In January 2014, a big group of owners joined Nigel and the team at the New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale. Among a small selection of purchases was a striking son of RIP VAN WINKLE, now named WINSTON LEGACY and now a winner after scoring at his third start today at Sale.
That year saw the first yearlings offered in the Southern Hemisphere of three time Group 1 winner RIP VAN WINKLE. Nigel had a number of his progeny on his shortlist, and was lucky to secure a son of his, out of FLAWLESS (by ZABEEL).
Bred by John and Mark Carter from Jomara Bloodstock and offered in the draft of good friends Windsor Park Stud, the colt showed a great deal of scope and size. He had a swagger that appealed to Nigel’s eye, and with owners on hand and part of the selection process, the colt was knocked down to Nigel for NZD 105,000.
Since that purchase, we have been following RIP VAN WINKLE’s progeny closely. For those that don’t know much about him, he was crowned World Champion Turf 3yo Miler in 2009 and World Champion Turf 4yo Miler in 2010. He is the second highest rated son of his Champion Sire GALILEO. (The highest rated son is the incomparable FRANKEL!)
As a sire, he can get an early running two-year-old. But mostly they look like they appreciate time and distance. WINSTON LEGACY has been certainly in that category.
Last preparation he was given two race starts. He was gelded, immature and “green”, still learning what to do in races. Although not quite polished yet, he returned this preparation a stronger, more mature gelding.
He won a jump out, leading and over-racing with Michael Walker riding. In his second trial at Flemington he missed the jump and settled at the rear. This was perhaps a good thing, as it started to teach him a thing or two about settling in his races and conserving energy. Over the short trial distance of 800m, he hit the line nicely.
We went to the races thinking he could be competitive in the 1425m Maiden at Sale, a big spacious track that would suit his style and galloping action. From the wide barrier, Michael had to steady big Winston and avoid giving him clear room ahead knowing he would over-race and ruin his chances.
Michael’s arms were hurting holding him up to the corner, but as the race replay shows, once given galloping room in these straight he showed us his big stride to run over the top of the field to score his first win.
Click on the image below to watch the race replay.
Big Winston is a half brother to multiple stakes-winner in Macau, SANDTOP. His dam FLAWLESS is a daughter of ZABEEL (a wonderful broodmare sire as we know) and EMERALD DREAM (G1 Waikato International Stakes). This is a fantastic family, with Winston’s fourth dam COTEHELE HOUSE having produced DANEWIN and COMMANDS. Other runners in this family are SHOOTING TO WIN, DEEP FIELD and LUNA ROSSA.
So where does the name WINSTON LEGACY come from? That was the name given to the biggest, most “flawless” colourless diamond sold for a cool $26.7 million in 2013 (101.73-carats), a world record for the highest price paid per carat for a colorless diamond.
Congratulations to Winston Legacy’s owners who have joined Nigel in showing patience with this horse. As a four-year-old later this preparation, and even more so next preparation, big Winston will be polished further and we hope to see many more wins as he progresses through the grades.