Kia Ora Stud made significant investments at Tattersalls’ recent December Mare, purchasing five mares. The participation on the global stage is quickly establishing the Scone nursery as a substantial player in Australian breeding and racing.

Kia Ora Stud has always had a revered history, with paddocks producing numerous stakes winners. However, under its new ownership, Kia Ora returned to standing stallions, with three exciting young sires on the roster, including the G1 Golden Slipper victor Farnan and the dual Group-winning juvenile Prague, who are both set to have their first crops offered at the yearling sales. They are joined by the G1 Champagne S. winner, Captivant, who was also placed in the G1 Caulfield Guineas. It all bodes for an exciting time at Kia Ora.

Representing Kia Ora on the ground at Park Paddocks was their bloodstock and breeding manager, Shane Wright, who offered insight into the atmosphere of the sale at Tattersalls.

“It was a strong market at Tatts, along with Keeneland in North America and all other major sales this year. Premium mares are at an all-time high, and it seems there are more and more new players who are prepared to go after high-calibre mares, which makes buying tough. However, if you do the homework and are patient, eventually, you will be rewarded.

“We couldn’t be happier with the five mares we left with. They are all proven on the track and come from well-respected families; families we feel suit our operation and we can grow in the future.”

The most expensive of Kia Ora’s purchasers was Lot 1546, Wonderful Times (Ire) (Golden Horn {GB}), at 460,000gns (AU$755,500).

Offered by Barton Sales, the 4-year-old mare is from the Galileo (Ire) mare Wonderfully (Ire), who won the G1 Silver Flash S. at Leopardstown, Ireland and was fourth in the G1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

Wonderfully is a full sister to Gustav Klimt (Ire), a winner of the G2 Superlative S. The son of Galileo also filled the placings in races the quality of G1 St James’s Palace S., the G1 Haydock Park Sprint Cup and the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas.

Wonderful Times’ high-class family also includes the outstanding sire Invincible Spirit (Ire), the sire Australia’s Champion Sire I Am Invincible. Invincible Spirit was also a brilliant galloper, claiming the G1 Haydock Park Sprint Cup and the G3 Duke of York S.

Golden Horn (GB), the sire of Wonderful Times, is a son of Cape Cross (Ire) who is making his mark as a broodmare sire with his daughters producing the likes of Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}). Not only does Golden Horn have an attractive pedigree, but he was a racehorse of the highest order, winning four Group 1s including the G1 The Derby at Epsom Downs and the G1 Prix de’Arc de Triomphe.

Speaking to The Thoroughbred Report, Wright offered insight into what appealed about Wonderful Times, “We felt her price-tag was fair. She was one of the best physical types of the sale for us and had a pedigree so deep you could spend hours studying it; it’s the sort of page you just can’t buy in Australia, even going back to Rafha (dam of Invincible Spirit) it’s just a pedigree littered with stars throughout.

“She did get a trip, so her mating will have to be chosen carefully, but we want to mate her to her strengths when the time comes. This is the sort of mare that is a jewel in any farm’s breeding crown, and we hope it is the beginning of a long and prosperous family for our mare band.”

Coming in at 420,000gns (AU$688,800) was Secret Angel (Ire), a daughter of Dark Angel (Ire). She was catalogued as Lot 1809 and consigned by Spigot Lodge Stable. The 3-year-old won three races, twice as a juvenile, and a success in the Listed Prix Zeddaan and third in the G3 Nell Gwyn S.

Secret Angel’s dam, Meydan Princess (Ire), is the daughter of the Australian sprinting superstar, the late Choisir. Her dam won four races, including a Listed event.

“From a physical standpoint, Secret Angel is the most Southern Hemisphere ‘type’ of mare we purchased. She is average-sized, very strong, and forward, a 2-year-old type. Secret Angel seems like the sort of mare that could have a foal hit the ground running.

“Dark Angel is a stallion we really like, and then Choisir needs no introduction, so she was right up the top of the list for us.”

Regarding mating plans, Wright informed no firm decision had been made. However, Kia Ora’s very own Captivant shapes up as a suitable suitor.

“All our mares purchased both in Europe and the United States are already booked on the plane and will be coming down to us straight away for the Southern Hemisphere season. There are some Northern Hemisphere stallions doing a great job, but our focus lies in our operation and stallions.

