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Sangsters look to strengthen global roster

AUSTRALIAN buyers remained absent from the JRHA sale in Hokkaido this week, but two representatives of the country were present - Adam Sangster of Swettenham Stud, with younger brother Sam, who recently joined the Victorian breeding operation after finishing his degree in business studies and Spanish in Britain.

The brothers, who had been invited by the Yoshida family, were not shopping for foals, although they could be on the lookout for stallion opportunities - "We're always looking to do stallion deals," says Adam.

They already have one Sunday Silence stallion, Keep The Faith,who was bred in Australia by a partnership of Gainsborough and John Messara's Arrowfield Stud, and ended his career racing in New York for Darley Australia.

That sort of global resume is no deterrent to Australian breeders, Adam Sangster said, and one of the new stallions they are most excited about is Soldier's Tale, bred in the US and raced in Britain, where the son of Stravinsky closed his career with victory in the Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2007.

It was a memorably emotional moment for his British Columbian owner Sydney Belzberg and trainer Jeremy Noseda, who had nursed the horse through illness and injury and finally retired him at age six.

Soldier's Tale covered 94 mares last year on a fee of A$13,750 (£6,482), including Kensington Gardens, the dam of Group 1 winners Blackfriars and Larrocha, and Nancy Eleanor, the dam of Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready.

"We're very excited about Soldier's Tale, but we'll begin to know about his first foals in ten days time," says Adam, referring to the start of the southern hemisphere foaling season.

They are likewise enthusiastic about Host, a globetrotting son of Hussonet who was bred in Chile and won at the top level both there and in the US, and will also have his first foals this year; and Hold That Tiger, who did his share of travelling before settling in Victoria. The Group 1 winning son of Storm Cat "has got a great book," Adam said. "He won't be shuttling this year but will probably go back to France next year."

The Swettenham Stud master is generally bullish about breeding in Australia, despite uncertainty over the future of race funding and a years-long drought which has increased operating costs. "Australia would definitely be in the top two" of jurisdictions in which to run a stallion operation, he says, "because we've got Asia on our doorstep, with Hong Kong, Korea, and then China could open up.

Even the economy does not worry him much. "Australia is so mineral rich, we're one big mine, and it helps push the economy really strongly," he adds.

 

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