (Broken Vow {USA}), while Lot 283 is from Spinner's Magic (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}), who won five of her first six starts for John Hawkes.

North said the filly by Vancouver, the half-sister to stakes-winner Jennifer Lynn (High Chaparral {Ire}), looks another to appeal strongly.

"The Espurante (Flying Spur) filly is a particularly nice filly. She's by Vancouver. She's as nice as you’d want. She's a 24th of October foal, but she's got a lot of presence and athleticism about her. She's got completely clean x-rays. There are no chinks in the armour at all," he said.

Lot 202, a Dissident filly out of Pure Intentions (Cape Cross {Ire}), is the final member of what he says is a good, strong, even draft.

Trio of Day 1 hopes for Bowness

With the sale to kick off next Tuesday at the Riverside Complex, Bowness could be coming off a huge weekend.

Not only did Bowness breed Chapada, but Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) was born and raised on the farm and is well-fancied to make it back-to-back wins in the G1 Aquis TJ Smith S.

Resident stallion Bon Hoffa could be also in for a big day with his rising star Noble Boy favourite in the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final.