Rookie shuttle stallions making an international mark

By Richard Edmunds

18 Aug 2022

Rookie shuttle stallions making an international markFirst crop Satono Aladdin three-year-old Grand Impact is unbeaten after two starts

The emerging stars of New Zealand’s stallion ranks have commanded plenty of attention over the last couple of years, and results on racetracks around the world are suggesting that the young guns are going to live up to the hype.
In the United Kingdom’s second-season sire standings, for instance, there are currently three stallions among this year’s top 15 who shuttle to New Zealand – Ribchester (fourth), Time Test (12th) and Almanzor (14th).
This is a notable change from preceding years, where Vadamos (12th in 2021) and Charm Spirit (sixth in 2019) provided the only Kiwi flavour among their respective British end-of-season standings. No New Zealand shuttlers featured at all in 2020, 2018 or 2017, and the most recent top 15 to contain three of our shuttle stallions was back in 2015 (Showcasing third, Makfi sixth and Rip Van Winkle 10th).
Ribchester began his shuttling career at Darley in Australia, but relocated to Haunui Farm in 2020 – replacing his revered sire Iffraaj, who has been retired from dual hemisphere duties.
Himself a high-class Group One winner of the Prix Jacques le Marois, Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes and Prix du Moulin, Ribchester has been quick to make his mark at stud with 33 winners from his first Northern Hemisphere crop. His four stakes winners include Flaming Rib, whose Listed win in the Doncaster Stakes sits alongside placings in the Gr. 1 Commonwealth Cup and Gr. 2 Sandy Lane Stakes.
Ribchester has had three winners from only seven runners to date in his first Australian crop, with Listed Dalrello Stakes placegetter Plymstock the early headline act. Ribchester’s oldest progeny from his Haunui shuttling duties are now yearlings.
Little Avondale Stud’s Time Test has also been made a major early impact, with his 23 first-crop winners in the north including the stakes winners Rocchigiani, Romantic Time, The King’s Horses and Tardis. He led all European first-season sires with his four individual stakes winners among his debut crop of two-year-olds in 2021.
Rocchigiani has gone on with the job at three, recently capturing the Gr. 3 Thoroughbred Stakes during the famous Glorious Goodwood carnival – a race whose roll of honour also features the likes of the highly influential Cape Cross and the current undefeated superstar miler Baaeed.
Meanwhile on our shores, Time Test’s first New Zealand runners have produced a black-type quinella in the Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (Leedox and Timeless), along with three runners among the 14-horse field for the Karaka Million 2YO (Time Flies, Timeless and Time Ruler).
But the biggest buzz of all belongs to Cambridge Stud’s Almanzor, whose service fee has justifiably risen to $50,000 for the 2022 breeding season.
Himself an elite three-year-old who captured the Gr. 1 Prix Du Jockey Club before conquering Europe’s finest at weight-for-age in the Gr. 1 Irish Champion Stakes and British Champion Stakes, Almanzor has enjoyed remarkable early success at stud with his two-year-olds.
His first crop of Northern Hemisphere juveniles produced nine winners including two black-type performers, and then he made an enormous splash in New Zealand by claiming leading first-season sire and overall two-year-old premiership honours in 2021-22. His 21 runners produced seven individual winners – three in New Zealand and four in Australia.
The flagbearer was Te Akau’s brilliant Dynastic, who scored a stunning victory in the Karaka Million at only his second career start. Almanzor became the first sire in a decade to have a Karaka Million winner in his first crop.
Andalus was a more than handy supporting star, picking up placings in the Gr. 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes and Gr. 3 Matamata Slipper along with a fourth in the Gr. 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Almanzor has shown no sign of stopping after his oldest progeny turned three. He has sired 29 winners in the Northern Hemisphere so far in 2022, including Listed winners Lassaut (in last weekend’s Prix Nureyev at Deauville) and Unanimous Consent, along with the Group One-placed Queen Trezy.
The new Australasian season has started on the right note too, with a smart win in Sydney last Saturday by the Chris Waller-trained three-year-old Manzoice.
Another young shuttle stallion making a name for himself abroad is Rich Hill Stud’s Satono Aladdin, who is among the top 10 on the Japanese second-season sires’ premiership.
His two Japanese crops have produced a total of 31 winners, while his first progeny in our part of the world have shown similar bright promise with five winners from only 10 starters to date.
Sacred Satono has been the first to perform at black-type level, finishing second in the Listed FastTrack Insurance Stakes and fourth in the Gr. 2 Eclipse Stakes, while Melbourne colt Grand Impact is unbeaten in two starts and being pointed towards lofty spring targets. High hopes are also held for Kabugee, who was a two-length winner of his only start at Te Aroha in January.
Satono Aladdin missed our 2020 breeding season due to travel complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the son of Japan’s super-sire Deep Impact was enthusiastically welcomed back to New Zealand last spring and will return again this year.