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In their sire's image Part 2: Impending & Russian Revolution

7 min read
In the second part of our series on stallions with their first crops available at next week's Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, we speak to two men who have known Impending and Russian Revolution since they were foals.

Cover image courtesy of Newgate Farm

The tendency to compare stallions and their early crops becomes particularly strong when the market first get to assess their progeny 'en masse' in the yearling sales ring. That will be the case ahead of next week's Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, with 24 stallions represented for the first time.

Being dual Group 1 winners by Champion sires Lonhro and Snitzel respectively, Impending and Russian Revolution were always going to create plenty of interest in their respective breeding careers at Darley and Newgate. Both covered large books in their debut season: 173 mares visited Impending, and 216 were served by Russian Revolution.

The stamp they have each left on their stock is set to be at the centre of discussion on the Gold Coast where Impending has seven yearlings for sale and Russian Revolution has 35 catalogued.

It is just six years since Russian Revolution went through a sales ring himself at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, fetching $320,000 to China Horse Club from the draft of Vinery Stud.

Impending, being a Godolphin homebred, from one of the global powerhouse's best Australian families, never saw the sales ring, but one person who remembers him well as a yearling is Godolphin Australia's Racing and Bloodstock Manager, Jason Walsh.

Impending | Standing at Darley

"He was always a very handsome colt. He has always had a lot of quality about him. I graded him an A-minus when he left the farm," Walsh told TDN AusNZ.

"He was a colt that we all had high aspirations for, not only physically how he developed through to being a yearling, but obviously being by Lonhro out of Mnemosyne, he was a very exciting prospect on paper as well."

"He was always a very handsome colt. He has always had a lot of quality about him. I graded him an A-minus when he left the farm." - Jason Walsh

That pedigree made him an ideal stallion prospect should he be able to show his talent in the racetrack. Mnemosyne (Encosta De Lago), a $400,000 yearling purchase by the Inghams back in 2003, won both the G1 Thousand Guineas and G1 Queen of the Turf. She has produced two other stakes winners in Forget (Exceed And Excel) and Epidemic (Lonhro) for Godolphin, as well as the stakes-placed Memorial (Street Cry {Ire}).

Another of her progeny, Erato (Street Cry {Ire}), would subsequently go on to produce a G1 Blue Diamond S. winner in Lyre (Lonhro), a three-quarter sister to Impending.

Mnemosyne returning to scale after winning the G1 Queen of the Turf S.

Impending proved the best of Mnemonsyne's progeny on the track. He was a winner and stakes-placed as a 2-year-old, won the G2 Stand Fox S., as a spring 3-year-old and then claimed the G1 Stradbroke H. later that season. Placed twice more in Group 1 sprints, he won a G1 Kingsford Smith Cup at his penultimate start as a 4-year-old.

"He didn’t see a racetrack until a bit later. He was quite ready for it physically, but he just had a few niggling issues," Walsh said.

"We were always very patient with him. As a colt, he was mid-size, very handsome, and a sharp-forward looking horse. She (Mnemosyne) has thrown us a bit of everything, she has had some very fine fillies and some bigger, plainer colts than Impending. He'd have as much quality as any of her progeny."

Racetrack reputation backed up at stud

With that reputation, it is understandable that Godolphin was keen to see what he might produce as a stallion at Darley, and he hasn't disappointed.

"Two of our most exciting yearling prospects for this year are by Impending. One is out of Guelph, a colt who is outstanding, and we have a filly in Victoria out of stakes winner Kinsarchi, who is also one of the top-class fillies," he said.

"We had some positive reports from clients that have used the horse as well. Certainly our experience on the Godolphin farms gives us much reason for encouragement."

Impending at Darley

Seven of Impending's progeny go through the ring on the Gold Coast, five fillies and two colts, and Walsh's expectation is that his first crop will be well found by the market across the sales season.

"We've seen a fair few of the ones around the Hunter Valley leading into the Magic Millions Sale. They just look strong, forward and straightforward horses, which is very much what he was," he said.

How to start a Revolution

Brian Backshall bred Russian Revolution through his Queensland-based John Stuart Investments and remembers the son of Snitzel going through Vinery Stud's draft at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale of 2015 as very much the 'ready-to-go' article.

"He was always very good from Day 1. Never had any faults. He went into the Sale pretty much perfect, as far as x-rays and the like go," he said.

"Vinery had a good opinion of him as a horse. I had bought his dam, Ballet D'Amour, in America and bought her here. Until he came a long, we didn't know that she could produce that level of horse.

"The luckiest thing I ever did was to keep 10 per cent of him."

Russian Revolution as a yearling

Backshall's ongoing investment in the colt enabled him to track his development from a promising yearling to a top-notch 2-year-old talent, albeit one that Peter and Paul Snowden were keen to let develop.

"He went straight from the sales to Snowdens, where he was broken in. He was given a month's work and then out in the paddock as they tend to do. That does tend to bring them on pretty quick. Obviously he was precocious. As far as racing as a 2-year-old, it all worked well for him," he said.

"Obviously he was precocious. As far as racing as a 2-year-old, it all worked well for him." - Brian Backshall

Russian Revolution debuted with a win in a 2-year-old maiden at Canterbury in June and backed that up with a victory at Randwick a couple of weeks later. At his third start, he won the G3 Vain S. at Caulfield before defeating Group 1 winners Astern and Capitalist in the G2 Roman Consul S.

Having suffered his first defeat in the G1 Coolmore Stud S. he returned in the autumn to secure his Group 1 stamp with an impressive success against the older horses in the G1 The Galaxy. His second Group 1 win came the following year in the Oakleigh Plate in what would be the final start of his career.

Russian Revolution | Standing at Newgate Farm

Investing in the next generation

Backshall has maintained his investment in Russian Revolution through to his time as stallion at Newgate, sending several mares to him over his first few seasons.

He has a special interest in how his progeny will go in the sales environment at Magic Millions, with two yearlings he bred in the Vinery Stud draft.

Lot 340 is a filly out of the imported mare Gipsy Countess (Ire) (Sadler's Wells {USA}), who is a half-sister to US Grade 1 winner Toccet (USA) (Awesome Again {USA}). She has produced three winners from as many to the track.

Lot 568 is a colt out of Backshall's mare Moretti (More Than Ready {USA}), the half-sister to Group 1 winner Bentley Biscuit (Peintre Celebre {USA}) from the extended family of successful stallion Thorn Park.

He sees the Russian Revolution stamp on both horses.

"He looks to have thrown that precociousness in them. They are both what you would call very good types," Backshall said.

With that in mind, he very much has a vested interest in how the market receives Russian Revolution's progeny on the Gold Coast.

"I certainly hope he does well from my point of view. This game can be a bit fickle but having seen a lot of his yearlings, they seem to be very nice horses."

Russian Revolution
First Season