Embellish bucks third-year trend with biggest book ever

By Dennis Ryan

30 Sep 2021

Embellish bucks third-year trend with biggest book everCambridge Stud stallion Embellish has bucked trends with a biggest ever third-year book.

It’s almost second nature for a studmaster to expect a drop in patronage for a stallion in its third year, however that’s anything but the trend for Cambridge Stud’s Embellish.
The Group One-winning son of super sire Savabeel is midway through a book of mares that has bucked the “third year blues” trend. In his introductory year in 2019 Embellish covered 138 mares and last year his book was 108. Right now, however, he’s busier than ever with a book that currently stands at 150.
“There are a number of factors behind that,” commented Cambridge Stud’s Head of Sales and Nominations, Scott Calder. “When we set his fee in 2019 we took the view to price him even more fairly than people might have anticipated, so for a stallion with his credentials he’s fantastic value at $4,000.
“He’s a unique commodity as the only Group One-winning son of Savabeel at stud in New Zealand and it certainly aids his cause that Savabeel just keeps pumping out those top class racehorses.
“That legacy began here at Cambridge Stud with Sir Tristram, it continued with Zabeel and then his son Savabeel, and now we’re doing our bit to add to the legacy with a horse like Embellish.”
The clincher in Calder’s view for Embellish’s surge in popularity with broodmare owners is the type of horse he’s leaving, as reflected by the number of first-year patrons coming back for more.
“From the time his first crop started to arrive we could see what good-bodied, strong foals they were. Embellish himself is a very correct individual with everything in the right place, and that’s what he’s passing on.
“Breeders who came on board at the start have recognised that and along with our own support as well as the syndicate behind him, that’s why he’s got such good numbers this year.”
A book of 150 in fact surpasses the numbers being covered by Embellish’s high-profile shuttle associates Almanzor and Hello Youmzain, who admittedly have a cap of 140 mares.
“It was great to be able to announce back in the autumn that Almanzor and Hello Youmzain were already full,” added Calder. “We had no idea at the time that Embellish would go past both of them, but the way he’s coping so well with his book and being able to make those sorts of decisions ourselves, we’re happy to make him so readily available.
“It says a lot for the section of the market that Embellish represents. At Cambridge Stud we want to cater for as wide a range of breeders as possible and this horse allows us to do that. We all know how vibrant the bloodstock market is at the top end, so to see how strong it is elsewhere if you use the bookings to Embellish as the barometer, that’s a very encouraging sign for not just us but for the whole breeding industry.”
The Savabeel factor is omnipresent in the Embellish story, attracting a bid of $775,000 from David Ellis when Waikato Stud offered him at Karaka, and continuing when he won the 2017 New Zealand 2000 Guineas. Savabeel’s record is headed by 23 Group One winners, and Embellish is one of six in that group out of a mare by Waikato’s Hall of Fame stallion O’Reilly.
Calder sees no barrier to future success in Embellish’s low fee. “There’s any number of examples around the world of stallions that have climbed the ladder through sheer achievement,” he says. “It’s easy for me to quote Wootton Bassett and Kodiac, the sires of Almanzor and Hello Youmzain, then there are others like I Am Invincible in Australia and War Front in the United States.
“Embellish has the potential to become another example. Whether he does, only time will tell, but he’s certainly getting every chance.”
The next step will be Embellish’s first crop yearlings going to market next summer off the back of some very pleasing weanling sale results.
“It was very encouraging to see weanlings by him sell so well – one we offered made $36,000 and another went for $35,000, so they have obvious appeal,” added Calder. “Our Karaka draft will include some in Book 1 and I’m sure there will be more, then beyond that we’ll have others earmarked for our racing team, so the exciting times with Embellish are just around the corner.”