Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Many a star on the track has struggled in the breeding barn. But perhaps the best broodmare in the country has proved the opposite true. When the Australian arm of Sheikh Mohammed’s global breeding and racing giant was shipped an unraced Singspiel mare from the United Kingdom, they couldn’t have imagined the success she would be at stud. And they are still scratching their heads trying to work out why she never made it to the track. But from Accessories’ first three foals she produced three Group 1 performers – two of them multiple winners at the elite level – shaping the next batch of stallions for Darley and Godolphin to lean on for the future. While Helmet and Epaulette are taking their first tentative steps in the stallion business, their younger sister Pearls, a sometimes temperamental filly, seems to have finally been tamed. A runaway winner of the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes at Randwick on Saturday at just her third start, Pearls (pictured below) is on the cusp of joining the Group 1 sibling club when she lines up in the Flight Stakes in a fortnight. “I would say [Accessories] is the best [broodmare] in Australia right now,” said Darley’s head of sales Alastair Pulford, whose star matron has melted well with southern hemisphere bloodlines. And who is anyone to argue? “She is right at the top of anything we’ve had at Darley,” Pulford said. “Sidestep, Ambidexter and Skilled were out of the mare Dextrous, but these horses are at a higher level when you think of Epaulette and Helmet. “Camarilla was the dam of Guelph and Ghibellines – she unfortunately died early – but she looked like being one of those mares too. But Accessories is the most beautiful mare. She’s got size, scope and quality and she’s a gorgeous mare.” Accessories was sent to Elusive Quality in her first season in Australia and immediately had success with the Australian Guineas-placed Bullbars, now standing at stud in New Zealand. Yet there was still no sign of what was to come. Her second foal was triple Group 1 winner Helmet, whose own progeny will hit the track this season, before Golden Rose and Doomben 10,000 sensation Epaulette, a Commands colt, arrived. “[Accessories] was quite a refined and reasonably light type on arrival which was fairly typical of her sire Singspiel,” Godolphin Australia boss Henry Plumptre said. “We don’t actually have a record of why she was retired, but she was with Godolphin when she was over there.” Pearls, an Exceed And Excel (below) filly making her a full sister to Helmet, only made her racetrack debut in a Gosford maiden last month, but it hasn’t taken her long to quickly scale the grades. Pearls’ victory registered the 105th stakes winner for her sire whose 10 Group 1 winners include seven locally bred, with race wins including the Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond, Flight Stakes and Thousand Guineas. With over 40 of his stakes winners foaled in the northern hemisphere, the likes of the Prix Jacques Le Marois, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Al Quoz Sprint, Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Nunthorpe Stakes form part of his international Group 1 haul. Helmet had a couple of likely colts trial impressively for Godolphin at the official two-year-old heats at Randwick on Monday and breeders have indicated Epaulette’s first foals have been well received already. “Both horses will serve full books again this year,” Pulford said. “That’s anywhere from around 130 to 150 mares and Epaulette actually served 170 in his first year which is very aggressive for us. Both are very valuable stallions. “People that have respected opinions in the industry have been very happy with the Epaulette foals and Helmet had his first triallers [on Monday] and they looked good. The feedback has been great so far.” Accessories is due to have another Exceed And Excel foal on the ground later this season while Godolphin will nurse a Lonhro yearling filly to the track one day. Accessories is to be mated later this year with Sepoy, whose own progeny will be launched into the two-year-old sphere this season. Sepoy has already had a $1.2 million colt which topped the Magic Millions sales earlier this year and another $1.6 million colt at the Inglis Easter auction. Pearls’ win capped a big week for Godolphin, who have sponsored the inaugural Stud and Stable Staff awards. Entries for the seven categories designed to recognise the work of the industry’s unsung heroes, carrying a $100,000 prize pool, will close on September 28. A nomination form for the awards can be found here.