U S Navy Flag heads competitively priced fees at The Oaks Stud

On Tuesday, one of Australasia’s premier nurseries, The Oaks Stud in New Zealand, announced its three-strong roster, headed by the royally bred and accomplished U S Navy Flag (USA). The stallion will remain at NZ$15,000 (plus GST) after another brilliant season on the track.

The Thoroughbred Report chatted with The Oaks Stud’s General Manager, Rick Williams, to find out more about the roster.

U S Navy Flag, a son of the sire sensation War Front (USA), boasts an impressive pedigree. His dam, Misty For Me (Ire), a daughter of the champion stallion Galileo (Ire), was crowned the Champion 2-Year-Old Filly in France and Ireland and followed up as Ireland’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.

U S Navy Flag (War Front)

Misty For Me retired with five victories from 1200 to 2000 metres, including wins in the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas, the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac, the G1 Moyglare Stud S., and the G1 Pretty Polly S. Additionally, she was placed in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf S. and the G1 Matron S.

As exceptional as she was on the track, Misty For Me has proven equally adept as a broodmare. Her daughter Roly Poly (USA), a full sister to U S Navy Flag, won six races, also showcasing versatility by winning from 1000 to 1600 metres and capturing events such as the G1 Prix Rothschild S., the G1 Sun Chariot S., and the G1 Falmouth S.

Roly Poly was followed by U S Navy Flag, who also made his mark on the racetrack. Victories in the G1 Dewhurst S. and the G1 Middle Park S. earned him the title of Champion 2-Year-Old in Europe. As a 3-year-old, he secured victory in the G1 July Cup and was placed in the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas. These exploits garnered him the titles of Champion 3-Year-Old Sprinter in Europe, Champion 3-Year-Old Sprinter in Great Britain and Ireland and Leading 3-Year-Old Male on the 2018 WTR (Sprint).

“U S Navy Flag’s race record was phenomenal, and his pedigree is unparalleled. So, I think the NZ$15,000 (plus GST) he represents a lot of value for breeders," Williams told TTR AusNZ.

Outstanding Start

The son of War Front has started his career strongly in the Southern Hemisphere. U S Navy Flag’s first crop exploits saw him crowned New Zealand’s Champion First Season Sire. His achievements this season will see him retain the title as New Zealand’s Champion Second Season Sire.

Currently, U S Navy Flag is the only second-season sire to break NZ$1 million in earnings this season. Overall, his career statistics in the Southern Hemisphere stand at 25 individual winners of 40 races, including two individual stakes winners and seven stakes performers.

As recently as last Saturday, U S Navy Flag was represented by the smart Navy King (NZ), who was an impressive victor at Flemington over 2000 metres. Other highlights from U S Navy Flag’s first two crops include the G2 Auckland Guineas winner The Pendragon (NZ), the bonny filly Chantilly Lace (NZ), a multiple Listed winner and stakes placegetter, and the multiple Group 1 placegetter To Catch A Thief (NZ).

U S Navy Flag

Additionally, Aprilia (NZ) was placed in the G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce S. and finished second in the G1 Edward Manifold S. in Australia. The progressive Fortunate Son (NZ), a winner of two of his three starts, including a dominant win at Ellerslie, has been sold to Hong Kong.

“U S Navy Flag has had a good year; he'll win the Second-Season Sire Premiership in New Zealand, no problem,” Williams said. “I guess there's an argument we could have moved his fee up, but I think he's well-priced. Like every stallion at this stage of their career, he needs that big 'wow horse,' and at this stage, he hasn't got it, but he's certainly got some lovely horses, and they've been well-received.”

This year, across the Australasian sales, 15 of the 16 U S Navy Flag progeny were sold for an aggregate of $1,022,554, with an average of $68,170 and a median of $71,759.

“This year, across the Australasian sales, 15 of the 16 U S Navy Flag progeny were sold for an aggregate of $1,022,554, with an average of $68,170 and a median of $71,759.”

“Hopefully, U S Navy Flag continues to progress his statistics where you can compare him with the good stallions at the same time in their careers, but you know his stats in the Southern Hemisphere have been very favourable. It's very good; he's doing well, but obviously, we want them to do better, like all stallions do, but it doesn't happen overnight.

“He's been popular with the Hong Kong market. There were some really nice trial winners; I would think six or eight of them ended up in Hong Kong last season. So, he's going to be well represented up there. U S Navy Flag already has some Northern Hemisphere horses in Hong Kong.

“They've got to do it up there, but I don't see any reason why they couldn't. They stable well and have good temperaments, but you never know in Hong Kong. Some horses go up there, and you don't think they will do well, and they thrive, and others disappoint.

