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Bluebloods : Karaka 2010 Yearling Sale Preview
74 MUFHASA ich Hill studmaster, NZTBA councillor and NZ Thoroughbred Marketing director John Thompson doesn't often have time to sit back and reflect. When he does, he sees that after only 15 years, Rich Hill is well-established among what might be called the middle generation of New Zealand's leading studs, whose owners and managers are in their thirties and forties. "Stallion power is definitely part of that, there's a nice bunch of young horses coming through that work with our mares and are leaving the kind of horses New Zealand is famous for. "Our industry is founded upon great English bloodlines, imported when studs could afford only the unraced or non-winning relations of the best performers. Now we're able to access European horses from the same families, but with performance as well, and they're really clicking with what's already here." Rich Hill's sire Pentire, who first shuttled to New Zealand in 1997, is a thoroughly proven member of that new generation of stallions. Breeders' and buyers' appreciation of his quality has steadily grown, as the number of his mature racing progeny has increased, and more subtle measures of stallion performance have become available. For example, Pentire headed the 2008-09 Australian APEX ratings in three of five categories (minimum 150 year starters) with outstanding index figures of 5.30 (A runners), 4.26 (AB runners) and 3.13 (ABC runners). Although he was a superlative middle-distance performer himself, Pentire has left brilliant sprinters and milers like Rangirangdoo, Recurring and Mufhasa among his Derby winners (two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Xcellent, Zarita, Pantani), Cup-winning stayers (Pentane, Art Success) and weight-for-age performers (Pentastic, Penny Gem). In all, he's left 21 southern hemisphere stakeswinners, nine of them Group One winners. As John says, "Pentire has really found his niche in the southern hemisphere, where the New Zealand broodmare band and Australasian racing conditions suit him. The special qualities he leaves are durability and versatility -- he doesn't get a lot of two-year-olds but they train on, and win at a range of distances." Rich Hill Stud has sold many of Pentire's best sons and daughters at Karaka, including current New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa, bred by John and his father Colin, and bought by David Archer at the 2005 NZ Select Sale for $50,000. John is upbeat about Karaka 2010. "It's certainly not all doom and gloom, New Zealand horses have performed so well in the past 12 months, and I think the swing back to proven sires we saw last year will continue at the 2010 sales." He enjoys catching up with buyers who have, over the years, become friends as well as clients. R RICH HILL STUD "Robbie Laing was one of the very early enthusiasts for Pentire, and trained his first Group One winner Pantani, so it's always good to see him again. "I usually have dinner with Bill Frost who owns Zarita, and Mufhasa's owner David Archer is an inspiration, his positive attitude is a real tonic." KARAKA 2010 STANDOUTS: Pentire-Amritsar Jet colt -- "He's a full brother to Resolution (three times Group One-placed winner), and is a good- walking, strongly made colt with plenty of length." Perfectly Ready-Sheila Cheval colt -- "Half-brother to New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa; he's a powerful sprinting type by an exciting first season sire." Pentire-Dear Diary filly -- "Half-sister to two-year- old stakeswinner Pocket Diary, also sold at Karaka. A well-balanced athletic type in the mould of some of Pentire's leading fillies such as Zanna and Recurring." UNDER THE RADAR PICK: Pentire-Winged Heart colt -- "A racy type of Pentire out of a fast Dehere mare, who looks a natural runner." AT THE END OF SALE DAY: "It's always too busy to relax, but I do have time to enjoy a quiet ale at the Cowboy Pizza Kitchen in the Viaduct with other quiet industry enthusiasts!" RACING HIGHLIGHT OF 2009: "Mufhasa's win in the Group One Telegraph Handicap at Trentham. A million-dollar race is special, it's not often you breed the winner of one!"
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