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FIRST CROP STALLIONS WITH RUNNERS IN 2014-15 - PART II
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Monday 04 Aug 2014
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

Brief notes on five of the new stallions were given in Part I of this article. The remaining half a dozen stallions are introduced here.  

OISEAU DE FEU[USA] (b 2006 Stravinsky - Slewadora by Seattle Slew)
Standing at Samra Stud, Faridkot, Punjab
5 wins at 2 and 3 (1200 m. to 1600 m.; 2 wins on good going,1 in heavy and 2 on AW) and placed earning 222,985 euros.
Best Official Rating 117
First stallion son of Stravinsky in India
Previous stallion at Samra Stud: Mambo Minstrel 

Bred by Gallagher's Stud in U.S.A., Oiseau de Feu - that's Bird of Fire in French - started racing in French provinces in the colours of M. Bernard Weill. He was beaten a short-head by his stable-mate on debut but then won his next four races, two at Marseille-Borely and two on All Weather at Deauville. His trainer J.C. Rouget then upped him in class and he raced exclusively in graded company for the rest of his career. He won the Prix Paul de Moussac, Gr.3 at Chantilly and failed by just a head to catch Lord Shanakill in Etihaad Airways Prix Jean Prat, Gr.1. He was bought by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum late in his career but remained with Rouget till he went to Dubai where he was saddled once by E. Charpy.  

At 117, Oiseau de Feu is one of the best performed of this batch of stallions, though a line through Silver Frost gives an edge to Abbeyside while Varenar easily had his measure in Total Prix de la Foret, Gr.1. 

By the sprinter Stravinsky, Oiseau de Feu comes from a fair American line that has stallions like End Sweep, Ice Cool,. Salem, Smart, Pumpkin Moonshine, Adcat and others in it. He is bred on the successful Nureyev-Riverman cross. With just 7 foals in his first crop, this well-performed and well-bred horse will his work cut out to catch the attention.    

RAVEL[USA] (dk b/br 2004, Fusaichi Pegasus - Let by A.P. Indy]
Standing at Chhatri Equine & Agricultural Farm, Bagh Kothi, Dist. Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh
3 wins at 2 and 3 (1700 m. and 1800 m.) and placed earning $ 180,750.
First stallion son of Fusaichi Pegasus in India.
First stallion to stand at Chhatri Stud  

M/s. Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor of Coolmore paid $ 950,000 for Ravel as a yearling and gave him to Tod Pletcher to train. Second on his debut at Keeneland, Ravel broke his duck at Hollywood Park just before he turned 3. He then won the Sham Stakes, Gr.3 at Santa Anita and looked set on the Classic trail when a fractured near fore cannon bone sidelined him. He came back in autumn to win a race from two starts. Ravel remained in training for three more years though he was not seen on a racetrack during the entire 2009. He did not place in his seven starts but was thrice fourth in group races. 

Coolmore was outbid by the Japanese venture capitalist Fusao Sekiguchi when Ravel's sire Fusaichi Pegasus was sold as a yearling for $ 4 million. Six wins from nine starts including the Kentucky Derby, Gr.1 meant that his owner recovered about half his purchase price. The great coup was when Sekiguchi sold Fusaichi Pegasus to Coolmore for stallion duties for what is rumoured to be a staggering $ 60 million. Fusaichi Pegasus can by no means be called a failure as a stallion but considering the expectations and his price, he has been disappointing. His progeny has done better on dirt than over turf. 

Ravel's dam was a Gr.2 winner. The immediate family is notable for several well performed horses, many of them going on become stallions in different parts of the world; stallions like Fabuleux Dancer, Joyeux Danseur, Formidable, Ajdal, Arazi, Noverre, Exchange Rate, Sabre d'Argent, Stelvio, Suzuka Mambo, Lakeshore Road, Dance in the Dark, Air Dublin, Eagle Cafe, Swiss Ace and others. 

Ravel, who is bred on the successful Mr. Prospector-Seattle Slew cross, covered 30 mares of moderate quality in 2011 and he has 14 foals on ground in his first crop. 

RED ROMEO (ch 2005, Steinbeck -Allspice by Razeen)
Standing at VIF Stud, Vikarabad, Telangana
6 wins at 2 to 5 (1200 m. and 1400 m.) and placed earning Rs. 48,57,236.
Best Rating 118
First stallion son of Steinbeck
First stallion to stand at VIF Stud 

Sent out by trainer Cooji Katrak as a 2YO in December, Red Romeo made a winning debut and followed it up by winning a million the following month. Two wins from two starts made him the best backed of 19 runners who lined up for the Poonawalla Breeders' Multi-Million, Gr.1 and he looked like justifying the favouratism when his own stud-mate Autonomy swooped late to claim the big prize. He was held up in Shapoorji Pallonji Breeders' Juvenile Colts' Championship, Gr.3 in March and came with a late run to get the runner-up berth behind Juventus. He was the favourite in all his first four races. 

That was Red Romeo at his best. He won four more races (all in Western India) over the next two years but a black-type win eluded him and a third behind Oasis Star and Palazzio's Sun in Nanoli Stud Sprinters' Cup, Gr.1 at Hyderabad was his most noteworthy effort. 

Red Romeo ran in the colours of M/s. Shiven Surendranath, Dr. Syed Ainuddin Arif - who owns VIF Stud Farm - and Byram Jeejeebhoy. His full-sister Romantic Fire won the Calcutta Champions Sprint Trophy, Gr.3 but their dam was a full-sister to the Invitation Cup winner Simply Supreme. This is a versatile family in India and abroad. Red Romeo had five foals in his first crop some which will race in Dr. Syed Ainuddin Arif's ownership.   

