Gold Standard sired his first Group One winner in the JJ Atkins. (Photo: Widden Stud)

They say that timing can be everything.

And there’s been a double dose involving seven-year-old stallion Gold Standard (Sebring x Coniston Gem).

The stallion grabbed the attention of breeders when two-year-old Sheeza Belter (Saxabelle), from Gold Standard’s first crop, won the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes (1350m) and then won her next start by taking out the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

Sheeza Belter is the first filly to win the JJ Atkins Stakes since Linky Dink (Keeper x Gimmick) in 2009.

The former Perth galloper, now trained at Randwick by Peter and Paul Snowden, has raced seven times for four wins, a second and a third.
The filly has already put more than $1.4m in the bank for owner Justin Warwick who paid $50,000 for the filly at the Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale last year.

Bred by prominent Melbourne breeder Robert Crabtree, the Group 2 winning Gold Standard started stud duties at Spendthrift Farm in Victoria but was relocated to Widden Stud when Spendthrift closed down its Australian operation.

While lamenting the loss of Spendthrift to the Victorian industry, Widden has benefited greatly from Sheeza Belter’s outstanding performances.

Despite serving a modest book of 26 mares at a service fee of $5500 last season, there has been an incredible rush for the stallion whose biggest book was 71 in his second season in 2019.

Widden Stud Victoria’s Adam Henry said the rush has come off the back of Sheeza Belter’s Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm on May 28.

“She started her career by winning the WA Magic Millions in her first prep and then went over to the Snowdens and won the Group 2 Sires and now the big Group 1,” Henry said.

“It’s pretty amazing.”

Henry said there were only 25 bookings now left for Gold Standard whose service fee was increased after Sheeza Belter’s JJ Atkins win.

“His service fee has been increased,” he said.

“He was announced at $8,800 but that has since gone to $17,600 and we are honouring all existing bookings in the system but anything going forward will be done at the $17,600.”

Henry said Gold Standard’s book had been capped at 150. He has served 195 mares in his four seasons at stud.

“Pretty much we announced him on the Friday and Sheeza Belter won on the Saturday and I reckon we took 80 bookings over the next couple of days after that,” he said.

“We made the announcement on the 27th of May that he would be standing at Widden Victoria and then on the 28th, the next day, Sheeza Belter won the Group 2 Sires Produce – the million-dollar race.

“And from there the enquiries haven’t stopped. It’s a pretty amazing feat.”

As of Monday, Henry said Gold Standard ($1,537,640) was only $155,000 short of being champion first season with just six runners.

He said the leader Russian Revolution ($1,692,720) has had 40 runners.

Henry said he wasn’t sure why Golden Standard had a small book of mares last season but says the stallion’s lower profile back then was probably a contributing factor.

“But it’s all about what they can do with their progeny,” he said.

“What he is doing at the moment is off 42 live foals and then he has got another 42 (from 2019) to come for next year and then he’ll be serving 150 mares this season.

“Extreme Choice has shown that you can do it from a small book if you are good enough and it looks like Gold Standard is heading in that direction.”

Henry said Gold Standard was attracting a better type of broodmare and had shown what he could do with limited numbers and probably not the best mares in the Stud Book.

He said they were also excited to have another two former Spendthrift stallions – Dirty Work (Written Tycoon x Maidel) and Overshare (I Am Invincible x Savannah’s Choice) – on the roster.

Dirty Work served 155 mares in his first season last year.

“And then we saw through the Magic Millions sale how mares in foal to him were in high demand,” Henry said.

“There were ten that made two hundred grand or more that were in foal to him.

“It’s high demand for him, a son of Written Tycoon.

“And Overshare has had a great start to stud with three runners for two winners and a placegetter, including Annabel Neasham’s filly (Lady Laguna) which has had a couple of Group 2 placings in two-year-old races.

“Overshare has had a great start as well.”

Henry said they were happy to take the baton from Spendthrift and build on what they’d done with the stallions that had been relocated to Widden.

And Henry believes they’d probably be the only Victorian stud to have three stallions – Magnus, Star Witness and Nicconi – on the roster to each have 100 or more winners for the season.

“I don’t know if anyone else could boast that off the one roster in Victoria,” he said.

Victoria - Thoroughbred Country