Nevele R’s prayers answered by Father Patrick

By Garrick Knight

Every stallion needs a flagship horse in their first crop if they want to join the elite ranks as time wears on.

The new stallion game can be a cruel and unforgiving exercise for studs, who take the annual gamble on new sires to try and gather a bigger slice of the ever-dwindling market share.

Christchurch’s Nevele R Stud, once the country’s flagship stud farm and nursery, had fallen off the pace in recent years as super sires the likes of Bettor’s Delight and Art Major had boosted their Auckland-based competitors.

But like most things, the stud game is cyclical and Nevele R are on their way up the ladder thanks in to part to a little bit of luck.

When Ged Mooar and the team at Nevele R secured the frozen semen rights to a new trotting stallion back in 2016, they could not have imagined just what a good move that would turn out to be.

The USA-based son of Cantab Hall has since shot to stardom as the father of superstar three-year-old colt Greenshoe, who came from his first crop.

“What it marks it more remarkable is that he only had 29 foals in that first crop,” said Mooar, the General Manager at Nevele R.

“He was still racing at the time and only covered 40-odd mares.

“So, to get a superstar like Greenshoe is quite amazing.”

Early last week, the flow-on effects of that were evident when his full brother, Maverick, sold for US$1.1 Million at a Kentucky auction.

And Nevele R are now are benefitting too with Father Patrick’s book for this breeding season fully subscribed well in advance.

“We started getting calls back in March from a lot of people, a lot of top breeders with good trotting mares.

“I must have put the sign up over a month ago that he was full and he’s attracted a wonderful book of mares.”

Father Patrick’s first Down Under crop have just turned two and the New Zealand contingent numbers 29 foals, too.

Despite the calendar only just ticking over to October, he already has a workout winner and it came from New Zealand’s best stable.

Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen took the filly, named La Reina Del Sur, for a public hit-out with a stablemate at Rangiora on September 25 and she got home in a 30-second quarter to win.

Importantly, she trotted perfectly and did everything right.

“That’s in line with everything we have heard from breakers and trainers who have done the early education with the Father Patrick stock,” said Mooar.

“Quite a few have said they’re rapt with them and that has been reflected in his book this season.

“We’ve been astounded, to be honest, at the interest in him.”

And Greenshoe isn’t just a one-off freak, either.

Father Patrick’s next crop, juveniles in North America, have been kicking goals too and he is battling it out with the established king of trotting sires, Muscle Hill, at the top of all metric tables there at present.

Unfortunately, there are only 12 yearlings in New Zealand this season, but the next crop, foaling down this spring, will number more than 80 while next year’s is expected to be well in to six figures.

Trotting buffs will get their chance to buy one though – Mooar says Nevele R and sister company Spreydon Lodge plan on consigning a colt out of the former good mare Hot Pants in the upcoming yearling sales.

It wasn’t just Father Patrick doing the job for Nevele R in Kentucky last week – pacing sire Always B Miki also stuck his hand up, his progeny selling incredibly well.

Eleven of his stock sold for six-figures at the premium ‘day 1’ sale, including a high price of US$290,000 for a filly.

In fact, by all common indicators, he was second only to Somebeachsomewhere in terms of popularity.

He’s stood two seasons in New Zealand so far, in a joint collaboration between Nevele R and Alabar Stud, getting just shy of 100 mares both times.

But there will be none of the usual ‘third season hangover’ that strikes virtually every stallion – the breeding season before their first crop have been broken in or going through the yearling sales.

“He’s going to serve more mares this year than in each of his first two,” said Mooar.

“They sold like hot cakes in the USA last week and the feedback has been that he has really left a stamp on his stock.

“Really impressive, athletic types with good conformation and that was reflected not only in his American sale results, but in the interest we have been getting down here.

“Peter Lagan, from New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred, made a point of telling me that in his recent inspections, he was quite impressed by them”

The third strong to the bow for Nevele R as they fight their way back up the stud ladder is Vincent, who is about to embark on his second season at stud, again in a joint deal with Alabar.

“He got 260 mares between here and Australia last season, and 150 of them were in New Zealand.

“The first foals are dropping now so are we are eagerly anticipating their arrivals.

“He’ll serve a nice book again, going by the bookings we have so far.”

Recently retired pacing star Ultimate Machete is a new sire for the Stud and already has in excess of 60 bookings.

“He’s going ok – it’s never easy for a colonial stallion, but we are happy with the response to him.

“He’s impeccably-bred; his brother was last season’s three-year-old of the year and his sister is a Group 1 winner in Perth.

“We’re optimistic.”

Not just about Ultimate Machete, but the future of the famous nursery, no doubt.

 

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