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Snitzel and son Shamus shining in spring

8 min read
While Snitzel occupies a familiar place at the top of the Australian General Sires' table early in the 2021/22 season, another Group 1 victory for the progeny of his son Shamus Award over the weekend has put the spotlight on his sire sons as well.

The search for an heir apparent for four-time Champion Sire Snitzel has been underway for some time, and to this point Shamus Award has been the one to fly the flag.

The former Widden Stud and now Rosemont Stud resident has a different profile to Snitzel in terms of the progeny he has produced, however, he is tracking along quite similarly in terms of numbers.

At the same point of his career in September 2013, with his fifth crop about to hit the track, Snitzel had 15 stakes winners, the identical amount as Shamus Award has produced to this point.

Snitzel did have more winners, 184 to 147, but Shamus Award has more Group 1 winners, with Incentivise his fourth after his win in Saturday's Makybe Diva S. At this point of his career, Snitzel had one Group 1 winner.

In fact, Shamus Award has produced more individual Group 1 winners - four - since the start of last season than any other Australian stallion, a measure of just how well he is tracking.

Not that success from the Snitzel sireline should be a surprise. Snitzel himself had a stakes double at the same Flemington card, thanks to Splintex, who led home a quinella for the sire in the G2 Bobbie Lewis Quality, and Mr Mozart (NZ), who won the Listed Exford Plate.

The Arrowfield Stud resident now has four stakes winners for the season, more than any other stallion, with three of them from what looks an extremely promising 3-year-old crop.

Snitzel, whose four-year reign as Australia's Champion Sire was brought to an end by Written Tycoon last season, is back on top for this season, with Australian progeny earnings of $1.85 million, driven by 21 winners.

While he has just begun his 16th season at stud, he seems far from ready to pass the torch just yet, but the next few seasons will provide plenty of competition for Shamus Award in the right to be crowned as his most successful sire son.

Shamus Award225147104$19,385,440

Table: Comparative stallion stats at same point of career

*September 13, 2013 for Snitzel v September 13 2021 for Shamus Award

Here come the Snitzels

There have been five sons of Snitzel who have already become producers of stakes winners: Shamus Award, Time For War (3), Wandjina (3), Spill The Beans (2) and Sizzling (1). Of his other sons with runners on the track, Kitchwin Hills' Sooboog looks the most likely to join that group, having produced 10 winners from his first crop to date

Two of Snitzel's high profile, Group 1-winning sons will have their first crops hit the track this year in Newgate's Russian Revolution and Aquis' Invader.

Russian Revolution's racing profile closely mirrors that of his sire, having won the same race as Snitzel did, the G1 Oakleigh Plate, as well as a G1 The Galaxy. His first crop were well-received at the 2021 yearling sales, selling up to $425,000, with an average of just over $150,000 across the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

There are six sons of Snitzel who will have first crop 2-year-olds this season, with the two mentioned above joined by Aquis' Jukebox, Newgate's Menari, Widden Victoria's Thronum and Riverbank's Boulder City.

The 2022/23 racing season will feature the first crops of a further seven sons of Snitzel. That list is highlighted by triple Group 1 winner and Widden Stud resident Trapeze Artist, while Arrowfield's immaculately bred Showtime will also be represented.

Last breeding season saw the first grandson of Snitzel, Soul Patch, at stud in Australia. Another grandson. Kingstar Farm's Time To Reign joins that group this year.

Trapeze ArtistWidden Stud$66,000
Russian RevolutionNewgate Farm$44,000
Shamus AwardRosemont Stud$33,000
InvaderAquis Farm Canungra$22,000
SooboogKitchwin Hills$13,200
Menari Newgate Farm$11,000
Showtime Arrowfield Stud$11,000
Time to Reign Kingstar Farm$9,900
Jukebox Aquis Farm Canungra$8,800
Sandbar Kooringal Stud$8,800
WandjinaLarneuk Stud$8,800
ThronumWidden Stud - Victoria$7,700
DracarysOakwood Farm$6,600
Odyssey MoonTwin Hills Stud$6,600
SizzlingRiverdene Stud$6,600
Bondi Lynward Park Stud$5,500
Boulder City Riverbank Agistment$5,500
Ducimus Rivercrest Park Stud$4,400
GoodfellaHopetoun Farm and Hazelwood Partnership$4,400
Stratosphere Grenville Stud$4,000
Brabinger Stewart Park$2,750
Salade Kingstar FarmPOA

Table: Snitzel's sire sons standing at stud in Australia

Making history

From the list above, it appears Snitzel's legacy is well protected, but they will be all chasing pacemaker Shamus Award for the right to be crowned his best son at stud.

