Do not underestimate the ambition of the Turkish Jockey Club. That much has long been apparent for this non-profit association, for whom a key mission is to develop and improve the Turkish Thoroughbred. Various high-profile stallion purchases have helped over the years, culminating in a productive spell of acquisitions in 2020 and 2021 when seven new sires were added to its roster, ranging from the French-based Authorized and Myboycharlie to the American horses Bodemeister, Daredevil and Super Saver and top Japanese performer Victoire Pisa.
The departure of Authorized from Haras du Logis, where he stood for Darley, came just as the horse was gaining real momentum as a dual-purpose sire. A champion of 2007, when his victories included the Derby, he initially spent his stud career at Dalham Hall and Kildangan Studs before switching to France in 2014. It was from those early crops that Authorized sired the majority of his Flat stakes winners, among them the Group 1 scorers Hartnell, Ambivalent and Seal Of Approval. However, as could perhaps be expected from a son of Montjeu, a number of his progeny thrive when switched to jumps – think Nichols Canyon, Goshen, and of course, Tiger Roll. Only last month, another big winner came his way when I Am Maximus ran down Gevrey to win the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Authorized was on the cusp of turning 16 when news of his sale to Turkey filtered through in December 2019. It was widely known that Darley had turned down offers for the horse from the domestic National Hunt sector, and indeed such is his popularity today that various jumps traders have gone as far as to source several of his Turkish-bred progeny.
With regards to his new home, the move has been Turkey’s gain, with the horse fully booked in each of his four seasons to date. That includes this year at the Silivri Covering Station near Istanbul, where he has 70 mares on the books.
“We are always in search of high-quality stallions to improve our bloodstock,” says the Turkish Jockey Club’s general secretary Ahmet Ozbelge. “Being an Epsom Derby winner and champion, Authorized was already a very well known big name. So his racing and stud performance besides his strong bloodlines were the main factors for us.
“We get contacted from time to time by owners, trainers or bloodstock agents from abroad about buying our stallion’s offspring or even themselves, including Authorized. And breeders from abroad can send their mares here to be covered – they can contact us for more information.”
Now 19, Authorized is reported to be in fine fettle, with his daily routine consisting of paddock turnout from 8am to 4pm and a maximum of two covers a day during the season.
While he is the only stallion based at Silivri this season, the Club’s other stallion farms are well represented for 2023. They included Authorized’s former base of Izmit Stud, home to the top American performers Bodemeister, Klimt and Victory Gallop as well as Battleground, the first foal out of Found who won the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
The organisation has also welcomed its first son of Frankel in the York Stakes winner Elarqam, who joined following two seasons with the late Larissa Kneip at Haras de Saint Arnoult. A 1,600,000gns yearling out of Attraction, Elarqam has gone down well with Turkish breeders, being fully booked at 120 mares.
There is a strict criteria for the import of stallions into Turkey that places an emphasis on Group 1 performance. As such, they often arrive with large crops already in the pipeline, allowing for the opportunity for further big updates to come; for instance, Authorized had just completed his first Turkish season when his son Santiago won the Irish Derby.
In the case of Daredevil, he became so successful that the Turkish Jockey Club took the unprecedented decision to send him back to stand under their umbrella in Kentucky, in his case to Lane’s End Farm. The Grade 1-winning son of More Than Ready was sold by WinStar Farm when he had first two-year-olds, a crop that later came to include the Kentucky Oaks and Preakness Stakes winners Shedaresthedevil and Swiss Skydiver.
“Daredevil was a very, very successful and lucky purchase for us,” remarks Ozbelge. “Sending him to the US was a first for Turkish breeding too. We are very happy to be working with Lane’s End which is a trademark in the sector and one of the very best stud farms in the world.
“At the moment, we will consider keeping Daredevil in the USA as long as there is interest enough from breeders. His first and only crop of Turkish-breds are two. None of them have raced yet but they are very good-looking and very promising in training. Their values skyrocketed after Swiss Skydiver and Shedaresthedevil.”
All of which is some good news for breeders in a country that is currently in a sad place following the devastating earthquake in February.
“The earthquake disaster affected our sector like every other in the country,” says Ozbelge. “We had to stop racing for two weeks. The material effects can and will be covered with time but the social effects are much more important for us. We did our best to help the people in need from day one in coordination with the local authorities by opening our racecourses for shelter, by sending them the most needed necessities and by monetary aid contributions.”
He adds: “We also have sent our mobile Pony Club Truck with our ponies and equine therapy team to the affected region in order to entertain and rehabilitate the traumatised children. Besides pony riding, various gifts were distributed to children during the visits and even a theatrical play for children was included into the organisation. After having seen the positive effects on children and their interest in the horses, we have decided to continue this during the summer starting from mid-April.”