“No stallion has been specifically chosen for her yet, but Captivant would be a very good suitor, seeing as he brings good scope and quality to the mating, and his first foals have been exceptional when crossed with these strong, forward sprinting types.”

Perhaps the most interesting of Kia Ora’s mare purchasers was Lot 1802, Vernichey (SAf), a daughter of Vercingetorix (SAf). She was bought for 250,000gns (AU$410,100) from the draft of Voute Sales.

A victress of the G1 Allan Robertson Championship at Scottsville in South Africa, Vernichey’s third dam Burst (Marauding {NZ}) would be familiar to Australians, as she was a winner of the G1 Golden Slipper, the G1 Champagne S. and the G1 Sires’ Produce S.

Vernichey’s sire Vercingetorix was the Champion 3-Year-Old Colt in South Africa in 2012/13, winning seven races.

“Having a Golden Slipper winner as your third dam is always going to have appeal, and mare herself being a Group 1 winner, she seemed a pretty obvious choice.

“Mares that performed at the highest level in South Africa have a pretty solid record in Australia, so there were many positives for her, but I have to say the attribute that sold me was she was literally just off the plane a few hours earlier from quarantine in Mauritius, and she hadn’t turned a hair; she looked immaculate, and I remember thinking when we inspected her, she has the constitution like no other.

“She (Vernichey) was bright in the eye and had a healthy coat, and mares like that with the toughness and the talent are exactly what we are trying to breed at Kia Ora Stud.

“Vernichey is a serious contender to go to Farnan, but also under consideration is Prague. He’s a son of Redoute’s Choice, who has worked very well over South African mares in the past. In addition, Prague is a really good-looking son of Redoute’s, and his first yearlings for the Magic Millions look like they will get up and go early. This mare suits particularly well for Prague, so it’s also an option for her.”

The fourth purchase was Zain Claudette (Ire), a daughter of No Nay Never (USA). Consigned as Lot 1820 through Barton Sales, Kia Ora purchased her for 260,000gns (AU$426,400).

The 4-year-old mare won the G2 Lowther S. at York and the G3 Princess Margaret S. at Ascot. Zain Claudette’s dam, Claudette (USA), is a daughter of the late Speightstown (USA). Her second dam, Tippity Witch (USA), is by the North American Triple Crown winner Affirmed (USA). She won five races, including the G3 Martha Washington S.

“She was the last mare of the day, and we weren’t sure if we would get her being a Group 2-winning 2-year-old by a very good, familiar sire, but it goes to show you should never leave a sale before all the lots are sold.

“Zain Claudette is made for the Australian market and would suit a high majority of stallions here, but I see her future firmly with Farnan, it’s just a great match and also suits very well physically; this mating could produce a very high-class 2-year-old.

Rounding out the Kia Ora purchasers was Lot 1785, White Lavender (Ire) (Heeraat {Ire}), for 300,0000gns (AU$491,800).

The 5-year-old, offered by Jamie Railton as agent, is from the Rip Van Winkle (Ire) mare Goodnight And Joy (Ire). White Lavender performed well on the track, winning the G3 Prix de Saint-Georges and placing in the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp.

“She was another mare effective at the highest level being a Group 3 winner and also placed in the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp. She was a superb race filly when you look at her record, and the Prix de l’Abbaye is a race held in such high regard not just in France but Europe.

“Add to this a pretty serious family with Harry Angel and the Hong Kong Champions Mile winner Xtension, and this filly could be anything going forward. White Lavender is a slightly more refined European type and will suit nearly all Australian sprinting stallions, so her mating for next year is very open at this stage.

“Like all mares we purchase in the North we like to let them travel and have some time to let down before decisions are finalised.”

Wright explained to The Thoroughbred Report the buying strategy for Kia Ora Stud, “The general strategy we have when buying overseas is unearthing families not accessible in Australia that we believe can work well down here and offer new pathways and outcrosses to bloodlines that work so well in Australia.

“Recent examples of horses Kia Ora Stud bred from Northern Hemisphere imports are Wild Ruler and Pavita; Mumbai Rock (dam of Mumbai Muse); Miss Debutante (dam of Queen Of The Ball and Platinum Jubilee); Decelerator (dam of Nafaayes and Stoltz), and that mare has a filly by Prague in the upcoming Magic Millions Sale.”

Story by TTR