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Succeeding Snitzel

10 min read
Four-time Champion Sire Snitzel has a number of exciting sire-sons on the rise, most notably Victorian sensation Shamus Award, who is having a dream run into the upcoming breeding season.

Cover image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

For the last four seasons, about this time by the calendar year, it became obvious that Snitzel would be Champion Australian Sire by earnings. Arrowfield’s perennial stallion has held the title since 2017, one of only six stallions in Australia’s history to win consecutive titles of four or more.

The others are Danehill (USA), who won six in succession and nine in total, and Star Kingdom (Ire) with five overall. Delville Wood (GB) claimed five Champion Sire titles in a row through the 1950s, succeeding Heroic in the 1930s with seven and Valais (GB) through the 1920s with five.

It’s esteemed company, but hardly surprising for Snitzel who is also the only three-time Champion 2-Year-Old Sire of Australia in the last 20 years. He has also twice been Champion 3-Year-Old Sire.

This season, he sits behind Written Tycoon, Not A Single Doubt and I Am Invincible on the General Sires' table by earnings in fourth, with almost $12.5 million banked from 186 winners to date.

Snitzel | Standing at Arrowfield Stud

Hot Snitzels

Jon Freyer is the Bloodstock Manager at Arrowfield Stud, and said Snitzel has been a field of dreams since entering stallion duties in 2006.

“We’re very grateful to have him here at the farm,” Freyer said. “He’s been a magnificent stallion. We bought a controlling interest in him while he was still racing, and he won the G1 Oakleigh Plate for the new partnership before heading to stud.”

“He’s (Snitzel) been a magnificent stallion. We bought a controlling interest in him while he was still racing, and he won the G1 Oakleigh Plate for the new partnership before heading to stud.” - Jon Freyer

Going back to 2004, Snitzel was a Magic Millions yearling for Yarraman Park, selling to trainer Gerald Ryan for $260,000. He was the second foal for broodmare Snippets’ Lass (Snippets), making him an eventual half-brother to the late sire Hinchinbrook.

The colt raced for Ryan through 15 starts for seven wins, among them the G1 Oakleigh Plate, G2 Challenge S., G3 Skyline S. and Listed Breeders’ Plate. Overall, he was a six-time stakes winner.

Snitzel finished among the top three in 11 of his 15 races, running into Takeover Target (Celtic Swing {GB}), Stratum and even Written Tycoon consistently.

Snitzel when racing in 2005 | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

“He was a brilliant sprinter, a world-class sprinter,” Freyer said. “He went to stud at $33,000 to begin with, and he was well-received from the get-go.”

Snitzel stood his first three seasons at Arrowfield for $33,000 (inc GST), and it’s worth recalling that he dropped in fee for the following three thereafter.

“As with most of these horses, the breeders drop off after the second and third seasons,” Freyer said. “It was Arrowfield’s support in those years, as I recall, that kept Snitzel’s numbers up and, out of those, we bred a hell of a lot of stakes winners, which were the foundation for his stud career.”

“It was Arrowfield’s support in those years, as I recall, that kept Snitzel’s numbers up and, out of those, we bred a hell of a lot of stakes winners, which were the foundation for his stud career.” - Jon Freyer

By 2015, Snitzel was standing for $88,000 (inc GST). The following season, it was $110,000 (inc GST). By 2019, the stallion was asking for $220,000 (inc GST), which reflected a dazzling list of racehorses to his name.

They included Away Game, winner of the $2 million R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic, along with the G2 Percy Sykes S. and G3 Widden S. There was Chance Bye, winner of the G2 Silver Slipper S., and two-time The Everest winner Redzel.

Estijaab won the G1 Golden Slipper and G2 Reisling S., and the list went on and on. There was seven-time stakes winner Hot Snitzel, five-time stakes winner I Am Excited, along with Menari, Sizzling, Snitzerland, Sweet Idea and Wandjina.

And, ultimately, attention swung to Snitzel’s sire sons, in particular stakes winners Shamus Award, Trapeze Artist, Russian Revolution and the stallion’s only son at Arrowfield, Showtime.

Sons rise

Right now, there are 22 sons of Snitzel at stud in Australia.

They are headed by Widden Stud’s Trapeze Artist, who will stand for $66,000 (inc GST) this upcoming season, his third at stud, and Newgate’s Russian Revolution, who will command $44,000 (inc GST) ahead of his first crop hitting racetracks this spring.

Sooboog stands at Kitchwin Hills, and his debut crop is standing tall among an exceptional first-season sire peer group, siring nine winners to date, while Odyssey Moon has had a promising start for Olly Tait at Twin Hills Stud.

Aquis Farm has had Invader's first yearlings sell to strong interest, and Jukebox is also standing alongside him, while the speedy Menari is on limited books at Newgate.

However, in the last few weeks, all the noise has been about Rosemont Stud’s Shamus Award, the G1 Cox Plate-winning son of Snitzel who entered stud in 2014. Initially standing at Widden for his first five seasons, Shamus Award relocated to Victoria’s Rosemont operation for 2019, and will command $33,000 (inc GST) a cover this season.

Shamus Award | Standing at Rosemont Stud

“We pay a lot of attention to Snitzel’s sire sons, and it’s obviously very important for us,” Freyer said. “The Danehill line is one that has bred-on really well, in particular through Redoute’s Choice and now probably through Snitzel. Shamus Award is doing a remarkable job, and his statistics are terrific.”

