Timely winners by War Chant

While War Chant (USA), the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, already has plenty of runs on the board, thanks largely to G1 William Reid Stakes winner Silent Sedition, the presence of a flagship horse during the peak period for Perth racing is always a bonus.

He may well have a second Australian Group 1 winner with star mare Dainty Tess, trained by Dan Morton, one of the leading chances for the G1 Winterbottom Stakes on December 1.

She has already put together back-to-back stakes wins this campaign in the Listed R S Crawford Stakes and the G3 Prince of Wales Stakes and takes on the G3 Colonel Reeves Stakes this Saturday at Ascot.

“She’s a very good little promotion unit for him that’s for sure.” Yarradale manager Bernie Hamill told Bren O’Brien of TDN this week. “”It’s excellent timing.  I suppose it would be better if the carnival would be a little bit earlier and get some more bookings during the year.  Other than that, you hope that next year people will still remember.”

A full brother to Dainty Tess will go through the sales ring at the 2019 Perth Magic Millions and a full sister arrived last month at Yarradale.  “She’s a grey filly and is a little bit taller than Dainty Tess,” Hamill said. “They were both fine little things, but this one’s a bit bigger.”

Dainty Tess is not the only one of War Chant’s progeny flying the flag. War God, a winner of the Listed H G Bolton Stakes earlier this year has been placed in three consecutive stakes races and takes on the Group 3 R J Peters Stakes on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the unbeaten War Room, who was sold to Hong Kong after winning the Listed Sir Ernest Lee Steere Classic last December, is set to make his debut at Sha Tin on Sunday.

War Chant is Yarradale’s headliner on a roster of five, with the former shuttler standing for $11,000, and the remaining four, Bradbury’s Luck, Gingerbread Man, Heritage and Vital Equine (Ire) all standing for $4,400.

But even for a proven stallion, the market is tough according to Hamill, who says a reduction in the amount of mares in WA makes it heavy going. “It’s been steady, but we haven’t been knocked off our feet. I don’t think anyone is in WA

“We had five new stallions last year and that thins the overall demand. When you look at the bottom line and what they can afford to spend, people are cutting back.”

With fewer mares and more stallions, the pressure comes back on the studs to reduce their fees, but Yarradale wouldn’t contemplate that with their banner stallion. “We figure War Chant has done enough and being an older horse, we don’t want to adjust him. If people are serious, they will pay it. We want a better type of mare that people will send to him, anyway.

“We also pay on live foal, which means they don’t have to pay for 12 months. You want to attract the better mares and if you keep dropping your service fees, you tend to get the lesser mares people want to take a punt with, which won’t do anything for the stallion later on.”

Yarradale has a large broodmare band with 85 of their mares covered by their stallions this season, around 60% of the total coverings.

Meanwhile, the progeny of another one of their stallions, Gingerbread Man, are also doing their best for their sire at the right time of year. Achernar Star has been stakes-placed his last two, while Hamill said there are a few others she expects to make an impression over the summer period. “He’s got another filly coming back soon with Dan & Ben Pearce called Essential Spice. There’s also a young horse called Neurological who won four in row.

“Every stallion needs a headliner to keep them in the news and fresh in people’s memory.”