“We were very much looking forward to contesting the Cox Plate this year. After last year’s performance, he certainly would have been a deserving starter in the race but anyway, it’s not to be. We didn’t have much option.”
Messara said the one-year alliance with Woodside Park for Written Tycoon was a win-win for both stud farms. The sire of Golden Slipper winner Capitalist as well as Rich Enuff, Music Magnate and Booker will stand for $77,000, down from $110,000 in 2019.
“Written Tycoon’s a great horse,” he said.
“He’s had a big number of seasons in Melbourne and we thought we could offer the syndicate and the standing stud an opportunity to stand in the Hunter Valley and access all those mares he hasn’t been able to access over the last 10 years.
“We’re going to support him very strongly with our own mares as well.”
Maurice, Real Steel and Mikki Isle were the three Japanese stallions due to return to Victoria – all non-Danehill line stallions, which made them appealing options for breeders – but Messara said the prudent thing to do was to leave them at their home base.
Arrowfield still plans to shuttle Shalaa from France subject to logistics, however the stud farm’s seven other stallions for this year’s roster are all ex-Australian racehorses.
Champion stallion Snitzel heads their roster, with a $165,000 service fee for 2020, followed by Written Tycoon, Dundeel ($66,000) and The Autumn Sun ($66,000).
Castelvecchio will stand for $33,000 in his first season and Messara expected the two-time group 1 winner to be very popular.
“He’s got tremendous credentials,” he said.
“He’s by a hot stallion in Dundeel and his racing credentials are tremendous. He was a great two-year-old; I think he was equal top-rated two-year-old with Timeform and at three he was rated the fifth-best three-year-old in the world this year.
“I think the Cox Plate was the ninth-highest ranked race in the world this year and he ran second to a horse who subsequently won the group 1 in Japan, and at two he had that scintillating win in the Champagne Stakes where they ran the fastest time run for that race.
“He’s the fastest two-year-old miler in history. I think he’s really good value at $33,000.”
Meanwhile, Channel Seven has announced racing will be shown live and free to air across its main channels for the next seven weeks.
This Saturday’s group 1 meeting at Morphettville and the Sandown meeting will be broadcast after a deal was done with Racing Victoria and Racing.com, while Racing Queensland has also done a deal with Channel 7 to have its winter carnival broadcast on free-to-air.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.