Plenty has changed in the 40 years since Kirsten Rausing purchased Lanwades from Colonel Nat Frieze, much of it, she notes, for the better. But some early foundations have endured, and are now shaping the future of the famed Newmarket farm.
Among the stud’s first loyal patrons was Stavros Niarchos, who purchased a share in Rausing’s first stallion, the Nijinsky horse Niniski. Not only did that initial share bear rich fruit for the Greek shipping tycoon, but from it grew a relationship that has seen Lanwades and the Niarchoses enjoy many a shared success.
Perhaps the most notable example of their collaborative efforts is Hernando, Niarchos’s homebred winner of the Prix Lupin and Prix du Jockey Club.
Not only was Hernando by Niniski, but he later became an important stallion at Lanwades himself, having sired, among others, the likes of Sulamani, Holding Court, Look Here and Gitano Hernando.
In 2018 the Niarchos family enjoyed further homebred success in the Prix du Jockey Club with Study Of Man, and the long-running connection between the two parties has seen Lanwades entrusted with launching the regally bred colt’s stallion career.
“I’m thrilled to have a horse like him”
“Our cooperation started 40 years ago when I first arrived in Newmarket and the late Mr Stavros Niarchos took a share in my first stallion, Niniski,” Rausing recalls.
“From that share he bred the French Derby winner Hernando and another Group 1 winner in Louis Cyphre along with quite a few other Group winners. That was four decades ago and we’ve had a wonderful cooperation since then, particularly with Hernando, who was a great success. Hopefully that will continue with Study Of Man – it’s very exciting and I’m thrilled to have a horse like him.”
Bred under the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Stables Ireland banner, Study Of Man is by the late, great Deep Impact, sire of 42 elite-level winners. Having entered stud at the Shadai Stallion Station in Japan in 2007, the breed-shaping son of Sunday Silence will soon gain his eighth consecutive champion sire crown in his native land.
Study Of Man is the eighth foal out of Second Happiness, a daughter of Storm Cat and the increasingly influential Miesque – an exceptional performer at a mile who became a remarkable producer at paddocks.
Miesque’s six winning offspring include the three- time Group 1 winner and top-class sire Kingmambo and champion three- year-old filly East Of The Moon, who later became the granddam of another Niarchos champion in Alpha Centauri.
It should be noted that the Deep Impact over Storm Cat cross has already made an impact from within the stallion ranks, with the Shadai Stallion Station’s Kizuna set to be crowned champion first-season sire in Japan.
Credentials are one thing, but every new sire needs support, and Rausing confirms that Study Of Man will receive the backing of some “very significant breeders”. Moreover, she will also be throwing the weight of her own broodmare band behind the horse, as will the Niarchos family.
“It’s all very exciting as he will suit a lot of mares and will have tremendous support, not least from his own breeders,” she says. “They will send some of their fantastic mares and I will send him a lot of my own too, including my two Group 1-winning mares Madame Chiang, who provides a bit of inbreeding to Miesque through Kingmambo, and Lady Jane Digby. A lot of my other good mares will be visiting him too.”
Study Of Man did plenty on the racecourse that will have endeared him to breeders too. He ran just once at two, when a cosy winner of a mile maiden at Saint-Cloud, but it was at three that he really earned his stripes.
He gained his second victory in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe, a race he won by no less than three and a half lengths, before he claimed the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club in determined fashion. In landing the French Classic, he added his name to a roll of honour that includes the likes of Montjeu, Shamardal, Le Havre and Lope
“He will suit a lot of mares and will have tremendous support”
“This horse is not an out-an-out stayer by any means,” says Rausing. “His best effort was over ten and one half furlongs and his granddam, the fantastic Miesque, was a specialist miler. I feel that with his enormous quality and class, he will be very useful at all Classic distances – except possibly the St Leger.”
Despite the long-running relationship with the Niarchos family, Rausing admits that it was far from a foregone conclusion that Study Of Man would head to Lanwades, as his profile made him a stallion prospect of serious international appeal.
“There was plenty of competition, not only from within Europe but Kentucky too, three very major farms there wanted him,” she says.
“There was also plenty of Japanese interest in the horse, especially after Deep Impact sadly passed away. That level of competition makes me particularly grateful to the Niarchos family for letting me have him.”
It is easy to believe that there was a rush to secure the services of Study Of Man, with such well-credentialed colts all too infrequently in independent ownership. Indeed, Rausing attributes the decline of the owner-breeder with making the acquisition of viable stallion prospects an increasing challenge.
“When I first came to Newmarket 40 years ago, racehorse ownership was much more varied and in those days you had a lot of owner-breeders,” she says.
“There were horses to be found racing for those owner-breeders who would make stallion prospects. Nowadays, the difference is that a lot of stallion prospects are owned – from the minute they set foot on a racecourse – by the people who will stand them at stud; be it Coolmore, Shadwell, Juddmonte or Darley.
“When an independently-owned horse does come along, which are very few and far between, all the independently-owned stallion studs are going for the same horse, with the result, of course, being that the price increases exponentially.”
