European champion Almanzor to shuttle to Cambridge Stud
New Zealand-based farm to stand three-time Group 1 winner this year
Champion European three-year-old Almanzor, by Wootton Bassett, will shuttle to New Zealand’s Cambridge Stud later this year as the famous thoroughbred nursery continues its development under new owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay.
The Sir Patrick Hogan-founded Cambridge Stud boasts four stallions on its 2018 roster thanks to the addition of Almanzor, with the three-time Group 1 winner joining a line-up headed once again by Montjeu's son Tavistock.
Cambridge Stud secured the deal for Almanzor's southern hemisphere breeding rights during a visit last month to France's Haras d'Etreham, where the grandson of the successful New Zealand shuttler Iffraaj stands in Europe.
The stud’s chief executive Henry Plumptre said yesterday the acquisition of a horse who lit up the European summer of 2016 was a coup for the New Zealand breeding industry and confirmed that the Lindsays are prepared to continue investing in high-class bloodstock.
"The thing about him is that he is a complete outcross," Plumptre told ANZ Bloodstock News. "He hasn't got much Northern Dancer in his pedigree at all.
"He was a good horse and in the Irish Champion Stakes that he won he beat seven other Group 1 winners and I think they had won 18 Group One races between them, so he was a very good horse.
"We went to look at him a couple of weeks ago in France to undertake an inspection and he is a very eye-catching horse."
Trained in France by Jean-Claude Rouget, Almanzor made a winning debut at two and extended the unbeaten start to his career to three races, a sequence that included the Listed Grand Criterium de Bordeaux Stakes over 1600m.
It was as a three-year-old that Almanzor truly excelled, with victory in the Prix du Jockey Club preceding superb displays that saw him defeat the best of the older generation at weight-for-age in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
In Ireland, Almanzor swooped from near last to defeat seven individual Group 1 winners before making it five wins in a row during the 2016 season at Ascot, where he got the better of four Group 1 winners.
Plumptre confirmed Cambridge Stud would be supporting Almanzor with at least 25 of its well-bred mares in his first season.
"There is a very good horse here in New Zealand called Sherrif and he is going to Adelaide for the Derby and his mother is going to go to him," he said.
"A lot of the Lindsays' mares will go to him and a lot of the top Cambridge Stud mares will go to him as well, so we are going to give him a good start."
Almanzor also descends from the influential Gone West sire line, a factor in Cambridge Stud pursuing the southern hemisphere breeding rights for the stallion.
"Gone West is an important factor in what he has produced in terms of sires. Iffraaj has done it the hard way in New Zealand, but he is a very genuine stallion on both sides of the globe," Plumptre said.
"Wootton Bassett is a bit of a rising star in France and he has that good horse, Wootton, who is favourite for the French Derby."
Almanzor is currently standing his first northern Hemisphere season and will be offered for a fee of NZ$30,000 (£15,500/€17,600) (all fees plus GST) at Cambridge Stud, whose roster is topped by Tavistock at an unchanged fee of NZ$65,000.
Leading second-crop sires Burgundy, by Redoute's Choice, and Highly Recommended, a son of Fastnet Rock, have had their fees reduced, with Burgundy commanding a fee of NZ$12,000, while Highly Recommended will be offered to breeders at fee of NZ$10,000.
Plumptre, who moved to New Zealand to take up his new role earlier this year, said the Lindsays were committed to the industry and determined to ensure Cambridge Stud remained a force in the years to come.
Under his management, Cambridge Stud has acquired interests in Group 1-winning Te Akau Racing-owned three-year-old stallion prospects Age Of Fire, by Fastnet Rock and Embellish, by Savabeel, with the pair to retire to the farm as soon as 2019.
Age Of Fire won the Group 1 Levin Classic over 1600m in January this year, while Embellish was victorious in the New Zealand 2,000 Guineas last November.
"It might appear that we are rushing out and buying everything. We bought the Guineas winner Embellish and Age Of Fire, but they were all strategic moves for us," the former Godolphin Australia managing director said.
"Age Of Fire is a son of Fastnet Rock and he will be racing on next season. He didn't have much of a campaign in Sydney, and there was a good reason for that, and Embellish is a really nice horse who is very lightly raced and can go to stud next year.
"We needed a NZ$30,000 horse this year because we had a gap on our roster. We have a stallion at NZ$12,000 and a stallion at NZ$10,000 and then we have Tavistock at NZ$65,000."
Plumptre said he was thrilled to be working for the Lindsays and to be living in New Zealand.
"Taking over Cambridge is about maintaining the brand but establishing a new direction," he said.
"I am very fortunate to be able to do it at my stage of life really. It is an absolute privilege to be asked to do it, but I have been buying yearlings in New Zealand for 30 years, so it is not as if I am a new face.
"It is a great place to live and not a challenge at all. It is only a couple of hours from Australia."
Cambridge 2018 covering fees
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