The sound of champagne corks popping at Waikato Stud aren’t uncommon and the breeding powerhouse had further cause for lively celebrations this weekend.
The home-bred Hashalo turned her fortunes around when triumphant in the G1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park on Saturday to give the New Zealand farm’s Savabeel a memorable double following his son Embellish’s win in the G1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) the previous Saturday.
Savabeel had already climbed 32 places in the world sires' rankings largely on the back of Embellish's win. Expect another significant climb when the weekly rankings update is out later this week.
Chittick had even more cause to celebrate this weekend - just 20 minutes after Hashalo's victory, another graduate of the nursery struck when Ocean Emperor triumphed in the G2 Gartshore Tauranga Stakes (1600m).
“Winning these Group 1s and drinking all this champagne is going to turn me into an alcoholic!” Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick said. “It’s just fantastic and then Ocean Emperor wins the Group 2, I can’t believe it.”
Hasahalo is a daughter of the Encosta De Lago mare Halloween, who was a cheap May Sale purchase at Karaka at the insistence of Group 1-winning Australian trainer John O’Shea.
“We bought her for $6000, at John’s insistence, and she had a foot like a cow to be honest,” Chittick said.
Hasahalo was subsequently bred by the stud with O’Shea’s wife Isabel and sold at Karaka last year for $110,000 to Albert Bosma’s Go Racing syndication company.
“She was a nice, athletic type of filly and it’s a great result for Albert and the team,” Chittick said. “We’ve had a wonderful association for a long time and it’s great to see them get this success.”
Ocean Emperor is a son of Zabeel and the Pins mare Tootsie, who won seven races, including the G3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m).
“Gary Hennessy has done an unbelievable job with this horse,” Chittick said. “He’s been so patient and he’s always rated him so highly. Good on him, off the back of [Waikato stallion] Ocean Park they bought this horse for $450,000 from us. They deserve it, he’s won a really nice race and it’s still early days. The horse hasn’t had much racing.”
Waikato Stud was originally owned by American Nelson Bunker Hunt. It was bought by Chittick's parents in 1993 and is renowned as one of the Southern Hemisphere's leading producers of top-quality racehorses.