While finding suitable stallion prospects may never have been more difficult, Rausing remains steadfast in her principle of offering breeders high- quality outcross options; a brief that Study Of Man fits perfectly.
“I’m a small-ish stud these days, in comparison with the very big boys,” she says. “But we provide an independent option and the possibility for mare owners to find outcrosses.
“I always had great faith in Sea The Moon”
“This is what I try to compete with; I try to offer the mare owners something slightly different. There are many admirable horses around but they’re all very similarly bred.”
Although the current Lanwades roster is dominated by stallions whose careers are in their infancy, the success Rausing’s approach can yield has been reaffirmed in no uncertain terms by the stud’s brightest rising star Sea The Moon.
From just two crops of two- year-olds, the son of Sea The Stars has been represented by 18 black type performers, most notably Alpine Star, winner of the Group 2 Debutante Stakes for none other than the Niarchos family.
Interestingly for a horse who is best remembered for his victory in the German Derby – a race he won by no less than 11 lengths – Sea The Moon is proving a fine source of juvenile talent.
“I always had great faith in Sea The Moon but I have to say, he’s rather surprised me with the speedy two- year-olds he’s able to produce,” says Rausing. “His two-year-old stats are quite extraordinary for a horse who is no doubt seen as a stayer. He’s obviously quite capable of injecting speed into staying mares.
“Particularly the German mares he covers, they would, in the main, be mares that have gone a mile and a half themselves, yet are able to produce two- year-old winners, which is very exciting.”
By virtue of siring Group-race winners in Ireland, France and Germany, Sea The Moon is now a sire of international appeal. He also has the likes of Geoffrey Freer Stakes third Durston and Pondus, runner-up in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes, waiting in the wings, making it seem only a matter of time before he gains well-deserved Pattern successes in Britain.
He has also made an impact in Australia, where, from limited numbers, he has supplied a string of classy winners. However, when speaking about the horse’s antipodean exploits, it is with a wry smile that Rausing concludes: “He won’t be shuttling, that’s for sure.”
The old maxim that success breeds success is never more true than in the world of breeding itself, and such eye-catching early results have seen breeders latch on to Sea The Moon in a big way.
“He’s been sent a better quality of mare as time has gone on and he was fully booked this year,” Rausing reports. “He covered 164 mares, with 160 in foal. We could have taken many, many more but, sadly, we had to say no to a large number. He’s already pretty well full for next year.”
The Lanwades track record that Sea The Moon has contributed so ably to should also give confidence to those behind the debut crop from Bobby’s Kitten, with the first two-year-olds by the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint-winning son of US sire sensation Kitten’s Joy due to hit the racecourse in 2020.
His first crop may not have necessarily been de rigueur at yearling sales, but it should be remembered that such a fickle marketplace has been wrong before. And, nonetheless, Rausing has been receiving positive early reports from some of the finest trainers around.
“I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from various trainers and I feel he may well be a horse in the mould of his own sire, Kitten’s Joy,” she says. “They’re not necessarily sales horses but I think they’re runners.
“He’s got 76 two-year- olds, so that gives him a chance. We have fillies by him in training with Sir Mark Prescott, Mark Johnston, Richard Fahey and Marcus Tregoning.”
“This is what I try to compete with; I try to offer the mare owners something slightly different”
This trio of up-and-coming stallions stand alongside Sir Percy, the Derby- winning son of Mark Of Esteem who has built up quite the fan base during the 12 years he has spent at stud.
Despite never having stood for more than the £8,000 he was introduced at, his yearlings have fetched up to 260,000gns and the crop conceived at £7,000 in 2017 sold at an average of 62,335gns during this year’s Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
“He’s a very popular horse,” Rausing says of Lanwades’ elder statesman. “We have a very loyal clientele who support him and his yearlings still sell well. As one of the last remaining members of the Mill Reef line he provides a good outcross, and the trainers like him too.
“He’s been very good to me as he’s given me two Group-winning daughters; the Group 2 winner Alyssa and the Group 3 winner Alla Speranza, who’s the dam of a Group 2 winner in Shine So Bright. He’s really coming through now as a broodmare sire too. He’s rising 17 but has excellent fertility.”
Much like Sea The Moon – and potentially Study Of Man – Sir Percy is a Classic winner who, under the guidance of Lanwades, has proved more than adept at producing classy two-year-olds.
Just this year he has been represented by Prix Marcel Boussac third Flighty Lady, who was subsequently purchased privately by Peter Brant, and impressive debut scorer Little Becky, who races for Anthony Oppenheimer.
Rausing says: “He’s sired 78 individual two-year-old winners and some people tend to forget that he himself was a champion two- year-old and was on the go from May until October, remaining unbeaten.”
So, as Rausing heads into her fifth decade at the helm of Lanwades, it seems her stud and its clients have much to look forward to.
The bloodstock industry may have been altered irrevocably since she moved to Newmarket in 1980, but if Study Of Man and his studmates can follow the path taken by the Lanwades residents before them, there is a weight of history that suggests a bright future lies ahead.