Southern Hemisphere Apex

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bill-oppenheim

Oppenheim: Southern Hemisphere Apex

It’s been pretty hot down south so far in 2017, literally as well as figuratively. It’s been a while since we turned the APEX focus to the Southern Hemisphere, so it seems like a good time to take a fresh look. As always, The Jockey Club Information Systems (TJCIS) has supplied the APEX numbers as well as other data; just a quick side note is that the “1st Fls” year listed is whenever TJCIS first had registered foals reported, and for these lists we have not tried to sort out which years Northern Hemisphere-based stallions shuttled. Also the data in the ST field wouldn’t necessarily be 100% accurate, either.

The Southern Hemisphere divides itself into three distinct regions: Australasia (Australia and New Zealand); South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru); and South Africa. Unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, where the three Regions (North America, Europe, Japan) rate as relatively equal, in the Southern Hemisphere Australasia is considerably in front of the other two regions. This is partially because Australia is one country, and has the second biggest foal crop in the world, behind the U.S. (so Australasia is two countries, when we include New Zealand, and we think in the near future we will have APEX ratings for Hong Kong so it will be three countries), whereas South America is five countries, and South Africa is just one. There are 558 Southern Hemisphere APEX sires, of which we classify 244 as Australasian, 242 as South American, and 72 as South African.

Australia has been all about Danehill for the last 20 years. Nine times leading sire in Australia himself, his two sons, Arrowfield Stud’s Redoute’s Choice (3) and Coolmore’s Fastnet Rock (2), have been champion sire five times between them, and this season Arrowfield’s Snitzel, a son of Redoute’s Choice, is leading the list at this stage. In fact, Arrowfield’s father-and-son team are the two top Australasian sires by APEX A Runner Index, covering the time period from the beginning of the 2010-2011 racing season through February 14, 2017, when these figures were run, among 161 Australasian stallions which had 200 or more year-starters. Redoute’s Choice (3.46) and Snitzel (3.09) rank one-two; Fastnet Rock (2.86) ranks fifth by A Runner Index, though he is the leading sire by number of A Runners (120), ahead of Redoute’s Choice (114), Exceed And Excel (87), Commands (86) (both also sons of Danehill), Lonhro (84), and Snitzel (81). New Zealand’s Savabeel (2.93), a son of Zabeel (twice Champion Sire in Australia), himself a son of the immortal Sir Tristram, ranks third by A Runner Index, with none other than Street Cry (2.92), sire of course of Zenyatta up north but now of Winx, winner of 15 straight, in fourth. Six of the Australasian top 10 by 2010/11 – 2016/17 A Runner Index trace to Danehill: four sons (#1 Redoute’s Choice, #5 Fastnet Rock, #7 Exceed And Excel, and #8 Commands), and two grandsons (#2 Snitzel and #10 Mastercraftsman). Savabeel is the Sir Ivor (Turn-to) sire line, Street Cry (by Machiavellian) is Mr. Prospector; and rounding out the top 10 are #6 Medaglia d’Oro (2.80), sire of Coolmore Ashford’s reverse shuttler Vancouver from his Australasian crops; and #9 High Chaparral (2.38), who has sired some seriously good horses down south, including So You Think and Dundeel. They are both Sadler’s Wells-line, High Chaparral of course being by Sadler’s Wells himself, whereas ‘Medaglia’ is by El Prado (also sire of Kitten’s Joy).

Interestingly, probably the number two commercial sire in Australasia right now is I Am Invincible (2.31), a son of Invincible Spirit so through the other great branch of Danzig, Green Desert. His first foals are just 5-year-olds this season. He ranks #11 by A Runner Index and his first crop included Brazen Beau, who was arguably unlucky not to win the 2015 G1 Diamond Jubilee over Undrafted, and who is now standing his second season at Dalham Hall in Newmarket, shuttling from Darley’s Northwood Park in Victoria.

Nine of the top 10 sires, among 83 with under 200 year-starters, are horses who have their first 4-year-olds (F2012 SH) or first 3-year-olds (F2013 SH) this season. The leading third-crop F2012 Australasian sires, according to the website www.stallions.com.au, are Star Witness (by Soviet Star’s son Starcraft, 2.12) and Hinchinbrook (Fastnet Rock, 2.18), who each has over 200 year-starters and figure among the Australasian Top 25 by A Runner Index. Makfi (Dubawi, 3.45), who stood in New Zealand, and European Coolmore castoff Alfred Nobel (Danehill Dancer, 2.91) have good numbers among the third-crop Australasian sires with under 200 year-starters. Among the F2013 sires with first 3-year-olds, Coolmore’s So You Think (High Chaparral, 3.13), who didn’t even make the trip back to Europe for this season, is the leading second-crop sire in Australasia with three Black-Type Winners this season, including Inference, winner last weekend of the G1 Randwick Guineas.

