TRC’s weekly industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Record earnings as Snitzel retains his title
Oceania: Arrowfield’s Snitzel has retained his title as Australia’s champion sire for a second year in a row.
The 2017-18 season saw the son of Redoute’s Choice, a three-time champion sire himself, recorded 173 winners - 26 of which were in stakes races - earning an all-time Australian record figure of A$29.2 million.
Highlights of the stellar campaign were triple G1-winning sprinter Trapeze Artist, G1 Golden Slipper winner Estijaab, G1 Oakleigh Plate winner Russian Revolution and Redzel, winner of the inaugural A$7.5-million Everest.
So dominant were the representatives of Snitzel that, even with Redzel’s Everest prize money removed, the 16-year old would be A$5.8-million clear of nearest challenger I Am Invincible, who stands at Yarraman Park Stud.
Snitzel is currently world #6 in the TRC Global Sires’ Rankings.
Justify back at WinStar
North America: Triple Crown winner Justify has returned to WinStar Farm in Kentucky, where the unbeaten colt got his first lessons about being a racehorse.
David Hanley, general manager of WinStar, was “delighted” to have the colt back at the Versailles stud. He will be given a week to reacclimatise before WinStar “allow the public to come see him, probably for the next month or month and a half”.
“He’s a very smart horse. I expect him to adjust quickly," suggested Hanley.
Comments from WinStar president Elliott Walden indicate that Justify is likely to stand at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles in Kentucky, which also has 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah on its roster.
Elite Coolmore mares who visited Dubawi
Europe: The entente cordiale between Coolmore and Godolphin appears to be intact with Darley’s annual Weatherbys report confirming that Coolmore mares were sent to world #2 sire Dubawi in 2018.
Dalham Hall Stud was visited by some of the Tipperary-based operation’s elite mares, such as G1 winners Alice Springs, Seventh Heaven and Was. The sharing of properties is a key part of Coolmore’s hunt for worthy outcrosses for mares who are by, or related to, Galileo, Montjeu and that outstanding pair's sire, Sadler's Wells.
For the past decade, Sheikh Mohammed’s organisation had refused to purchase young stock by Coolmore sires or send mares to them. However, that situation came to an end last year, when high-priced progeny of Galileo and other Coolmore sires were signed for at the yearling sales.
Although Galileo's 2018 coverings have not yet been registered with Weatherbys, Godolphin confirmed last year that it would be sending some mares to the world #1 sire for the first time in 2018.
Excitement over American Pharoah’s Saratoga yearlings
North America: American Pharoah will be represented by 15 yearlings from his first crop in the catalogue for the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale next week (August 6-7).
His progeny, which have already begun to make a commercial impact, are expected to be the star attractions of the boutique auction. M.V. Magnier, son of Coolmore founder John Magnier, remarked that Pharoah’s first yearlings are “selling great”.
Aisling Duignan, Coolmore’s director of bloodstock, was impressed on inspection with his first representatives and noticed that they all appear to have “incredible mechanics” as well as being “beautiful movers” like their father.
American Pharoah’s first-crop yearlings were conceived on an advertised stud fee of $200,000 – which made him the most expensive incoming stallion since 2006. He covered 208 mares in that first season, of whom 55 were G1 winners or the dams of winners at that level.
“I’m going to tell you, these American Pharoahs are going to blow through the roof,” said Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales. “The ones I’ve seen are outstanding, and he’s stamping them. They’ve got huge shoulders and great hip, good length and scope.”
Far East: Veteran jockey Fumio Matoba became Japan's winningmost rider when he won his 7,154th race at his favorite Tokyo’s Ohi racecourse.
The ‘Emperor of Ohi’ - as the 61-year-old is fondly known for his achievements at the capital’s urban track – overhauled the record held by the ‘Iron Man’ Takemi Sasaki, who retired in 2001.
All but five of his successes have come the second-tier NAR (National Association of Racing) circuit in Japan: he also has four JRA (Japanese Racing Association) wins, plus one in South Korea. The record-breaker is somewhat of a cult figure in Japan due to his unique style of riding, which has been dubbed as the ‘Matoba Dance’ by fans and pundits alike.
Matoba, who started riding in 1973, now sits in ninth place overall in a list headed by Buenos Aires-based Brazilian Jorge Ricardo, who is approaching the 13,000-winner mark.
Farewell to the ‘Dean of Kentucky’
North America: Churchill Downs trainer Forrest Kaelin has passed away aged 83, less than two months after he disbanded his stable because of his deteriorating health.
Kaelin, known colloquially as the ‘Dean of Kentucky’, was ever present at Ellis Park for almost 70 years as a jockey and a trainer. It was nevertheless his training career, which started in 1963, that truly made the Louisville native’s name: training 1,600 winners from 12,417 starters who earned $17.7 million across his career.
His career highlight was claiming the 1988 Ellis Park training title with 14 wins.