SWORDLESTOWN Little Stud is not too far from Punchestown racecourse, but it would be rare for a horse bred there to be making his or her name at that bastion of National Hunt racing.
Instead, it focuses on producing quality flat stock from a small band of mares, and what an impact the farm has had, both on the racecourse and in the sale ring. Mariann Klay and Des Leadon are the dynamic duo who breed under the Swordlestown Little banner, and their latest star performer is a live Epsom Derby hope in the form of Arrest.
This three-year-old son of Frankel (Galileo) certainly has the profile of a potential classic winner, and his owners have already tasted 2023 classic success with another son of their wonder stallion, Chaldean winning the Group 1 2000 Guineas.
As in the case of that Whitsbury Manor Stud-bred, Arrest was another who was purchased from his breeders by Juddmonte Farms, in this case when they spent €440,000 on the colt as a foal.
Last year Juddmonte was back in buying action when Arrest’s half-brother by Wootton Bassett (Iffraaj) was offered, again at Goffs, by Klay and Leadon, and he cost them €340,000. His sale came just a few weeks after Arrest, already twice a winner in England, was beaten a head by Dubai Mile in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Now, having won the Group 3 Chester Vase by more than six lengths. Arrest is likely to appear next at Epsom on the first weekend of June.
What a bargain the dam of Arrest was when she was purchased as an unraced three-year-old from her breeder, His Highness the Aga Khan, for €2,000. Her sale came before her dam, Narmina (Alhaarth), had a winner, but that picture was to change dramatically afterwards. Though she was later sold to India for only €9,000, Narmina is the dam of two winners in Europe and two in India, and she has had a stakes winner on both continents.
Her daughter Narniyn (Dubawi) won a couple of Group 3 races in France and was twice placed at Group 1 level, runner-up in the Nassau Stakes and third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. Another daughter, Temerity (Intense Focus), whom Narmina was carrying at the time of her sale, gained six of her nine successes at listed race level in Indian.
Back now to Nisriyna, the dam of Arrest. She had to make her name the hard way at stud, getting winners that would boost her pedigree, but her early stock did not make money for her breeders.
Her first runner, Spring Loaded (Zebedee), was well-named, and he got Nisriyna off to a good stat when winning at the second time of asking.
Though he went on to win 11 times in all, Spring Loaded was at his best at the age of six, collecting more than £60,000 for connections with a heritage handicap win at Ascot, where he was also placed in a listed race. He was followed by Dinozzo (Lilbourne Lad), and what pleasure he gave Klay and Leadon. They bred his sire, sold Dinozzo for €44,000 as a foal, and he won some £1.15 million with a Group 3 success in Hong Kong and a placed effort at Group 1 level.
Nine-time winner Tigerfish (Lilbourne Lad) was next, and was followed by the only one of Nisriyna’s offspring not to race or win, Rosie Scot (Holy Roman Emperor), though she has made up for that by being a winner producer.
With such early and sustained success, it was time for buyers to take notice, and Nisriyna’s fifth offspring and fourth winner was Mount Mayon (Kodiac), and he sold for €250,000 as a foal at Goffs, just missing a place among the top 10 foals that year in the November Sale.
The following year Qaasid (Awtaad), now a three-time winner, realised $170,000 as a foal to Shadwell, before Arrest sold for €440,000.
Incredibly, that was the best price paid for a foal during that covid-hit sale at Goffs in 2020, and three foals by Frankel achieved the feat. More remarkable is the fact that two of them were sold by Swordlestown Little!
Last year, Nisriya’s Wootton Bassett colt was the fourth-best at the Goffs November Sale, the mare’s current produce, a colt by Dark Angel (Acclamation) will go to Goffs to be sold this autumn, and she is scanned in foal to Kingman (Invincible Spirit).