You are here

New addition to stallion ranks helping establish Cootamundra stud’s name

Tait making giant strides with Smart Missile proving popular at Twin Hills.

Olly Tait’s determination to make his mark with Twin Hills Stud as a successful stallion operation has seen him turn to the dominant Danehill (Danzig) sireline with Smart Missile (Fastnet Rock) joining Odyssey Moon (Snitzel) on the roster in 2018. Twin Hills Stud, a well-known Cootamundra property established by Mike Willessee and previously owned by the Ingham brothers and later Sheikh Mohammed, was established by Tait and his wife Amber last year with two foundation stallions.

Shuttler Bobby’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) is not returning this year, but Tait believes standing stallions at Twin Hills Stud is a gamble he is glad he has made and the addition of Smart Missile will only enhance the young farm’s brand. Tait yesterday showcased the Gooree Stud-bred and raced Smart Missile, a Group 2 winner who spent six years on the Arrowfield Stud roster, to clients ahead of this year’s breeding season.He revealed yesterday that Smart Missile, who is the sire of five stakes winners including this year’s Euclase Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) winner I’ll Have A Bit, would cover a full book of 200 mares in 2018.

“Getting in the stallion game and then getting Smart Missile has been a huge boon for the operation and we have a large number of good clients keeping horses with us,” Tait told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday. “We will sell some horses at the yearling sales next year which will be exciting and we are where we’d hope we’d be.

“Smart Missile has runners every day and he has winners most days, so for our name to be aligned with that is terrific for us.” Smart Missile, who will stand for $13,200 (inc GST), was well supported in his first five seasons at stud and covered 63 mares in 2017, prompting a decision by Gooree Park Stud owner Eduardo Cojuangco to link with Twin Hills Stud. “Mr Cojuangco’s contribution to the Australian industry is immense and for him to entrust a horse like Smart Missile to us makes us very proud that it has gone this well so far,” Tait said. Standish Handicap (Gr 3, 1200m) winner and Twin Hills Stud foundation stallion Odyssey Moon enters his second year at stud and Tait believes he is well-credentialed to become a successful sire son of Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) and continue the Danehill line.

Tait helped establish Darley’s growing presence in Australia before working for Sheikh Mohammed in the US and UK. He returned to Australia to run Twin Hills Stud last year and has been pleased with the way the farm and Odyssey Moon has been received. “You have to develop stallions along the way and standing a horse like Odyssey Moon, albeit an inexpensive stallion, he has the credentials to be a good stallion,” he said.

“You have to get your name out there and you have got to offer the right product and you have to instil confidence (to breeders) in what we are doing and I think we have done that after a year and a half of operation.”

The Hunter Valley, Nagambie in Victoria and the Darling Downs in Queensland are known as the thoroughbred breeding meccas of their respective states, but Tait said the South West Slopes had also proven itself to be a fertile region known to produce top-class horses, The region is home to well-known farms Newhaven Park, Redbank North and Bowness Stud and Tait’s vision is for Twin Hills Stud to also become a regular fixture at the major yearling sales, starting in 2019. “We will have yearlings for both the Magic Millions and the Classic sale and we are getting a nice bunch together,” he said. “The market is buoyant and hopefully it will be buoyant in the first half of next year as well.

“We have got some nice yearlings to offer and hopefully we can build on those.” Among Twin Hills Stud’s broodmare band is Lipari (Redoute’s Choice), a mare Tait purchased for $170,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale from Widden Stud. Lipari, who has a yearling filly by More Than Ready (Southern Halo), is the dam of this year’s ATC Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Levendi (Pierro) and unbeaten three-year-old Marcel From Madrid (Sepoy), who won the SAJC National Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) in May. “Lipari is going to visit I Am Invincible this year. She is obviously a tremendous mare having three to race for three winners including a Derby winner and an unbeaten two-year-old,” he said. “She can’t do much more, we were fortunate to buy her and she is being mated to one of the best stallions. Tait added: “We are sending mares to a variety of stallions and we are aiming to reed horses who can get to the Magic Millions or the Easter sales, so to do that, you can’t just send them to your own stallions. “We will have mares going to the Hunter Valley and Victoria, so we are ideally placed, and it is up to us to get that message out there.” The whole of New South Wales is declared in drought but Tait yesterday said his Cootamundra property had fared well this year in comparison to other areas, particularly to the north-west of the state. “We have been very fortunate. We have had enough rain all the way along, but we feel for those who aren’t quite so fortunate,” he said.

Article | ANZ Tim Rowe Monday, 20 August 2018