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The 2009 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale is fast approaching and over the next few months we will be revealing an assembly of quality prospects included in the Summerhill draft, one of which is an outstanding son of “Rampant Sire Sensation”, Red Ransom.
John Berry writes for Thoroughbred Internet that the thrilling win of the Anthony Cummings-trained three-year-old Duporth in the BTC Cup, the first Group One race of the current Brisbane Winter Carnival, has given his sire Red Ransom the distinction of being the first stallion to have been represented by three individual Group One winners in 2009.
While - as the margins of a half-head by a nose suggest - Duporth had luck on his side in landing this big prize (especially as the third-placed Apache Cat was held up for a run at the top of the straight and would surely have repeated his success of last year with an unimpeded passage) it would be wrong to detract from Red Ransom’s achievement in having, once again, a very solid batch of high-class horses running for him internationally at present.
Although American-born, -raised and -raced, Red Ransom is now truly a citizen of the world; and Australia - which all three of his 2009 Group One winners call home - is merely one of three countries who can now justifiably regard him as part of the furniture.
The late anglophilic American philanthropist Paul Mellon will be forever remembered as the man who bred and raced Mill Reef, while his Rokeby Farm and Stables also produced such as Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero, as well as Arts And Letters and Fort Marcy, Horse of the Year in America in 1969 and 1970 respectively. Compared to these champions, Red Ransom was not a special racehorse, although he was clearly very talented. Talented enough, indeed, to break a track record when making a winning debut in a maiden race over five furlongs at Saratoga as a two-year-old in August 1989. Paul Mellon’s trainer Mack Miller saddled up the colt again at Belmont the following month, when his charge duly took his record to two from two when easily winning an allowance race over six furlongs. Sadly, however, that proved to be Red Ransom’s final victory: shinsoreness kept him out of action for the remainder of his two-year-old campaign; and, six days after finishing second in allowance company on his resumption at Gulfstream Park the following March, Red Ransom was found to have injured a tendon sheath. He never raced again.
Red Ransom remained in Paul Mellon’s ownership and duly began his stud career the following year, 1991. It is an interesting thought that, with a less far-sighted owner, it is debatable whether Red Ransom would have been given a chance at stud, as in today’s simplistic terms he didn’t necessarily “tick all the boxes” required by the modern-day stallion market. However, time has proved that he fully deserved his place at a leading stud (Vinery); and even at the time his merit was there to be seen by those prepared to think laterally. Although he could boast no Stakes form, the limted evidence of Red Ransom’s racing career suggested that, had he been sound enough to race more often, he would have been good enough to make his mark at a high level. Furthermore, he is a very good-looking horse who comes from the Hail To Reason sire-line (which the year before Red Ransom’s birth had come up with the future supersire Sunday Silence). Red Ransom’s sire Roberto had won the 1972 Derby and ultimately was to be represented by such successful racehorses and stallions as Dynaformer, Brian’s Time, Al Mufti, Lear Fan, Robellino, At Talaq, Bob Back, Touching Wood and Sunshine Forever. Even so, it would definitely be stretching things to say that Red Ransom has that modern-day holy grail of a “stallion’s pedigree”, but even so his pedigree contained some tough, professional racehorses (which he himself, of course, was not). His dam Arabia, a daughter of America’s 1967 Horse of the Year Damascus, was the winner of three races and was a full- or half-sister to six winners including Mr Mellon’s great gelding Winter’s Tale, a son of Arts And Letters whose 14 victories included Grade One successes at Belmont in the Marlboro Cup (in which he beat Singspiel’s dam Glorious Song in 1980), the Suburban Handicap (which, remarkably, he won in both 1980 and 1983) and the Brooklyn Handicap. Other top-class horses from this family included the Secretariat Stakes winner Super Abound, whose grand-dam WeatherwiseSpree and her half-sister Set Free, who had the distinction of breeding three British Classic winners in the 1970s: Oaks heroines Juliette Marny and Scintillate, and the St. Leger winner Julio Mariner. was a full-sister to Winter’s Tale; while the European side of the family included the 1963 Oaks runner-up
Red Ransom’s first yearlings were impressive enough to average around $30,000, and his stud career got off to a great start when his first-crop son Sri Pekan, trained in England by Paul Cole, was one of Europe’s best two-year-olds of 1994. A big, strong and very precocious colt, Sri Pekan was a hugely impressive winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. In time, Sri Pekan was to prove a decent stallion, responsible for numerous Stakes winners including De Sica (who beat Ramonti by a head in the 2005 Italian Derby), dual US Grade One winner Amorama, HK Group One winner Sunny Sing (hk) - Sacred Nuts, Winter Derby winner Sri Diamond and super-tough Irish mare Tropical Lady. Red Ransom’s first crop also included five two-year-old Stakes winners in America, with its star there proving to be Tropical Lady, victrix the following year of the Grade One Del Mar Oaks.
