Redoute's Reaches Group 1 Milestone


Redoute's Choice | Bronwen Healy


The early results of this term's bunch of European first-season sires are providing the usual interest. Several young sires have already made smart starts, while the most celebrated of the freshmen, Frankel (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), currently has statistics of one winner from one runner, courtesy of the victory at Newbury which ensured that Cunco (Ire) has the distinction of being Frankel's first foal, Frankel's first runner and Frankel's first winner. Another extremely distinguished horse among Europe's current freshmen is a stallion who is proven sire and first-season sire simultaneously: Redoute's Choice (Aus) (Danehill) has been champion sire of Australia three times and notched his 30th Group 1 winner on Saturday, but he is a new-comer as far as European breeding is concerned. The offspring resultant from Redoute's Choice's first European season (at Haras de Bonneval in 2013) will be making their debuts in the coming months.

Redoute's Choice's first Northern crop represent intriguing prospects, as implied by the fact that his only representative in this weekend's Arqana Breeze-Up sale at Deauville fetched €775,000, the daughter of Sunday Nectar (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}) being bought by Stephen Hillen Bloodstock to join the English stable of Kevin Ryan.

Redoute's Choice has found the perfect way of keeping his name in lights as we await the debuts of his first French-conceived youngsters. Many stallions find their rates of success slowing down as their third decade looms. Not so with Redoute's Choice, who will turn 20 on Aug. 1 and whose stock are currently doing him proud. At the start of March, his lifetime tally of individual Group 1 winners stood at 27. Now it stands at 30, courtesy of the successes of the ill-fated Peeping (Aus) in the Coolmore Classic at Rosehill, Abbey Marie (Aus) in the Australasian Oaks at Morphettville and, most recently, Howard Be Thy Name (Aus) in the South Australian Derby at the same venue on Saturday.

For Redoute's Choice, a stint at stud in the Northern Hemisphere seems only natural. While he has been the pre-eminent Australian-bred stallion of the current century, his background is one which is as synonymous with Newmarket and Belmont as it is with Randwick and Flemington. His family has only been in Australia for two generations, the importation of his U.S.-bred granddam Dancing Show (Nijinsky) to the antipodes in 1988 ranking in retrospect as one of most notable arrivals in Australasian bloodstock history. Thanks to Dancing Show, this family has become a notable part of the bloodstock scene Down Under, just as it already was on both sides of the Atlantic, her granddam Best In Show (Traffic Judge) having been voted Kentucky Broodmare of the Year in 1982. By the late '80s, Best In Show was already ancestress of the likes of El Gran Senor (Northern Dancer), Try My Best (Northern Dancer) and Malinowski (Sir Ivor). Her subsequent descendants to have achieved celebrity status in the Northern Hemisphere include Rags To Riches (A. P. Indy), Spinning World (Nureyev), Xaar (GB) (Zafonic), Peeping Fawn (Danehill) and Jazil (Seeking The Gold). Furthermore, the Hong Kong champion Designs On Rome (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) descends from Best In Show's half-sister Stolen Date (Sadair).

Dancing Show was imported into Australia via New Zealand. She had been covered to Southern Hemisphere time in 1987 by Miswaki at Walmac International Farm in Kentucky, and the resultant colt was born in New Zealand in 1988. She subsequently moved on to Australia, imported by Norman Carlyon of Muranna Stud in Victoria. At what turned out to be the twilight of the era of the dominance of Star Kingdom (Ire) (Stardust {GB})–ie. just before Danehill began to have runners– Carlyon sent her to a couple of very good stallions from the Star Kingdom line. In 1990 she visited the 1988 G1 Golden Slipper winner Star Watch (Aus) (Bletchingly {Aus}), and in 1991 she visited the 1990 Golden Slipper winner Canny Lad (Aus) (Bletchingly {Aus}).

Dancing Show's Miswaki colt turned out to be Umatilla (NZ), who won at Group 1 level as a 2-year-old in the 1990/'91 season, taking the Karrakata Plate in Perth at a time when it still was a race of national significance, worthy of Group 1 status. Her Star Watch colt became her second Group 1-winning juvenile: named Hurricane Sky (Aus), he landed the Blue Diamond S. in 1994. Her Canny Lad filly Shantha's Choice (Aus), a three-parts sister to Hurricane Sky, was less successful, winning one minor race over 1200 metres, but she now stands as a very high-achiever. By the time Shantha's Choice had retired to stud, the era of Danehill had begun. Shantha's Choice duly did what many well-credentialed Star Kingdom-line mares did during the '90s and the early years of this century: she visited Danehill, the consequence of which was that Redoute's Choice was born in 1996. He went on to be a top-class racehorse, winning the Blue Diamond at two and the Caulfield Guineas at three. Even greater achievements followed once he had retired to Arrowfield, and Dancing Show's legend continued to grow with Shantha's Choice's subsequent children including Platinum Scissors (Aus) (Danehill) and Manhattan Rain (Aus) (Encosta De Lago {Aus}). Dancing Show's next daughter after Shantha's Choice, Show Dancing (NZ) (Don't Say Halo), also went on to be a top broodmare, most notably producing G1 Australian Guineas winner Al Maher (Aus) (Danehill).

Redoute's Choice has been Australia's champion sire three times, and has finished in the top five on the general sires table in 10 of the past 11 years. He needs no introduction Down Under, and such is the freedom of information in the internet era, he needs no introduction anywhere else, either. He is adept at siring both high-class juveniles and Classic horses, while eight of his Aus-bred sons have sired at least one Group 1 winner. That number seems sure to rise, and one of the young sires who could swell that tally is Elzaam (Aus), who was conceived at Arrowfield to Northern Hemisphere time in February 2007 and who raced with distinction in England, landing the Carnarvon S. at Newbury in 2011 by six lengths after failing by only a nose in the previous year's G2 Coventry S. at Royal Ascot. Elzaam retired to Ballyhane Stud in Ireland in 2013. His first juveniles currently include three winners, headed by King Electric (Ire), who scored at The Curragh two weeks ago.

In the two years in which he stood as a reverse-shuttler at Haras de Bonneville, Redoute's Choice was easily the most expensive stallion in France. He thus received some very good mares, and consequently it looks certain that some very good racehorses will eventuate. Over and above the aforementioned filly out of Sunday Nectar, those for whom particularly high expectations might be held include two who sold very well as yearlings in 2015: a half-sister to last year's G1 1000 Guineas heroine Legatissimo (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) and a half-brother to G2 Prix du Conseil de Paris winner Vadamar (Dalakhani {Ire}). The former was bought by MV Magnier in Tattersalls Book 1 for 725,000gns and is now named Smoulder (GB); while the latter fetched €950,000 at Arqana in August to the bid of John Ferguson and is now named Valcartier (Ire). Redoute's Choice's other European 2-year-olds include the Aga Khan's homebred Zarmitan (Fr), a son of the brilliant Zarkava (Ire) (Zamindar), who has joined Alain de Royer-Dupre's stable and who holds an entry for next year's Derby.

His current total of 30 individual Group 1 winners is remarkably good, but what is even better is that it is almost certain to continue to rise for years to come, courtesy of good horses in both hemispheres.

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