Spring Champion Royalty

Spring Champion Royalty

by Bernard Kenny

The might of Arrowfield Stud has again made its presence felt at Royal Randwick with Castelvecchio poised to take out the Gr1 $1m Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes over 2000m.

Posted as the $3 race second favourite Castelvecchio certainly has a great deal to look up to as his half-sister Maid Of Heaven who took out last year’s Spring Champion Stakes for owners and breeders Arrowfield Stud.

Although Castelvecchio comes into the Spring Champion Stakes with two unplaced runs in the Golden Rose Stakes and Dulcify Stakes, his outstand 2yo career produced wins in the Champagne Stakes and $2m Inglis Millennium, plus third in the Inglis Sires’ Produce Stakes.

In contrast Maid Of Heaven had a less spectacular career in winning twice as a 3yo, and being retired on veterinary advice following the Spring Champion Stakes.

In Castelvecchio fighting-off the challenges of the Mark Newnham trained Gloaming Stakes winner Shadow Hero, the $1.70 favourite, and the $6 rated Just Thinkin’, jockey Brenton Avdulla will need the might of Rachael King in getting Castelvecchio ‘home.’

In winning on Maid Of Heaven last year for trainer Mark Newnham, Rachael King produced a champions ride in using the length of the long Randwick straight to wear-down the race leaders and claimed Tye Angland on Aramayo by a long neck.

Although Maid Of Heaven is by the sprinting sire Smart Missile she has been mated to the 2012 Spring Champion Stakes winner Dundeel at Arrowfield, with her resulting foal to be a three-quarter blood sibling to Castelvecchio.

In both Castelvecchio and Maid Of Heaven being from the stakes winning Group 1 placed Dehere mare St Therese, they are half-siblings to the Group 3 winner Mirrasalo and to the dams of stakes winners Precious Memory and Hussy By Choice, being from the family of champion sprinter Planet Ruler.

A $150,000 yearling purchase by Galletta Construction Co. from Arrowfield Stud at the 2018 Australian Easter Sale, his sire Dundeel, by High Chaparral, was New Zealand Horse of The Year in 2013-14, Champion NZ 3YO in 2012-13 and Champion Middle Distance Male in Australasia in 2013-14.

In being unbeaten in his first five starts at 2, 3 years in New Zealand and Australia, Dundeel claimed his first Group 1 success in the 2012 Spring Champion Stakes at Royal Randwick

In the Autumn he won both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas, the Australian Derby and finished second to the French Derby winner Reliable Man in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Retiring to Arrowfield Stud on winning the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes as a 4yo at The Championships, Dundeel was an immediate success at stud and now has earnings of over $5.9m including the Group 1 winners Castelvecchio, Yourdeel and Atyaab.

Today the 2017 Spring Champion Stakes winner Ace High is standing his initial season at Rich Hill Stud in New Zealand, and went onto win the Victoria Derby.

Vanbrugh, the 2015 Spring Champion winner later won the Coongy Cup and stands at Windsor Park Stud, while the 2013 winner Complacent also won the Chelmsford Stakes and stands Mapperley Stud, both in New Zealand.
The 2015 Spring Champion winner Hampton Court stands at Spendthrift Australia at Romsey, and shuttles to Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.

Monaco Consul went onto win the Victoria Derby in 2009 and stands at Kingstar Farm in New Zealand, while the 2008 winner Sousa was later exported to Mongolia and Teranaba the 2006 Spring Champion winner stands at Somme Lodge at Canungra.

However, it is the 2004 Spring Champion Stakes winner Savabeel who went onto win the WS Cox Plate for trainer Graeme Rogerson and stands at Waikato Stud in New Zealand.

Now as a highly influential sire he has been five-times New Zealand Champion Sire sired Lucia Valentina to win the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes at The Championships.

No wonder in its 48 year career that the  Spring Champion Stakes is such a valuable prize, for in its formative years it launched the careers of such champions as Kingston Town, Beau Zam and Tie The Knot.