WONDER mare Winx’s mum, Vegas Showgirl, could be headed out on the world’s most expensive equine date, with a mating being considered with champion Japanese stallion Deep Impact for later this year.
John Camilleri, who owns Vegas Showgirl, and his bloodstock manager, Segenhoe Stud general manager Peter O’Brien, are looking into plans to send Australia’s best broodmare to one of the world’s hottest stallions.
Deep Impact stands at Shadai Stallion Stallion in Japan. His fee of 40 million yen ($482,577) makes him the most expensive advertised sire in the world.
O’Brien confirmed to the Herald Sun that Camilleri hadn’t finalised a decision, but was investigating potential travel arrangements to take Winx’s mum to Japan in July.
If all went well after being served by Deep Impact, the broodmare would then return to Australia later in the year, before foaling at Segenhoe in the Hunter Valley next year.
“John is contemplating sending her to Japan to be served to southern hemisphere time to Deep Impact,” O’Brien said. “He is looking into the logistics of it all now.”
“For me, Deep Impact and Galileo are the best two stallions in the world, and I think the mare (Vegas Showgirl) deserves the chance.
“She throws big horses and we are always trying to concentrate on breeding her to stallions who aren’t big and who throw horses that are an average height.
“That’s why we have stuck with (champion Australian sires) Snitzel and Exceed And Exceed.”
A final decision on this year’s mating will be made soon.
Deep Impact had two fillies go through the Inglis Easter Yearling Sales this week, selling for $1.1 million and $1 million, with the former being bought by Chris Waller, Winx’s trainer.
O’Brien has been a part of the Winx story from day one, having helped Camilleri select and buy Vegas Showgirl — now 15 — for $455,000 at the 2008 Magic Million Broodmare Sales.
He was there when she came into the world on September 14, 2011 — as “a leggy Elle Macpherson type” — and he marvelled at how she got to her feet almost immediately when most foals take up to half an hour or longer.
He was even there when the yearling that would become known as Winx was sold at the 2013 Magic Millions Sales for $230,000 to Peter Tighe, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke, and has followed her career every powerful step of the way.
And he is eagerly awaiting Saturday’s $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick where Winx is set to equal Black Caviar’s record of 25 wins in succession, and she could also push her prizemoney to almost $19 million.
“It is always good to have some association with a good horse, let alone one of the best of all-time,” O’Brien said.
Having been born in Ireland, and worked at Coolmore Stud for more than 25 years, travelling the world and dealing with global superstars, O’Brien maintains Winx is the greatest horse he has ever come across.
“She’s the best, no doubt,” he said. “In the Coolmore days, I saw a lot of good colts. Obviously, there was Sadler’s Wells, Galileo and Danehill, and their offspring, but as far as rearing a horse over 30 years, there is nothing that has come close to me (as Winx), and I don’t think anything ever will come close.”
O’Brien maintains Waller deserves special credit for the patient pathway he took in Winx’s elevation from good horse to superstar.
“For her first two years in training, physically, she was just catching up with herself,” O’Brien said. “Chris managed her beautifully — he never overtaxed her.”
“People say ‘she lost races’ but she lost those early races because she wasn’t physically mature. You can break a horse’s spirit if you push them too hard.
“Even when she came back from winning at the Sunshine Coast (in May 2015) she still looked a bit unfurnished.
“After winning her second Cox Plate (in 2016), I thought she had furnished properly. Then I saw her last spring (before her third Cox Plate win) and I said to a friend: ‘God help anyone thinking they can beat her.’”