22 F Insouciant x Dundeel 3

Matings Mix: Pencarrow Stud

Written by: Trent Masenhelder (TDN AUS/NZ)

As we continue our look at breeding plans for the new season, we chat with Leon Casey from New Zealand’s Pencarrow Stud, the elite breeding operation owned by Sir Peter Vela.

Pencarrow Stud has long been renowned for its high-quality broodmare band, which has contributed to the farm's ongoing success. Leading graduates in the sales ring include Hasselhoof (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}), Eleonora (NZ) (Makfi {GB}), Butter Chicken (NZ) (Savabeel) and William Wallace (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}).

The generals of the business’ breeding operation are Stud Manager, Leon Casey, who has been with the farm since 1987, and Vela – a New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame inductee with more than 40 years’ industry experience.

“Peter loves his pedigrees; he does a lot of work on them. He has his own systems, but we do use G1 Goldmine as well. I have a fair bit of input on the physical side of things and the horses’ nature, that type of thing. We compare notes at about this time of year and get a list down,” Casey told TDN AusNZ.

Notable graduates from the 300-hectare Cambridge nursery include: Romanee Conti (NZ) (Sir Tristram {Ire}) and her daughter Ethereal (NZ) (Rhythm {USA}), one of the foundation broodmares Noble Heights (NZ) (Sir Tristram {Ire}), Darci Brahma (NZ), Grand Echezeaux (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) and her dam Richebourg (NZ) (Vice Regal {NZ}).

Pencarrow has breeding interests in a number of New Zealand-based stallions, including Darci Brahma, Almanzor (Fr), Ocean Park (NZ) and Hello Youmzain (Fr).

The 300 hectare Cambridge nursery is currently home to 45-odd mares, and Pencarrow Stud also has some dry mares in Australia.

One of those based in New Zealand is G1 1000 Guineas heroine and 2008 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Insouciant (NZ) (Keeper). Her winners include Flavius (NZ) (Makfi {GB}), and Equanimity (NZ) (More Than Ready {USA}), while Paris (NZ) (More Than Ready {USA}) placed at three in Australia.

Insouciant has given birth to a lovely Dundeel (NZ) filly in the past week. She had a Dundeel filly make NZ$200,000 at the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 earlier this year, while at the same sale last year, her Russian Revolution filly was passed in after failing to meet the reserve price of NZ$150,000, before being sold privately. She is now with Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie at Maungatautari.

Insouciant was bred by Pencarrow Stud, with her grandam, Our Lafite (NZ) (Sovereign Edition {Ire}), a winner of the G2 Wakeful S. in 1984 – purchased and raced by Vela.

Casey said Insouciant will visit U S Navy Flag (USA), who stands at The Oaks Stud, for the first time.

“She’s a Classic winner, a Group 1 winner, so she’s been a pretty important mare for us,” Casey said.

“We’re going to send her to U S Navy Flag. She’s by Keeper, so she’s got Danehill close up. So, we’re looking for something free of Danehill, and she’s a really big strong mare, so a little bit of refinement and quality helps her, and we think he will do the job there.

“Her Russian Revolution 2-year-old filly placed at the trials just the other day, and she’s trialled up well previously; she looks to be quite talented.”

A proven performer

One of Pencarrow Stud’s top-producing mares is Scintillula (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who was bred by Jim Bolger in Ireland. She was placed in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. at the Curragh in 2012, before winning a Group 3 race at Leopardstown. Scintillula is the dam of the recently retired Group 2-placed Butter Chicken (NZ) (Savabeel), who fetched NZ$800,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 in 2019.

Scintillula had a Savabeel filly make NZ$600,000 at this year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1, and her Zoustar filly at the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 in 2021 made NZ$800,000.

Now three, the Zoustar filly has been named Stella Splendida (NZ) and she has won two of her three trials for trainer Mark Walker and Te Akau Racing.

Scintillula will return to Waikato Stud’s Champion Sire Savabeel.

“That’s a mating that’s tried and true. Her first Savabeel was Butter Chicken, who was very talented, but plagued by injuries. She did run second in a Group 2,” Casey explained.

“You’ve got that good Zabeel-Galileo cross there and the Zabeel-Danehill cross with her, so it’s a good mating on paper and she always seems to leave a good type that looks very athletic.

“Her Savabeel filly made good money earlier this year and she’s got a nice Savabeel colt on the ground. Savabeel won’t be around forever and he’ll be a very difficult horse to replace.

“Her (Scintillula) Savabeel filly made good money earlier this year and she’s got a nice Savabeel colt on the ground. Savabeel won’t be around forever and he’ll be a very difficult horse to replace.” - Leon Casey

“Scintillula has been great for us. She’s been fertile and done everything we have asked of her.”

