Aquacade a diamond in the rough for Cambridge Stud

By Richard Edmunds

22 Feb 2023

Aquacade a diamond in the rough for Cambridge StudAquacade (Warren Kennedy) became the hot favourite for the Auckland Cup with an easy win in the Avon

Imported broodmare Forest Of Seas may have delivered more lows than highs during her time at Cambridge Stud, but her daughter Aquacade is single-handedly transforming her pedigree page.
Group Two-placed last January as a lightly raced three-year-old, the Lance Noble-trained Aquacade has gone to new heights at four. Her four wins this season are headed by last Saturday’s Gr. 2 Avondale Cup at Pukekohe, which she won by two and three-quarter lengths to confirm her status as hot favourite for next month’s Auckland Cup.
Aquacade has had a total of 12 starts for six wins and four placings, earning $256,885 in stakes. She picked up $80,500 in prize-money from her Avondale Cup victory, which Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay generously donated to Cyclone Gabrielle relief.
“We think Aquacade is a bit of a star in the making,” Cambridge Stud CEO Henry Plumptre said. “It’s fair to say she’s been a work in progress. She’s taken a while to develop, and she tended to get a bit hot as a younger horse and used to walk her box and walk the fence a bit.
“She developed nicely as a summer three-year-old last season and looked as if she might be an Oaks chance, but she chipped a joint when she placed in the Royal Stakes and we had to operate. She’s a big horse, so the rehabilitation was quite long, but Lance and his team at Karaka have done an amazing job.
“She’s really matured since turning four, and she now looks like she has the condition and strength to go to that next level. Hopefully that might include taking on the Australians next spring.
“I’m pleased for Lance, who had quite a long slog over a few years with some unsound horses that we weren’t able to sell. It’s great that he has some good ones to work with at the moment.”
Aquacade is by Dundeel, the New Zealand Horse of the Year whose 10 wins included the Gr. 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Underwood Stakes, Australian Derby, Rosehill Guineas, Randwick Guineas and Spring Champion Stakes. Standing at Arrowfield Stud, Dundeel has sired 21 stakes winners including Group One stars Super Seth (himself now at Waikato Stud), Castelvecchio, Yourdeel, Truly Great and Atyaab.
The dam of Aquacade is the unraced mare Forest Of Seas, who was bought for 55,000 guineas from the 2014 Tattersalls December Mares Sale at Newmarket. She is by the champion racehorse and highly influential stallion Sea The Stars, whose own sire Cape Cross shuttled to Cambridge Stud in the early 2000s.
On the dam side, Forest Of Seas is a sister to three stakes performers including The Last Drop, who was runner-up in the Gr. 1 St Leger at Doncaster.
“She has an interesting European pedigree, but the mare was a bit of a breeding disaster – not only for us, but also for the people who later bought her off us,” Plumptre said. “I think she’s been pretty much retired now. She had some very compromised foals, including one that we unfortunately had to put down here.
“She’s by Sea The Stars, and that’s where Aquacade gets her staying blood from, but she just couldn’t throw a type. She had three foals for us, and the only one that was a standout on type was Aquacade.
“We planned to sell her at Karaka as a yearling, but we scoped her before the sale and she had a grade-four throat. You’re not going to get a bid on a yearling like that, so we withdrew her. Because she was such a nice type, we put her into work with Lance.
“She’s exciting, and she’s one of quite a few successes we’ve had either on the racetrack or in the sale ring with Dundeel. We’ve got a beautiful Dundeel colt heading to the Melbourne sale, and a filly going to Sydney, so hopefully that continues.
“We also own 20 per cent of the three-year-old colt Elliptical, who has placed in the Caulfield Guineas and Spring Champion Stakes in Australia this season, so we’re quite invested in Dundeel.
“Around the time Aquacade was born, there was a bit of word about Dundeel that he couldn’t sire a good female. It’s funny how we can sometimes do that in this industry – we label stallions as unable to get either a good colt or a good filly, and then they get one not long afterwards.”