Spring is officially 16 days away but the breeding season has already well and truly begun. The major studs have sent out their invitations for their upcoming Stallion Parades and Instagram is already awash with gorgeous newly arrived foals.
The breeding industry is one I have not had a great deal of involvement with, but there is one stallion who I love following and who holds a special place in the Ryan household - Snitzel.
*Australia's Champion Sire Snitzel. Photo courtesy Arrowfield Stud.
Snitzel has stood at Arrowfield Stud in the Hunter Valley since his retirement from racing in 2006. When you look at his pedigree and the records he and his progeny keep smashing, it's no wonder he commands a hefty $176,000 service fee or that Black Caviar has a
yearling filly by him.
By the three-time champion sire Redoute's Choice, Snitzel was purchased at the 2004 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale for $260,000 by trainer Gerald Ryan. The horse was named after owner Damion Flower, who earned the nickname ‘Schnitzel’ as a 17-year-old, due to severe grazing to his face sustained in a car accident.
As his trainer, Gerald has been part of Snitzel’s story the whole way through his career. He prepared him for all of his 15 starts which included 7 wins and 4 placings. He won the Group 1 MRC Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield, beating Virage de Fortune and Takeover Target and amassed career prizemoney earnings of $1.03 million.
In the 2005 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens, Snitzel bumped his head in the barriers before the start. Gerald will always argue he never should have been allowed to race. He did race, finished down the track and came back to the mounting yard a little dazed and with a bump to his nose...a bump he still has today, 12 years later!
Gerald went on to train Snitzel’s first winner Intertidal, his fourth stakes winner Hot Snitzel and his first female Group 1 winner Snitzerland. By 31 July 2017, Gerald’s record with the Snitzel tribe stood at 53 winners of 121 races, twelve of them stakes winners with 28 Group & Listed Race victories on the board. With a number of Snitzel’s progeny in his stables, these impressive stats are guaranteed to keep growing – and already have, with exciting 3YO colt Menari saluting for Corumbene Stud and Gerald in the listed ATC The Rosebud on 12 August.
Snitzel had a relatively quiet start to his stud career, with Chance Bye the only 2YO stakes winner to emerge from his first crop. However, he progressed steadily until his breakthrough season in 2013/14 when he finished second on the General Sires’ Premiership to his own sire Redoute's Choice. He made the top 10 in the next two seasons and in 2016/17 claimed the title with such dominance that it’s easier to list what he did not do.
Snitzel claimed all three major Sires' earnings premierships (General, 3YO & 2YO) and is Arrowfield Stud’s fifth resident to become Australia’s Champion Sire. In all, 29 of his progeny won 36 worldwide Group and Listed Races in 2016/17, including a sequence of four Group 1 wins within 17 days during the Autumn. That helps to explain why his 111 yearlings sold for an average price of $375,732 at the 2017 Sales.
Snitzel has also made history with five very special achievements in 2017:
Equaling his grand-sire Danehill's single-season record of 26 Australian stakes winners.
Setting a new Australian record for stallion earnings in a season with $16.1 million.
Securing the first Australian Group 1 2YO trifecta by the same stallion since 1982 (Invader, Summer Passage and Trapeze Artist in the ATC Inglis Sires’ Produce Stakes).
Claiming sole ownership of the Australian-sired 2YO winners record, with a season tally of 35 (inc. three in New Zealand).
Completing an unprecedented three-generation sequence of Champion Australian Sires: Danehill (9 titles), Redoute's Choice (2006, 2010, 2014) & Snitzel (2017).
Arrowfield Stud Chairman John Messara, remembers when Snitzel first crossed his radar, back in the 2004/05 season.
“I could see he was a precocious two-year-old and a talented sprinter with a pedigree to match and of course, sired by Redoute’s Choice. While he was not very big, he had great balance…I had faith in his trainer Gerald Ryan who has proved himself a whiz not only with Snitzel, but also with his progeny.”
So if you’re looking for a way to pick a winner over the upcoming Spring Carnival, it mightn’t hurt to check out the breeding to see if Snitzel features. And in the words of John Messara, "I can’t wait to see what he does next!”
Visit arrowfield.com.au for more details.
*Snitzel winning the 2006 MRC Oakleigh Plate.
HORSE TO FOLLOW UPDATE
Further to my previous post on Henry Dwyer's filly, Lani,(if you missed it, read it here) she will have her first start this Thursday 17th August at Sale. Her official name is now Think I'm Dreaming. Her first trial zapped her energy a little so Henry sent her to the paddock to have a few weeks recovery before coming back into work and trialing again 10 days ago at Moe. There are plenty of first starters in Thursday's race which makes lining up the form guide a very hard task, but Henry has been happy with her track work. However she performs on Thursday, she'll only benefit from the experience.
Check our Thursday's race form HERE and all the best to her connections!