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Vinery snaps up Ole Kirk

7 min read
Vinery Stud has won the race to secure the breeding future of dual Group 1-winning colt Ole Kirk (Written Tycoon).

Vinery immediately joins the existing ownership group of the colt and will stand the son of Written Tycoon at its Hunter Valley farm once his racetrack career is completed.

"It is fantastic. We have been so excited about this horse and he is the hottest horse going around at the moment. He's ticked all the boxes in what we look for in a horse. It’s great for our momentum, our young horses are going so well, and so to pick up Ole Kirk is a big deal for us," Vinery Stud’s General Manager, Peter Orton, told TDN AusNZ.

"He's all the things we look for in a stallion. He is a good-looking horse, he was a very good 2-year-old and he's come out as an early 3-year-old and knocked off two of the hottest races you would want to be winning," he said.

"He is a good-looking horse, he was a very good 2-year-old and he's come out as an early 3-year-old and knocked off two of the hottest races you would want to be winning." - Peter Orton

The stud future of the winner of this year's G1 Golden Rose S. and G1 Caulfield Guineas has been hotly contested, with Vinery seeing off a host of rivals to win his signature.

"There was a lot of people on the horse for obvious reasons and you are dealing with a syndicate of people and so you have to run a process so it’s fair for everybody. It was a long process and I am glad it came out the way it did," Orton said.

Ole Kirk is one of the most anticipated stallion prospects of his generation, not only for his racetrack performance, but also on type and on pedigree, being by the increasingly influential Written Tycoon out of Naturale, a sister of unbeaten superstar Black Caviar (Bel Esprit). He will stand alongside his close relative All Too Hard, a half-brother to his dam. His pedigree also offers a vital outcross to the plethora of Danehill (USA)-line mares in Australasia.

"He's got an outstanding pedigree, and you probably have to add another 25 per cent on him being an outcross, which is so valuable to our market at the moment," Orton said.

Ole Kirk after winning the G1 Caulfield Guineas

Bred at Gilgai Farm, just like his illustrious relatives, Ole Kirk was a $675,000 purchase at the 2019 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale for Mark Player's International Thoroughbred Solutions on behalf of Neil Werrett.

Jamieson retained an ownership interest in the colt after he was sold as a yearling and is delighted to have now helped secure his breeding future.

“As breeder and part owner of our most exciting horse Ole Kirk, I am thrilled to have Vinery come in as a partner in the colt," Jamieson said.

“Ole Kirk has the genetic potential and the elite racetrack performance to play a major role in the ongoing development of the Australian thoroughbred industry. He is from one of the most successful pedigrees in the Australian Stud Book, descending back to the blue hen mares Scandinavia and Helsinge. His sire-line traces back through to Last Tycoon and Try My Best, making him a great genetic match for mares carrying Danehill in their pedigree."

"He is from one of the most successful pedigrees in the Australian Stud Book, descending back to the blue hen mares Scandinavia and Helsinge." - Rick Jamieson

Jamieson said the interest in the colt's stud future had been strong but he felt that Vinery was the best place for him to launch his breeding career when the time comes.

"We had great interest from a number of studs for him but after many detailed discussions we settled on Vinery, as their team 'headed by Peter' were very keen to land him for stud duties and made a compelling proposal," he said.

"With the support of all current owners as well as that of Vinery and their loyal clients he will be supported with a great lineup of mares when he begins his stud career. Personally, I believe we have been fortunate and put our foot on a future great speed stallion and can’t wait for him to begin the next phase of his exciting career.”

Orton said that the support of shareholders like Jamieson will be crucial in Ole Kirk's prosperity in the breeding barn, while Vinery would look to offer further shares to involve breeders which can broaden the base of mares he can serve.

"The colt has the benefit of a strong shareholder group involved in his racing, and they are strongly committed to his future at stud. We have the added advantage of having his elite breeder Rick Jamieson involved in identifying mares to suit the horse and breeding a good number of his own mares to Ole Kirk ensuring he has every opportunity to succeed at stud,” he said.

Ole Kirk is currently spelling and will return to the care of John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes for an autumn campaign. The Hawkes' are renowned as stallion-making trainers and have so far planned his racing career carefully, executing his development from a stakes-winning 2-year-old to now a multiple Group 1-winning 3-year-old.

Like All Too Hard, Ole Kirk debuted with a win in the Listed Talindert S. before finishing third in the G2 VRC Sires' Produce. He then finished fourth in the G1 Inglis Sires' Produce at Randwick and third in the G1 Champagne S., concluding his 2-year-old campaign.

After a pair of seconds to open his 3-year-old campaign in the Listed Rosebud and G3 Run To The Rose, he exploded late to win the G1 Golden Rose last month. He then followed that up by comfortably winning the G1 Caulfield Guineas, becoming just the second horse to win both 3-year-old features at Group 1 level.

Exceeding expectations

The announcement Ole Kirk will stand at the iconic Hunter Valley stud is a significant boost and comes off the back of last year's G1 Coolmore Stud S. winner Exceedance beginning his stallion career at Vinery in 2020.

The farm has a host of young stallions, with Headwater and Press Statement's oldest progeny having just turned three and Star Turn having his first runners to the track this season.

"This industry does come in ebbs and flows and you have to be patient and keep doing the right thing. Things have gone our way over the past 12 months," Orton said.

"It’s great to get a horse of this calibre and it’s great to win the battle. It’s also good for the owners involved in the farm and it’s great for the staff. It gives them a real injection of energy, it’s good, positive stuff. This game is all about momentum and this just adds to that."

Exceedance | Standing at Vinery Stud - image courtesy of Joan Faras

Meanwhile, Vinery confirmed on Thursday that Exceedance's first-season book has been opened up further after a successful start to his time in the stallion barn, with over 50 mares scanned in foal with positives already.

“Exceedance is a super horse and has let down into a beast,” Orton said. “After floating up from Sydney, he settled in straightaway and has exceeded our expectations in the barn.

“We always take the precaution with first-year horses of initially capping their numbers to see how they manage the workload. But Exceedance is covering like an old hand two months into the season and that’s allowed us to open up his book for a few lucky additions.

“Exceedance has enormous potential at stud. He was an explosive sprinter, with an unbelievable turn of foot and what he achieved in just nine starts was amazing. His sire Exceed And Excel is a terrific source of early speed and the bottom line has great depth to back it up.”