Rich Hill doubles down on home track success

By Dennis Ryan

12 Oct 2022

Rich Hill doubles down on home track successLa Crique registers a Group One first for her sire Vadamos in spectacular style.

Rich Hill Stud principal John Thompson is getting used to celebrating multiple success by progeny of his stallions, but there was a special edge to the feature wins by La Crique and Pier at Matamata last Saturday.
Thompson grew up in the east Waikato town famous for its studs and racing stables. His father Colin was based there as a leading equine veterinarian for more than half a century as well as being heavily involved in the Matamata Racing Club, including a period as president.
Thompson senior and junior combined forces to establish Rich Hill Stud and success has flowed over the years, initially with one of its foundation sires, Pentire, and now through a potent roster comprising Shocking, Proisir, Vadamos, Satono Aladdin and Ace High.
Shocking and Proisir have enjoyed a golden run over the past couple of years, the former with progeny headed by his dual Australian Group One winner I’m Thunderstruck and the latter with last season’s champion sprinter Levante and recent Gr. 1 Tarzino Trophy winner Dark Destroyer.
Proisir has another headline act in Pier, who on Saturday bridged the gap to feature racing at just his third start when he scored a stylish win in the Gr. 1 AHD Hawke’s Bay Guineas. Pier has joined unbeaten Proisir filly Legarto at the head of the respective markets for next month’s New Zealand 2000 and 1000 Guineas at Riccarton.
While their date with Group One destiny is pending, Vadamos mare La Crique made that quantum leap in resounding style last weekend with her demolition job in the Gr. 1 Arrowfield Stud Plate. Last season as a three-year-old La Crique had signed off her season with an unlucky second in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Derby after winning the Gr. 3 Desert Gold Stakes and Gr. 2 Avondale Guineas.
She was considered as Group One winner in waiting and proved that opinion emphatically. Plans are now in hand for her to contest Group One races at the Melbourne carnival, beginning with the Empire Rose Stakes on the first day of Melbourne Cup week.
“It certainly was a day to remember,” says Thompson, “especially with the double being on my home track. Proisir is building such a good record and it’s fair to say that the success he’s already had and the quality of mares he has attracted since, the best is yet to come.
“It’s no secret that he’s more popular than ever, the phone is still ringing but whether I can fit every mare is another thing.”
Pier was bred by his co-trainer Darryn Weatherley in partnership with long-time stable client Barry Wright, who was in the ownership of Pier’s granddam Naturo, the winner of the Gr. 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes, and now races for a partnership comprising Wright, Weatherley and his wife Louise and high-profile Melbourne owner Ozzie Kheir.
“My family and Darryn’s family have a long relationship,” added Thompson. “That goes back to the friendship between my parents and Darryn’s grandparents Fred and Val Beguely, so it’s quite special to see Pier doing so well now.”
A milestone for any stallion is his first Group One winner, and in the case of the quality dual hemisphere performer Vadamos, something that Thompson describes as inevitable.
“I think it’s fair to say that with Vadamos it was never a case of whether he would, more like when would it be, so yes, to see La Crique deliver like that was very satisfying.
“Vadamos represents the best European bloodlines and he was a top racehorse. You would go a long way to see a better type too, and he’s always been popular with breeders. Results like this really cement his position.
“La Crique’s owners John and Jan Cassin put a lot of faith in him and it’s great to see people like them being rewarded.”
In his role as president of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, Thompson takes a view well beyond his own stud boundaries, and believes that New Zealand has much to look forward to with a brigade of younger stallions coming through.
“Not just my own but others, they’re really starting to shine both here and in Australia, so it’s exciting for our industry to see that happening.”