New Inglewood Stud stallion War Decree.
Inglewood Stud principal Gus Wigley is a firm believer in the adage that when one door closes another will open.
No better reminder has been in the past week with the decision to relocate the hugely successful young stallion Zacinto and fill his box with the exciting European performer War Decree.
Zacinto, the sire already of five stakes winners from just three crops of racing age, is set to transfer to the Waikato, where he will take up duties at the Valachi Downs property of part-owner Kevin Hickman.
His replacement at Inglewood, a son of champion US-based stallion War Front and well proven in strong English and Irish Group company, fits a similar profile to Zacinto and will carry the hopes of the North Canterbury stud to continue its invigoration of southern breeding.
“Zacinto has done a massive job for Inglewood and for breeders in general in this region,” said Wigley as he discussed the next chapter in the revival of the historic nursery.
“His move north will open up greater opportunities for him and we’ll still be involved as co-owners with Valachi Downs and Windsor Park, but I’m thrilled to have nailed War Decree.
“For the past three years we’ve been looking for another horse to stand here and I identified War Decree as a likely prospect all of 12 months ago. That’s when I started hounding the Coolmore boys and I’ve hardly let up.
“They committed to giving us first option when the time came to decide his future and that has happened.”
When the word came through from Ireland last week, Wigley and Valachi Downs general manager Jonathan Scully were on the first available flight to inspect the four-year-old and had no hesitation in striking a deal once those formalities had been completed.
“He’s a magnificent specimen, everything I had hoped for,” said Wigley. “He’s got the greatest walk I’ve ever seen on a horse, he rolls along like a panther.
“He and Zacinto are two defined individuals but their profiles have a lot in common. Their sires War Front and Dansili are both internationally recognised and they’re members of two of the best families in the northern hemisphere.”
War Front established a North American niche for his sire Danzig and that quickly spread back across the Atlantic. With a tally of stakes winners now nudging 70, he has also had tremendous success in Europe and his number of Group One winners currently stands at 18 headed by multiple winners Air Force Blue, Roly Poly, Declaration Of War, Avenge, The Factor and U S Navy Flag.
Further proven international blood comes through War Decree’s damsire Street Cry (Winx et al), while his second damn is the dual American Group One winner Ticker Tape. The line traces to influential broodmare Terlingua, whose descendants also include champion stallions Storm Cat and Royal Academy.
War Decree made his contribution to the family stocks with three wins and two second placings from 11 starts, headed by the Gr. 2 Vintage Stakes at three years over seven furlongs at Goodwood. He was also a winner at two and runner-up at the same age at Group Two, while this year at four he finished second over 10 furlongs in the Gr. 2 Chester Huxley Stakes.
“He was considered good enough to be set for races like the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Hong Kong Cup and Dubai Turf, and what he was able to achieve on the track confirms his class,” said Wigley.
“He wasn’t a cheap horse to buy but we’re thrilled to have secured him and we fell that he’s more than fairly priced at an introductory fee of $6,500 (plus GST).
“Letting Zacinto go is a bittersweet feeling, he’s been such a part of re-establishing Inglewood on the breeding scene, which includes the support we’ve had from broodmare owners.
“I’d like to think their loyalty has been repaid with some fantastic results at the sales and on the track with the Zacinto progeny they’ve bred, and I’m sure that in War Decree we have a horse that can take over where Zacinto left off.”