Dual Group winner to visit new-to-stud stallion

When you look at Rasa Lila’s (NZ) page, there’s Pencarrow Stud hallmarks right throughout. Not only was she bred on the farm, so too was her sire, Darci Brahma, plus his dam, Grand Echezeaux (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), and his grand-dam, Richebourg (NZ) (Vice Regal {NZ}).

In 2016, Rasa Lila won the G2 Travis S. and G3 Cuddle S. and ran third in the G1 Windsor Plate.

Her Lonhro filly, named Divine Dance (NZ), made NZ$175,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 in 2020, and her Iffraaj (GB) colt fetched NZ$40,000 at the same sale last year. She had a U S Navy Flag colt go through the ring at Karaka earlier this year – he was passed in – and she had a Super Seth filly last spring.

Rasa Lila will be covered by new Coolmore resident Home Affairs, who was raced by a large partnership with Vela sharing in the ownership.

“Home Affairs is obviously a great horse and a great type, and you’ve got that really nice cross there with Zabeel and Sadler’s Wells across the I Am Invincible line,” said Casey.

“We were part of the ownership group with him, so we’ve got a bit of a vested interest.

“You’re just looking for that quality and horses that carry lines that have crossed well with your mares before. That elite performance is hard to go past.

“You’d like to breed them all to a proven stallion, but it’s just not possible.”

Echezeaux to be covered by emerging sire

As mentioned, Echezeaux was bred by Pencarrow Stud, and while she didn’t reach the lofty heights of her dam on the track, she did win four races and is a half-sister to Darci Brahma, Burgundy (NZ) and Saperavi (NZ).

Her Snitzel filly, named Belladonna (NZ) made NZ$450,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 in 2020, before her Tavistock (NZ) colt, named Treaty Of Paris (NZ) realised NZ$520,000 at the 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 Sale. At this year’s Karaka Book 1, her U S Navy Flag colt sold for NZ$190,000.

Echezeaux (NZ) with her U S Navy Flag (USA) '20 colt (as a foal) which sold for NZ$190,000 at this year's New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Sale | Image courtesy of Pencarrow Stud

Echezeaux is in foal to Golden Slipper winner Farnan, who stands his second season at Kia Ora Stud. She will be covered by Windsor Park resident Turn Me Loose (NZ), who finished third on the New Zealand Second Season Sires’ table last season, with 14 winners and 19 wins, including two stakes winners.

“George and Marion Simon bred him from one of our mares, Indomitable. His mother is here, so it will give us a chance to combine two of our best families and it’s the same cross as Jon Snow – Zabeel over Iffraaj,” Casey explained.

“Danehill goes well with this family; Echezeuax is free of Danehill (blood), so she goes well with Danehill. Turn me Loose’s dam is by Danehill.

“Turn Me Loose is well on the way to becoming a proven sire and we think there’s a lot in his pedigree that will match well with Echezeaux.”

Fair Isle booked for a date with Pierro

Fastnet Rock mare Fair Isle (NZ), who is out of the Pencarrow Stud-owned Listed victress Miss Scarlatti (NZ) (Stravinsky {USA}), has produced some nice types that have been popular in the sales ring.

At this year's New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book, her Justify (USA) filly, Star Of Justice, was knocked down for NZ$190,000. Last year, at the same sale, her Tavistock colt, named Stonybreck, made NZ$20,000. That Mark Walker-trained Stonybreck won on debut at Cambridge Synthetic last week, breaking the track record in the process. At Karaka Book 1 in 2019, a Vancouver filly, Zacouver (NZ), was sold for NZ$50,000. She is now a Sandown winner.

Last spring, Fair isle was covered by Justify, while the season prior, she missed to Yes Yes Yes.

The team at Pencarrow Stud has decided to send Fair Isle to Coolmore-based stallion Pierro.

“Her first three foals can all run by the look of it,” Casey said. “We want to give her a shot with a proven horse. You’ve got that nice cross with Zabeel and Fastnet Rock.”

Assume to visit well-credentialled stallion

Another broodmare by Fastnet Rock is Assume (Ire) – a Killarney winner and a half-sister to stakes winner Sandreamer (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}).

At the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 Sale, her Frankel (GB) filly, Kakariki (NZ) fetched NZ$500,000. She was placed in Sydney as a 3-year-old. The following season, Assume had a Tavistock colt, while her American Pharoah (USA) filly, Medina (NZ), made NZ$100,000 at the 2020 New Zealand Karaka Book 1 and ran second at Avondale at her second start (in April this year) for trainer Andrew Forsman. Her U S Navy Flag colt at this year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Book 1 Sale was passed in.

Pencarrow Stud is always keen to support quality young stallions and Champion miler and triple Group 1 winner Circus Maximus (Ire), who will stand at Windsor Park Stud, fits that brief.

“She’s another Fastnet Rock mare, so that Galileo sireline with Circus Maximus appeals,” said Casey.

“We wanted a quality middle-distance horse, which he was, a multiple Group 1 winner.”