The world’s most famous classic will carry some Kiwi interest this year, with a half-brother to a former champion New Zealand sprinter among the leading contenders.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Anthony Van Dyck is on the third line of betting for this weekend’s Gr.1 Investec Derby (2400m) at Epsom, having won the Listed Lingfield Derby Trial (2300m) by two and a quarter lengths in his most recent appearance. The only runners ahead of him in the market are his stablemates, Sir Dragonet and Broome.
Anthony Van Dyck is by Galileo out of the Exceed and Excel mare Believe‘N’Succeed, making him a half-brother to Bounding.
Carrying the white and orange colours of Tirau owner Gary Harding, Bounding won eight races including the Gr.1 Railway Stakes (1200m) – the first three-year-old filly to win the Ellerslie sprint feature in more than three decades.
The daughter of Lonhro won five other stakes races including the Gr.3 Heath Stakes (1100m) in Melbourne, and was voted New Zealand’s champion sprinter in 2013-14. She was trained by Ken and Bev Kelso in the New Zealand stage of her career, then by Peter and Paul Snowden in Australia.
Harding paid A$425,000 for Bounding as a yearling and she returned him more than $650,000 in prize-money, then sold her for A$1.9 million to major American breeders Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.
Bounding’s dam, meanwhile, was bought by Coolmore’s Tom Magnier for A$1.1 million, and Anthony Van Dyck was her first northern hemisphere foal.
Harding has been following the family’s fortunes with interest.
“It’s pretty amazing that Bounding’s half-brother is one of the favourites for the Derby this year,” he said.
“The family is really going from strength to strength, and it had major international appeal even before Anthony Van Dyck came along. It’s a family on the move.
“I remember Bounding being a lovely type of yearling when I saw her at the Easter Sale in Sydney, and by all accounts the half-brother is the same.
“Bounding was a truly fantastic horse for us. Horses like her are so hard to get. We had many, many pleasurable moments with her. They’re special memories.
“Even though we don’t own her any more, we’re still very excited and really interested in her. We keep in touch with the Americans who bought her, and we’re following her progress closely as well as the rest of the family.
“I’ve always dreamed about buying back one of her progeny, but that might be getting a little bit hard now.”
Bounding’s first foal was born last year, a colt by the US Horse of the Year Curlin. She was served by War Front last year.
Meanwhile, Harding has continued to purchase well-bred fillies at yearling sales on both sides of the Tasman, with plenty of success.
One of those purchases was Astor, who Harding secured out of Haunui Farm’s 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft for $95,000. Trained by Cody Cole, Astor has won the Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1300m) and placed in the Gr.3 Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m).
“Since selling Bounding, we’ve been going to the sales and trying to find another one like her,” Harding said. “We haven’t done that so far, but we’ve still had some pretty good success.”
Harding’s home-breds have also performed with distinction. His Grosvenor mare Limerick has produced nine winners from 11 foals to race, headed by his Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) winner Capella and Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) placegetter Wisecrack. – NZ Racing Desk.