Cheval D’Or another second-season star for Almanzor

By Richard Edmunds

26 Apr 2023

Cheval D’Or another second-season star for AlmanzorAlmanzor filly Cheval D’Or confirmed her potential with a dominant win in the Championship Stakes

Cambridge Stud stallion Almanzor has already had Group One performers in New Zealand, Melbourne and Sydney this season, and his latest stakes winner Cheval D’Or may now attempt to add Queensland to that list.
With her emphatic victory in Saturday’s Gr. 3 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes at Pukekohe, the Tony Pike-trained filly became the third individual stakes winner among Almanzor’s two southern hemisphere crops. That was her first win at her sixth start, having finished fourth in the Gr. 3 Sunline Vase and third in the Gr. 3 Manawatu Classic in her previous two.
Cheval D’Or was a $420,000 yearling purchase by The Oaks Stud at Karaka two years ago. She is a half-sister to the Pike-trained triple Group One winner Bostonian, while her dam Keepa Cheval is a half-sister to 10-time Group One winner Mufhasa.
Connections are now keen to test Cheval D’Or across the Tasman, working backwards from a potential shot at the Gr. 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on June 3.
Almanzor was thrust into the spotlight in the spring with a first-crop Gr. 1 Victoria Derby triumph by Manzoice, but until last Saturday, he had endured an autumn of almosts – second placings in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Derby with Andalus, New Zealand Oaks with Mehzebeen, and Australian Derby with Virtuous Circle.
“It would have been wonderful if one or two of those had managed to convert their second placing into a win, but we’ve still been very pleased,” Cambridge Stud CEO Henry Plumptre told RaceForm.
“Almanzor’s first crop has now produced a dozen individual stakes horses. Outside of Cheval D’Or you’ve got Manzoice in the Derby in Melbourne, Dynastic in the Karaka Million, and a number of other horses who have been stakes-placed – predominantly at Group One and Group Two level.”
Overall, Arion Pedigrees statistics credit Almanzor with 25 winners from 72 runners bred in our part of the world. But he has also had further success with imported horses, such as the French-bred Convener, who won impressively at Mornington on Saturday.
“At this stage of his career, I think it’s fair to assess Almanzor as doing pretty much the same at stud as he did as a racehorse,” Plumptre said. “When he himself was a three-year-old, he didn’t particularly put his hand up until the French Derby, and then it was his two weight-for-age Group Ones in the autumn that really grabbed everyone’s attention. His progeny are showing similar traits.
“Tony Pike said Cheval D’Or has been a work in progress all season. It was fantastic to convert her potential into a result like the win on Saturday, and now I understand the plan is to take her to Queensland. If she could become another of Almanzor’s first-crop progeny to perform up to Group One level, it would be absolutely fantastic for the sire.”
Almanzor has served quality books ranging from 136 to 160 mares throughout his five seasons of shuttling to Cambridge Stud, and Plumptre hopes for more of the same in 2023 – particularly considering the advantage New Zealand has with its lower service fees than Australia.
“Sitting on the edge of Australia, it’s a challenging environment, but what’s been so good is that we’ve got some pretty significant domestic stallions putting their hands up now,” he said. “That gives us all a lot of encouragement in terms of our local stallion base.
“The value for money really jumps out with the likes of Proisir, Satono Aladdin, Per Incanto and Almanzor. At the same time, our Australian friends are starting to push the envelope with some of their fees, and from being there in the sale ring, we know how hard it can be to get some of that money back.
“I said a couple of years ago that we could see some green shoots among New Zealand’s stallion ranks, and that’s translated into a very strong last six months to a year – particularly with John Thompson’s horses at Rich Hill Stud. That’s very healthy for our industry.”