Smart Missile (pic. Arrowfield Stud)
Given this is the first day of a new racing season, some housekeeping is in order.
First off, Champion Australian Sire for 2015-16 by earnings: Street Cry with nearly $13 million in progeny earnings. Next cab off the rank? Not A Single Doubt with around $12.5 million. Congratulations to both.
By winners? Not A Single Doubt’s 154 winners puts him 13 clear of his nearest rival Lonhro.
Champion 2YO Sire? Written Tycoon with nearly $2 million to spare from Snitzel, although the latter did turn the tables in terms of juvenile winners – all 29 of them.
Champion First Season Sire? Smart Missile ($454,705) edges out Love Conquers All ($454,675). Excuse me? After 10 months of 2YO racing, all that separates the top two freshmen sires is $30?
Similar to the recent federal election, it’s almost too close to call, although some media outlets have given Smart Missile the nod.
Fortunately it won’t take as long as the Queensland seat of Herbert, before Arrowfield Stud (Smart Missile) or Sun Stud (Love Conquers All) will get the official result, but it all boils down to racing’s equivalent of postal votes, i.e. breeders’ bonuses, which are normally added to the tally each Tuesday.
Naturally enough, scrutineers from both camps have been keeping a close watch on developments over the past couple of weeks and even though on Sunday night it appeared Smart Missile was $1,230 in front, according to the Arion Pedigrees Electoral Commission, an Arrowfield pollster magnanimously pointed out that a QTIS bonus of $1,200 needs to be dropped in the box after Love Conquers All’s The Ambassadore ran third at Ipswich on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Sun Stud camp is lamenting Believe ’n’ Conquer’s sixth at Wyong last Tuesday when a fifth (just inches away) would have got the job done.
Understandably, there is a lot of marketing mileage to be had with ‘Champion’ next to a stallion’s name, but regardless of the outcome, it has been a truly remarkable season. As one pundit pointed out, the difference is less than a slab of beer.
However, it’s not just Smart Missile and Love Conquers All. It appears that all that separates the top five first season sires – by earnings – is a mere $24,530. That might seem like a lot of Crown Lagers but when you consider that ‘normal’ two year old races in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on Saturday carried first prizes in excess of $40,000, the margin really was paper thin.
What’s more, the lead changed among those five in the past four or five months with each – Smart Missile, Love Conquers All, Dream Ahead, Sepoy and Pour Moi – sitting at the top of the table at one stage.
For the record, Love Conquers All did get the verdict over Smart Missile by individual winners – 8 to 7. Just goes to show that love will always find a way!
Hoofnote: While the slimmest margin previously to win a First Season Sires’ premiership in the past 10 seasons was $76,275, the calibre of Champions in those years augurs well for the current ‘crop’ – AND the state of Australian breeding – when you consider the top three freshmen since 2006-07 include Choisir, Exceed And Excel, Lonhro, Fastnet Rock, Snitzel, Written Tycoon, Northern Meteor, Sebring, I Am Invincible and Hinchinbrook.