KARAKA 2012: Perfect script as Alamosa's first crop hit Karaka Mon, 30 Jan 2012
The greatest challenge at Manawatu nursery Wellfield Lodge as the 2012 National Yearling Sale looms is keeping a lid on expectations around the first crop of yearlings by former class galloper Alamosa.
Since they were foals and then began to develop, the talk has been totally positive about the merits of the first progeny by the multiple Group One-winning son of O’Reilly. That was underlined when more than 20 made muster for each of the Premier and Select catalogues. There’s been a common thread at any yearling parade containing an Alamosa colt or filly – that here’s a young stallion who has, if anything, exceeded expectations in the quality of his yearlings.
Speculation about how the market will receive them is one thing, but the first real test sealed what many had anticipated when the sole yearling by Alamosa in the Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale earlier this month realised A$205,000. That outstanding result was for the Wellfield Lodge-bred filly from former smart racemare Penny Florence, and not even the fact she was a first foal put buyers off as she was knocked down to clients of the emerging Malua Racing operation from Victoria.
“We had consigned her to the Gold Coast sale knowing she was the right type for that market, but the price she made exceeded our highest hopes,” said Wellfield marketing manager Huw Taylor. “It was a stunning result and was complete vindication of what we were hearing, it really does have us looking forward to Karaka. The Aussie media have been all over it – and you can’t buy that sort of publicity.”
That Australian factor is payback for the decision made when Alamosa was purchased for eventual stud duties by a Wellfield Lodge-centred partnership to send him to Australia as a spring four-year-old in the hope of adding to the three Group One races he had won in New Zealand as a two and three-year-old.
Under the training of Mick Price, Alamosa achieved the ultimate result by winning the Gr. 1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield during the 2008 Victorian spring carnival. Just like the recent Magic Millions Sale result, the value of that exposure went way beyond mere stake money or sale return.
When he took up stud duties the following spring, Alamosa covered 101 mares, a number that has increased year by year, indicating that his star is definitely on the rise. “That’s basically the result of the impression that his first crop foals made,” says Huw Taylor. “He’s seen mares this year and last that weren’t originally going to him but their owners have made the decision after seeing the types he was leaving.”
A similar scenario applies to the feedback that has been coming through during the recent months of sales preparation. “One of the things that we’ve been most pleased about is hearing other studmasters telling us that some of the best yearlings in their drafts are by Alamosa,” Taylor said. “It’s easy to get bullish about horses on your own farm but to hear it from people like Brent Taylor, Marcus Corban and Leon Casey is music to our ears.”
The other telling factor is the impact that the Alamosa progeny heading to Karaka have been making on trainers and agents. “I’ve lost count of the number of trainers who I’ve bumped into that have been totally complimentary about them, it’s the best thing you want to be hearing going into a sale series.”
Wellfield’s Karaka draft reflects the decision made in 2009 to support Alamosa with the pick of stud’s broodmare band. Twelve of their 16-lot Premier draft are by him, while five of seven make up the Select offering.
“It was conscious decision to give him the best possible start,” says Taylor. “We had the confidence in him then and that has only grown as time has gone on. They really are an outstanding line of young horses, now all we need to see is the right result when they go through the ring.”
Wellfield Lodge has made rapid inroads both as a sales participant and on the racetrack, with its most significant result being the Gr. 1 New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November. The first two fillies home in the classic, Planet Rock and Abeautifulred were both bred there, one as the result of a mare carrying a service to Australian stallion Fastnet Rock and the other home-bred by resident stallion Handsome Ransom.
Maintaining a perfect script, the quinella pair have Alamosa siblings in Wellfield’s Karaka draft, both of them colts. “The 1000 Guineas result was fantastic and the obvious bonus is that we’ve got two superb half-brothers by Alamosa to offer at Karaka,” Taylor added. “It really couldn’t have worked out better.”