Mare presents a breeding conundrum

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Selecting a stallion worthy of the quality of Shoals (Fastnet Rock) isn’t as straight forward as it may first appear.

The beautifully-related 4-year-old was unplaced in the G1 TJ Smith S. at Randwick and, after pulling up the worse for wear, has been retired by Arrowfield Stud and Pinecliff Racing.

A three-time Group 1 winner from Anthony Freedman’s stable, Shoals is out of Redoute’s Choice’s half-sister The Broken Shore (Hussonet {USA}) and with that pedigree in mind, the selection of a quality consort is a tricky one to make.


When asked by TDN AusNZ on possible breeding options, Arrowfield principal John Messara acknowledged the mating challenge a mare of her quality and pedigree presents. He also stressed he had yet to have a discussion with Pinecliff’s Jonathan Munz about Shoals’ future.

“It’s not going to be easy," John Messara said.

“There was a possibility that we could send her to Deep Impact as we have done with other high-class mares. He’s currently out of service so that’s not possible. "

Deep Impact (Jpn) has suffered from neck pain this Northern Hemisphere season, resulting in a small crop of 20 mares in foal.

“The initial choice was for a world class, proven stallion, like Deep Impact. Other than that, I will consult with my partner.”

Messara hinted he might have a possible alternative on his doorstep with Arrowfield’s rising stallion star Dundeel (NZ), who has made such an impression in such a short space of time.

The six-time Group 1 winner’s oldest crop are 3-year-olds and he has already produced top-flight winners in two countries.

Arrowfield principal John Messara at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale this week (Image courtesy of SDP Media)

In New Zealand, Yourdeel (NZ) completed this season’s Group 1 2-year-old double of the Sistema S. and the Manawatu Sires’ Produce S. while in South Africa Atyaab won the Kenilworth Cape Derby.

Dundeel has sired 30 individual winners from 66 starters and has a 10.6 per cent stakes winners to runners strike rate.

“He’s emerging out of the pack. He’s started off much better than any other horse we’ve had,” Messara said.

“There are sure to be others in contention. Shoals is a medium-sized mare, not big, but she is an elegant horse. We couldn’t send her to a small stallion.

“Shoals is a medium-sized mare, not big, but she is an elegant horse. We couldn’t send her to a small stallion.” – John Messara.

“Dundeel is the order of the day for me at the moment, but I stress again I have to talk to my partner before any decision is made.”

Dundeel has emerged out of the pack with a 10.6% stakes winners to runners strike rate

Bred by Messara and Munz, Shoals beat the older horses in the G1 Myer Classic to announce herself at the highest level and subsequently added the G1 Surround S. and the G1 Robert Sangster S. to her CV.

She also won the G2 Percy Sykes S. and the G3 Thoroughbred Breeders’ S. and finished runner-up in the G1 Thousand Guineas and the G1 Canterbury S.

“She was four out of five lame and both of her eyes were closed as a result of clods.” – John Messara.

Shoals finished eighth of 11 in Saturday’s G1 TJ Smith S., but had legitimate excuses for her out of character performance.

“She was four out of five lame and both of her eyes were closed as a result of clods,” Messara said. “She had pain in both heels, she was a sorry sight.”

Messara and Munz currently have Shoals’ 3-year-old sister Tides, who has raced once, and The Broken Shore is back in foal to Fastnet Rock.

Another brother, the unraced Groundswell made $2.3 million at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in 2018 while The Broken Shore’s Medaglia D’Oro {USA}) yearling colt has been privately syndicated.