While the momentum is building behind Cornerstone Stud's marquee stallion Sir Prancealot (Ire) ahead of his first Australian-crop hitting the weanling sales in the coming weeks, Cornerstone's Bloodstock and Nominations Manager Sam Pritchard-Gordon is well aware of the need to market the stallion successfully to potential buyers over the next 12 months.
Attracting buyers to a new stallion in a competitive first-season market containing the likes of Capitalist, American Pharoah (USA), Astern and Flying Artie won’t be easy.
But Cornerstone will send two Sir Prancealot weanlings to the Magic Millions National Sale later this month and as many as 12 to the Inglis Great Southern Sale in Melbourne in June in a bid to give the buying bench a taste of what the imported stallion can offer.
"We’ve got to try and educate the future yearling buyers as to what Sir Prancealot is." - Cornerstone's Sam Pritchard-Gordon
"We’ve got to try and educate the future yearling buyers as to what Sir Prancealot is. He's a Danehill-free stallion, so that should be appeal to breeders," Pritchard-Gordon told TDN AusNZ.
"Both his sire Tamayuz (GB) and his grand sire Nayef (USA) have had significant success with the cross with Danehill-line mares, Combined they have produced 14 stakes winners from 54 runners, which puts them up near 26 per cent."
"He's also precocious and upgrading his stock. We are going to try and promote that idea and by offering our best weanlings by him, particularly at the Great Southern Sale. That draft is a pretty determined play to make the market understand that one, they are quality, and two, they are very affordable."
The affordability aspect will be crucial to Sir Prancealot's success as it is a key point of difference. He stood for $16,500 (inc GST) in his first season and will stand for $14,300 (inc GST) in 2019.
"We are up against some very commercial stallions, but they won’t be as commercially attainable as the likes of Sir Prancealot." - Sam Pritchard-Gordon
"He is up against a very storing crop of first-season stallions who are presenting their first foals, Capitalist and the like, but the one thing is the Sir Prancealots are going to be affordable for the trainer looking to pinhook a weanling or for the pinhookers as well, because he was stood at a very attainable first-season fee."
"We are up against some very commercial stallions, but they won’t be as commercially attainable as the likes of Sir Prancealot."
Runs on the board
The other advantage that Sir Prancealot, who was the champion first-season sire in UK and Europe, has is that he has already had three racing crops in the northern hemisphere, with five stakeswinners already on the resume.
They include Beau Recall (Ire), who claimed her second G2 success in the Distaff Turf Mile on Saturday, the race after the Kentucky Derby on the turf at Churchill Downs.
"She did it quite well, if you have a look at the replay, she settles back of them last at Churchill Downs and basically gives them windburn. She swoops past them and everyone seems to be suggesting she's on a lucrative path over the course of the next six months," Pritchard-Gordon said.
"One thing I would say is that American turf racing shares a lot of characteristics to our racing over here. You got to have a position early, you have to be able to quicken off the turn and you have to be able to run slick sectionals home."
"Everyone seems to be suggesting she's on a lucrative path over the course of the next six months." - Sam Pritchard-Gordon
Lady Prancealot (Ire) almost became the stallion's fourth American stakes winner from just 12 runners when she was beaten into second in the G2 Senorita S. at Santa Anita on the same day.
"We have unwavering belief in the stallion which keeps getting re-affirmed with every second weekend in America when we start looking at the results," Pritchard-Gordon said.
"You can have the confidence that although he's a first-season sire. He's proven. He's got the score on the board."
Backing in its stallion
Despite opportunities to stand other stallions for 2019, Pritchard-Gordon said Cornerstone felt it was important for the South Australian stud to maintain the focus on its best credentialled offering, with continued support from Ambidexter, Zebedee (GB) and Valentia.
"We got offered a number of stallions across the course of the past few months and gave them due consideration. We kept coming back to Sir Prancealot is a stallion which based on what we’ve seen of his Australian foals and the results overseas, we believe in him," he said.
"We didn't want to detract from that by standing another stallion and from the possible lucrative return of going to Sir Prancealot this season."
"The resultant foals from going to him this year are going to be sold of the back of his 2-year old success, which we are all but assured is going to be there. We are confident this is the horse to be standing in Australia."
"We are confident this is the horse to be standing in Australia." - Sam Pritchard-Gordon
"Cornerstone's near future is very much reliant on Sir Prancelot, and I don't think you could be in the hands of a better credentialled stallion."
Zebedee, the son of Invincible Spirit (Ire), will stand at $9900 (inc GST) in 2019, while Valentia stands at $7700 (inc GST).
Ambidexter is the value play at $5500 (inc GST) this year having had 15 winners this season, including the stakes-placed Modulate as well as seven-time winner Amberdi, who was beaten just over a length when fourth in last Saturday's G3 DC McKay S. at Morphettville.
"Ambidexter has solidified himself as the ideal South Australian owner-breeder opportunity. You can breed a cheap horse to him and you see a winner every Wednesday and Saturday for him. He is really holding his own," Pritchard-Gordon said.
Eagle set to miss
Free Eagle (Ire) is unlikely to return to Cornerstone Stud in 2019, with the Irish National Stud keen to give him a rest from shuttling.
"Written into the initial contract was that they'd like to give him a break in his fourth year. I don’t believe he will come down now given they are going to give him that break.
"But he's a horse that we will bring down the following year and given how well this High Chaparral sireline is going, I’d expect we'd do that," Pritchard-Gordon said.