Novara Park principal Luigi Muollo is over the moon with the debut performance of his stallion Staphanos at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale at Karaka this week.
Muollo offered three fillies by the sire in the Book 1 session of the sale, with two exceeding the $200,000 mark.
Lot 32, the half-sister to Group Three performer Explosively, was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $200,000, while trainer Chris Waller purchased lot 234, the half-sister to Derby hero Explosive Jack, in partnership with Yes Bloodstock for $250,000.
“They looked the part and you never know until you get here, but they were really well received,” Muollo said.
“It was nice for the first one to go to David Ellis because he is a good judge and his record has been outstanding.
“I am really happy for Chris Waller to grab the half to Explosive Jack.”
From a service fee of $7,000, Muollo said Staphanos has proven to be a great investment for breeders.
“It can be pretty risky going to that high service fee and you never know what happens to a fence or which way a leg is going, so a return on average of 24 times the service fee, the profit is fantastic,” he said.
Staphanos’ crop numbers have naturally fallen in the last few seasons, however, Muollo said he has been buoyed by the feedback from trainers and bloodstock agents upon inspecting his progeny.
“Staphanos served a book of 108 (mares) in his first year, 79 in his second year, and 40 in his third year because I had to go and support King of Comedy (Novara Park’s new season sire),” he said.
“It is a numbers game, but I think the quality that everyone has seen, the respect amongst trainers and agents has really come up.”
Muollo is now looking forward to the Book 2 session of the sale where 15 Staphanos yearlings will go through the sale ring.
“I have seen some nice ones that will go through Book 2, including a half to Xplosion out of Xpress (the dam of Group One performer Xpression),” Muollo said.
Meanwhile, Muollo is excited to announce a new stallion acquisition for his operation – What’s The Story.
Runner-up to Rangipo in the 2016 Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), the Savabeel entire has been standing at Norwegian Farm for the last four seasons and could have a new home in the spring.
“I have ended up buying a stallion called What’s The Story, by Savabeel,” Muollo said.
“He was good enough to win his first start over 1200m as a three-year-old and was runner-up in the New Zealand Derby.
“He is a Savabeel who had racetrack ability and has got the sire and damline pedigree.
“He didn’t get big numbers, about 35 in his first crop and 34 in his second. It is really hard to make it work on those numbers but everyone that has seen them has noted he has really put the Savabeel into them.
“I bred and race a son of his who bolted in over 800m at the trials today for Clint Isdale and I think he is a Derby horse.
“We will start him in the Staphanos Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1600m) and if we can win the Champagne I will put him on a plane to Australia and either go to the JJ Atkins (Gr.1, 1600m) or the VRC Derby (Gr.1, 2500m).
“I own half (What’s The Story) with Norwegian Farm and if he does win to Champagne we will probably move him to Novara Park, we won’t announce his service fee until a later date.”