Widden Stud Now Available on TrueNicks
Written by Alan Porter | May 18, 2011 |
Widden Stud has been a breeding farm since 1867 and has been in the same family – the Thompsons – for seven generations. They have stood Australian champion sires Lochiel, Grafton, Malster, Bletchingly, Vain, and Marscay. Despite its proud history, however, the focus is firmly on the future, with the farm presenting a roster of outstanding young stallions.
The current line-up is headed by champion 2-year-old and champion first season sire Stratum (AUS) (TrueNicks). A son of Redoute’s Choice, Stratum earned his juvenile crown with a win in the Golden Slipper (gr. I, video below). It was a victory in the 2010 renewal of the same race by his daughter Crystal Lily that propelled Stratum to the freshman crown. Crystal Lily was one of three stakes winners in Stratum’s first crop, and his second crop – now only 2 – has already produced five stakes winners, headed by the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (gr. II) victor Running Tall.
Stratum is not the only champion 2-year-old currently standing at Widden, as that honor was also earned by Sebring (AUS) (TrueNicks). Winner of his first five starts at 2, Sebring captured in succession the AJC Breeders’ Plate, Canonbury Stakes, Golden Slipper (gr. I), and AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes (gr. I). Sebring is a son of More Than Ready, two-time champion sire of 2-year-olds in Australia, and leading sire of 2-year-olds in the U.S., the only horse to earn those titles in both countries. Out of a mare by Flying Spur, Sebring is from the family of Golden Slipper winner and important speed sire Baguette.
Another brilliant speedster by a champion sire is Northern Meteor (AUS) (TrueNicks). He broke a course record for 1250m when scoring his first win, and he repeated the trick in his second score, establishing a new mark for 1200m at Randwick in the Tatts Brian Crowley Stakes. His crowning triumph, however, was a smashing win in the VRC Ascot Vale Stakes (gr. I). Northern Meteor is a son of two-time champion sire Encosta de Lago. The dam, Explosiva, a stakes-placed daughter of Fappiano, is also dam of group winner Queen of the Hill and stakes winner Rabbuka, and granddam of this year’s brilliant juvenile graded scorer Smart Missile. The granddam, Scuff, is a stakes winner by Forli out of U.S. Horse of the Year Moccasin, and is a sister-in-blood to Thong, dam of Nureyev, and granddam of Sadler’s Wells and of Encosta de Lago’s sire Fairy King. Northern Meteor retired to stud in 2009, and his first crop are now weanlings.
Staying with speed merchants we come to Nicconi (AUS) (TrueNicks), who was joint top of the 2008-2009 Australasian Sprint Classification. He is a dual group I winner, taking the VRC Lightning Stakes (gr. I) and AJC The Galaxy (gr. I). He’s by Danzig’s very well-bred son Bianconi, himself a sprint champion, and he is half brother to the four-time group I winner Niconero, and from the family of the good sire Military Plume. Nicconi served his first season in 2010.
Nicconi is a Danzig grandson, and as one might expect, the Danehill branch of Danzig is also well-represented at Widden. We’ve mentioned Stratum, who is by Danehill’s champion sire son Redoute’s Choice, and other Danehill line representatives at Widden are Strada, Lucky Owners, Dreamscape, and Tickets.
Strada (AUS) (TrueNicks) is a dual stakes-winning sprinter with record-breaking speed. A son of Danehill, he is a brother to the group I winner Shinzig, and is bred on the Danehill/Mr. Prospector cross that also produced Flying Spur. He is already getting 2-year-old winners with his first crop this year, including the stakes-placed three-time scorer Charm’s Honour.
Lucky Owners (NZ) (TrueNicks) is another Danehill son. He did his racing in Hong Kong, where he captured the Hong Kong Mile (gr. I), the Hong Kong Derby, and the International Mile Trial. He’s out of Miss Priority, a stakes-winning three-parts-sister to Horse of the Year Might and Power. Lucky Owners has already sired a trio of group winners: The Heckler, champion 2-year-old in New Zealand and winner of the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (gr. I); Masquerader, who took the STC Todman Slipper Trial (gr. II); and The Hombre, winner of the Rough Habit Plate (gr. III).
Dreamscape (AUS) (TrueNicks) is a son of champion 2-year-old and Australian International Horse of the Year Choisir (by Danehill’s champion 2-year-old son Danehill Dancer). He made a remarkable start to his career. As a 3-year-old running for the first time, he defeated established runners, including group I winner Duporth, to take the AJC Up and Coming Stakes (gr. III). Subsequently, he went on to add the AJC Stan Fox Stakes (gr. II) and AJC Liverpool City Cup (gr. III). Dreamscape’s granddam, Handsewn, is a half sister to Special, the dam of Nureyev, and granddam of Sadler’s Wells and Fairy King (sire of Encosta de Lago). Dreamscape will be serving his second season in 2011.
The precocious Tickets (AUS) (TrueNicks), like Stratum, is a son of Redoute’s Choice. Tickets took the AJC Cannonbury Stakes on his debut, defeating Manhattan Rain and Wanted, and his 2-year-old campaign also included a win in the Pago Pago Stakes (gr. II) and seconds in the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes (gr. I) and AJC Champagne Stakes (gr. I). He trained on to add the Poseidon Stakes and Phar Lap Stakes (gr. II) at 3. Tickets is out of six-time group stakes winner Staging, and is three-parts-brother to group I-winning 2-year-old Excites, and half brother to group I-winning sprinter Duporth. Tickets will serve his first season in 2011.
Also retiring to Widden for 2011 is the exciting sprinter Star Witness (AUS) (TrueNicks). Winner of three of his four starts at 2, including the Talindert Stakes and Blue Diamond Stakes (gr. I), Star Witness, added the VRC Ascot Vale Stakes (gr. I) this term, and also chased home superstar Black Caviar in the Victoria Racing Club Stakes (gr. I). Star Witness is from the first crop of champion Australasian 3-year-old and world co-highweighted older turf miler Starcraft. He also owns a speedy pedigree on the distaff side, as his dam, Leone Chiara, was a group stakes-winning sprinter, and is a sister to the fast group winners Ferocity and Chinchilla Rose.
The Widden line-up is completed by Snippetson (AUS) (TrueNicks). As his name suggests, he is by champion 2-year-old and sprinter Snippets, and he’s also a brother to the group I-winning speedster Snowland. Snippetson was also a smart performer in his own right, his four victories including the listed STC Eskimo Prince Stakes, which he took in race record time, and the STC Maurice McCarten Stakes. With his first crop only 3, Snippetson is already sire of five black type horses, including the group II-winning Fast Clip, and current 2-year-old stakes winner Miss Upstart.