Rosemont Stud principal Anthony Mithen said he was unaware but excited that Shamus Award is shadowing his famous father Snitzel for the number of stakes winners at the same stage of their stallion careers.
“At the same point of his career in September 2013, with his fifth crop about to hit the track, Snitzel had 15 stakes winners, the identical amount as Shamus Award has produced to this point,” TDN reported this week.
“Snitzel did have more winners, 184 to 147, but Shamus Award has more Group 1 winner, with Incentivise his fourth after his win in Saturday’s Makybe Diva S. At this point of his career, Snitzel had one Group 1 winner.
“In fact, Shamus Award has produced more individual Group 1 winners – four – since the start of last season than any other Australian stallion, a measure of just how well he is tracking.”*
Mithen said Shamus Award had been fully booked for several weeks and will serve his biggest book of mares. He made his debut as a stallion in 2014 when he had 165 coverings.
He served 177 mares last season, and Mithen said the stallion would cover 200 this season.
“Isn’t he going well,” Mithen told TBV this week. “What will be interesting is that comparison to Snitzel. Everyone will be saying he is a gun stallion and has always been a gun stallion; well, it took him a little while for him to hit his straps and build some numbers that were elite.”
Mithen said it would be interesting to see whether Shamus Award’s progeny do train on and are not just “here one minute and gone the next sort of horses.”
“That might be a factor,” he said. “But look at Incentivise. He is a five-year-old and is just hitting his straps now.
“I suppose the train on factor might be quite relevant.”
Mithen said Shamus Award continued to show his versatility by producing all types of distance horses, which is highlighted by Swats That which will be high up in the markets for Friday week’s Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) and boom horse Incentivise, which is favourite in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
He said Snitzel isn’t known for being a prolific producer of distance horses but still managed to get the odd good one over a trip but nothing like Incentivise.
Rosemont Stud-bred Shamus Award’s Mr Quickie and remained in the ownership of the two-time Group 1 winner, which had the ultimate success in the Queensland Derby (2400m) and the Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Mithen said Shamus Award would get very chance to bring up the double century of mares at Rosemont.
He said they were getting mares from all over the place, and this week Shamus Award had covered the dam of Swear, Crossyourheart, an example of the quality of mare being sent to him.
“The stallion boys said they can already notice the difference in the quality and type of mare that is coming this year as opposed to his first two years with us,” Mithen said.
“His stats are really encouraging, and it shows what he is doing now based on not getting the best opportunity, whereas now he is going to get that best opportunity. The sky is the limit now.”
Shamus Award, a winner of the Cox Plate (2400m) and Australian Guineas (1600m), only served 84 mares the season before he was relocated from New South Wales to Rosemont.
Mithen believes the drop off as a result of the fierce competition he was facing and the breeder’s fascination for “new shiny toys.”
“Everyone loves a new shiny toy,” he said.
“Breeding, I suppose, used to be an art, and you used to match the stallion to your mare, and it didn’t matter about the new shiny toy.
“You would breed to that stallion because that’s what suited your mare, but people are looking to the commercial aspect so often.”
Mithen said that the third and fourth years of a stallion could become very tricky.
Rosemont will support Shamus Award with 22 of the stud’s own broodmares and a couple more that could soon be retired off the track.
Breeders who got into Shamus Award for $11,000 in his first season at Rosemont and $19,800 last year could be feeling quite smug, according to Mithen, with the stallion’s fee rising to $33,000 this season.
“Those at the $33,000 could be feeling quite smug because in the past couple of weeks, I reckon we would have knocked back 25 or 30 bookings,” he said.
“They were nice mares. Breeders are keen to write the cheque for $33,000 because they are still getting a bargain because his statistics measure up in a real sense with horses like Dundeel, Pierro, and So You Think. And they are all more than double is the fee.”
Asked what the chances of Shamus Award’s fee staying at $33,000, Mithen quickly said: “None.”
He said they set the fee before Incentivise, Duais and Media Award won Group 1 races this year.
“Since we set his fee at Easter, he has had three individual Group, 1 winners,” he said.
“If you have one, you are kicking yourself a little and thought you might have left a little bit on the table.”
Mithen said he wasn’t entirely shocked that Shamus Award’s numbers compare favourably with Snitzel at this same stage of his career but was a little surprised that he was better than him.
“God help him if he is the horse that Snitzel has been over a long period of time – wouldn’t that be nice,” Mithen said.
Interestingly, Snitzel stood at $33,000 in his first season at stud in 2006.
*Excerpts courtesy of TDNAus