There are some very big name studmasters in both New Zealand and Australia walking around with a fair amount of egg all over their faces following the upset win of consistent galloper Shinzig in the group
Traditionally a brilliant stallion making race, this year's riveting rendition boasted nine previous group I winners, and the remaining seven runners had all placed at group I level.
And in the field was potential superstar Maldivian. As a result, Shinzig (Danehill-Shindig) the wonderfully bred fives times group 1 placed sprinter was sent to the post at 25 to 1.
No one told him though that he didn't quite have the race track cred of many of his opponents and, in a grinding, crowd-pleasing desperate three-way finish, his nose bobbed on the line to beat the hard finishing Niconero with Rubiscent a nostril back in third spot. He is a stablemate of the winner and was sensationally backed to win the race. And after dashing clear of the pack with two furlongs to run Rubiscent looked home, but stablemates have a habit in life of running their peers down. Shinzig, a 6-year-old stallion and unwanted by several stud services, showed 'em all up. He won the 7 furlong sprint worth Aus$400,000 in dazzling style.
For the past 10 months, he has been on the market at Aus$1.5 million as a stallion hope. There has been considerable interest, but no one would actually step up and take the plunge, despite the fact he was a group II winner and one of the last sprinting sons of Danehill left on the planet.
He was even offered to the National Stud and Cheverly Stud in England.
All this on top of him being 16 hands high and a son of a group I winning mare! "It just amazed me," said his part-owner Lee Fleming, who runs the popular Eliza Park Stud in Victoria. "He has won over $640,000 in prize money and will probably stand at Eliza Park now."
And he is worth about $5 million now as a stallion prospect ... a far cry from the figure of $1.5million on offer as late as last week to three stud masters in New Zealand at the recent Karaka Yearling Sale. There were two Australian studmasters there too showing interest at that price, one saying no the morning of the race. But none would make a concrete decision.
Now it seems the bird has flown. Their reluctance has cost them several millions; but to be fair, in part could be understood.
The Danehill stallion had not won in over two years and had frustrated three previous trainers in their attempt to get him to do his best.
Trainers such as David Hayes and Gerald Ryan had tried to get Shinzig to win at the A level, but his current trainer, Mick Price, who has had him for just four starts, has found the key to unlocking the entire's undoubted talent.
"He's a six-year-old bull that had been to three previous trainers, and he'd had heaps of galloping in his life; so I thought I would try easing off on him in his track work, and it's worked," Price said.
"I have never asked him to gallop his hardest on the track. He gets a cuddle in the morning and now he's a group one winning son of Danehill," added Price.
Shinzig, ridden by the ever-smiling Steven Baster, settled midfield in the big field of 16 and tracked the third placegetter, Rubiscent, into the race from the 500 meter mark then staved off a challenge from the flying Niconero to hold on and win by a short half head.
The heavily backed favorite Maldivian settled midfield just behind Shinzig and was unable to dominate the race and finished 13th. She was not knocked about late in the race by jockey Steven Arnold.