earthThe major races in Australasia this weekend at Te Rapa in New Zealand and Caulfield in Australia - were again dominated by Australia’s three main stallion studs: Coolmore, Arrowfield and Darley, writes John Berry.

Numerically, Darley sires had the edge in Stakes results, but the weekend’s best race, the C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, produced a battle-royal between horses conceived at Coolmore and Arrrowfield. In recent years it has been run at the Club’s flagship venue Caulfield, but in one sense Sandown was more suitable: the long, uphill straight there used to give classy milers a chance of being competitive against the sprinter/milers, making it a truly intriguing weight-for-age contest, won by the likes of Melbourne Cup winners At Talaq and Jeune.

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgClick here to watch the C.F. Orr Stakes 2008

The on-pace bias often in evidence at Caulfield – and very much in evidence there this weekend – makes the race nowadays more one-dimensional. This year the pattern of racing proved decisive. Shinzig, a son of the late Danehill and winless for 30 months, got the honours in a blanket finish by a short-head, but of similar merit was the run of the luckless, fast-finishing runner-up Niconero, whose sire Danzero is one of the three sons of Danehill currently resident at Arrowfield.

Now that he has his name of the Group One scoresheet, the six-year-old has presumably earned the right to become yet another son of Danehill to stand at stud.

Summerhill has almost single handedly pioneered the importation of quality sons of Danehill into South Africa, and this weekend’s juvenile results showed the value of this policy when Requiem, the first of these imports, produced his first two winners in three days.

This year’sWaikato Sprint was principal among the big races won by a Darley-sired runner on Saturday: New Zealand’s champion mare Seachange, a daughter of Cape Cross, used it to increase her tally of Group One victories to seven. Reassuringly for our customers, Summerhill’s National Yearling Sales draft includes a smashing colt by Cape Cross, acquired as a weanling from Darley with all the pedigree trappings that go with the Darley stock.

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgClick here to watch the Waikato Sprint 2008.

The Waikato Sprint was one of two Group One races on the cards at Te Rapa, the winners of both of which were won by the offspring of Darley Stallions. The other one, the International Stakes was won by the Fantastic Light three-year-old Mission Critical. Bred by Darley, this colt boasts a superb lineage, no better though than the beautifully bred winner of the Blue Diamond Prelude (fillies) on Saturday, Believe ‘n Succeed.

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgClick here to watch the International Stakes 2008.

When considering the success of stallions, it is unwise to overlook the assistance which popular sires are given by the mares that they cover, as the backgrounds of both Shinzig and Mission Critical remind us.

It was a similar case in both versions of the Blue Diamond Preludes, a pair of Group Three events (for colts & fillies) which serve as the main lead-up races for the Blue Diamond Stakes, Melbourne’s principal juvenile race. Remarkably, young Darley sire Exceed and Excel sired the quinella in both heats. While he is obviously a hugely promising stallion, he has had plenty of help from his mares.

Quite amazingly, one of Summerhill’s most endearing physical specimens for the “Nationals” is a Fantastic Light half sister to the winner of the Fillies version of the Prelude, out of the Gone West mare, Arctic Drift. A great opportunity for investors to tap into an internationally celebrated family.

Click here to view Summerhill Yearlings for National Yearling Sale