It’s always an exciting time when a foal you’ve bred is born. You dream of the Champion it might become or, on occasions, the price it might bring at the sales. But that excitement is tenfold when the foal in question is a close relation to a Group One star. Such a baby arrived at Vinery Stud this week bred and owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds.
Even if you had no idea who the week-old colt’s illustrious half-brother is, he’s a foal that catches the eye. A flashy looking chestnut with a white blaze and three white socks, he is a well put together specimen. Suppose you add to his striking physical attributes that his famous sibling is Golden Slipper winner and recently crowned Champion two-year-old Farnan. In that case, you can understand the anticipation felt by his breeders.
While the newly arrived son of Arrowfield’s The Autumn Sun will understandably take the spotlight, the undoubted unsung heroine in this story is his dam Tallow. A hard-knocking and classy race mare in her time, she is developing into a fine broodmare under the expert guidance of the team at Vinery.
“She’s a lovely mare, not overly big but very strong, very powerfully quartered and a good tough race mare herself too” Explains Vinery’s General Manager Peter Orton.
“She came to us having missed a couple of seasons, but she’s now let down into a beautiful mare. She’s just in a beautiful state and grew the foal she just had really well. She’s a lovely mare to have around and a great mum; she looks after her foal beautifully.”
Of course, her new offspring has plenty to live up to. Like his big brother before him, he’ll be raised at the Scone farm, and it appears that he is making an impression already.
“Tallow’s not a big Street Cry mare, she’s strong, but with not much scope, so this mating with The Autumn Sun has been perfect for her,” says Orton. “He’s (The Autumn Sun) a lovely horse with plenty of size to him. This foal has a nice size to him and a lovely head and great hip and shoulder to him. We could not be happier!”
Inevitably comparison’s will be drawn between the newly minted colt and Farnan, so it seems pointless to delay that process. While it would be a lot to ask for any horse to follow in the Champion Juveniles hoofprints the chief of Vinery does feel that, at this early stage at least, the younger sibling is showing “a bit more quality.”
“They are a little bit different,” judges Orton. “Probably this foal has a bit more scope and elegance to it. Farnan was a bit more compact, more like his mother but quite strong, coming to us as an early weanling. He just did really well and was always in good shape. This new foal might just have a bit more quality to it.”
Soon after he was crowned Champion two-year-old, the Vinery Twitter account took everyone on a trip of nostalgia, posting pictures of a very young Farnan during his formative months at the farm. Always well put together and often the subject of good reports, the Golden Slipper winner has already fulfilled his potential. But was there a point that the team at Vinery spotted he might just be something a little special?
“We thought he was a Golden Slipper from the beginning!” joked Orton enjoying a good laugh at the thought. “Seriously though, he was a well-bred horse and I loved the mare when she was racing. She was true, honest, genuine race mare and to see the foal out of her was exactly what you’d expect from the mating. He was a go doing foal throughout with a good temperament and always good to work with and presented well at the sale.”
So the dream is alive again for Phoenix Thoroughbreds. Farnan, in winning the Golden Slipper fulfilled a long-held ambition of the Dubai based group to breed a Group One winner. Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott helped make that happen on the track, but before they had even laid eyes on the colt, he got his grounding with Orton and his staff. As mentioned, several times, the son of Not A Single Doubt has been crowned the Champion of his generation. It’s an accolade that one of Australia’s leading Stud farms can also take great pride in.
“It means a lot, “says Orton. “The staff are very dedicated to the job and we try and turn out a good product. It’s a good farm with a long, proud history of growing god quality racehorses. At the same time, you can’t make something out of something that isn’t there, but you can give them every opportunity and that’s what this farm does. It’s always good to see the stock that has come off the farm to go on and succeed.”
It’s early days, but there’s plenty of cautious excitement, is probably the best way to sum up the mood about this latest son of Tallow. Only time will tell if he’s as good as his brother. Fingers crossed.