Dunkel (Dundeel) made it 20 Gr 1 wins for New Zealand-breds in Australia this season when winning the South Australian Derby.
(This article was written on May 15, but is still worthy of publishing as it highlights how strong New Zealand thoroughbred breeding is.)
Bren O’Brien (anzbloodstocknews.com)
Kiwis’ Awesome Autumn Keeps Delivering
By The Numbers examines a once-in-a-generation season for New Zealand-bred horses in Australia and highlights Australia’s two most recent champion sires reaching the same milestone
The dominance of New Zealand-bred horses in Australian Group 1 races is a theme this column keeps coming back to – and that record was enhanced further by Dunkel’s (Dundeel) victory in the South Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) on Saturday, May 13.
Since the start of The Championships on April 1, there have been 14 Group 1 races staged in Australia and Kiwi-breds have won 11 of them, including all three of the top-flight races held at Morphettville.
To give some historical context to the success that horses with the (NZ) suffix are having, By The Numbers dug into the Group 1 results of recent seasons and found that 2022/23 has witnessed their most successful Australian plunder since 2010/11.
New Zealand-bred horses have won 20 of Australia’s 67 Group 1 races this season, just short of the 21 achieved across the entire season 12 years ago. Given there are still seven Group 1 races remaining on the calendar, there will be ample opportunity to match and surpass that high.
Number of Australian Group 1 wins by NZ-bred horses per season
Season G1 wins
Last season, New Zealand-bred horses won 16 Australian Group 1s, while in 2020/21 it was 18, boosted by a contribution of six in a season from wonder-mare Verry Elleegant (Zed).
A couple of stars also featured in that 21 Group 1-race-haul in Australia from Kiwi-breds in 2010/11, with So You Think (High Chaparral) winning four elite races during a spectacular 2010 Melbourne spring, while More Joyous (More Than Ready) also won four Group 1 races over that season.
The 2022/23 season is very different in that there have been 19 individual Australian Group 1 winners bred in New Zealand, with two-year-old Militarize (Dundeel) the only one with multiple successes.
A further showcase of that diversity is that those 19 horses are by 15 individual sires, with Waikato Stud’s Savabeel (Zabeel) – three; Rich Hill Stud’s Proisir (Choisir) – two; and Arrowfield’s Dundeel (High Chaparral) – two, the only three with multiple representatives.
Dundeel may have been based in Australia since beginning his breeding career at Arrowfield in 2014, but he continues to do his bit for his ‘home’ of New Zealand and its breeding industry. Dunkel is the third of his seven Group 1 winners with an (NZ) suffix, having been bred by Sir Peter Vela’s Pencarrow Thoroughbreds.
Dunkel delivered Patrick Payne a famous first Group 1 as a trainer at his 22nd attempt, 29 years after he won the SA Derby as a jockey on Bullwinkle (Belotto), joining a very select group to have won a Group 1 in both roles.
Saturday’s racing also proved another successful stage for Australia’s Champion Stallion, I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), who celebrated four winners across the country.
Friday saw the Yarraman Park legend notch his 800th individual winner, with the maiden victory of Afterlight at Scone, and 24 hours later the win of Heman at Kembla Grange ticked that over to 801.
Our research indicates that I Am Invincible is the third fastest Australian stallion to 800 winners, trailing only Coolmore’s Fastnet Rock (Danehill) and Darley’s Exceed And Excel (Danehill). By the same point of his career, Fastnet Rock had produced 1,082 winners from both hemispheres, with 839 from his Australian crops.
Exceed And Excel, also a successful shuttler, had 1,109 winners at the same point of his career. Of those, 808 were bred from his Australian crops. That second number is the fairer comparison with I Am Invincible as he has never shuttled.
‘Vinnie’ is the seventh active Australasian stallion to achieve the 800 mark, following on from the two listed above, Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) (1,116), Savabeel (881), Street Boss (Street Cry) (854) and another recent addition to the ‘800 club’, Written Tycoon (Iglesia) (801). The now Yulong resident brought up the milestone with the win of King’s Taj at Seymour in late April.
Active Australasian sires with more than 800 winners
Exceed And Excel 1,742
Fastnet Rock 1,497
Street Boss 854
Written Tycoon 801
I Am Invincible 801
* As of May 13
I Am Invincible remains on track for back-to-back titles as Australian Champion Sire, building his lead to nearly $2.2 million over Savabeel. He is also on track to claim a fifth straight success as Australia’s top sire by winners – currently 165 – and is also the leading sire by stakes winners with 21. The last time a sire claimed all three honours in the same season was in 2017/18, when Snitzel claimed the sires’ hat-trick.
The incredibly consistent Snitzel is third on the Australian Sires table and on Saturday celebrated a 15th stakes winner for the season when Hip Hip Hurrah won the Woodlands Stakes (Listed, 1100m) at Scone.
The Michael Freedman-trained filly became the third of Snitzel’s progeny to win the Scone juvenile feature, joining Macroura and Debonairly, and delivered her sire a 52nd two-year-old stakes winner.
Snitzel’s 50th juvenile stakes winner was Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Shinzo, who has helped propel him to the top of the list of two-year-old sires by earnings. He looks destined to claim that honour at the end of the season for the fourth time.
At the other end of the scale, Eureka Stud’s Encryption (Lonhro) marked his first stakes winner with the victory of the Rex Lipp-trained two-year-old Cifrado in the Spirit Of Boom Classic (Gr 2, 1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Encryption is the tenth son of Lonhro (Octagonal) to become a stakes-winning stallion in his own right, joining a list led by Pierro (34 stakes winners) and Denman (18). Another of Lonhro’s boys, Novara Park’s Sweynesse, marked his sixth stakes winner, and just his second in Australia, with the victory of Special Swey for Chris Waller in the Rough Habit Plate (Gr 3, 2000m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Including Encryption, there are now eight freshman sires with stakes winners in Australia this season. That’s twice as many as there were for the entirety of last season.
Heading that list is Justify (Scat Daddy), who now has three Australian-bred stakes winners after the victory of Air Assault in the SA Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
First season sires with Australian stakes winners
Sire Stakes winners
Harry Angel 3
Written By 2
Brave Smash 1
The Autumn Sun 1
The Coolmore-based Triple Crown winner now has five first-crop winners in Australia, putting him equal second on winners with Harry Angel (Dark Angel) and Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) in the race to be leading first season sire by winners.
Brave Smash (Tosen Phantom), the former Aquis-based stallion set to take up residence at Yarraman Park this season, leads the way on eight, with his latest winner coming at Tuncurry on Saturday via the Kris Lees-trained Yamabushi.
Another Japanese-bred freshman sire with a significant winner on Saturday was Real Steel (Deep Impact). He may have only spent one season at Arrowfield, but the Dubai Turf (Gr 1, 1800m) winner is making a mark with his progeny.
The Ken and Kasey Keys-trained Scheelite was his second Australian winner and his first Saturday winner with an impressive success in the opening race at Flemington.
Real Steel already has 39 winners from his first crop in Japan, among them Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m) winner All Parfait.