When two-time Group 1 winner Mo’unga step out in the All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday, it will be for new owners Newhaven Park Stud.
Commissioned for sale through Magic Millions as a racing and stud prospect, the respected nursery announced on Thursday afternoon they had purchased the entire from Aquis Farm, with plans to race the Savabeel entire on before standing him at stud for the 2023 breeding season.
Newhaven Park principal John Kelly said he was wrapped to secure the colt and believes he has the makings of a champion stallion.
“Newhaven Park has purchased Mo’unga. Everyone has worked really hard to get the deal done and we are delighted to have bought him,” Kelly said.
“Everyone’s excited going into Saturday; we all have expectations that he’ll run a great race.
“We are going to syndicate him with some old and new clients, and we still have a few shares left.
“Aquis have retained a share in him; they’re going to come on the journey with us, so that’s great.
“We are very excited about it; we think with him being a son of Savabeel, out of an O’Reilly mare, he offers a great opportunity for Australian breeders.
He’s a beautiful outcross that’s worked very well with the Australian mares that have gone to New Zealand.”
Kelly said Newhaven Park is a big believer in Savabeel who has sired 27 Group 1 winners and 125 stakes winners (across 12 countries), taking his earnings to almost NZ$143 million, while his progeny has amassed in excess of over AU$63 million in Australia alone.
“We’re very big fans of him, we think that he’s an outstanding stallion,” he said.
“He’s one of the leading sires in the Southern Hemisphere and continues to do it year after year. His horses perform in the best company.
“We’ve already got one son of Savabeel (Cool Aza Beel) and now we’re lucky enough to have two.”
Mo’unga was purchased by Aquis Farm for NZ$235,000 at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale from the draft of Waikato Stud.
With five wins from 15 starts and a further five placings, the four-year-old has now amassed over $1.8 million in prizemoney and has two Group 1 victories to him name.
Starting his career with a first start win in a two-year-old maiden at the Gold Coast, he came back from a spell early in his three-year-old season to win a benchmark 64 at Newcastle before claiming the Listed Dulcify Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill at his third start.
Mo’unga then finished out of the placings in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) before being transferred from Chris Waller into the stable of Annabel Neasham.
It has been seven weeks since Mo’unga’s last start in which he finished second in the Group 1
Neasham missed out on running Mo’unga in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) as originally planned last month due to the horse having a slightly elevated temperature.
But heading into Saturday’s All Aged Stakes, the gap between runs shouldn’t be an issue, with the horse proving himself multiple times fresh and at the highest level over Saturday’s course and distance.
“He’s fit and well, working well, as well as he normally does anyway. I think this is his race,” said Neasham.
“He’s got the results on the board, he’s had one try over 1400m at Randwick and that was for a win, hopefully he can replicate that again,
“He’s on fresh legs, a lot of these horses could be tired having raced on those very wet tracks, so hoping that we’re going there with the fresh horse.”
Mo’unga will be partnered by Tommy Berry and the top jockey is confident of his chances, his only reservation being a heavy rated track.
“He has performed really well first-up over 1400, he won the (2021) Winx Stakes first-up and it’s the same sort of set up here,” Berry said.
“He has won on heavy ground before, but it takes a little bit of his brilliance away,
“If it was a really dry track, she (Neasham) would be overly confident, but it’s probably going to be an eight now and he is just a little bit better on drier ground.”
Randwick was a heavy 9 on Thursday but Australian Turf Club general manager of racecourses, Nevesh Ramdhani, said favourable weather conditions could see it improve.