A total of 242 sires in South America received APEX ratings, of which 127 had 200+ year-starters and 115 didn’t. Each of the five countries covered is calculated separately, then the results for each sire from all five countries are added together, but it’s not like North America, where horses routinely ship sometimes thousands of miles to race. Each country in South America tends to have its own profile. Scat Daddy, who rewrote the record books in Chile, did not have Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds this season so didn’t top the charts: that honor goes to the Argentine sire Key Deputy (Deputy Minister, 4.58), who has a pretty amazing record with 2-year-olds, as evidenced by his 3.87 ABC Index for 2-year-olds. Put It Back (3.54), a son of Honour And Glory who started in Florida, made his name in Brazil and now stands in Argentina, runs second on the list, followed by the Chilean-based Storm Cat son Seeking The Dia (3.02) and the top sire in Uruguay, Ecclesiastic (Pulpit, 2.77). In fact the top eight sires by A Runner Index on this list came from the U.S. Among the sires with fewer year-starters, the Peruvian-based Yazamaan (4.20), a son of Galileo from the family of Kingmambo, tops the charts, followed by Chile’s Grand Daddy (3.92), by Scat Daddy’s sire Johannesburg and bred on the same cross as Scat Daddy, out of a Mr. Prospector mare; the Lanwades stallion Archipenko (3.85); and Drosselmeyer (3.13), who shuttled to Brazil and has now stayed there.

There are a far smaller number of sires in South Africa, which is after all only one country, and had 72 sires rated, of which 42 had 200+ year-starters since the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, and 30 had fewer. Silvano (Lomitas, 2.27) and Trippi (End Sweep, 2.26) are in a virtual dead-heat among South African sires, followed by Dynasty (Fort Wood, 2.08) and Captain Al (Al Mufti, 1.89). Captain Al (1.46) and Trippi (1.26) are the only ones among the top 10 with a 2-year-old ABC Index above 1.00. Only six sires with fewer than 200 year-starters had APEX A Runner indexes greater than 1.00, headed by Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready, 1.79) and Querari (Oasis Dream, 1.75).

Click here to see a list of all 558 SH APEX sires, listed alphabetically within Region (1 = Australasia, 2 = South America, 3 = South Africa).

DUBAI RACING: They ran four races on the dirt last Saturday at Meydan. All four races were won wire-to-wire, which adds up to one insurmountable speed bias. They’d better work on that before the end of the month. On a more promising note, consider the performance of four horses who ran at the Carnival brought from Korea by trainer Kim Young Kuan. They have made a total of nine starts at the meet, for one win, one second, two thirds, three fourths, and, last weekend, two group-race fifths. The history of smaller countries trying to compete in Dubai isn’t that encouraging, but the re-installation of dirt has enabled these Korean horses to show their level of ability. Three of them–and admittedly these are among the best horses in Korea–ran off handicap marks above 100 in their last races. The 5-year-old Triple Nine (Ecton Park) ran second off a handicap mark of 105 and recorded an RPR of 108 in a 10-furlong handicap on Jan. 19, then ran fourth in another 10-furlong handicap in February, and fifth in a Group 1 last weekend. The 4-year-old Power Blade (Menifee) ran third in a one-mile handicap in January; then third, beaten five lengths behind Furia Cruzada and Second Summer, in a 9 1/2-furlong Group 2 in February, running an RPR 102 off a handicap mark of 100; and fifth last weekend, back at a mile. Another 4-year-old, Main Stay (Tale of the Cat), ran RPR 98 when winning a six-furlong handicap off an official mark of 95 in January, then ran fourth off a six-pound higher mark in February. South Korea has been a big buyer of American dirt horses and dirt sires for the last 15 years, and on the evidence of their performance in Dubai, they are producing legitimate horses of international black-type standard. That should be good for the American market.

PROMOTIONS OF THE WEEK: Gerhard Schoening, boss of Hoppegarten Racetrack near Berlin, for doing a deal with NYRA to get an invitation for the winner of Hoppegarten’s G2 Diana Trial, for 3-year-old fillies, to the GI Belmont Oaks. It may only mean the Diana Trial winner will get sold, but he’s done a great job of getting his racetrack in the news. Good move all round. Ditto for the Ireland/Japan initiative announced yesterday for a slot in the G1 Irish Champion S., and we also read that last weekend’s G1 Gran Premio Latinoamericano winner Sixties Song, by none other than Galileo’s son, Sixties Icon, has won a slot in this summer’s G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. at Ascot.