Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm partnered in a stallion syndicate targeting the best colts at Australian yearling sales

Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm partnered in a stallion syndicate targeting the best colts at Australian yearling sales

Photos by Z

Assimilate, Invader Carry WinStar's Australian Hopes

A AU$420,000 yearling purchase, Assimilate developed nicely.

WinStar Farm's Elliott Walden might be occupied with the Keeneland September sale, but his attention will turn to Australia the night of Sept. 23.

His prospective stallion investment in Australia will look for another group 1 when Assimilate attempts to complete an epic rise in the De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes at Rosehill.

Winstar teamed with SF Investments, China Horse Club, and Newgate Farm last year in a stallion syndicate targeting the best colts at Australian yearling sales. The group brought 15 colts for around AU$5.5 million (about US$4.374 million) and already has a group 1 return after Invader won the Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes.

Newgate boss Henry Field said the idea was to buy value with an eye on the future.

"You are just trying to get the best horse and the aim is to get a stallion or two out of the group," Field said. "It was great to see Invader come through and get a group 1 as a 2-year-old. We thought we would have Invader here, but he has gone to Melbourne for the Caulfield Guineas (G1) as Assimilate has emerged for us"

Walden went "down under" for the yearling sales and was present at Invader's Sires Produce victory. He is delighted with the quality of horse that made it to the track and admitted he is looking for the opportunity to perhaps take one of them back to the U.S. as a stallion.

"With these colts we are primarily looking for Australia. We are looking to get colts that can win (group 1 races) down there and stand down there," Walden said.  "Henry has done a great job at finding the right horses. We are open to the idea of shuttling the right horse and understand what works on both sides of the pond.

"We were very excited about Invader being the highest rated 2-year-old, and in Assimilate we have another very nice prospect."

The syndicate put its faith in the stable of Peter and Paul Snowden, which has a proven track record producing stallions. Peter Snowden was the head trainer for Darley for a number of years, where there is always an eye on the stud future of horses.

Assimilate, a son of Sebring who was a AU$420,000 ($316,806) yearling, surprised Snowden with his development after he broke his maiden in July. He stepped up with every start, including a win at Randwick before he charged home late to finish second in the group 3 Ming Dynasty Stakes last month.

"He is really progressive and has a devastating turn of foot. He is still very raw and does a lot wrong, but the pressure of this race could help him," Snowden said. "He had always showed a bit of ability, but right from his first win at Kembla and then his second win at Randwick, he has been improving.

"His run in the Ming Dynasty ... was outstanding and he deserves to be there. For his first racing prep to get this far is incredible. I don't think I have had one do that before."

Chris Roots is chief racing writer for the Sydney Morning Herald