Darley has decided to send one of the world's truly great stallions, Elusive Quality, to the New South Wales Hunter Valley's purple zone, which the government has deemed largely infected with equine influenza. Horses may move into the zone with a permit but cannot leave until authorized to do so.
Darley decided Sept. 21 which stallions to send home and which will remain in Australia to cover mares for the remainder of the crippled NSW breeding season. Smarty Jones ' sire is one of the latter.
The federal government has given Darley approval to ship its selected stranded shuttle stallions to NSW, where they will begin covering mares late next week. They are: Elusive Quality, one of the world's best stallions and sire in his first Australian crop of group-I winner Camarilla, plus fellow international group-I winners Dubai Destination; Exceed And Excel; Grandera; Noverre; Tiger Hill; and Tobougg.
Returning directly to the U.S. from quarantine is former champion 3-year-old Bernardini, plus Consolidator, E Dubai and Henny Hughes. Cape Cross, Country Reel, Dubawi, Librettist, Refuse To Bend and Shamardal will head immediately to Europe.
Darley's general manager in Australia, Oliver Tait, said, "'It is unfortunate and a sad day for Australian breeding, but circumstances have prevented us from standing all of our stallions this season. However, we have a great roster of 12 stallions now that will accommodate a wide range of our clients' mares."
When asked about a potential release date from the Eastern Creek quarantine facility, Tait commented, "We are hopeful it will be early next week. The zoning plan took effect on Friday allowing the movement of mares to stallions within the Hunter Valley, so we're keen to give our clients access to the shuttle stallions as soon as possible."
Elusive Quality will most likely be restricted to a book of 80 mares at AUS$137,500. Should he contract equine influenza, he may miss a good portion of his U.S. covering season. U.S. quarantine laws prohibit a previously infected horse from entering the United States until at least 60 days he has been EI-free.