B. Wayne Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm is traveling the road first paved by John Phillips’s Darby Dan with All American and later traversed by Darley’s Lonhro and Denman; Spendthrift is reverse shuttling Australian-bred Hampton Court from the farm’s Australian facility to Kentucky this year. (Technically, Darley’s Animal Kingdom is a reverse shuttler from Australia, too, but, of course, he isn’t an Australian-bred like the others.)
Hampton Court is by the great Australian sire Redoute’s Choice from Canadian-bred Roses ‘n’ Wine, by Kentucky-based Broken Vow. His female family is North American and quite recognizable. Roses ‘n’ Wine was bred by Royal Oak Farm and sold to Morgan Firestone for $144,592 at the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society yearling sale in 2006. Racing for Firestone Farms, she was a Listed winner at Woodbine over the all-weather and earned $336,180. She was later sold privately to Australia, bred to Redoute’s Choice, and produced Hampton Court as her first foal. He sold for A$500,000 as a yearling and is obviously a handsome specimen.
Hampton Court’s 2nd dam is Canadian-bred Regent’s Fancy, by Vice Regent, and she was bred by Windfields. She produced two additional stakes winners to Roses ‘n’ Wine. The 3rd dam, Noble Fancy, by Vaguely Noble, was bred in California by Desi Arnaz, a longtime breeder, owner, and racegoer. Arnaz had purchased the 4th dam, the Amerigo stakes winner Amerigo’s Fancy, who’d also been bred in California, by Albert Yank, a breeder, owner, and bloodstock agent.
This is a family that’s been successful on turf and all-weather, from Canada to California to Europe and Australia, where Hampton Court was a G1 winner at 10F on turf. But G2 all-weather winner and millionaire Tres Borrachos, who was also placed in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the G2 Arkansas Derby, is from the immediate family and under the 2nd dam, as are some other stakes horses that performed on dirt as well.
The Australian reverse shuttle wasn’t successful in its maiden voyage for Darby Dan with All American, who first came over for the 2011 season, but Darley’s foray with Lonhro has resulted in some legitimate runners, the oldest of which are age 3 this year. They include the Queen’s Plate favorite Shakhimat, who won the 9F $250,000 Coronation Futurity at Woodbine by nine-plus lengths on the all-weather last year; and Isotherm, first in the G3 $200,000 Pilgrim Stakes at Aqueduct at 8.5F on turf at 2, and most recently second in the G3 Dania Beach at 7.5F on turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 2. To date, the Lonhros haven’t been a force on dirt, as Darley had expected them to be, but there’s still time before a verdict can be definitely issued.
Lonhro’s son Denman came after his sire for one season and doesn’t have North American runners yet, but it’s worth noting that neither Lonhro nor Denman are here in 2016.
A G1 winner of three of 15 starts and the equivalent of $347,995, Hampton Court will stand for a reasonable fee of $6,000 — Lonhro stood for $30,000 and Denman $15,000 — and he has some serious sire and “sire of sires” power behind him for the price that perhaps Lonhro and Denman didn’t. Redoute’s Choice, Arrowfield Stud’s flagship stallion, is by Danehill and has sired 126 stakes winners to date, including 27 G1 winners. More importantly, he is the sire of three very good Australian stallions in Snitzel, Stratum, and Not a Single Doubt, as well as the promising Beneteau and several other useful sires. The Danehill line is also known for its sire-making abilities in Europe, through branches like Dansili, Fastnet Rock, etc., so Hampton Court has some major international cred behind him as he joins several other foreign-bred stallions in Kentucky, notably Frankel’s brother Noble Mission, a product of the Galileo/Danehill cross. Note that the reverse cross is also potent.
As the Lonhro runners have shown so far in North America, turf and all-weather may well be the primary surfaces for the Hampton Courts as well, given the Danzig sire line, Hampton Court’s female family, and his own success on turf. Certainly this was the expectation for turf champion Kitten’s Joy when he went to stud, and turf didn’t stop him for succeeding here. Plus, turf opportunities appear to be growing here, as do route races, especially at the larger tracks.
With this in mind, perhaps mares by the Sadler’s Wells lines in North America, headed by the El Prado sires Medaglia d’Oro, Kitten’s Joy, and Artie Schiller, and including daughters of such as Perfect Soul, might be a way for Hampton Court to capitalize on the affinity between Danehill and Sadler’s Wells, as well as turf and distance?