Snitzel takes his fourth champion sire award

Can't keep a good sire down - Snitzel joins the legends

Horses
In a relaxed mode, the four-times champion Australian sire Snitzel, and handler Mitchell Ralph, at Arrowfield Stud, Scone. Photo Virginia Harvey

In a relaxed mode, the four-times champion Australian sire Snitzel, and handler Mitchell Ralph, at Arrowfield Stud, Scone. Photo Virginia Harvey

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Arrowfield Stud's poster boy's progeny hits almost $18m

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 Brothers Bill and Bob Ridge at the Louth Races in 2008. Photo Virginia Harvey

Brothers Bill and Bob Ridge at the Louth Races in 2008. Photo Virginia Harvey

Prominent Tasmanian sire Wordsmith and Stuart Gandy, at Broadmarsh just north of Hobart. Photo Virginia Harvey

Prominent Tasmanian sire Wordsmith and Stuart Gandy, at Broadmarsh just north of Hobart. Photo Virginia Harvey

FOR the fourth consecutive season, Arrowfield Stud's Snitzel was honoured as the 2019-2020 Champion Australian Sire on the general lists, with over $17.8 million in progeny earnings.

Snitzel's deceased Danehill sire Redoute's Choice was also a champion Australian sire three times, while his former stable companion, the deceased Flying Spur (by Danehill) was awarded champion sires' honours in 2007.

Also leading the general sires' tables for stakes winners at 18, Snitzel's major contributor last season was juvenile filly Away Game, earner of $2.7 million. This she earned via wins in the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic, the ATC Percy Sykes Stakes-G2, and was second to Farnan in the ATC Golden Slipper Stakes-G1.

Not since Heroic - which was leading sire for seven consecutive seasons (from 1932-38), has an Australian bred stallion secured four or more consecutive champion sires honours, until Snitzel.

Heroic's England foaled sire Valais took five consecutive leading sires' titles (1923-28), while GB bred Delville Wood (1952-57), and Irish bred Star Kingdom (1958-62), scored four consecutive each.

The other imported stallion who has notched four consecutive Australian sires' titles is US foaled Danehill who ruled in the 1990s and 2000s for nine seasons, with New Zealand bred Zabeel awarded champion Australian sire in 1998-99. Another statistic in its 137-year history of Australian Sires' titles includes the Irish bred Sir Tristram who was leading Australian sire from 1982-1989, but champion Vain took the title in 1983-84.

Much earlier Australian bred Maltster was leading Australian sire for five seasons 1909-1915, however finished second to Ayr Laddie in 1912-13.

Vale Bill Ridge

BILL Ridge - who retired to Dubbo several years ago, was a man who loved his racing, and is recalled following his recent passing at age 94.

Like his late brother Bob Ridge, I would "run into" and have a chat with one or both of them at many western and central districts' meets, when he travelled from his grazing property "Tuncoona" in the Enngonia district, north of Bourke.

Also involved in racing, his father William Ridge was elected secretary of the local race club in 1923, with Bill serving as secretary of the Enngonia Race Club (ERC) from 1945 to 1953, and again from 1964 to 1968 before being president from 1969 to 1981.

Brother Bob, was also a long-time secretary at Enngonia and represented the Western Racing Association on the NSW Country Racing Council.

Serving 28 years on the committee of the Western Racing Associations, Bill gave about 75 years' service to the ERC. Bill also enjoyed racing interests including memorable tough bush galloper Blazing Arrow. I had to refer back to Volume 27 (1962-1964) of the Australian Stud Book (in hard copy) to find where Blazing Arrow appeared, the hardy gelding being by French import Colisee (by Irish bred Delirium), from the Persian Book producer Grey Persian.

Blazing Arrow provided wonderful moments for the Ridge families when winning an amazing 47 races (including six in Sydney) at numerous tracks. Winning to 12 years' old, he also had 44 seconds and 27 thirds from a phenomenal 194 starts. Other horses Bill raced included Whiskey Jack, Bushman's Book, Kate's Revenge, Cariomax, Robin's Rule and Bons Return.

Tassie news

CHEERING could be heard in Tasmania all the way to mid-NSW when improving gelding Sh'bourne Renegade stretched his winning streak to four at Devonport last Sunday week.

While the four-year-old thrilled his local breeders Shaun and Liz Nichols from Reedy Marsh, and his Apple Isle Hall Of Fame trainer Bill Ryan, in Dungog enthusiasts Kaye Goodwin and John Gore - being part-owners, were also celebrating.

Being staunch stable supporters, the Dungog pair stuck with the stable's other program starter - and Sh'bourne Renegade's older brother, Sh'bourne Rebel, who also won taking the last race of the day.

Another bred by the Nichols, Sh'bourne Rebel was trained by Bill's good mate and hobby conditioner Shaun. Both Sh'bourne Renegade and Sh'bourne Rebel are by Tasmania's prolific winner-getting sire Wordsmith (by Testa Rossa), and from five times winner Malandrina, a daughter of deceased Danehill sire Brilliant Leader.

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