Star Witness Tops Australasian First Crop Weanling Sires

A focus on the top five freshman weanling sires in Australia by average shows a diverse group with a pair of European classic horses, two home-grown stars, and a shuttler from the U.S.

Photo: Widden Stud
Star Witness (Starcraft—Leone Chiara, by Lion Hunter)

The list was topped by Star Witness (AUS) (TrueNicks), who was co-highweighted 2-year-old colt in Australia as well as top 3-year-old sprinter. His wins include the Blue Diamond (Aus-I) and Ascot Vale (Aus-I), and he also took second in the King's Stand (Eng-I) and third in the Golden Jubilee (Eng-I) in the same week at Royal Ascot. Star Witness is from the first crop of Nureyev's grandson Starcraft (NZ) (TrueNicks,SRO), a champion 3-year-old in Australia and group I-winning miler in England, out of mare by the Danehill stallion Lion Hunter.

Top-price at Aus$85,000 was a colt out of the Flying Spur mare Who's There, who is from the family of Shalford, Princess Tracy, Danasinga, and Tracy's Element. This colt is pretty intensely inbred, as he has Danehill 4x3 through Lion Hunter and Flying Spur (both Danehill/Native Dancer) and the three-quarters related Nureyev and Sadler's Wells 4x4 (view TrueNicks report).

At $80,000 was a colt by Star Witness out of the Lonhro (AUS) (TrueNicks,SRO) mare Crystal Whip, who in turn is out of Crystal Wit, a Distorted Humor (TrueNicks,SRO) stakes winner, who is a half sister to Australian champion 2-year-old Crystal Lily (view TrueNicks report). He's another with a Danzig double, with Star Witness's broodmare sire being a reverse Danzig/Native Dancer cross to Distorted Humor.

Second comes Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) victor Makfi (GB) (TrueNicks), who is clearly getting a good type as he was also leading European freshman sire by weanling average in Europe in 2012. By the exceptional young sire Dubawi (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) (grandson of Seeking the Gold, who enjoyed some success in Australia through Secret Savings), Makfi is out of a half sister to European champion 2-year-old Alhaarth, and his second dam is a half sister to the important sire Green Dancer. His top-priced horse, a colt that sold in New Zealand for NZ$55,000, is out of Glitter Woman, a Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks,SRO) daughter of the good Danehill juvenile Precious Glitter (view TrueNicks report). Rated B+ by TrueNicks, it boasts an interesting pedigree as Makfi, Fusaichi Pegasus, and the mare herself are all Mr. Prospector/Danzig crosses (Danzig is here 4x4x4). The granddam of this colt is also closely related to Makfi's broodmare sire, Green Desert.

The Seattle Slew/A.P. Indy line has never really gained much of a foothold in Australia, but the leading U.S. freshman sire of 2011, Congrats (TrueNicks,SRO), is an interesting A.P. Indy representative as his granddam is bred on a very similar cross to Danehill, and his dam is bred very similarly to Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO), who crossed well over Danehill (12 stakes winners including Sepoy (AUS) (TrueNicks,SRO) and Camarilla). They sold well, including a Aus$70,000 colt out of Queen of State (by Volksraad, a Green Desert son who has the half brothers Secretariat and Sir Gaylord, as does the dam of A.P. Indy), herself a stakes winning half sister Doncaster Handicap (Aus-I) victor Sprint By (view TrueNicks report). We also have to mention his second high-priced baby, a Aus$44,000 colt out of Momentous, a U.S. stakes-placed runner by A.P. Indy's half brother Summer Squall, and inbred to Weekend Surprise (view TrueNicks report).

Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO)'s son Shamardal proved pretty useful with his Australian crops, getting group I winners Faint Perfume, Maybe Discreet, and Captain Sonador, so it wasn't entirely surprising to see the first offerings by his shuttle son Lope de Vega be well-received. Lope de Vega emulated Shamardal by completing the French Two Thousand Guineas (Fr-I)/French Derby (Fr-I) double, and has a rather interesting pedigree, as he's 3x3 to Machiavellian, which gives three crosses of Halo and seven of his granddam, Almahmoud, including twice through daughters of Northern Dancer's dam, Natalma. From an inbreeding and linebreeding standpoint, that all makes him rather intriguing with Danehill (3x3 to Natalma, once through a daughter), and lo and behold, his top-priced offering was a Aus$95,000 colt out of the Danehill Dancer mare Dancescape (view TrueNicks report). The dam was herself stakes-placed and is a sister to juvenile group scorer Shrewd Rhythm, and three-quarters to group-winning sprinter Blur.

Still with Shamardal, his home-bred son Captain Sonador (a group I-winning miler) also found solid support with buyers, a very similar average and median pointing to consistency among those on offer. Like fellow Shamardal Lope de Vega, his top weanling at Aus$26,000 was out of a Danehill line mare, in the Not A Single Doubt (AUS) (TrueNicks,SRO) daughter Pyramisa's Lass (view TrueNicks report). Her second dam is by Marauding, by Sir Tristram out of a Biscay mare, where Captain Sonador's dam is by Kenny's Best Pal, who is by a son of Biscay out of a Sir Tristram mare. The dam also has the three-quarter related Nijinsky II and The Minstrel, while Captain Sonador is from the male line of their relative Storm Bird.

Not shown on the list below is Rip Van Winkle, who had one weanling sell for NZ$75,000, a colt produced from the winning Volksraad mare Linnet (view TrueNicks report). The second dam is New Zealand highweighted sprinter Balinchy.

Top 20 Australian/New Zealand First Crop Weanling Sires, by Average, Minimum 3 Sold

Stallion (Sire) Sold Average (Aus$) Median (Aus$)
1. Star Witness (Starcraft)940,27731,000
2. Makfi (Dubawi)335,81333,058
3. Congrats (A.P. Indy)529,60030,000
4. Lope de Vega (Shamardal)627,86617,500
5. Captain Sonador (Shamardal)522,30022,500
6. Hinchinbrook (Fastnet Rock)821,81222,500
7. Stryker (Fastnet Rock)1519,83321,000
8. Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike)1018,00010,250
9. Rothesay (Fastnet Rock)917,44419,000
10. Beneteau (Redoute's Choice)1517,36611,500
11. Equiano (Acclamation)716,48516,000
12. Reward For Effort (Exceed And Excel)413,00013,500
13. Shocking (Street Cry)1012,17311,157
14. Tickets (Redoute's Choice)710,6627,000
15. Drumbeats (Readoute's Choice)410,5627,500
16. Monaco Consul (High Chaparral)88,7183,000
17. Paco Boy (Desert Style)98,4985,785
18. Shamoline Warrior (Shamardal)47,868702
19. Showcasing (Oasis Dream)146,3283,099
20. Per Incanto (Street Cry)74,4153,719

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