Thronum Plays For Australia (And Stud Career)

Thronum wins the Group Two Australia Stakes.

Thronum captures the Gr.2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley (Racing Photos)


Ask any yearling buyer what the toughest gig is and chances are that turning a colt into a commercial stallion prospect would sit at the top of the list.

It’s not quite up there with water into wine, but in the enigma that is the thoroughbred industry, it comes pretty darn close.

Therefore, speedy entire, Thronum, ticked a very big box under the lights at Moonee Valley last Friday, capturing the Group Two Carlton Draught Australia Stakes over 1200m for owner, Sun Bloodstock.

Since purchasing Victoria’s Eliza Park – now Sun Stud – as its Australian base in 2013, the Chinese-owned, Sun Bloodstock has made a significant investment in the Australian industry, purchasing a number of colts annually in the hope of producing a top level performer that will translate into a highly sought after stallion prospect.

It’s not a novel approach, hence the crowded field at the top end of the yearling sale market, but it makes good sense when established Group One stars of the turf often generate tens of millions when their racing days are done.

Thronum still has a way to go, but the Australia Stakes was definitely a stride in the right direction.

Leading throughout in the Group Two sprint, Thronum held off strong challenges from Group One Rupert Clarke runnerup, Mr Sneaky, Boxing Day stakes winner, Stellar Collision and Japanese flyer, Brave Smash to notch up his fifth win from 10 outings.

Previously trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Thronum won the Listed Rosebud at Randwick in August 2016 and was third in the Group Three Up And Coming Stakes, before a lengthy spell. He then resumed last November, with the Lindsay Park team, where he won at Bendigo, by five lengths, and was third – beaten a neck – in the Group Three Kevin Heffernan Stakes.

“He (Thronum) had a minor tendon issue and that’s why he was on the sidelines for all that time, but he’s really matured and benefited from the uphill tracks at Lindsay Park,” Sun Stud’s Operations Manager, David Grant, points out. “He’s come back in terrific order. There’s any number of options open to him … the CF Orr Stakes over 1400m in a fortnight (10 February), the Oakleigh Plate (24 February) or the William Reid (23 March).

“All three are Group One races, but he appears to race better when fresh so the stable might just keep him ticking over and bring him back for the William Reid.”

Sun Bloodstock purchased Thronum for $300,000 at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale and bloodstock advisor, David O’Callaghan, agrees that Group One success is the ultimate goal.

“Thronum has probably enhanced his stud value at least ten fold following the Australia Stakes win, while given his breeding, a Group One would make him an extremely lucrative stud prospect,” O’Callaghan reveals. “It is difficult to buy into proven turf stars, so it’s clearly much better if you can identify one at the yearling stage.”

Sun Bloodstock also purchased – as a yearling – France’s Champion 2YO Colt of 2016, National Defense, who is standing at the Irish National Stud before shuttling to Australia this spring.

“There was a lot to like about Thronum at Easter,” O’Callaghan reveals. “He was a late November foal, but a very good looking colt all the same.

“He’s by Snitzel and his granddam is a half sister to Street Cry, who aside from Winx, is also the sire of Champion American mare, Zenyatta and the Australian-bred Group One winner in South Africa on Saturday night, Oh Susanna. Meanwhile, Street Cry’s half sister is the dam of Champion Sire, Shamardal.

“Also, Thronum’s dam, Helena’s Secret, is by Five Star Day, who is not that well known in Australia, but at one stage I was trying to get him to stand here in Australia. An incredibly fast horse.”

Thronum’s win could not have been more timely either for breeder, Ron Gilbert, whose Highgrove Stud will offer a Sebring half sister at April’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

“Helena’s Secret (who was purchased by Gilbert for US$200,000 at the 2011 Keeneland November Breeding Sale) produces really lovely types,” Gilbert adds. “Thronum was her first foal and the $300,000 for him as a yearling, despite being a late foal, speaks for itself. She’s also got a Snitzel colt at foot and is back in foal to Snitzel, while I’ve already had a few people on farm that have told me the Easter yearling is one of the nicest Sebring filly’s they’ve seen.

“Aside from Thronum, I’ve got Helena’s Secret’s stakes winning half sister, Tears I Cry, who is the dam of Make ‘Em Cry, an Exceed And Excel 2YO who won on debut at Kembla on Saturday.”

Gilbert will certainly be hoping to replicate the success of Easter ’15, where among the six yearlings offered by Highgrove Stud, were Thronum and multiple Group winning 2YO, Attention.

The Power of Passion