Freyer said the Victorian stallion would get improved numbers and better mares off the back of recent results. Shamus Award got G1 Queensland Oaks winner Duais last weekend, and has had fellow Group 1 winners Mr Quickie (Queensland Derby and Toorak H.) and Media Award (SAJC Australasian Oaks).

Overall, the stallion has had 14 stakes winners from four crops of racing age, and 21 stakes wins collectively. Duais’ victory last weekend was Group 1 win number three for the stallion this season alone, a statistic equalled only by Written Tycoon, I Am Invincible, Snitzel, Fastnet Rock and Zoustar. It’s elite company.

"They (the Shamus Awards) are very versatile. They can sprint, they can stay, and he’s had two Oaks winners this year. That’s a great credit to him.” - Jon Freyer

“They’re not 2-year-olds,” Freyer said, “but they are very versatile. They can sprint, they can stay, and he’s had two Oaks winners this year. That’s a great credit to him.”

Shamus Award also sired the winner of the first race at Eagle Farm last Saturday, 4-year-old Incentivise. The gelding, trained at Toowoomba by Steve Tregea, has won his last four races on the trot.

Duais became Shamus Award's third Group 1 winner this season when winning the Queensland Oaks | Image courtesy of Michael McInally

Victorian scoop

By all accounts, Shamus Award is heavily credentialled.

As a racehorse, he won the G1 Cox Plate and G1 Australian Guineas, and was on the podium in 10 of his 14 starts. He is Victoria’s current leading sire by individual stakes winners, and also heads the table on individual 3-year-old stakes winners.

His fee, which had slid from a debut $27,500 (inc GST) to $11,000 (inc GST) by 2018, has climbed to $33,000 for the upcoming season, and he has been well-backed at Rosemont Stud. In 2019, the stallion covered 149 mares, and last year that figure popped to 177.

“Shamus Award is definitely a top 10 stallion in the making,” Freyer said.

At Rosemont, Bloodstock General Manager Ryan McEvoy agrees with that.

“What excites us is his versatility,” McEvoy said. “His oldest horses are only five, and he’s had stakes winners this season from 1100 metres to 2400 metres. He can get a speed horse like Swats That, Group 1-winning milers like Mr Quickie, and a couple of Oaks winners in the last few weeks. Versatility is everything in this game, and he’s displaying that in spades.”

"Versatility is everything in this game, and he’s (Shamus Award) displaying that in spades." - Ryan McEvoy

McEvoy said Shamus Award was an enormous scoop for Victorian breeding. He is expecting the horse to cover a book of about 200 this spring, and added that even he was surprised at the number of Hunter Valley mares booked to traipse south.

Ryan McEvoy | Image courtesy of Inglis

“We’re probably led to believe that an elite stallion has to be in the Hunter Valley, but that’s simply a myth,” McEvoy said. “I’ve made no secret of how confident and bullish I am of the future of the Victorian industry, and I think horses like Shamus are going to take the state to the next level.”

Shamus Award served his best book of mares last season and, with such dazzling track results in the shadow of the spring, it bodes well that he’ll get an even better book this year.

“Statistically, this really is a stallion that needs to be respected,” McEvoy said. “Right now, when you look at his numbers, he’s going like a stallion that’s getting $60,000 or $70,000. There are some stallions standing in the Hunter that are getting double, if not more, than this horse’s service fee and that don’t have anywhere near the statistics Shamus Award is producing.

"He’s great value right now, and we expect his service fee to go up. I think $33,000 is as good a value as you’ll find anywhere in the country, and I don’t say that lightly.”

New kids on the block

At Widden, Trapeze Artist is still relatively new. He began duties in 2019 at $88,000 (inc GST), covering 180 mares in his debut season, and will stand this season at $66,000 (inc GST).

“Trapeze Artist was a fabulous horse,” Jon Freyer said. “He was a very good 2-year-old, and an outstanding 3-year-old, and he’s a horse that I think could be a potential leading sire.”

Russian Revolution, meanwhile, entered Newgate Farm in 2018, and his first yearlings were warmly welcomed on the sales circuit this season. Fourteen were sold at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale for a top price of $320,000, and 28 at Magic Millions in January for a top price of $425,000.

At Arrowfield, Snitzel is rising 19-years-old. Freyer said the stallion looks half his age, and hopes the horse feels as such too. In the last handful of years, Snitzel’s book has been managed, with give-or-take 150 mares, but as evergreen as the stallion is looking, the logical hunt for his successor is ongoing.

Showtime remains the only son of Snitzel at Arrowfield, and he retired to the farm in 2019. The horse won the G2 Bill Stutt S. at Moonee Valley in 2017, and the G2 PB Lawrence S. in 2018, and stands at an unchanged fee this season of $11,000 (inc GST).

“He’s in a price bracket that Not A Single Doubt started in,” Freyer said. “He’s probably not getting the outstanding calibre of mare that a horse like The Autumn Sun has, but he’s a magnificent individual, and he’s got a fantastic pedigree. He was a neck off winning a Group 1, and he’s got a great chance.”

Arrowfield also has 2-year-old Remarque coming through. The colt is with the Hawkes team at Rosehill, and was a debut winner in January before a fifth-placed effort behind Anamoe (Street Boss {USA}) in the G2 Todman S.

“Remarque is a full brother to Estijaab, who was a Slipper colt, and we hold great hopes for him in the spring,” Freyer said. “He’s just come back into work as of this week, and he’ll be up and going with a view to the Golden Rose and the Coolmore. He’s a magnificent horse and one that, in the fullness of time, will probably be standing here at stud.”

Arrowfield Stud
sire sons
Shamus Award
Jon Freyer
Ryan McEvoy
Rosemont Stud