Cambridge Stud duo buoyed by Entain-led advances

By Dennis Ryan

24 Aug 2023

Cambridge Stud duo buoyed by Entain-led advancesCambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay with their headlining stallion Almanzor.

Brendan and Jo Lindsay have plenty to look forward to as the new season swings into action, and it goes well beyond the Cambridge Stud owners’ optimism around their extensive breeding and racing interests.
Echoing a tune heard over the past several weeks, they’re buoyed by the rapid strides the New Zealand racing industry has made in the wake of the strategic partnership agreement between Entain and TAB NZ.
Stakes increases across all three codes include, in the thoroughbred sector’s case, new six-figure races around the country and even more at the iconic Karaka Millions meeting, along with infrastructure injection and pending upgrades to the broadcast platform. Add to that the promotion of the Kiwi-bred offshore with a slot in The Everest, most recently a doubling in Pearl Series bonuses, and even better the industry is being told it’s only the start of racing’s new order.
“In the time that I’ve been involved in breeding and racehorse ownership, I’ve seen nothing to compare with what Entain have brought to the table,” Brendan Lindsay said.
“Until this happened the bar had been so low you could trip over it, but the joint venture and everything that has come with it is the biggest industry game-changer we’ve seen, certainly in our lifetime and possibly ever.
“The investment that Entain and NZTR have made in the Pearl Series has benefits at so many levels. Owners of fillies and mares have a very worthwhile target separate to what’s on offer in black-type races, and that’s got to be good for breeders and others in the chain.
“It’s an obvious incentive for breeders to race their own and it’s got to be a boost when it comes to putting fillies up for sale.”
Lindsay is just as unequivocal around other initiatives that have come with Entain’s involvement, and broadcasting is high on the list.
“There’s talk of getting racing back on a free-to-view platform – what a winner that would be! That’s our shop window, if it was free-to-view it would put racing back in front of a huge audience.
“If the goal is to increase betting and interest in racing itself – and surely it has to be – what better way than to make it as accessible as possible.”
New Zealand racing’s audience isn’t just home-based, with an obvious correlation between what happens on both sides of the Tasman.
“Last season was the biggest since whenever for our horses in Australia,” Lindsay added. “Between those already racing over there and the New Zealand-trained horses that went to Australia, what they did in the big races was unbelievable.
“The idea of buying a slot in The Everest for I Wish I Win is a great idea, what a well-timed opportunity that can only help keep our horses in front of our biggest market.”
Home base for the Lindsays has many facets to it, from Cambridge Stud’s four-strong stallion roster complementing a broodmare band that continues to grow in quality, as well as a racing team spread across their own private stable and a number of selected trainers throughout the country.
Offshore the gold and black Cambridge Stud racing colours are also a familiar sight in Australia, while they have featured as well in the Northern Hemisphere, most famously when carried to victory by star sprinter Hello Youmzain in the Gr. 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2020.
In his previous campaign the son of leading Danehill sire Kodiac had won the Gr. 1 Haydock Sprint Cup, after which Cambridge Stud joined France’s Haras d’Etreham in his ownership. That followed a similar joint venture in the champion European colt Almanzor, who shuttled to Cambridge for the first time in 2018 and subsequently joined by Hello Youmzain in 2021.
With his first New Zealand-conceived crop having just turned four years old, the proof is evident that Almanzor has passed on his talent, and not surprisingly to his classic runners. After an exceptional start to his stud career through the likes of Karaka Million 2YO winner and Group One-placed Dynastic, Almanzor’s first crop three-year-olds shone.
In Australia Manzoice struck a massive early blow with his Victoria Derby win over star New Zealand staying three-year-old Sharp ’N’ Smart, while in the second half of the Australian classic season another son, Virtuous Circle, finished second in the Australian Derby.
Back in New Zealand Almanzor fillies Mehzebeen and Blue Solitaire finished second and third respectively in the New Zealand Oaks and New Zealand 1000 Guineas, while his two-year-old Group Two and Three-placed son Andalus added a second placing in the New Zealand Derby.
“What attracted us to Almanzor in the first place was the combination of his race record, pedigree and conformation and it’s fair to say we’ve been vindicated by how they’ve performed,” Brendan Lindsay said. “From humble beginnings his sire Wooton Bassett has become a sensation and we feel very privileged to be standing his best son at Cambridge Stud.
“Almanzor has been very well supported by breeders and buyers and to have so many classic performers in his first crop is a great result, with a lot more to come. He has the numbers and they’re in the right stables here and in Australia, so the way we see it, it’s only just started for him.”
As a dual Group One-winning sprinter in Europe from one of the very best international sire-lines, Hello Youmzain could be described as the perfect complement to his shuttle-mate Almanzor. The impressively-built bay is about to embark on his third breeding season at Cambridge Stud, while in France his first crop Northern Hemisphere yearlings were a hit at last week’s Arqana Deauville Sale.
Top billing went to a filly presented by Haras d’Etreham who fetched the equivalent of $550,000, and overall the 19 Hello Youmzain yearlings sold from 20 to go through the ring realised an impressive average of $236,000. That was obviously music to the ears at Cambridge Stud, where Hello Youmzain’s locally-bred first crop will be prepared for summer yearling sales on both sides of the Tasman.
The second rapidly proven sire after Almanzor standing at Cambridge Stud is Embellish, the New Zealand 2000 Guineas-winning son of champion sire Savabeel and an obvious choice to continue the legacy of former champion Cambridge sires Sir Tristram and Zabeel.
In that respect Embellish has made a highly encouraging start, with excellent results from a handful of two-year-old starters last season. The home-bred filly Luberon had just two starts for a debut win and a placing in the Listed ATR Challenge Stakes, and Embellish geldings Talisker and Paragon also posted stakes placings in the Gr. 2 WRC Eclipse Stakes and Listed ATR Futurity Stakes.
Former Ruakaka-trained Whiskey Lies promised big things as a three-year-old with a late season hat-trick, only to be sold to Hong Kong. However What You Wish For, first and second in two autumn starts, and stablemate Talisker are among the leading prospects for New Zealand 2000 Guineas specialists Te Akau Racing.
Snitzel’s two-year-old Group One-winning son Sword Of State completes the Cambridge Stud stallion roster. After going to stud a year after being crowned Champion Two-Year-Old in 2021, just last week his first foal hit the ground at Kia Ora Stud in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.
“He got off to a great start last spring with more than 120 good quality mares and we’re thrilled with his first foal, a colt from the Gr. 2 Royal Stakes winner Needle And Thread,” Cambridge’s head of sales and nominations Scott Calder told RaceForm.
“Kia Ora describe him as a real belter, as good a first foal as you could wish for, and having seen some photographs I have to agree. Kia Ora have shares in Sword Of State and bought Needle And Thread from the Valachi Downs dispersal specifically to breed to him.
“He’s a great type Sword Of State, a real runner as his record shows and now letting down into a gorgeous stallion. With the sort of foals he looks like leaving, he’s got a very bright future.”