On the track Shamus Award produced one of the more remarkable feats, becoming the first-ever maiden winner of the G1 Cox Plate, before going on to win the G1 Australian Guineas later in his 3-year-old season.

Shamus Award | Standing at Rosemont Stud

In the breeding barn, he is also bucking history, having battled commercially to find a footing in the Hunter Valley.

He served five seasons at Widden Stud, but in his fifth season, despite his fee being halved to $11,000 (inc GST), he secured a book of 84 mares, a marked drop to his average of 145 across his first four seasons.

By the end of the 2018 breeding season, his first crop had produced 19 winners, but no stakes winners, while the average price of his yearlings had halved from the first crop to the second. It was at that point that he was secured to stand in Victoria, joining Rosemont Stud for the 2019 season.

Ryan McEvoy is currently general manager, bloodstock, at Rosemont, but worked at Widden Stud when Shamus Award was there.

"What Shamus Award really highlights, and it’s a reminder to all of us, is that we can be a little premature with how we assess or evaluate a stallion," he said.

"What Shamus Award really highlights, and it’s a reminder to all of us, is that we can be a little premature with how we assess or evaluate a stallion." - Ryan McEvoy

"He was a horse whose first crop probably took a little longer as 2-year-olds to really hit their straps, and I suppose commercial breeders quickly turned their focus to other horses. No sooner had they done that, then Mr Quickie comes out as a Group 1 winner in that first crop."

Mr Versatile

Mr Quickie's G1 Queensland Derby win in 2019 came just a couple of months after Shamus Award had been announced as moving to Victoria. That horse, which was part-owned by Rosemont Stud, spoke to the versatility of Shamus Award as a stallion, something that has been borne out in his stats.

Gallery of Shamus Award's four group 1 winners

Five stakes winners have come from that first crop, who have just turned six, but he has also produced five stakes winners, including Incentivise, from his second crop, and five more from his third crop, including Group 1-winning fillies Media Award and Duais. He has also had stakes winners in every distance range from 1000 metres up to 2500 metres.

What also speaks to that versatility is the fact that his 15 stakes winners are out of mares by 13 different broodmare sires. The only two broodmare sires he has had dual success with is More Than Ready (USA) and Show A Heart.

"It's not that dissimilar to Snitzel in that he has had success with so many different sirelines," McEvoy said.

"It's not that dissimilar to Snitzel in that he (Shamus Award) has had success with so many different sirelines." - Ryan McEvoy

"We have always said the breeders that Shamus Award's best types are from mares that are carrying a bit of substance, a good deal of bone and a lot of that natural muscle and strength.

"That's the ideal mare to send to this horse and certainly that's the style of mare we are sending."

As a price of $33,000 (inc GST), Shamus Award will cover his biggest book of mares and what McEvoy says is by far his best-quality book.

McEvoy expects his book to be up close to the 200 mark, with a view to him being a stallion which still has a lot of blue sky in front of him.

Among the mares Rosemont is sending to him are Condesaar (Xaar {USA}), the dam of Group 1 winner Yankee Rose (All American), Faayza (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}), the half-sister to Group 1 winner Hiyaam (NZ) (High Chapparal {Ire}), Belle Danseuse (USA) (Forstry {USA}), who has already produced a Group 2 winner by Snitzel in Letzbeglam, and stakes-winning sprinter Miss Marx (Anabaa {USA}).

In terms of the stallion's success, McEvoy gives credit to Viv Oldfield and Shaun Buckley who owned and raced Shamus Award and have supported him at stud, but also to Rosemont principal Anthony Mithen for having the faith in the stallion to give him a fresh start.

While stepping outside the shadow of a Champion Sire is never easy, it is a comparison Rosemont isn't afraid to embrace.

"To compare them chronologically and see that he has had the same number of stakes winners as Snitzel at the same point, with more Group 1 winners, is extremely exciting," McEvoy said.

"We have made no secret of the fact that this horse is a real heir apparent, he is Snitzel's best son and the versatility of his progeny is something that has excited us."

Shamus Award
Ryan McEvoy
Rosemont Stud
Arrowfield Stud