Ask any yearling buyer what the toughest gig is and chances are that turning a colt into a commercial stallion prospect would sit at the top of the list.

It’s not quite up there with water into wine, but in the enigma that is the thoroughbred industry, it comes pretty darn close.

Therefore, speedy entire, Thronum, ticked a very big box under the lights at Moonee Valley last Friday, capturing the Group 2 Australia Stakes over 1200 metres for owner Sun Bloodstock.

Since purchasing Victoria’s Eliza Park – now Sun Stud – as its Australian base in 2013, the Hong Kong owned Sun Bloodstock has made a significant investment in the Australian industry, purchasing a number of colts annually in the hope of producing a top level performer that will translate into a highly sought after stallion prospect.

It’s not a novel approach, hence the crowded field at the top end of the yearling sale market, but it makes good sense when established Group 1 stars of the turf often generate tens of millions when their racing days are done.

Thronum still has a way to go, but the Australia Stakes was definitely a stride in the right direction.

Leading throughout in the Group 2 sprint, Thronum held off strong challenges from Group 1 Rupert Clarke runner-up Mr Sneaky, Boxing Day stakes winner Stellar Collision and Japanese flyer Brave Smash to notch up his fifth win from ten outings.

Previously trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Thronum won the Listed Rosebud at Randwick in August 2016 and was third in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes, before a lengthy spell.

He then resumed last November under the guidance of the Lindsay Park team, where he won at Bendigo by five lengths and was then third – beaten a neck – in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes.

“He (Thronum) had a minor tendon issue and that’s why he was on the sidelines for all that time, but he’s really matured and benefited from the uphill tracks at Lindsay Park,” Sun Stud’s Operations Manager, David Grant, points out.

“He’s come back in terrific order.

“There’s any number of (Group 1) options open to him … the CF Orr Stakes over 1400m in a fortnight (10 February), the Oakleigh Plate (24 February) or the William Reid (23 March).

“All three are Group 1 races, but he appears to race better when fresh so the stable might just keep him ticking over and bring him back for the William Reid.”

Sun Bloodstock purchased Thronum for $300,000 at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale and bloodstock advisor, David O’Callaghan, agrees that Group 1 success is the ultimate goal.

“Thronum has probably enhanced his stud value at least ten-fold following the Australia Stakes win, while given his breeding, a Group 1 would make him an extremely lucrative stud prospect,” O’Callaghan reveals.

“It is difficult to buy into proven turf stars, so it’s clearly much better if you can identify one at the yearling stage.”

“There was a lot to like about Thronum at Easter,” O’Callaghan reveals. “He was a late November foal, but a very good-looking colt all the same.

“He’s by Snitzel and his granddam is a half-sister to Street Cry, who aside from Winx, is also the sire of Champion American mare, Zenyatta and the Australian-bred Group 1 winner in South Africa on Saturday night, Oh Susanna. Meanwhile, Street Cry’s half-sister is the dam of Champion Sire, Shamardal.

“Also, Thronum’s dam, Helena’s Secret, is by Five Star Day, who is not that well known in Australia, but at one stage I was trying to get him to stand here in Australia. He was an incredibly fast horse.”

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