The champion first season sire for 2019-20 is Novara Park’s Sweynesse, who sired three winners including Bonita Aurelia, who won the Group 3 Taranaki 2YO Classic (1200m) and placed in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m). The highly regarded Walkthisswey was an impressive recent winner at Riccarton.
“It’s a really good result, and a great way for the stallion to start his career,” said Novara Park manager Ray Knight. “It’s been a funny old year for everyone with Covid-19, but it’s been very encouraging for us to see his first progeny perform as well as they have.
“The particularly exciting thing is that we’ve heard a number of very positive reports about some of his other progeny who are still in the wings and haven’t yet stepped out on the racetrack. “He’s had very good support all of the way through from the syndicate and the breeders, so we’re very pleased for them that he’s delivered these results and rewarded them for that support.
“Bonita Aurelia is obviously a very good filly, and she’s just been nurtured along by some top trainers (Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman). She’s a tall, leggy sort of a thing, and it was always obvious that she was going to get much better as she strengthened up, so everything she’s done so far has really been a bonus. “But she’s game and she’s tough, and those are attributes we’ve been seeing across many of his progeny.
“Walkthisswey is very highly rated, and I thought it was a great performance by the horse and her trainer (Paul Harris) to get that win first-up. She hadn’t done much at all before then, but she was very professional and tough and won it very well.”
Knight has been encouraged by the level of interest from breeders in recent weeks for both Sweynesse and fellow stallion Staphanos, whose first foals will be born in the coming spring. “In such an uncertain climate, everyone’s been in a bit of a holding pattern and breeders have probably waiting a little bit longer before making their decisions on what to do with their mares,” he said.
“But interest in both of our stallions has really ramped up just recently, which is a very good sign. My feeling at this stage is that more mares will be mated this year in New Zealand than many of us might have expected.” Sweynesse will stand at an unchanged fee of $6,000 +GST for the forthcoming breeding season, while Deep Impact’s Group 1 performed son Staphanos will stand for $7,000+GST.