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Bluebloods : April 2010
April 2010 THOROUGHBRED industry folklore has it that at the Inglis historic Easter yearling sales back in 1959, a leading trainer when asked if he would be in the bidding for the first offspring of the imported Court Martial sire Wilkes (FR) who were available that year, responded with "you can't grow horses down there". He was referring to the sire's base, Newhaven Park, a large holding between Boorowa and Cowra in central western NSW. As it emerged the stud, established at the close of World War II by grazier John (J.W.) Kelly and which had been battling to reach the top for a decade, had in Wilkes, found the magic key to big-time horse breeding success. Wilkes went on to be one of Australia's great sires of the second half of the 20th century and to be a dominant force in his time at Easter yearling sales, with one of the principal buyers of his yearlings being the one who disparaged his potential at the outset! Wilkes was a sensation with his first crop including a queen of racing in the shape of Wenona Girl, the chestnut filly with a flaxen mane and tail, sold by Newhaven Park for $4410, a respectable price at the time. The most expensive Easter yearling that year was a Star Kingdom colt who sold for $14,910, then the equal Australian record for a yearling. Like hundreds of horses sold at Easter, Australia's most prestigious market, Wenona Girl was an exciting investment for owners, in this case Mr and Mrs Bill Longworth. Despite the fact that she was out in the same year as Brian Crowley's memorable Star Kingdom colt Sky High, who beat her into second place in the Golden Slipper, Wenona Girl was named the champion juvenile. In earning $32,830, then the highest amount credited to a two year-old filly, she included in five wins at two, the AJC Gimcrack Stakes (on debut) and the AJC and VRC Sires' Produce Stakes. She went on to prove a performer with an iron constitution, running 68 times for 27 wins (22 stakes), 19 seconds (16 stakes) and seven seconds (six stakes). Twelve of the wins were at Gr.1 level. Wenona Girl is one of a host of graduates of the Easter yearling sales last century whose deeds stirred those of their era and continue to stimulate the thoughts of the breeding and racing lovers who have followed. One gallant old campaigner who emerged from the 1924 sale was the Kia Ora Stud, Scone-bred gelding Amounis, a son of champion sire Magpie (GB) and Loved One, a daughter of a half-sister to the fifth dam of Wenona Girl. He raced for seven years, won 33 of 79 starts and for a brief while was Australia's greatest money earner. It was a golden era of racing and saw him defeat immortals Phar Lap, Windbag (Easter yearling, $315), Spearfelt and Valicare (Easter yearling, $3570). Windbag was a wonderful stayer whose 18 wins included the Melbourne Cup in Australasian record time, the AJC St Leger, Chipping Norton Stakes and Warwick Stakes. Used in Victoria, he became a first class sire with his greatest product being the Kia Ora Stud-bred and Easter-sold champion miler Chatham. He won 24 of 45 starts and also became a good sire. Bred on the Arrowfield stud at Jerrys Plains, Hunter Valley, the Valais (GB) product Valicare was the Wenona Girl of the 1920s and has been described as one of the fastest mares bred in Australia. She was unbeaten in her seven outings at three, including appearances in the AJC Oaks (by five lengths), STC Rawson Stakes (by eight; Windbag second) and the AJC Doncaster. Valicare was in the same Easter sale that produced Amounis and also another revered performer in the Arrowfield-bred Valais colt Manfred. Sold for $2940, Manfred won 11 of 28 starts including the MVRC Cox Plate, VRC and AJC Derbys and the MRC Caulfield Cup. The most exalted horse by Valais, however, was the Arrowfield bred 1921-foaled Heroic. The highest priced yearling at the 1923 sale, selling for $3780, Heroic won 21 of 52 starts, starting off with the AJC Breeders' Plate at two. Other career wins included the AJC Derby, MRC Caulfield Guineas, MVRC Cox Plate and VRC