All Too Hard is entrenched in the Australian Top 10 sires’ premiership but a more telling statistic from last season was his Group 1 strike-rate with Behemoth, Alligator Blood, Forbidden Love and Wellington in Hong Kong.
Newly-crowned Champion sire I Am Invincible was the only other Australian stallion to be represented by four Group 1 winners in 2021-22.
That elite-level success is just the tip of the iceberg for All Too Hard. Quality and quantity meant All Too Hard yearlings were in demand earlier this year. They sold to $320,000 off a 94% clearance-rate and that saw a subsequent increase in his services for the 2022 serving season.
Nevertheless, he remains the best value for money sire in the Hunter Valley at a $38,500 (inc GST) fee.
All Too Hard’s big guns are assembling for another season to remember starting with Forbidden Love’s next Group 1 assignment in the $750,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) on August 20. “She’s an absolute gem and really came of age last season,” co-trainer Michael Freedman said. “It’s so satisfying to see her take a sit and still have that nice turn of foot.
“If she wins the Winx, we wouldn’t rule out The Everest,” Freedman predicted. “Being a $15 million race, it’s always in the back of your mind if her form warranted it and she was able to get a slot.”
Behemoth will bid for his third consecutive Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday, August 27. “He joined some exulted company in last year’s Memsie,” trainer David Jolly said. “He’s pretty special and is just like one of those old-fashioned weight-for-age horses.”
All Too Hard trailblazer Alligator Blood will also target the Memsie after resurrecting his career in the Group 1 Stradbroke Hcp (1400m) at Eagle Farm. “He had a quick turnaround from the Queensland Carnival and has maintained a lot of residual fitness,” co-trainer Adrian Bott said. “Following the Memsie, we will decide whether to stay at 1400m and 1600m or stretch him out to 2040m.”
Shortly after his fee for this season was increased to $27,500 (inc GST), Star Turn went through the roof with a Group 1 winner in Australia, Group 3 winner in Hong Kong and a Listed Classic winner in Singapore.
Given a second bite, Vinery would be justified in raising the stakes for his services but try selling that to broodmare owners who have faithfully filled all five of his books to date. “He definitely could have stood for a little bit more,” Vinery general manager Peter Orton explained. “He’s really upgrading his mares and this book will be the best he’s ever covered.”
Star Turn finished Top 5 on the Australian 2021-22 second-season premiership with his Queensland filly Startantes the chief earner after winning the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June.
“Startantes is very special and really deserved this one,” part-owner, trainer and breeder Rob Heathcote said. “There’s not much of her but she’s got a big heart and massive will to win.”
Unlike some of his contemporaries, Star Turn’s Group 1 was against all-ages. His Hong Kong 3yo Cordyceps Six is also poised for a big season in 2022-23. “He’s one of the best of that age we’ve seen in several years,” trainer Richard Gibson claimed after the Group 3 Sha Tin Vase. “He shows a lot of class and has a very good future.”
Headwater is going from strength-to-strength at stud as evidenced by a third-season record that enhanced his first two crops at Vinery.
Headwater’s 2021-22 stats for winners (79) and wins (122) were the best of any of his contemporaries standing at stud this season. He was Australia’s Leading First-Season Sire by winners in 2019-20 and Australia’s Leading Second-Season Sire by earnings in 2020-21.
His top-class filly Jamaea started the season with a stunning win in the Furious Stakes (Gr.2, 1200m) at Randwick in September. “Jamaea was a striking-looking filly when we bought her as a yearling,” co-trainer Rob Price recalled. “She’s an athlete and showed natural ability from the outset.”
Headwater’s first-crop mare Mileva closed the season with a last-stride victory in the Sir John Monash Stakes (Gr.3, 1100m) at Caulfield in July. She is one of 10 Stakes-performers among Headwater’s first 100 individual winners conceived at Vinery.
Another is Aitch Two Oh who won the Without Fear Stakes (LR, 1050m) at Morphettville in May. “Every Headwater we’ve purchased has won so we will keep buying them,” co-trainer Richard Jolly said. “Aitch Two Oh was an athletic yearling and now she’s a valuable filly with a pedigree.”