“U S Navy Flag is proving versatile. He looks like he'll get some stayers. Navy King was very impressive at Flemington, and there are a few in New Zealand that look like they'll really relish a lot more ground. With the New Zealand broodmare barn, that's a positive. It looks like he can be a horse that is an all-round sire, not just a sprint stallion.”

Williams pleased with The Chosen One

Offering exceptional value to breeders this season is The Chosen One (NZ), who will stand his third season at stud at a fee of NZ$4000 (plus GST).

The son of the eight-time Champion Sire Savabeel was a tough and tenacious performer. A winner of seven races, his victories include the G1 Thorndon Mile, the G2 Herbert Power S., the G3 Frank Packer Plate, the G3 Manawatu Classic, and the Listed Zacinto S.

The Chosen One also showed his class with placings in the G1 Sydney Cup, the G1 Herbie Dyke S., the G1 Caulfield Cup, the G1 Tancred S., and was fourth in the G1 Melbourne Cup, the G1 Australian Derby, and the G1 Underwood S. in a truly fantastic career. Additionally, he received the title of New Zealand’s Champion Stayer.

 The Chosen One (Savabeel)

He will be represented by two weanlings at the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock Weanling Sale. “The Chosen One stood his first season at Brent Gillovic’s Highview Stud, so I haven’t seen a lot of his progeny; I’ve seen about half-a-dozen,” Williams told TTR AusNZ. “He’s not big himself, but he’s certainly throwing size into his progeny, and that’s important.

“I’m going to source a few yearlings to put in The Oaks Stud draft for the yearling sales. I didn’t use him the first season, but I supported him substantially last year. I’ll see them more next season, but I am keen to get two or three off the Dennis brothers or somebody for the sales, just so The Chosen One is properly represented there.”

Speaking of The Chosen One’s longevity, Williams said, “He was very sound, and Murray Baker, a very good friend of mine, said whenever he went to Australia, that horse (The Chosen One) came and was in every team and danced every dance.

“He was very sound, and Murray Baker, a very good friend of mine, said whenever he went to Australia, that horse (The Chosen One) came and was in every team and danced every dance.” - Rick Williams

“He’s a very nice horse and definitely has a chance with the syndicate behind him. We are standing The Chosen One on behalf of a syndicate, and they have priced him ($4000 plus GST) extremely attractively, in my view.

“The Chosen One has a lovely pedigree, an excellent race record, and it’ll be interesting, actually very interesting, to follow over the next three or four years.”

Roc de Cambes, a proven source at a value fee

Roc De Cambes (NZ), a son of Red Ransom (USA), rounds out The Oaks Stud's 2024 roster, standing at a fee of NZ$3000 (plus GST).

A proven proposition, Roc De Cambes has sired two Group 1 winners: Vin De Dance (NZ), victor of the G1 New Zealand Derby, and He’s Our Rokkii (NZ), winner of the G1 Toorak H. in Australia. This season, the son of Red Ransom has been represented by the talented The Oaks Stud bred-and-raced pair, Antrim Coast (NZ), who placed in the G1 New Zealand Derby and won the G2 Alister Clark S. in Australia, alongside the $304,000 Jericho Cup victress Nassak Diamond (NZ).

Overall, Roc De Cambes has sired 128 individual winners of 308 races and has produced 13 stakes performers and six individual stakes winners.

Roc de Cambes (Red Ransom)

“He certainly can get you a good horse. Roc De Cambes has sired Vin De Dance, who won the New Zealand Derby, and He’s Our Rokki, who won the G1 Toorak H. in Australia. He’s got very good stats, and people like Bill Oppenheim have showcased that," said Williams

“But Roc De Cambes was an unlucky horse. We bred him, and when we got him back from Japan, the equine influenza was on, and he had six months in the United States before returning to New Zealand about three weeks before the season.

“He didn’t look good at all, so he didn’t create a good impression until we had him in good condition a few months later, but it all came a bit late for him. We own Roc De Cambes outright, so he’s one of those horses that didn’t get the support from outside. If we had got him down earlier and he had been able to let down properly, things could have been different. He was a super racehorse and has been a fantastic horse for us. Actually, the two biggest wins The Oaks Stud has had this season were from his progeny - Antrim Coast and Nassak Diamond in terms of prize money.”

“He certainly can get you a good horse. Roc De Cambes has sired Vin De Dance, who won the New Zealand Derby, and He’s Our Rokki, who won the G1 Toorak H. in Australia.” - Rick Williams

Regarding the approach to fees this season, Williams said, “I just think there are some headwinds in the industry, and we’re trying our best to price our horses competitively. Hopefully, they’ll have another good season.”

-Keeley Mckitterick
The Thoroughbred Report


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