Sneaky sign for Oaklands Stud

Sneaky Tsu broke a long run of outs for trainer Leon Corstens in the Maidstone Hcp at Flemington on New Year’s Day.

Sneaky Tsu (3f Tsuimai – Grey Sneakers by Spectacular Spy) led from the front and then fought off several challenges in the final furlong.  Corstens had been on a 52 run losing streak going back to November.

She is by deceased Oaklands Stud sire Tsuimai and studmaster Neville Stewart is also hoping the New Year win is a sign of things to come.

Tsuimai stood at Oaklands and covered more than 250 mares in his first two seasons.  His stud career looked assured until E.I. cut the next book back to a bare 36 mares in 2007.  Then tragedy struck in July 2008 when Tsuimai was put down following a paddock accident.

It was the third setback for Stewart in the space of four years at the Toowoomba nursery.  He has been an influential figure in both the racing and breeding industries but has learned to roll with the punches after launching the stud careers of ill-fated sires Lion Hunter and Iglesia.

Sneaky Tsu is trained by Corstens for a Brad Spicer managed syndicate as is G1 Caulfield Guineas winner Starspangledbanner.

Sneaky Tsu was also rated highly by the stable earlier this year but failed to come up and was sent to the paddock.  She resumed with a three-length maiden win at Murtoa a week before the Caulfield Guineas.  A Moonee Valley victory followed in November and she made it three wins from 9 starts at headquarters in the opening race on the Standish Handicap card.

Tsuimai (Thunder Gulch) lived up to his pedigree, and earned a start at Oaklands, after a career highlighted by a G2 victory in the 2003 Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill.  He was a Geoff and Beryl White homebred from their champion mare Triscay.

The Whites also raced Iglesia to a G2 win in the 1998 Silver Slipper at Rosehill but he went off the boil before eventually making headlines in Victoria.

A move from Jack Denham to Flemington trainer Russell Cameron was the catalyst for a sensational victory in the 2001 Standish Handicap.  Iglesia was backed from $11 into a $3.50 favourite and won the straight-six feature in a record-breaking 1.07.06s.  The time still stands today.

Iglesia (Last Tycoon) retired to Oaklands at a $6,000 fee and he was an immediate success siring the stakes winners Written Tycoon, Nova Star, Foolish and Diamondsondinside in his first crop.

Stewart raised his cover charge to $22,000 and the increase didn’t deter broodmare owners.  He was fully booked with 183 mares in 2005.

When Iglesia succumbed to a fatal leg injury in December 2006, Stewart could be forgiven for doing the math.  The Oaklands owner knew all about counting the cost of a lost stud career following the death of Lion Hunter in February 2004.

One of Danehill’s rare greys, Lion Hunter was only 11 and had furnished into the White Knight at Oaklands.  Group 1 winning fillies Gold Edition and Lovely Jubly led the way while Ferocity won the Ascot Vale before it was elevated to the elite level.

Stewart is confident Ferocity can carry on the sireline at Oaklands.  His first winner arrived when Sticksy scored at the Sunshine Coast on December 6.  The youngster is on the borderline to qualify for the $2 million Magic Millions 2yo Classic on January 9.

Lion Hunter’s last crop are five year-olds and his current leader is Jungle Ruler who topped the half-million in prizemoney after winning the Peninsula Cup at Mornington in November.

Lion Hunter’s best season was in 2006-07 when he was Champion Australian-NZ sire by winners (134) and wins (243).  He was also fifth in the prizemoney category behind Flying Spur, Encosta de Lago, Redoute’s Choice and Zabeel with earnings of $6.47 million.

But to Stewart, Lion Hunter and the others were worth a lot more than just money in the bank.