their cricket might suck but their horses can run pi
their cricket might suck but their horses can run pi

Street Sense (USA)

(Photo : NYRA)

Australia’s Thoroughbreds reveal their depth.

There is something about the human psyche that backs the underdog. For more than a decade, Australia’s cricketers have ruled the world, and with South Africa, their rugby players are the only other nation to have scooped two World Cup titles. The world has been waiting for the fall. Right now, the troops with the baggy green caps, are under the cosh while England made smashed eggs of the yellow-shirted Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday. But the Aussies are a resilient lot, and when there’s one division not firing, be sure there’ll be another one popping its head up in glory.

Attendees at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup were again reminded of the depth of Australia’s thoroughbreds, when Hollywoodboulevard and Igugu, R900,000 and R1 million graduates respectively of the 2009 Emperors Place Ready To Run Sale, fought out a stirring finish for the R1,5 million on offer. The next day, in the bull ring at the TBA sales complex, the top six horses were all Australians, five of them making a million or more, and while all are sons and daughters of renowned international stallions, the outcome simply reminded us what the “shuttle” concept has had on Australian breeding. It’s true, of course, that in the first four stagings of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup, the Aussies have been unsighted, despite their price tags, so for those of us involved in the consignment of Aussie-breds, it was a welcome advertisement.

The country’s two biggest features of the weekend, the Victory Moon Handicap (Gr.2) (Perana) and the Starling Stakes (Gr.3) (Gibraltar Blue) were both scooped by the progeny of the celebrated racehorse, Rock Of Gibraltar. Mike de Kock’s grapevine tells us Perana is headed for the J&B Met (Gr.1), while Gibraltar goes for the 150th renewal of the best “mile&” in South Africa, the Queens Plate (Gr.1).

Across the seas, and more specifically in Kentucky, USA, we hear illuminating stories of the first crop of Street Sense, the only horse in history to have completed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby double. Those who know the history of the “cold war” between the giants the Maktoum family of Dubai and Coolmore of Ireland, will recall that neither has been inclined to buy the progeny of stallions belonging to the other during the three or four years of stand-offs since Sheikh Mohammed’s declaration.

There appear to be signs of a thaw in the offing with the purchase by Coolmore’s Demi O’Byrne of a smart youngster by Street Sense at the Keeneland September Sale, an aberration which signals intent of an altogether different kind. The question is, is there a diplomatic strategy behind the purchase, or is it simply a case of the Street Senses being irresistible to a man of Demi O Byrne’s talents? According to Bill Oppenheim, one highly regarded judge who has seen quite a few of the progeny of both Street Sense and his famous sire Street Cry, believes if anything,  the foals of the son might be a little nicer than those of the father, and we all know what Street Cry has done in establishing himself as one of America’s most desirable stallions.

So where does all of this lead take us? Well its part information and part propaganda. You see, the Summerhill draft for the 2011 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale includes both a son and a daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar, as well as a typical son from the first southern hemisphere-bred crop of Street Sense. But that’s not the end. Among the millionaires at last weekend’s sale was a spectacular son of Elusive Quality, sire of this year’s top-rated American racehorse, Quality Road, as well as the international luminaries Smarty Jones and Raven’s Pass. Need we say it, but there’s an exceptional son of Elusive Quality in the draft as well.

Those that know our drafts, will tell you that it’s been a feature of our consignments of the past to include a smattering of Australians among them. We think we’re getting better in our selections, and while this has involved paying more to acquire the right stock, the battle between Hollywoodboulevard and Igugu justfifies the money. We think our offering for next year climaxes all previous entries, but as Dennis Davis is want to say on E News at 5:30 pm every Sunday, “You Be The Judge”.