Interview with Segenhoe's General Manager - Peter O'Brien
Who is your pick of the sires with first-crop yearlings to sell?
The standout first-crop sire in Australia is Zoustar – a terrific racehorse who passes on his good looks to his stock and they have sold accordingly this year. Every single one of them have terrific actions and he has been well supported by leading breeders. Judging by their athleticism and quality, I’d be stunned if they couldn’t gallop.
Which southern hemisphere sires with their first two-year-olds have caught your eye?
There’s no real standout this year as yet, but Pierro for me is the horse with the most upside. Even though he was a brilliant juvenile, a lot of his stock look like they’ll benefit with time and all the leading trainers seem to have a good one who is yet to race. Hecovered as good a book of mares as any stallion has ever done with his first crop.
Which stallions who do not shuttle do you think would work in the other hemisphere?
The obvious stallions for the northern hemisphere would be I Am Invincible and Snitzel. The former is a freak of a stallion who’s already in the top three in Australia from mares off a very modest service fee. Snitzel is a champion sire by Redoute’s Choice whose stock have a preference for give in the ground, which would help them immensely in Europe.
Can anything more be done in Australia to encourage the breeding of stayers?
The focus on breeding precocious speed is baffling considering the prize-money for middle-distance races in Australia. New Zealand has Tavistock, Savabeel and O’Reilly, and with farms like Arrowfield backing Dundeel, Animal Kingdom and RealImpact, hopefully the pendulum will swing.
Do you think Winx will travel to Royal Ascot? And if she does, is she unbeatable?
I doubt whether she’d travel. The owners would like to win a third consecutive Cox Plate and I’d fully support them in that as for her to win three in a row would equal the mighty Kingston Town’s record. That said, I’d dearly love for her to run in the summer of 2018 as the world should get a chance to see her perform in the flesh and realise close up what an equine superstar she is.
What are your thoughts on The Everest and who do you think is the most likely winner?
It’s a fascinating concept and the timing is perfect, particularly for northern hemisphere sprinters. A horse like Caravaggio could run in Europe in the summer, run in The Everest and then go on to the Breeders’ Cup. I think it will encourage sprinting colts to race a year longer rather than go to stud. There would be no more deserving winner than Speith and trainer Bryce Heys.