Best On Breeding
Mark Smith - Friday July 27

After ten seasons of shuttling Artie Schiller (USA) was made a permanent Australian resident this year.

The son of El Prado had spent two seasons at Emirates Park in New South Wales after he covered nine books of mares in Victoria.

Like most stallions he has ridden the wave of fashion, but he had earned his trip to the Hunter Valley following the performances of the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Flying Artie and the Group II Skyline Stakes winner Good Standing who came from Artie Schiller’s largest crop of foals conceived in 2012.

However, before that crop began to distinguish themselves on the track, Artie Schiller’s popularity was on the wane and he covered just 43 mares in 2015 despite having his fee lowered from $22,000 to $13,200.

That breeding season had not long finished before Flying Artie captured the Group III Blue Diamond Prelude and ran the unluckiest of seconds in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes.

Then, Good Standing threw his hat in the ring for the Golden Slipper when capturing the Skyline Stakes at just his second start.

At the end of the 2015-16 season, Artie Schiller finished the sixth leading sire of two-year-olds and was on his way to the Hunter Valley with his fee bounced back to $22,000.

That was increased to $33,000 last year at which point they may have found his limit with just 56 mares covered.

So, the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Mile hero is heading back to Victoria where he service fee at Stockwell Thoroughbreds in 2018 has been set at $13,200 (inc GST).

There’s no doubt he can get a good horse with the likes of Laser Hawk, I Love It, Daytona Grey, Vain Queen, Lady Melksham, Secret Liaison, Dornier and the Big Chill.

Another promising performer for Artie Schiller is the David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Ruban Bleu who will be out to finish his juvenile season on a high in Saturday’s $150,000 VOBIS Gold Ingot (1400m) at Caulfield.

Following a debut fourth, beaten less than one and a half-lengths, behind the promising I Am Invincible colt The August at Flemington on June 9, Ruban Blue came from last to finish second to Tony Nicconi at Caulfield on June 30.

Admittedly, he was safely held by four lengths however he did not receive the clearest of passages and an extra 200 metres on Saturday should be a positive despite not having raced for four weeks.

An $80,000 purchase by Lindsay Park Racing / Champion Thoroughbreds out of the Swettenham Stud draft (as agent for Emirates Park) at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Ruban Bleu (pictured as a yearling ) is the first foal of the Fastnet Rock mare Bleue Pepite who displayed some promise when third at Canterbury at her career debut.

After four starts, Bleue Pepite was sold for $13,000, which seemed quite reasonable for a filly of her breeding.

But she needed to go to Moree to break her maiden and when she beat just one of the 11 runners home in a class one at Port Macquarie at her 17th start, time was called on her career.

Bleue Pepite is the first foal of Ballybleue who looked to have all the requisites for a top-class broodmare.

She was top-notch on the track, despite the Group II Silver Slipper being her only win, Ballybleue placed in the Group II Reisling Slipper Trial, Group III MVRC Tesio Stakes and Listed Widden Stakes.

Her breeding cannot be faulted. A daughter of the outstanding broodmare sire Peintre Celebre out of an unraced Bletchingly mare who is a half-sister to Flying Spur and to the dam of Encosta de Lago.

After her first few foals on the track failed to distinguish themselves, Ballybleue was consigned to the 2014 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

By that time, she had had five foals and was carrying a positive test to So You Think.

Ballybleue was knocked down to Bert Vieira for $65,000.

He sold the So You Think filly to Darren Weir for $80,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale.

Named Think Bleue she became her dam’s first stakes-winner when capturing the Group III Alexandra Stakes at Moonee Valley in March and at her most recent start finished a close-up fifth in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville.

While Ballybleue visited Newgate Farm’s Sizzling last spring, her daughter Bleue Pepite headed to the same farm for a date with Artie Schiller’s star colt Flying Artie.