Dual Group-winning son of Redoute’s Choice, Prague, will start his stallion career at Kia Ora Stud in 2021 at a fee of $16,500 (inc GST).
The 3-year-old colt, once a $1.6 million Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling, retires from the racetrack after a 12-start career which included victories in the G3 Canonbury S. and the G3 Pago Pago S.
Having campaigned as a 2-year-old under the care of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, as a 3-year-old under Annabel Neasham’s guidance, he proved competitive against the best sprinters in the land and heads to stud having earned nearly $570,000 in prizemoney.
He will join G1 Golden Slipper S. winner Farnan in making history as Kia Ora restarts its stallion operation this season.
“He’s a great addition to our roster, obviously having Farnan there already. He brings another dimension to our roster, being a son of Redoute’s Choice, who is an amazing sire of sires of horses like Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt,” Shane Wright, Kia Ora Stud Manager, said.
“There’s not that many more of Redoute’s Choice’s sons coming through the ranks and this guy had it all. He had the precociousness at two, and was a tough, consistent racehorse at three. He was Group 1-placed and was a $1.6 million yearling. That tells you how good-looking he is. He is a phenomenal specimen that people will fall in love with when they see him in the flesh.”
Wright sees tremendous opportunity for those breeders who will look to support Prague early in his stallion career, and what looks a very competitive fee.
“He’s got a huge amount of upside to him. The market, being so strong at the moment, there is great value in him. We have seen so many of those types of horses before, the likes of I Am Invincible as the greatest example, that they are a Group 1 winner in everything but in their record,” he said,
“He’s another one of those horses. He was so unlucky when he ran in the All Aged S. and the Newmarket H. as well. We will be treating this horse like a proper Group 1 horse, because he is a proper Group 1 performer and should be respected that way.”
Bred by GSA Bloodstock, Prague was offered through the Bhima Thoroughbreds draft at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, where he was secured for $1.6 million by Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Aquis Farm.
His dam, Purely Spectacular (NZ) (Pins), a sister to stakes winner Raid (NZ), was purchased by Dean Hawthorne for $300,000 in 2015, and her value immediately rocketed when her son by Stratum, Stratum Star, won both the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S. and the G1 Kingston Town Classic.
It was little surprise then, that his three-quarter brother was so keenly sought as a yearling, especially by those searching for stallion prospects.
“Redoute’s is a sire of sires here in Australia. He is a three-quarter brother to a proper horse. He was our pick of the Sale and he vetted out perfectly. Hopefully we have a bit of luck with him,” then Aquis CEO, Shane McGrath, said at the time.
The colt, to be named Prague, was put into work with Maher and Eustace and having impressed at the trials, debuted with a comfortable 2l win over 1200 metres at a Friday night Canterbury meeting in January 2020.
He then elevated straight to stakes company, winning the G3 Canonbury S. in similar style. Two runs later, he added a second stakes success in the G3 Pago Pago S. at Rosehill.
He then contested the G1 Golden Slipper finishing a creditable sixth, before being beaten only 0.5l into second by King’s Legacy in the G1 Inglis Sires’ in what was to prove the final run of his 2-year-old campaign.
It was ahead of his 3-year-old campaign that Kia Ora, which had announced its return to the stallion game, purchased Prague outright from his previous owners.
He also changed stables, coming under the eye of Annabel Neasham, who had already worked closely with the colt while working for Maher and Eustace in her previous role.
“He was always a very naturally gifted colt, athletic and sensible, right from day one he showed his talent,” said Neasham. “He was a real favourite of mine so I was delighted to have him to train for his final campaign.”
Prague would be highly competitive in his first-up spring run, finishing fourth in the G2 Danehill S. but he was spelled after contesting the G3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude later in September.
His four-run campaign this autumn confirmed his status as being competitive with the best 3-year-olds and older sprinters, as he was placed in the G3 Eskimo Prince S., and then ran a fast-finishing fourth, beaten less than 1.5l, in the G1 Newmarket H. at Flemington.
He would also charge home for third, just 0.3l behind the winner Wild Ruler (Snitzel), in the G2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint and power home late for fourth in the G1 All Aged S. where he was beaten only 1l. That was to prove the final run of his career with the colt now retired.
“Prague was excellent in that preparation and quite unlucky to not secure a Group 1 win on several occasions,” said Neasham. “He’s a lovely, big, strong horse, with a beautiful stallion head just like his sire.”
While Prague will launch his stallion career at the same time as Farnan, Kia Ora will ensure he gets the best quality mares to kick him off in the best possible shape.
“All the astute breeders have already been making enquires and we are here at the Magic Millions at the moment and if there is a place you want to buy mares to support a young stallion, this is it and we will be in the market looking for mares for him,” Wright said.
Wright said that there was a real sense of history being written at the historic Kia Ora property this spring with the start up of the much-anticipated stallion operation.
“It’s hugely exciting. The stallion barn is well underway and is in the finishing stages. People have already been around looking at Farnan on the farm. So we are getting those early stallion parades going,” he said.
“There is a great buzz around the place. The farm has really lifted and it’s a hugely exciting time with the two horses we are starting off with.”