Share This Article
Bianconi (USA) – (Danzig-Fall Aspen by Pretense)
Please note: Dates refer to March 2016
Gunsynd, Zeditave, Intergaze and Bianconi (USA), four horses who each have a place in Australian thoroughbred history, feature in this month’s column. Two are in the news because of their deaths and two because of the deaths of their breeders.
Gunsynd, whose breeder John Clift has died at 91 and Intergaze, and eight time Gr.1 winner who has died at 22, were very much from the bread and butter side of the breeding scene. Zeditave, whose breeder, bookmaker Colin Tidy has died at 74, and Bianconi, who has died at 21, were part of the champagne set.
JOHN Clift, who died on February 4 aged 91, bred many good horses during a long and eventful life and was a dedicated race club official and breeding administrator, joining his first race club committee when he was just 20. A life member and former president of the Tamworth Jockey Club, where there is a new stand named in his honour, he was given the Simon Nivison Special Achievement Award in 2004 by Country Racing NSW and was awarded an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his contribution to racing. He was a former committee member on the NSW Breeders’ Association and served in that capacity for many years. Horses he raced included his favourite Royal Report and current runner Chrysolaus, winner of four races and a Muswellbrook trial winner in January who was bred by Clift and whose dam was bred by Clift and the late Bob Logan.
John Clift established The Dip Stud on his wheat, sheep and cattle property at Breeza in the 1950s and stood the Star Kingdom horse Sunset Hue (ex Huala by Hua), who he had raced to run second in a Queensland Derby. Neighbouring Breeza Plains grazier Joe McNamara sent his mare Woodie Wonder, a twin by Newtown Wonder from Woodstand by Mr Standfast, to be mated with Sunset Hue and shared the progeny year about with John Clift. It was Clift’s turn to claim the foal when Gunsynd arrived in 1967. The mating plan began a year earlier and resulted in McDougall Stakes winner Sunset Sue (a noted producer) and continued on when McKell Cup winner Sunset Red (also a sire) arrived in 1968.
Gunsynd, a $1300 yearling who was reared on The Dip, won 29 races including the Epsom, Doncaster, Cox Plate, Futurity Stakes, Blamey Stakes, Toorak Handicap. George Adams Handicap, Caulfield Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes (twice) and Rawson Stakes (twice) and was placed in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. Immortalized as the Goondiwindi Grey, he played to the crowds on the track and was a real favourite, retiring as the highest earner in Australian Racing History and was later inducted into Australian Racing’s Hall of Fame.
Gunsynd stood at historic Kia-Ora at Scone, which was then owned by Clift, until his death in 1983. The grey left several stakes winners including Bensynd and Domino (sire) but is best known via his daughter Ammo Girl (ex Miss Wendy by Sostenuto (ITY), dam of another grey champion in Emancipation (Bletchingly), a six times Gr.1 winner and founder of a flourishing family whose members include Gr.1 winners Virage de Fortune, Railings and Stratum Star.
John Clift also stood Arivederci, a grey son of Ribot, at The Dip when that stallion was relocated from Carl Powell’s Brooklyn Lodge.
Clift also stood short-lived Golden Slipper winner Baguette (Rego (IRE)-Dark Jewel by Star Kingdom (IRE)) at Kia-Ora. In latter years Clift operated an agistment farm near Tamworth. He is survived by his large extended family. Clift, who also served on the Tamworth Show Society and Liverpool Plains Shire Council, and his wife Patricia, who died in a car accident during the years they had Kia-Ora, had eight children.
“John Clift was a veritable institution in Country Racing, giving service over an incredibly long period of time on various boards. I had the privilege of serving on the Breeders’ Association with John in the 1980s and his contribution there was also substantial. The racing industry will miss him sorely as will his countless friends within it,” Racing NSW Chairman John Messara said.
FORMER bookmaker Col Tidy, who died aged 73 on February 1 after a long illness, enjoyed remarkable success with the progeny of his unraced broodmare Summoned. She produced 13 winners including stakes winners Zeditave, Alannon, Zedegal, Square Deal and Pampas Fire.