On the death of Paul Mellon, Red Ransom was bought by a syndicate which enabled him to remain at Vinery Stud at Midway, Kentucky. Having become a regular shuttler to Vinery Stud near Scone in New South Wales, Red Ransom subsequently took on what can be seen as triple nationality when beginning a lengthy term at Dalham Hall Stud near Newmarket. This move was sensible, as the minority of Red Ransom’s US-conceived children who raced in Europe generally did well, most obviously Sri Pekan and the 2003 Oaks winner Casual Look. In the years between Sri Pekan’s juvenile campaign and that Classic triumph, Intikhab had put up what was arguably Europe’s best miling performance of 1998 when landing the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot by eight lengths, while Ekraar was a prolific Pattern race performer from 1999 to 2003, his best victory having come in the 2003 Gran Premio del Jockey Club to complement his Group One placings in England, France, Hong Kong, Dubai and Italy.
Elsewhere, Red Ransom had enjoyed such diverse triumphs as a Breeders’ Cup success in America (courtesy of Perfect Sting in the 2000 Filly And Mare Turf) and a UAE Derby (courtesy of China Visit, who had subsequent European Classic winners Bachir and Crimplene behind him when winning in 2000). In Germany, Ransom O’War emulated Casual Look in becoming a European Group One winner in 2003. Shortly afterwards, the instigation of Red Ransom’s stints of shuttling to Australia began to reap a rich harvest, with top-class successes from the likes of Galaxy winner Charge Forward (now a promising young Arrowfield stallion), Toorak Handicap winner Red Dazzler and the good two-year-olds DomesdayHalibery. During Red Ransom’s stays in England, he was represented by the European Group One winners Electrocutionist and Red Clubs, two horses as conspicuous for their toughness and consistency as for their undoubted class. and
This year is proving yet another extremely good one for Red Ransom, who is now, aged 22, a permanent resident of Vinery (NSW). As his lifetime tally of Stakes winners closes in on a century (he is currently on 93), Red Ransom has, as mentioned at the outset of this feature, so far been represented by three individual Group One winners in 2009: Typhoon Tracy, Onemorenomore and Duporth. All are from very good mares. Typhoon Tracy is merely one of several Group One winners to descend from the high-class Irish sprinter Princess Tracy; Duporth’s dam Staging won six Group races and has additionally bred the Group One winner (and current Vinery stallion) Excites and the Group Two winner Tickets; and Onemorenomore’s dam Palia, a Group Three winner, is a full-sister to the Stakes-placed Lady Capel (dam of the Group One winner Casino Prince), comes from the immediate family of the top-class sprinter Piccolo and has already bred the dual NZ Listed winner Dr Green. However, this fact should not be held against Red Ransom: as has been proved umpteen times in the past, being sent good mares is no guarantee to success at stud. Furthermore, the fact that Red Ransom was still being sent mares of that calibre when aged nearly 20 shows the respect in which he is held by breeders.
Red Ransom’s other notable winners in recent months include the Australian Group Two-winning fillies Romneya (a half-sister to the Vinery stallion Benicio, winner of the 2005 Victoria Derby) and Portillo (a half-sister to the Group One-winning Snippets colt Snowland, who sired his first Group One winner when Absolut Glam won the Tattersall’s Winter Stakes in Brisbane last June). In Europe perhaps the best of Red Ransom’s current batch of representatives is Sheikh Hamdam bin Rashid al Maktoum’s recent Free Handicap winner Ouqba. Red Ransom has also had Stakes winners in 2009 as far afield as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
As a racehorse, Red Ransom’s career was neither long nor prolific - but he has more than made up for that as a stallion. His century of Stakes winner is surely imminent.