Best On Breeding
Mark Smith - Thursday, 9 March 2017

Four of the seven stallions covering 200 or more mares in 2016 failed to win a Group 1.

Two of those, I Am Invincible and Written Tycoon, are among the most successful stallions at stud.

You can add Not A Single Doubt to that elite group of non-Group I winners among a handful of the most successful stallions in the country.

The most popular first season sire was the Group II winner Spill The Beans, while Deep Field broke the 200 barrier for the second time having covered 257 mares in his first season.

Deep Field was purchased and raced by Alan Bell who has few peers in identifying future stars of the track.

He fits the mould of most of Bell’s past success stories that include Group I winners Schillaci, Grand Armee, Primacy and Magic of Money.

Of that select group only Magic Of Money escaped the scalpel as a young horse.

 After a belated start to his career on the track, Deep Field won his first start at Gosford by ten lengths.

 He won his first five races by a combined total of 24 lengths, his first stakes success coming in the Tatts Lightning at Randwick then added the Group II Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.

A week before Deep Field’s first stakes win, his year younger brother Shooting To Win added the Group I Caulfield Guineas to his previous win in the Group II Stan Fox Stakes.

There was no way Deep Field was going to be gelded.

The closest the son of Northern Meteor came to a Group I was a third in the Lightning Stakes behind Lankan Rupee and Brazen Beau.

After just 8 starts for 5 wins, 1 second and 1 third, Deep Field was off to Newgate Farm who set a fee of $22,000 and were swamped with applications.

Bell won the Group I Newmarket Handicap in 1992 with the brilliant grey Schillaci and the following year with Primacy.

After a 24 year absence, he has a great chance to make it three on Saturday with the 3yo Star Turn.

But the son of Star Witness will not sport Bell’s silks.

Vinery Stud was quickest off the mark to secure an interest in the striking chestnut who will carry the green with white V of the Hunter Valley Stud.

Star Turn is searching for his first win at the elite level. I doubt that will deter many breeders when he makes his first parade at Vinery.

This horse is a magnificent specimen.

A $400,000 purchase at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale, he cost $40,000 less than Deep Field and is also trained by Team Hawkes.

While his pedigree is not liberally splashed with stakes winners, Star Turn (pictured as a yearling) is out of the high-class Made Of Gold mare Golden Delicious.

A precocious two-year-old in Western Australia, Golden Delicious won four of her five starts at two.

Her only failure came in the Group II Karrakatta Plate. Taken east for her 3yo debut, Golden Delicious opened her stakes account in the Willian Crocket stakes at Moonee Valley.

Back home in the west she added the Group III Prince Of Wales Stakes and three other stakes races.

Her overall record of 13 wins, 7 seconds and 4 thirds from 30 starts with earnings of $497,290 was a testament to her class and consistency.

Her first four foals to race are all winners.

While Star Turn is the star of the team, the Stratum gelding Straight Gold was an honest performer in Hong Kong where he was second in the Group I Centenary Sprint.

Golden Delicious has a 2yo full sister to Star Turn named Shufoog who is yet to race.

It will be a sad time for Widden Stud when they consign the final foal of Golden Delicious, a colt by Stratum, at the upcoming Easter Yearling sale.

Golden Delicious died in November 2015.

Like Star Turn, the handsome Spieth will be striving to break through at the highest level.

After heartbreaking narrow defeats in the Darley Classic and Lightning Stakes the son of Thorn Park would be a worthy winner.

But as we have seen a Group I win is not the be all and end all for a stallion prospect.

Six of the 13 starters in Saturday’s Newmarket are by sires that failed to earn a Group I.

I Am Invincible has Illustrious Lad and Voodoo Lad, Not A Single Doubt has the Blue Diamond and Moir Stakes hero Extreme Choice, Written Tycoon has the Rubiton Stakes winner Super Cash, the very likeable Terravista, a dual Group I winner, is by the Group II winner Captain Rio and the outsider Inspector is a son of Danehill’s dual Group II winner California Dane.

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