Zeditave, a son of the Showdown (GB) horse The Judge, won five Gr.1 events among his 14 wins ($1.2m) including the Blue Diamond and Futurity Stakes and became an outstanding sire for the Kelly family at Newhaven Park, while short-lived Alannon left Gr.1 winner and sire Falvelon. Zeditave’s line continues via successful Magic Albert, who stands at Yarraman Park and his young son Ilovethiscity (Larneuk Stud)
Summoned’s daughters are breeding on too and some notables from the family include Norzita, Melito, Shikoba, Jet Spur, Mystic Prince, Zac Spirit, Zac Influence, Furnaces, Military Rose and South African Gr.1 winners Grey’s Inn and Smart Call. Summoned (Crowned Prince (USA)-Sweet Life (GB) by Pardao) was bred by Norman Booth and was from the sole southern hemisphere crop of her sire who won the Champagne Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes as a juvenile in England. The son of Raise a Native-Gay Hostess by Royal Charger was a brother to Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Majestic Prince. Summoned never raced and cost $27,000 as a yearling when selected by trainer Angus Armanasco but she proved a marvellous buy as her son Zeditave, also trained by Armanasco, would repay that purchase price many times over. Tidy and his wife Helen raced six Gr.1 winners.
A leading Sydney rails bookmaker and fearless gambler for more than 30 years, “Coogee Col” retired five years ago because of ill health and failing eyesight and died the day before his 74th birthday. He also established corporate bookmaker Betchoice with Michael Morrissey in 2001 and gained a NT corporate licence in 2006 before the firm was sold several years ago to Unibet for $200m.
“Col Tidy held tremendous respect throughout the racing, not just as an astute bookmaker, but as an absolute gentleman,” Racing NSW chief executive,” Peter V’landys said. “You would never hear a bad word about Col, who worked for a long time in a tough and competitive bookmaking industry. He will be sorely missed by many and our condolences go out to his wife Helen and their extended family.”
INTERGAZE (Integra-Tempergaze (USA) by Temperence Hill) won 12 races and $3.7m but will always be remembered for “spoiling” Octagonal’s farewell to the track in the 1997 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick. Trained by Rod Craig and ridden by Craig Carmody he held on to beat Octagonal and All Our Mob in the Gr.1 feature.
It was the third of his eight Gr.1 wins as he had won the Canterbury Guineas the previous month and then placed in the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby before his defeat of Octagonal. He won the Champagne Stakes-Gr.1 at two.
In 1999 he won the All-Aged Stakes-Gr.1 (from Bonanova) and a second Queen Elizabeth Stakes (from Istidaad) and two starts later won the Doomben Cup-Gr.1. In September that year he beat Sky Heights in the Underwood Stakes-Gr.1 and in March 2000 he defeated Arena in the Australian Cup-Gr.1. He was also second in an Australian Cup, Mercedes Classic (behind Tie The Knot) and Doomben Cup (to Might and Power) and third in the Orr Stakes behind Redoute’s Choice and Miss Pennymoney. He also won the Chelmsford-Gr.2, P.J. O’Shea Stakes-Gr.2, STC Heritage Stakes-LR and opened his racing career on December 9, 1995 with a Sydney 1100m Juvenile win. He retired with 12 wins, 10 seconds, four thirds and three Gr.1 fourths and earnings of $3,763,400 from 49 starts (age two to six).
Intergaze died in early February, aged 22, at Denis Doble’s Norman Park Stud at Cowra and covered 11 mares last year on a fee of $3300. He began stud duties at Widden in 2000 ($7000) and has left more than 580 foals, with 314 getting to the races and 174 winning to earn more than $10m. The best of his runners is multiple Gr.3 winner Maybe Better (Rubiton) who placed behind Delta Blues and Pop Rock in the Melbourne Cup-Gr.1. He also left Listed winners Sir Sensible (Twig Moss) and Gaze On (Bite the Bullet) and six stakes placed runners.
