Above: Impending standing at Darley’s Northwood Park, Victoria

With the first crop by Darley’s Impending about to become yearlings, expectations are high from breeders on how the market will assess his progeny, 15 of which are catalogued to go under the hammer at July’s weanling sales.

As a multiple Group 1-winning son of champion sire Lonhro and Group 1-winner Mnemosyne (Encosta De Lago), Impending always had all the credentials to be a top-level commercial stallion and Darley’s decision to stand him at Northwood Park in Victoria has paid dividends.

He served 186 mares in his first season, while his 175 services last year made him the third most popular stallion in the state. Many breeders returned their mares for a second season off the back of foal quality.

Impending has certainly been given every chance to succeed, with 17 per cent of that first book of mares either stakes winners or stakes producers, highlighted by multiple Group 1-winner Jameka (Myboycharlie {Ire}).

That colt, bred by a partnership headed by Jameka’s owner Colin McKenna, has been making an impression at Gilgai Farm, having been foaled at Cressfield. As the first foal of a triple Group 1-winner, he is certain to be keenly followed.

Above: Impending x Jameka (Colt)

“He’s nice, he’s rated by both sales companies as the best foal on this farm,” Gilgai Farm Manager Kelly Skillecorn said.

“He came to us just before Christmas and since then he’s been uncomplicated.

“He’s very much in the mould of his mum as a yearling, and her brother that was here last year.”

Another star mating for Impending in that first season was with the dam of a mare he shared a terrific racetrack rivalry with.

Impending’s victory in the 2017 G1 Stradbroke H. came over In Her Time (Time Thief), and he would be mated with her dam, Hell It’s Hot (Zeditave), who not only produced the dual Group 1 winner, but is the half-sister to the dam of The Everest winner Yes Yes Yes.

The Impending x Hell It’s Hot colt is now at Kanangra, under the eye of principal Fred Moses, who is very happy with his progress, despite a slight setback recently.

Above: Impending x Hell It’s Hot (Colt)

“He’s a very nice looking colt. I’m quietly excited about him. In this game, you can never be assured but he’s certainly developing in all the right ways,” Moses said.

“He had a little bit of an issue, but he seems to have got over that. We had him x-rayed and given time, he looks to be improving all the time.”

“He’s a very nice looking colt. I’m quietly excited about him.” – Fred Moses

What has struck Moses about the Impending colt, is his cool demeanour, something which he believes will help him fulfil his potential going forward.

“He’s a very good natured horse. He’s very easy to handle. Godolphin were out here maybe a month ago and they took some shots and video of him. There were horses galloping all around him and he didn’t even worry about them. He’s got a lovely temperament,” he said.

While the sire has made a mark, Moses said Hell It’s Hot has also had her say in the foal, much as she has with her other produce.

“The dam generally throws to herself quite strongly and they have all been very good types.”

Moses said a decision hasn’t been made on whether the colt will go through the sales ring, with the desire to retain him as a stallion prospect, given his physical characteristics and burgeoning pedigree, growing.

Moses sent Hell It’s Hot back to Victoria to Impending last year, but due to no fault of the stallion, she failed to get in foal, and was eventually remated with a cover to Pariah.

Quality makes its mark

Cornerstone Stud in South Australia was one of those to support Impending in his first season and the result of that support is two first crop foals, including a filly by multiple stakes-winner Lovemelikearock (Fastnet Rock).

Above: Lovemelikearock when racing

She may be the eighth foal from the mare, but she has left an impression on Cornerstone Stud Bloodstock Manager Sam Pritchard-Gordon

“One of our better foals on the farm is out of a mare called Lovemelikerock, who is a Group winning Fastnet Rock mare. She probably hasn’t lived up to expectations up until now, but this is the best foal that she has thrown. She’s a bit of a belter,” he said.

“This is the best foal that she has thrown. She’s a bit of a belter.” – Sam Pritchard-Gordon

Both of the foals at Cornerstone have similar colouring to their sire and are following displaying similar physical development.

“They are certainly looking well and there is a bit of similarity. Both of ours are bay. They have size and substance and good bone. They are correct and good moving horses,” he said.

“Off the back of that, we have booked mares back to him in the belief that he will be well received at the yearling sales.”

Filly making quick progress

Mornington Peninsula-based Merricks Station opted to take breeding rights in the Darley stallion from the outset. Its early faith has been rewarded by a filly out of Listed winner Military Reign(Universal Ruler), which while she didn’t arrive until late in the season, has not wasted time in her development.

“The Impending filly is an absolute cracker. She’s a bit of a late foal, but she is just as strong and forward as my other foals. I’m really, really pleased with her,” Merricks Station Farm Manager, Dee Gess-Jones, said.

“The Impending filly is an absolute cracker. She’s a bit of a late foal, but she is just as strong and forward as my other foals. I’m really, really pleased with her.” – Dee Gess-Jones

“For a November foal, she is well and truly forward and a real running type.”

The colouring of her sire has not come through to the Military Reign filly, but there are a couple of other characteristics which Gess-Jones does see.

“She’s a chestnut, so she’s different in that regard, but having seen other Impendings, they do seem to have that really strong hindquarter, like he did. This one is like her Mum as well. It’s hard to say she’s the image of her dad, when she is a baldy faced chestnut filly!”

So impressed are Gess-Jones and Merricks Station owner Ben Cooper with the filly, they will retain her to race.

“It would be interesting to see her go through the sales, but we are just so impressed with her, That’s what we want, is nice fillies like her that are well bred and she ticks all those boxes,” she said.

Breeders backing first crop

Damian Gleeson has a couple of Impending’s first-crop fillies on his Phoenix Broodmare Farm, including one out of Stratum mare Melaleuca, who is set to go through the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Weanling Sale next month.

Catalogued as Lot 869, she is out of a half-sister to Group 3-winner Rialya (Kempinsky).

The other filly is out of the Fastnet Rock mare Blume, the half-sister to Listed winner Fullazz(Redoute’s Choice), who is the dam of Group 1-winner D’Argento.

It shouldn’t surprise with that influence on her dam’s side that the Impending filly is grey, but Gleeson said she carried a few hallmarks of her sire as well.

“The Blume filly is a lovely type of foal, good strong sort of a filly,” he said.

“She throws to the dam a bit, because she is a good big strong mare and she has the grey markings and colouring of the mare, but he’s a good type of stallion himself and he looks to be throwing good types.”

“He’s a good type of stallion himself and he looks to be throwing good types.” – Damian Gleeson

Gleeson said that Victorian breeders had been returning good reports on the first crop of the stallion.

“They have got considerable scope to grow into nice yearlings,” he said. “He was a good horse himself, a dual Group 1 winner and he’s an emerging horse, and so he is ticking a lot of boxes for a lot of breeders given what they have seen from his first crop.”

Ready to make a sales impact

That positive first impact, combined with eligibility of his progeny for the rich VOBIS bonuses on offer in Victoria, should create considerable demand for his progeny at next year’s yearling sales, according to Pritchard-Gordon.

“I think there’s no doubt about that. He’s a Victorian stallion, and the VOBIS scheme is always well received. I feel that he is one of the better stallions on offer in Victoria,” he said.

Gess-Jones said that Merricks Station has no reason not to continue supporting Impending going forward, and she feels he represents a great opportunity for breeders in the state.

“We’ve got two in foal to Impending this year and have another two booked that we will take this year. We really like him and we are a breeding rights holder in the horse. We really wanted to back Victorian horses and we are really happy to have done that with him,” she said.

“It’s nice to get those commercial horses down here and we want to look after them and keep them.”

Article courtesy of Bren O’Brien TDN