Rich Hill Stud, near Matamata, is celebrating its 25th year in operation and managing director John Thompson is looking forward to launching the first crop of yearlings by Vadamos, a Group 1 winning son of Monsun who is well represented at Karaka. The high-class miler has 46 offspring catalogued across the three books of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales, which commence on Sunday week.
The Rich Hill draft will feature yearlings by proven and emerging resident sires Shocking and Proisir, while Vadamos represents the first of a new wave of young stallions at the stud, with Deep Impact’s Group 1 winning son Satono Aladdin commencing duties in 2018, while High Chaparral’s Group 1 winning son Ace High commenced last year. “We’ve been quite fortunate that Shocking has had a great spring and Proisir is really creating an impact with some of his impressive winners, so it is nice to have two stallions on the books that are firing,” Thompson said.
“For us this year, a real focal point will be the first crop of Vadamos. They are just nice, big physical horses and there is certainly a lot of talk about them. “The feedback has been very positive about the Vadamos yearlings as types, both colts and fillies, in a year where there are a lot of quality first season sires to choose from. “I think the one that will create the most attention is the Vadamos filly out of Penthouse Princess. The dam is a full-sister to Prince of Penzance. She is an absolutely standout first foal and a beautiful filly.
“The pedigree has got a lot of depth to it and it wouldn’t surprise me if she makes a bit of money. If anyone is looking for a Classic filly, they aren’t going to find one much better than her. “Vadamos has got a great line of colts and it is hard to differentiate between them. They are big, strong good walking horses that I am certain the buyers will take to.”
Thompson said that although he always had an eye on the future, it was special to reflect on the growth of the farm after a quarter of a century, with foundation sire Pentire having played a pivotal role. “If you’re in this business, you’ve got to keep looking forward, but I suppose if I reflect back, we started as a 100 acre agistment farm then, and now we are 320 acres with five stallions and just under 50 yearlings to offer at Karaka,” he said. “And we have ownership in a lot of the yearlings, whereas previously we were selling a couple of our own and preparing yearlings for other people. “Without Pentire as our foundation stallion, we probably wouldn’t be in this position, but I am delighted with the stallion roster we have now.
“To add Group 1 winning sons of Deep Impact and High Chaparral to the roster over the last few years is extremely exciting and we are looking forward with great anticipation about what we have got coming through with our young stallions and what we have got in the next few years.”
Thompson attended the recent Magic Millions sale at the Gold Coast and takes a number of positives from the vibrant market heading into Karaka. “Going into that sale, some of the vendors were a bit guarded but once the sale got rolling it certainly took off and there were plenty of buyers. “There were quite a few of the younger trainers who weren’t able to buy. They haven’t necessarily got $300,000 for a horse to syndicate and I feel they will find good value at Karaka. “A strong sale at Magic Millions can set the tone for the sales season, so it should bode well.
“I don’t for one moment think that Karaka will be a boom, but you do feel a little bit better that we have such a lovely bunch of first season sires to complement the proven and emerging sires. As vendors, we all still have our feet on the ground. “I’d like to think the marketing campaign to assist Australian trainers with their travel is really going to pay off and, in particular, help get some of the younger guys over.”
The Rich Hill supremo is pleased with the spring performances of Shocking’s progeny which include quality stayer Surprise Baby and lightly-tried three-year-old Vegas Jewel, while David Vandyke has a good opinion of undefeated galloper Startled and New Zealand-based progeny Tibetan and Soleseifei also look capable of black-type success.
“To have graduates like Surprise Baby perform so well and go within a length of giving the farm a second Melbourne Cup winner in the past five years after Prince of Penzance in 2015 was a great thrill,” Thompson said. “There are only two Proisirs in Book 1 and we have got both of them, but he has got nice representation into Book 2 and there is no doubt the local trainers will be onto him, with Riodini and Levante appearing to be some of the better three-year-olds in the country. “Overall, I couldn’t be happier with our draft and it is an exciting time for the farm.”