Rich Hill Stud’s John Thompson is confident the first yearlings by the farm’s shuttle stallion Satono Aladdin will be well received as they get set to go under the hammer at what will be a unique Karaka 2021.
A son of phenomenal Japanese stallion Deep Impact, Satono Aladdin was a top-flight racehorse who won eight races including the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) in a slick time of 1:31.5. Shuttling from Japan’s world-famous Shadai Stallion Station, Satono Aladdin served 91 mares at Rich Hill Stud in 2018 and 58 last year before COVID-19 restrictions prevented his return in 2020.
“It is an exciting time when you present the first crop of any stallion but when they are by a Group One winning son of Deep Impact, it makes it easier,” Thompson said. “They are quite well muscled horses that walk well. “He’s been very well supported by breeders, and especially when you consider he’s not a syndicate-owned stallion.
“There’s been great feedback for his first progeny. We’ve had a number of yearling parades already – because of the quarantine requirements and the Gold Coast sale, a lot of agents are having to get out and look at horses a bit earlier than normal.
“Agents like Guy Mulcaster and Dean Hawthorne have had a good look at Satono Aladdin’s progeny, and the feedback has been really positive. We’ve heard great things about not only our yearlings, but also the ones in other drafts.”
Aside from his impressive racetrack performance, Thompson believes Satono Aladdin’s pedigree should be a major drawcard in New Zealand and Australia. “Of all the sons of Deep Impact who have gone to stud in Australasia, I think he has the most relevant bloodlines for this part of the world,” he said.
“He’s out of a Storm Cat mare, and the second dam is by Fappiano. Fappiano was the damsire of Northern Meteor, who proved to be such a great influence in the brief time he was at stud. Obviously he’s the sire of Zoustar, among others.
“Then the third dam is a stakes-winning Nijinsky mare. So it’s blood that’s worked very well in Australia and New Zealand, and the bloodlines have clicked here. Aside from his race record and the fact that he’s such a lovely-looking horse, I think his pedigree is what excites me the most about him.”
Thompson said given New Zealand’s borders remain closed, vendors will be going above and beyond to provide as much information as possible about yearlings in their draft. “We will be getting as many photos and videos that we can provide and I believe people will probably ring when the horses are on the sale ground and request further videos or information and obviously we’re happy to oblige,” Thompson said.
Like many, Thompson took heart from a positive Ready To Run Sale, where international buyers proved willing to operate remotely, adapting to the unique climate the world currently finds itself in.
Meanwhile, Rich Hill’s other stallions have enjoyed a highly successful spring, with Proisir taking top billing. With his oldest progeny now four-year-olds, the son of Choisir has sired 43 winners from 80 runners to date.
His four stakes winners include the super-impressive Levante, who extended her record to five wins from six starts with a scintillating victory in the Counties Bowl (1100m), and she flew home late to run third in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) on New Year’s Day at her first crack at elite level.
Riodini was a Group 3 winner in New Zealand last season and placed in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick this spring, while the lightly raced Aimee’s Jewel starred in last month’s Group 3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and Vitesse Bo won the Group 3 War Decree Stakes (1600m) in October.
“Levante’s win at Pukekohe was one of those performances that everyone was talking about,” Thompson said. “It was freakish and made me think back to some of those stars of the past, like Xcellent and Mr Tiz. “It was a performance that you had to see to believe, and it wasn’t like she was passing maidens. So that was hugely exciting for us.
“Proisir is going from strength-to-strength at the moment, and this is all from when he was at a $7,000 service fee. He is upgrading a lot of mares which is a good sign. “This season he served a book better and bigger than previous years so that is good. As far as we are concerned it is onwards and upwards with him.
“Group 1 performance in Australia is so important for any stallion, so we were thrilled with what Riodini did in Sydney. He didn’t fire in the Golden Eagle (1500m) on a wet track after that. You can’t blame connections for having a go for that huge stake, but it was just too wet for him. He wasn’t the only one who struggled that day.”
Thompson is also excited about the prospects for Vadamos, whose oldest progeny are now two- year-olds. A Group 1-winning son of mighty Melbourne Cup (3200m) sire Monsun, Vadamos has sired 14 winners from his first crop of northern hemisphere two-year-olds, including a stakes performer.
“He’s in a really good space,” Thompson said. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by his number of two-year-old winners in the northern hemisphere. He’s got a couple of quite progressive young horses, including Joseph O’Brien’s Messidor, who’s put together two impressive wins in a row.
“We didn’t buy him to be a sire of two-year-olds, so what he’s done so far has been a real bonus.”
With Karaka 2021 now less than a month away, Thompson is philosophical about the lingering spectre of COVID-19. “It’s going to be challenging, but it’s beyond our control,” he said. “We have to look at the positives. Trainers still need horses for their stables, the demand is still going to be there, and I think the stallion depth is a lot better in New Zealand than it was a few years ago.
“There are a number of exciting young ones coming through, including some of ours, while a few others have really come to the fore over the last couple of seasons – horses like Ocean Park, Reliable Man and Sacred Falls, and our own Shocking, who has an exciting horse like Elephant and sired the first two in the New Zealand Cup (Group 3, 3200m), is having a very good year as well. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”