Snitzel steals the show during a blockbuster Australian season
Tom Harris looks at the movers and shakers from the latest campaign
Leading general sire: Snitzel
With 159 winners, 26 stakes winners and five Group 1 winners, Snitzel has had quite the year. He topped the Australian general sires' table by winners, stakes wins, stakes winners and total earnings. This season he has been without rival.
This has elevated him to A$176,000 (£107,000/€120,000) for the coming southern hemisphere breeding season, the highest public fee in the land by a mile. This was also a season in which Snitzel returned 26 stakes winners to equal the record set by his grandsire, Danehill. He also set a new record for the prize-money earned by an Australian sire in a season - with a barnstorming A$16.1m (£9.8m/€10.9m).
At 16, Snitzel had been something of a slow burner in relative terms. He made the top ten of the general sires' lists in each of the last five seasons, with his best previous effort coming in 2013-14 when he was held at bay by only his sire, Redoute's Choice.
Prior to the 2016-17 season - and from seven crops of racing age - he had produced six Group 1 winners and six Group 2 winners. This season alone he has produced five new Group 1 winners and three new Group 2 scorers.
The Group 1 Galaxy was subject to the Snitzel treatment as he sired the first two home in Russian Revolution and Redzel, with the latter going on to claim the Doomben 10,000 two months later.
In beating older rivals, the three-year-old Russian Revolution elevated himself to the top tier of possible heirs to his sire for an ownership group that includes Newgate Stud and the China Horse Club. Earlier in the year Heavenly Blue took the Snitzel show to South Africa as he took the Group 1 South African Classic.
Street Cry finished second to Snitzel in the Australian sires' championship, thanks in no small part to the A$6.2m banked by Winx. The 2014-15 champion Fastnet Rock finished in third, with his performers headed by the Group 1 winners Catchy and Awesome Rock.
Leading two-year-old sire: Snitzel
Remarkably for a sire famed for his early bloomers, Snitzel had produced just one two-year-old Group 1 winner prior to this season - Sizzling back in 2012. That was until Summer Passage ended the drought in the New Zealand's Sistema Stakes in March. In the process Summer Passage also became the first overseas Group 1 scorer for his sire.
A fortnight later Summer Passage was denied a second Group 1 by another son of Snitzel, the China Horse Club's Invader, in the ATC Sires' Produce. Trapeze Artist, yet another by Snitzel, followed in the pair to give the Arrowfield stallion a trifecta in the second leg of the two-year-old triple crown, the first time a stallion had achieved that feat in an Australian juvenile Group 1 since 1982.
With just short of A$5m (£3m/€3.4m) in two-year-old prize money, Snitzel amassed nearly double the haul of his nearest rival. Manhattan Rain prevailed in a bunch finish for second over Fastnet Rock and I Am Invincible - chiefly through the A$2.55m from Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign.
Snitzel claimed sole ownership of the Australian-sired two-year-old winners record, with a seasonal tally of 35 (32 in Australia and three in New Zealand). It must be said that I Am Invincible, another revelation this season, kept him company at the top of the Australian two-year-old sires table with 29 winners.
To contextualise, only once in recent times would I Am Invincible's total have fallen short of what was required to take the title. That occasion was the 2015-16 season, when Snitzel racked up 29 two-year-old winners. Beyond Snitzel and I Am Invincible, the table stretches down to Sebring on 18 winners and Fastnet Rock and Star Witness tied on 15.
Leading first-season sire: Pierro
A total of A$873,000 (£530,000/€592,000) in progeny earnings saw Pierro take top honours with All Too Hard less than $150,000 adrift in second. The A$563,000 won by Pierro’s daughter Tulip - of which A$300,000 came for her third in the Golden Slipper - proved decisive. That dwarfed the A$108,000 reaped by The Mighty Fed, All Too Hard's top earner.
Credit must also go to Your Song, who supplied the most winners of any Australian-based freshman with 11 from 30 runners. He stood for just A$22,000 (£13,000/€15,000) in his first season, a figure swamped by the A$77,000 and $66,000 fees commanded by Pierro (seven winners from 34 runners) and All Too Hard (ten winners from 47 runners).
Leading second-season sire: Foxwedge
Three stallions distanced themselves from the pack this season when assessed by prize-money, headed by Fastnet Rock's son - and former reverse shuttler - Foxwedge, the sire of Group 1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes winner Foxplay. In second is Coolmore's So You Think, who supplied Group 1 winners Inference and La Bella Diosa, closely followed in third by another of Fastnet Rock's sons, Smart Missile. However, it is Smart Missile that leads the way in terms of winners with 66, followed by Foxwedge on 51 and So You Think on 42.
Fastnet Rock may have had his ego dented by Snitzel, but Coolmore's star shuttler strengthened his sire-line not just through Smart Missile and Foxwedge, but also through Your Song, numerically the strongest first-season sire .
Leading broodmare sire: Encosta De Lago
Retired from stud duty in 2015, Encosta De Lago retained his broodmare sires' title and in the process broke the record set by Danehill in 2010-11 for the highest-earning broodmare sire in a single season. It must be said, though, that the not-so-insignificant annual rises in prize-money has helped his cause.
Impending, Divine Prophet, Summer Passage and Invader all exhibited their damsires speed to win Group 1s this season, as did his daughters 19 other stakes winners for the season. Encosta De Lago is still proving a potent sire in his own right, highlighted by the efforts of Chautauqua and English in the T J Smith Stakes.
Leading New Zealand sire: Savabeel
Waikato Stud's 16-year-old Savabeel made it three years at the top of the New Zealand General sire's table keeping him on course to equal the four championships secured by his sire Zabeel. Savabeel was represented by ten domestic Group winners this season, headed by treble Group 1 winner Kawi and Group 1 Levin Classic scorer Hall Of Fame.
Darley's Iffraaj, a shuttler to Hanunui Farm near Auckland, took second in the table. Like many stallions on the New Zealand roster, Iffraaj's challenge on the table was impeded as his leading performer - the New Zealand Derby hero Gingernuts - crossed the Tasman to chase the riches available in Australia.
Gingernuts added the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas while on his travels, while Jon Snow, another by Iffraaj, won the Australian Derby instead of focusing on targets at home in New Zealand.
Montjeu's Tavistock ended the season in third while Danehill's Darci Brahma took fourth. Of the shuttlers Mastercraftsman took sixth while Makfi finished tenth despite Bonneval - his leading performer - travelling to win the Australian Oaks.