Newmarket. Used at the Tarwyn Park Stud, Bylong Valley, NSW, he is the second most successful champion Australian sire in history with seven leading sire titles in succession to his credit. It took more than 60 years before another sire -- Danehill - surpassed his record. The five Cox Plates run in the 1947-51 period were all won by three year-olds, two of them being the Easter graduates Delta and Alister, a son of the Widden stud Bahram sire Whirlaway (GB). Alister was an outstanding three year-old, winning the Cox Plate and AJC and VRC Derbys, finishing second in the VRC St Leger and third in the AJC St Leger and eighth as favourite in the Melbourne Cup. Alister's success introduced a new major player to Australian breeding in his breeder Alfred Ellison, the founder of the Baramul Stud on country formerly used as a dairy farm next door to Widden Stud in the Widden Valley. Baramul became famous as the home of one of the greatest breed shapers in Australian history in Star Kingdom (IRE). His first runner and winner was his greatest sale product, Kingster. He was purchased in Sydney by western NSW grazier Les Gibson for $2100 and added to the record of three year-olds in the Cox Plate by taking the race at this age in 1954. Kingster opened his racing career with a win in the AJC Breeder's Plate at two and went on to succeed in 12 races, the others including the AJC Sires' Produce Stakes, George Main Stakes, All-Aged Stakes, VRC Newmarket and QTC Stradbroke. Citius, arguably the best filly by Star Kingdom, was bred by Ellison and sold in Sydney for $11,340. She won nine races including the AJC Doncaster, VRC Sires' Produce Stakes, Lightning Stakes and MRC Oakleigh Plate. Another impressive performer bred at Ellison's Baramul Stud, albeit for a client, was the striking looking black colt Eskimo Prince, a $13,000 yearling in the first crop of the Star Kingdom superstar Todman. Eskimo Prince put Todman on the map as a sire at two by winning the Breeder's Plate (by four lengths) on debut and following at two with dashing wins in the STC Silver Slipper (3.5 lengths), Golden Slipper (four lengths) and AJC Sires' Produce Stakes (a length). He went on at three to win the STC Rosehill Guineas (five lengths), Canterbury Stakes and Hill Stakes and finish second in the Canterbury Guineas. Among the more recent outstanding horses of last century sold through the Inglis ring are dual Australian Horse of the Year Might and Power ($40,000,15 wins, $5,226,286, seven Gr.1, including the Cox Plate, Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup) and Naturalism ($30,000, 12 wins, $3,371,294, MRC Caulfield Stakes, AJC Derby, STC Rosehill Guineas). The gallopers mentioned in this review are but the tip of the iceberg as far as the honour board of memorable performers who went through the Inglis Easter yearling sales last century. It is an honour board that has been added to considerably in the past decade. The graduates from 2000-on include Zipping (Danehill, cost $190,000, 13 wins, $2,712,695), Samantha Miss (Redoute's Choice, $1,500,000, seven wins, $1,763, 260, sold as broodmare for $3,850,000), Miss Finland (Redoute's Choice, $450,00, 11 wins, $4,632,775), Maldivian (Zabeel, $195,000, nine wins, $2,821,800), Vision and Power (Carnegie (IRE), $210,000, 10 wins, $2,035,425), Racing to Win (Encosta de Lago, $40,000, 13 wins, $3,762,285), Grand Armee (Hennessy (USA), $150,000, 13 wins, $5,328,065), Shogun Lodge (Grand Lodge (IRE), $200,000, 13 wins, $4,651,986), Headway (Flying Spur, $900,000, seven wins, $3,525,500), Exceed and Excel (Danehill (USA), $375,000, seven wins, $1,282,375) and Mentality (Flying Spur, $100,000, eight wins, $2,039,595). This honour roll has very good prospects of being added to substantially by the 614 youngsters catalogued for the 2010 William Inglis Australian Easter Yearling sale set down for April 6, 7 and 8 at the firm's historic Newmarket sales complex at Randwick. WENONA GIRL - one of many champions to sell at Easter Sale Wenona Girl (Wilkes (FR)-Golden Chariot by Golden Sovereign (IRE)) 37
Inglis Sydney Classic
Tyreel Easter Yearlings