The variety, versatility and quality of the Australian Darley stallion roster, could hardly have been more clearly demonstrated than at the annual stallion parades at Northwood Park and Kelvinside.
On successive weekends in August, some 2,000 breeders took the opportunity to inspect both the newcomers, the stallions whose first foals have just begun to arrive through to such young stallions as Brazen Beau and Shooting To Win and the likes of Lonhro and Exceed And Excel who have been reliably producing big-race winners for well over a decade.
For Godolphin Managing Director Vin Cox, the parades at the organisation’s Victorian and New South Wales farms were opportunities to build on old relationships and establish new ones – and he believes he has horses eminently capable of achieving those goals.
“At Kelvinside, we chose to showcase the horses that people hadn’t had much opportunity to see,” Cox said.
“So we started with Harry Angel and Ribchester, Territories, Astern and Kementari.”
In an innovative move, Victorian breeders also had the chance to view four New South Wales-based shuttle stallions destined to stand at Kelvinside with Harry Angel, Ribchester, Territories and Astern making the stop at Northwood Park on their way from quarantine to the Hunter Valley.
“There was a great response to Harry Angel in his first parade in Australia,” said Victorian General Manager Andy Makiv said.
“He made a really good impression. Ribchester also looked outstanding and has let down really well, and Territories and Astern were received very favourably too.”
Similarly, at Kelvinside, it was the champion European sprinter Harry Angel and the star miler Ribchester who grabbed the attention.
One of Harry Angel’s most ardent admirers was one of Australia’s most successful syndicators, Denise Martin of Star Thoroughbreds.
“Harry Angel is a lovely horse. I hadn’t seen him until today, his performances in Europe suggest he is going to be very popular,” Martin said.
“If I could have an interest in both Kementari and Harry Angel, that would be fine, and I’m sure when their sons and daughters go to the sales, I’ll be very interested to have a look at them, they’re lovely horses.”
Astern, the highest-rated son of Medaglia d’Oro in the world, had an ardent admirer in Sebastian Hutch, the national bloodstock manager at auction house Inglis who will be selling the stallions first yearlings in 2020.
“A horse that I really enjoyed as a racehorse was Astern,” Hutch said.
“He’s obviously a fabulously talented horse, he had great tactical speed and we’re looking at young stock by him now around the country and he’s a horse that people seem to have a real affinity for."
While the newer members of the roster inevitably attracted special interest, Cox couldn’t help but praise the longest-standing Australian Darley stallion, Lonhro, and, in turn, his son Kementari.
“Kementari took everyone’s breath away,” Cox said.
“He’s such a magnificent son of Lonhro …. a big, black horse.
“As for Lonhro himself, he’s just turned 21 and everyone who comes here wants to see him …. he’s a proper, proper stallion.”
As Makiv said: “The roster is great value, it's versatile and it gives all breeders an opportunity to access a stallion that should suit their mare."