With Mr Stunning (Exceed and Excel) bred by Tony Santic’s Victoria-based Makybe Racing and Breeding and the world’s best miler, Beauty Generation also claiming strong Victorian links, the breeders down south are keeping a close eye on their international runners.
The dam of Mr Stunning, With Fervour was sourced at the Tattersalls December mare sale, for 65,000 guineas and foaled the Exceed and Excel colt at Yallambee Stud, in the Kerrie Valley, Macedon Ranges.
“He’s a nice colt, lacks size, a little bit light-boned,” Makybe Stud Manager Joe Murray scribbled down anecdotally eight days later. He should strengthen up with time. Well put-together.”
But as the Santics announced that they were downsizing their operation, With Fervour and her Exceed and Excel colt were both to be offered at public auction.
Although covered by Purrealist, she unfortunately lost her foal by the time she stepped into the ring at the Easter Broodmare Sale and was sold to Victorian breeder and vet Dr Lesa Jane Oldcastle for just $6,000. She produced only one more foal, a filly by Mossman before passing away a week after foaling.
“She was an old-enough mare and she was empty, so the market dictated her value. But little did we know what was in the pipeline,” Murray said.
While the Exceed and Excel was ticketed for the Great Southern Weanling Sale for a variety of reasons.
“Looking at his page, he should either going to Magics (Gold Coast) or Easter,” Murray said. “He wasn’t mature enough to go to Magics and the Easter people would have been too critical of him. and as the mare had a fair few foals that hadn’t amounted to much, the call was made.”
“He was a lovely colt, he was probably a little light-boned, but apart from that there was very little wrong with him,” Murray continued.
“His legs were good, no surgeries and his temperament was always outstanding. He put his head down during the weaning process and handled everything that was thrown at him. He was good natured, beautifully behaved and did everything right.”
Reserved by Santic at $90,000, Mr Stunning fetched $110,000 from Mark and Shelley Treweek’s Lyndhurst Farm, who resold the colt to Willie Leung’s Magus Equine for NZ$250,000 at the NZB Premier Yearling Sale.
Turned over to trainer John Size, Mr Stunning turned heads from day one, including a debut befitting his name over the minimum trip at Happy Valley.
Named that season’s champion griffin, he ascended to the heights with a popular success in the 2017 Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint and last month joined the elite company of legendary Silent Witness and Sacred Kingdom as two-time winners of that race.
“It’s huge,” Murray says proudly. “Australia is a sprinting nation that prides itself on breeding sprinters, so to have a horse that can do that, it gives you goose bumps. It’s what everyone here is trying to do – breed a sprinter at the top level.”
While the brilliant miler, Beauty Generation also has some notable Victorian connections.
The six-year-old gelding is by Road To Rock out of the Bel Esprit mare, Stylish Bel.
Bred by David O’Callaghan Bloodstock, she sports the brand of long-time client of Eliza Park and Sun Stud, Mick Maroulis, who has a 60-acre farm between Kyneton and Malmsbury which he runs with his wife, Lou.
Stylish Bel was sold over to New Zealand when only a weanling, and never raced, she was sent to stud in 2010. Beauty Generation is one of her three named foals, who is a half-sister to the stakes-winning pair Victory Trump and Savage Attack making him a brother to the Singapore-based dual winner Steel Cutter.
After several New Zealand bred foals, Stylish Bel has now since returned from over the ditch, 12 years later thanks to her new owner, Rosemont Stud.
Purchased before the 2017 breeding season and before Beauty Generation was a Group 1 winner, she was initially bred to the part-owned Rosemont Stud stallion Tarzino, who stands in New Zealand. Now back in Australia, Stylish Bel and has been sent this season to Yarraman Park stallion, I Am Invincible.
Beauty Generation was purchased by Hermes Syndications for NZ$60,000 from the Highden Park at the 2014 Karaka Sale and can now claim to be the best miler on the planet when adding a fifth Group 1 on his CV with an easy victory in Group 1 The Stewards’ Cup.
Incredibly Jockey Zac Purton claimed there is still improvement left in the John Moore-trained six-year-old. Having now won each of his last three starts by three lengths, and in blistering times and he gives the impression that Beauty Generation’s massive engine is merely idling.
His deserved rating of 127 makes him the joint highest-rated horse in Hong Kong’s history, having now won 14 of his 27 starts for earnings of $11,750,457, with both Dubai and Royal Ascot campaigns on the horizon.