Spendthrift Keeping With Dual Hemisphere Tradition

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Hampton Court | Spendthrift

By John Berry

The world is a much smaller place than it used to be. One American stud at the forefront of its contraction is one of Kentucky’s most historic properties, Spendthrift, which is maintaining its proud tradition of pioneering links to the antipodes.

Three members of Spendthrift’s Kentucky roster have been covering at the stud’s Australian arm during the past few months. When the trio of Can The Man (Into Mischief), Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) and Warrior’s Reward (Medaglia D’Oro) returned to Kentucky for the forthcoming season, they were accompanied on the trip by the fourth member of Spendthrift’s Australian roster, their colleague Hampton Court (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), who is now available to American breeders for the forthcoming breeding season.

The shuttling of stallions from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere has been a regular practice now for nearly 30 years, but the reverse journey represents a road less travelled. Darley recently took a big leap forward by bringing former Australian champion sire Lonhro (Aus) (Octagonal (NZ)) to Jonabell for three seasons from 2012. Spendthrift is now leading the charge, and it is doing so with what looks like an ideal horse. Furthermore, Spendthrift is an ideal operation to be doing this because it has had antipodean links for decades.

Back in the 1950s when Australasian bloodstock was a closed book to most people in the Northern Hemisphere, Leslie Combs II broke the mold, standing two Australian champions at Spendthrift simultaneously: Bernborough (Aus) (Emborough (GB)) and Shannon (Aus) (Midstream (GB)). Both were successful, with Bernborough’s offspring headed by the likes of Berseem, Bernwood, First Aid and Hook Money, and Shannon’s stock including the mighty Clem, conqueror of Round Table in track record time in the Washington Park Handicap in 1958.

Leslie Combs would have been proud of the direction which Spendthrift, now under the stewardship of B. Wayne Hughes, has taken more recently, establishing an Australian division at the former Yallambee Stud at Romsey in Victoria. The stallions sent there from Kentucky have been carefully selected to produce horses suited by Australian conditions, and similar thought has gone into the decision to bring Hampton Court to Kentucky.

From an international point of view, Hampton Court’s most obvious selling point is his sire: the great Redoute’s Choice, who currently ranks as Australia’s most notable sire of sires and who can be regarded as the greatest of all the many great stallions sired by Danehill–who himself ranked as the best stallion sired by Danzig.

Redoute’s Choice is much more than merely an Australian celebrity, as was shown by the reception which he received when he shuttled to the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval in 2013 and 2014, when he ranked as easily the most expensive stallion in France. His first European yearlings duly proved extremely popular in 2015, selling for up to €950,000 in France and 725,000gns in England. Furthermore, sons of Redoute’s Choice conceived in Australia to Northern Hemisphere time have done very well. These include Elzaam (Aus), a six-length sprint winner in stakes company in England in 2011 and now a stallion at Ballyhane Stud in Ireland.

So popular is Redoute’s Choice that only good mares can find a place in his book. Hampton Court duly comes from an excellent family, his Canadian-bred dam (Roses ‘N’ Wine) (Broken Vow) being related to triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva (GB) (Desert King (Ire)), 20-time Irish stakes winner Famous Name (GB) (Dansili (GB)) and U.S. Grade II winner Tres Borrachos (Ecton Park). It is, of course, particularly eye-catching that he comes not only from the same family as Makybe Diva and Famous Name, but also from the same sire-line, all three horses being by sons of Danehill.

This strong pedigree, combined with his attractive physique, saw Hampton Court knocked down for A$500,000 at Inglis’ Sydney Easter Yearling Sale in 2013.

Having joined the stable of Gai Waterhouse, Hampton Court went on to live up to his price tag. One of the smartest 2-year-olds in Sydney in the 2013/’14 season when he won over 1400 meters before putting in several solid performances in Group company, he came into his own the following spring. Having recorded his first black-type victory by taking the Dulcify H. over 1600 meters at Randwick, he became a Group 1 winner a week later by taking the Spring Champion S. over 2000 meters at the same track, beating the Group 1-winning filly First Seal (Aus)( Fastnet Rock {Aus}) by 2 1/4 lengths in track record time. He continued to race through the ‘14/’15 season, and ended up retiring sound after 15 races.

Hampton Court spent his first season at stud at Spendthrift Australia in 2015 at a fee of A$8,800 (inc. GST) or at A$11,000 (inc. GST) on Spendthrift’s well-received “Share The Upside” program. He proved popular in Victoria, and it seems certain that he will find favour in Kentucky, too, where the “Share The Upside” deal is also available for him, as is Spendthrift’s Breed Secure Program. Attractively priced at $6,000 (stands and nurses) or $7,500 (Share the Upside) he is being given every chance of making the grade, and of cementing Spendthrift’s position as a dual-hemisphere pioneer.

It is to be hoped that Hampton Court will get plenty of help in that respect in years to come from other Australian-bred horses. Having found its American stallions relatively hard to sell to Australian breeders during the past season, Spendthrift has shown the strength of its resolve to cement its position as a dual-hemisphere operation by buying some well-bred colts at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in Queensland.

Spenthrift’s yearling purchases at the Gold Coast include an A$800,000 Fastnet Rock half-brother to Starspangledbanner (Aus) and a A$625,000 Street Cry (Ire) half-brother to Aloha (Aus). These colts will race for Spendthrift in Australia–and either or both would eventually fit in very nicely on the Spendthrift dual-hemisphere roster if they make the grade on the track.

 

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