His sire Integra (Lunchtime (GB)-Sing Again by Recalled (GB)) was bred by Eclipse Stud (Les Young) and his major win came in the Premiere Stakes-Gr.3. Although he had some modest success at stud with five stakes winners, Integra was never a fashionable sire and left about 400 live foals in 14 stud seasons (1992-2005).
Interzaze, a chestnut foaled in 1993, is from US-bred Tempergaze, who was placed at two and left four winners. She is a daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Temperence Hill (Stop The Music) and the unraced Secretariat mare Secregaze, whose dam Magazine (Prince John) won the CCA Oaks-Gr.1. Magazine’s four winners include Newmarket Gr.3 winner Martha Stevens (Super Concorde) whose descendants include Australian stakes winners Dama de Noche (Snippets) and her daughter Nocturnelle (Elusive Quality). Other descendants of this quality family include Canadian Gr.1 winner Relaxed Gesture (Indian Ridge), multiple Australian Gr.1 winner Buffering (Mossman) and US Gr.2 winner and sire Wait Till Monday (Maelstrom Lake).
BIANCONI (Danzig-Fall Aspen by Pretense), who was put down aged 21 on February 5 after suffering spinal cord damage due to arthritis, was a brother or half-brother to four Gr.1 winners. His dam, a Gr.1 winner, was 1994 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year and the 18 year-old sold that year at Keeneland (carrying Bianconi) for $2.4m to a Coolmore syndicate.
Fall Aspen’s Gr.1-winning son Fort Wood (Sadler’s Wells) became a champion sire in South Africa and another Gr.1-winning son Timber Country (Woodman) has stud success in both hemispheres. Bianconi’s Gr.1-winning brother Hamas has had a modest stud career (he stood one season in Queensland), while their dam’s other Gr.1 winner Northern Aspen (Northern Dancer) is grandam of Japanese Gr.1 winner Reginetta (French Deputy).
This is also the family of Dubai Millennium (sire of Dubawi), Charnwood Forest, Intello, Mondialiste, Elnadim (Danzig), Mehthaaf, Kabool, Europa Point and Harbour Watch.
Bianconi won three of his 12 starts including the Diadem Stakes-Gr.2 (1200m) at Ascot for trainer Aidan O’Brien and retired to the stud in the US and Australia in 2000 before settling here permanently four years later. His homes included Collingrove at Sandy Hollow and then Adam Sangster’s Swettenham Stud. He moved to Phil and Fiona Sloane’s Ridgeview Park in 2014 and covered books of 28 and 24 in the past two years. He has 1125 foals from his first 15 seasons at stud here (2000-2014) plus his final crop in the spring. Ridgeview at Muskerry, also lost the Gr.3 winner Dr Doute’s (Redoute’s Choice-No Limit by Dr Grace) to a colic attack on January 1. He had been at stud since 2011.
From 1107 named foals Bianconi has had 912 starters (82.4%) for 561 winners of more than $36m. He has 19SW (2.1% of starters) led by the outstanding sprinter Nicconi (AJC Galaxy-Gr.1, VRC Lightning-Gr.1) plus Doomben Cup-Gr.1 winner Above Deck, Bill Stutt Stakes-Gr.2 winner Mr Martini, US Gr.2 winner Redaspen and Sandown Guineas-Gr.2 winner Schilling. That’s a pretty good effort for a horse who never stood above $12,000 (first season) and whose fee was generally well below $10,000. His daughters have already produced 158 winners of $10m, their seven stakes winners including Levin Classic-Gr.1 winner Dukedom (Bachelor Duke), South American Gr.2 winner Sonny Corleone (Mr Greeley) and Australian Gr.3 winner Coronation Shallan (Strategic).
But it is likely Bianconi will be best remembered because of his Widden Stud-based son Nicconi (ex Nicola Lass by Scenic), who retired to stud in 2010. He has already left 101 winners of more than $5m (62% winners to starters) including six stakes winners, notably Gr.2 winners Chill Party and Nicoscene and Gr.3 winner Concealer. He looks set to have an even better stud career than his sire.