By Darren Cartwright
Aquis Farm’s latest acquisitions in Group-winning champions Jonker and Glenfiddich underlines the exceptional quality of the state’s breeding stocks, says Queensland Thoroughbred Breeders Association president Basil Nolan.
It also highlights the importance of the Queensland Thoroughbred Incentive Scheme (QTIS) which offers more than $12 million in bonuses each year to registered Queensland bred horses, Mr Nolan said.
QTIS offers a bonus for breeders as well as the connections of horses that either win or place in more than 620 TAB races and 220 non-TAB races each season.
“It shows the rest of Australia, Queensland has taken a step forward when we can stand those quality stallions here,” the industry veteran said.
Jonker, who won the Group 1 Manikato Stakes in October at his third last appearance, and Glenfiddich, winner of the Group 2 Stutt Stakes at his penultimate start in September 2020, join Group 1-gun Pierata on the impressive roster at the Gold Coast stud farm.
Jonker’s service fee has been set at $16,500 while Glenfiddich’s is $8,800, but neither comes close to All-Aged Stakes champion Pierata at $44,000 per serve.
It is the highest service fee of any stallion in Queensland and is double that of the next expensive, Brave Smash and Invader, on Aquis Farm’s 17-stallion roster.
The fact Jonker and Glenfiddich will both stand in Queensland, despite finishing their racing careers in Victoria is a significant achievement for the state and Aquis Farm, Mr Nolan said.
“There have been good stallions stand in Queensland, but this is another feather in our cap,” Mr Nolan said.
“The QTIS bonus is obviously why a lot of breeders want to breed with a Queensland stallion.”
Jonker is the son of multiple Group winner Spirit Of Boom, who captured the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 and Group 1 William Reid Stakes before retiring in 2014.
Aquis Farm Director of Sales Jonathan Davies said breeders from across the state had secured spots for Jonker who is expected to have a full book in his first season.
“He has been very popular, and we have breeders from all around Australia who have booked Jonker this season,” Mr Davies said.
“He was an exceptional juvenile and to be able to break Takeover Target’s race record at Doomben was brilliant and something I was not expecting.
“We anticipate he will have a full book this year.”
Glenfiddich is also proving as popular with breeders, while the original owners had kept breeding rights, said Mr Davies.
Even his breeder Ian Smith had taken an interest in Glenfiddich’s stud future.
“Glenfiddich will have a full book too and he’s going to be well supported with his previous ownership group all retaining breeding rights in him,” Mr Davies said.
“His breeder Ian Smith, who also bred Better Than Ready, has bought back into the horse which we are thrilled about.”
Mr Davies said QTIS is a major drawcard for breeders and it’s an added incentive for any breeder booking a spot with one of 17 stallions standing at Aquis Farm.
“There’s no doubt that QTIS is the best bonus scheme in Australia, and it goes a long way for breeders, trainers and owners to pay the bills,” he said.
“It is a massive leg up for breeders.”
Mr Nolan ranks the quality of stallions on offer at Aquis Farm as among the better collections to stand at one time.
He said it was similar to when former multiple Group 1 winners Show A Heart and Falvelon served at Glenlogan Park in the Scenic Rim last decade.
“I think they will do well with them, and we’ve always tried to stand good stallions here,” he said.
“Falvelon and Show A Heart were Group 1 winners and there have been a lot of others, Spirit Of Boom, who has done extremely well, and this is up there with those sorts of horses.”
Pierata is the standout among those standing at the Gold Coast stud although there have been some tempting offers to buy the stallion from Aquis Farm owner Tony Fung.
Davies said the Hong Kong-based owner was committed to breeding with the best horses in Queensland and had resisted all approaches to buy the prized stallion.
“There have been offers to buy Pierata, but he has rejected all of them as he wants to offer the best stallions to Queensland breeders,” Mr Davies said.
“Both Mr Fung and his son Justin are very passionate, and have shown unwavering support for the breeding industry.”