SAMHOON[USA] (b 2004, A.P. Indy - Key to My Heart by Mr. Prospector) 
Stood at A.B. Stud, Patiala, Punjab and Track Supreme Stud, Ganganagar, Rajasthan
8 wins at 3 to 5 (1200+ m. to 1700+ m., mostly on dirt/AW) and placed earning $ 222,457.
Other stallion son of A.P. Indy in India: Equitable
Previous stallions at Track Supreme: Meteorologist, Equitable 

Mr. H.S. Dhillon of Track Supreme Stud, "Kakaji" to fellow breeders, has two firsts to his credit. He was the first breeder to import a son of Mr. Prospector (Meteorologist) and also the first breeder to introduce a son of A.P.Indy (Equitable). Equitable died after he had covered for just one season. Unfazed, Mr. Dhillon replaced him with another son of A.P. Indy. Unfortunately, the replacement lived only a little longer. Samhoon died in January 2013 leaving behind just two crops. 

Samhoon, whose dam is a full-sister to the ill-fated Breeders' Cup Sprint, Gr.1 winner Eillo, cost $ 140,000 as a yearling. The Darby Dan bred colt changed hands and trainers often in his four year racing career during which he raced almost exclusively on the East Coast. A winner of 8 races, he failed to earn any black-type. He is bred on the same cross as the successful sire Pulpit and as his pedigree has a daughter of Mr. Prospector as well a daughter of Northern Dancer, he is well suited to most mares. 

For his first covering season, Samhoon stood at A.B. Stud, Patiala and covered 57 mares which resulted in 36 foals. That is a fair representation. It will be interesting to see how his progeny fares for while A.P. Indy has been an outstanding stallion, his progeny had a definite preference for dirt and all weather tracks. 

STERN OPINION[USA] (gr 2005 Mizzen Mast - Helstra by Nureyev)
Standing at Pratap Racecitement Stud, Madaram, Dist. Ranga Reddy, Telangana
3 wins at 2 to 4 (all over 1000 m. on very soft to good going) and placed, earning 170,000 euros.
Best Racing Post Rating: 112
First stallion son of Mizzen Mast in India.
First stallion at Pratap Racecitement Stud.

Bred in U.S.A., the Juddmonte-bred Stern Opinion raced in France for the Saudi prince Khalid Abdulla. He was sparingly raced by Pascal Bary who sent the grey to races just 13 times in three years. Only one of those starts was over 1400 m.; the rest were at shorter distances. Stern Opinion's three wins, one each year, were over the minimum distances and all three were Listed races. His five places were gained in Gr.3 contests. 

Stern Opinion had respectable and consistent performance, some way below the elite company. However, he has an impressive pedigree. His sire Mizzen Mast  was a Gr.1 winner who has produced Gr.1 horses. This is the male line of Grey Gaston and Tejano in India. His dam line has several successful stallions like Shareef Dancer, Dancing Champ, Riboboy, Bold Russian (in India) and others. His dam line is equally impressive for Helstra is inbred to full sisters Thong and Moccasin. This is one of the most pre-eminent stallion producing families with the likes of Sadler's Wells, Nureyev, Fairy King, Numerous and others in its ranks. 

The son of Mizzen Mast was certainly not bred to be a minimum distance speedster so it is to be wondered how his genes have fallen. Stern Opinion stood at the  Lumbini Stud for his first covering season. He covered an assorted collection of 37 mares from which he has 15 foals on ground. He has a bigger second crop after having moved to Pratap Racecitement in 2013. The quality of mares and fledgling breeding establishments are likely to prevent from living up to his potential. 

VARENAR[FR] (ch 2006 Rock of Gibraltar - Visor by Mr. Prospector)
Standing at Equus Stud, Talegaon, Maharashtra
4 wins at 2 and 3 (1400 m. and 1600 m. on good, very soft and heavy going) and placed earning GBP 239,091
Best Official Rating 121
First stallion son of Rock of Gibraltar (son of Danehill) in India

Previous stallions at Equus: Red Rocket, Brave Owen, Metal Precieux, Puerto Madeiro, Royal Kingdom and Tariq. 

It isn't often that a European Gr.1 winner starts his stud career in India and if memory is to be trusted, Qutab Stud's Premio Parioli, Gr.1 winner Asopo was the last one to do so before Varenar. The Aga Khan bred and owned son of Rock of Gibraltar won the Total Prix de la Foret, Gr.1 at Longchamp for which the incomparable Goldikova was an odds on favourite. Varenar had not won a Group race before and did not do so afterwards. He ran four times at 4 in three different countries, all his starts being Group races, and a fourth in Germany was his best effort. His other two black-type credits also came at Longchamp - a second in Prix de la Porte Maillot, Gr.1 and a third in Prix du Pin, Gr.3.  

If the Foret victory flattered Varenar, it cannot be denied that he was bred to be a very good horse with three of his siblings being black-type winners including Visindar who was the favourite for Epsom Derby, Gr.1 in Sir Percy's year. Successful stallions Shadeed, Forty Niner, Yamanin and Perpetual can be found in his immediate family.

Varenar has 44 foals in his first crop, a sizeable number to make an impact if he has what it takes.

PAST THE POST

Mick Goss's Summerhill Stud in Natal is one of South Africa's leading breeding establishments. They have a saying at Summerhill - "An apple never falls far from the tree". What it means is that the produce of a farm generally conforms to the standards established over a period of time.

No matter what the credentials of an individual stallion, success or otherwise is very much dependent on the support he gets in terms of the quality of mares and the upbringing of the young stock.