More to come from Johnson's import after dominant Doomben Cup win

6 min read
As bloodstock agent William Johnson watched the field parade in preparation for Saturday's G1 Doomben Cup, his confidence grew. The horse he played such a strong role in securing for the Snowden stable - the imported Huetor (Fr) (Archipenko {USA}) - was really looking the goods.

Cover image courtesy of Michael McInally

Delighted with the way in which the 5-year-old had progressed from his first two runs this time in, William Johnson of William Johnson Bloodstock (FBAA) was of course wary of the odds-on favourite Zaaki (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}) but he could not have been happier with the way in which Huetor was presented.

"He was a picture of health - his coat was gleaming, I really thought he was one of the picks of the yard."

Living up to his looks, Huetor recorded the sixth win (in doing so firming into favouritism for The G2 Q22) of his 15-start career - his first at Group 1 level, in fact his first at stakes level having only once before contested a black-type race.

Huetor (Fr), winner of the G1 Doomben Cup at Eagle Farm | Image courtesy of Michael McInally

Kicking off his career from the Chantilly stables of Carlos Laffon-Parias, Huetor was in the market but safely held at his Saint-Cloud debut in November 2019. Given plenty of time, he was an improver next time in at his third start stylishly breaking his maiden at Longchamp.

Adding another Longchamp victory to his resume seven months later, Huetor was on the radar for Johnson who had approached the Snowden stable offering to source horses for them 'both domestically and internationally'.

Huetor's next run at Chantilly did not at first inspire confidence but he did not have the best of luck and time would tell a story in regards to formlines - the race in which he finished ninth won by Hopeful (Fr) (Motivator {GB}) who won last weekend's Listed Lord Mayor's Cup at Rosehill.

William Johnson | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

Spot on for Aus

Working with Snowdens' Racing and Bloodstock Manager Colum McCullagh and Meridian International's Ghislain Bozo, Johnson was confident that Huetor ticked all the boxes as a nice prospect for Australia.

"He matched our criteria well, he had what we thought would work here. His Timeform rating was 96 which got him into benchmark races, enabling him to come to Australia and work his way through the classes which is great fun for his connections.

"It is easy to find those horses with the proven stakes form," he noted. "But they are expensive and I think it is great to find those improving types."

"He (Huetor) matched our criteria well, he had what we thought would work here (in Australia)." - William Johnson

Which Huetor has certainly proven to be, and one who acclimatised quickly; having his final French run in early June last year. He then flew to Australia and served his quarantine period in Melbourne from where he was pre-trained before heading to NSW where he saluted first-up at nice odds at Newcastle in November then winning his next two at Rosehill and Randwick.

So that's six Australian runs for four wins. And connections hope that there is more to come.

As does Johnson who said that the Doomben Cup win was, "So pleasing for the stable and the owners. And to beat a horse of Zaaki's calibre is such a thrill.

"It was a nice way to cap off an enjoyable couple of weeks up here," he noted, enjoying the celebrations (when TDN AusNZ spoke with him he was heading out to dinner with the trophy in tow) that came on the back of a busy time inspecting weanlings and broodmares at the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Sale.

Strong pedigrees

Johnson boasts a great racing pedigree, the family from which he hails being inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. His great, great-grandfather being William Samuel Cox who in 1883 thought that some land in Moonee Ponds would be a good spot for a racetrack. Meanwhile his great-grandfather Walter bred Vain whilst his father Tim owned and ran Ealing Park.

Speaking of good families, Huetor is also from one of them.

A half-brother to the G1 Prix de l'Opera winner Villa Marina (GB) (Le Havre {Ire}), he is out of the triple Listed winner Briviesca (GB) (Peintre Celebre {USA}) who was purchased by Huetor's trainer and breeder Carlos Laffon-Parias for just 10,000gns (AU$18,500).

Connections of Huetor (Fr) after winning the G1 Doomben Cup at Eagle Farm | Image courtesy of Michael McInally

Her lightly raced dam Kimono (Ire) (Machiavellian {USA}) was bred by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who purchased her dam Kilinski (GB) (Niniski {USA}) in utero from clients of Lanwades Stud.

That G3 Lingfield Oaks Trial winner did a good job at stud with her four winners including the German Listed winner Kiswahili (GB) (Selkirk {USA}) but after her initial stint with the Sheikh she had her issues and as luck would have it for Lanwades Stud's Kirsten Rausing, she was able to buy back into one of her favourite families.

Out of Kilinski she bred the two-time winner Robe Chinoise (GB) (Robellino {USA}) and out of that mare one her favourites, the G1 Ascot Champions Fillies and Mares' S. winner Madame Chiang (GB) (Archipenko {USA}) - in turn dam of the Listed winner Oriental Mystique (GB) (Kingman {GB}).

Kristen Rausing | Image courtesy of Lanwades Stud

And whilst Huetor was not bred by Rausing, she is delighted by the many connections - his late sire Archipenko (USA) (Kingmambo {USA}) being a member of the Lanwades roster prior to his premature death in 2017, and his family is very Lanwades nurtured.

Rausing had a great soft spot for Archipenko, the high-class globe-trotter who was seen at his best winning the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin, saddened to lose him to something rarely seen in horses; leukemia.

"It happened so quickly, in just a matter of weeks he was gone - it was a terrible loss," she recalled. "He was such a tough, game horse, qualities he passed on to his progeny."

"He (Archipenko) was such a tough, game horse, qualities he passed on to his progeny." - Kristen Rausing

Rausing is very much a pedigree enthusiast and a particular fan of the great mare Special (USA) (Forli {Arg}) to whom both Madame Chiang and Huetor are line-bred. The grandam of Archipenko is also Huetor's fifth dam and the same branch of this internationally prolific family produced the Lanwades-bred full brothers Time Warp (GB) and Glorious Forever (GB), Archipenko's G1 Hong Kong International Cup winners.

Archipenko was chosen to stand at Lanwades specifically because of the Special influence, Rausing noted that, "I had been line-breeding to her for years so I had a lovely group of mares who already had Special crosses ready to go to him. And I am very fortunate that I was able to hold on to a number of mares by Archipenko."

And so from her kitchen, logging onto Twitter to catch an early morning replay of the Doomben Cup, Rausing was excited to see the son of Archipenko win.

Though Huetor was not the main reason she was tuning in - Rausing is also the very proud breeder of the race's favourite and third-placed Zaaki with his sire Leroidesanimaux (Brz) a Lanwades resident.

William Johnson
G1 Doomben Cup
Lanwades Stud
Kirsten Rausing