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25 September 2011

The Darley Stallion Parade 2011

There's been a myriad of factors which have kept me from keeping this Blog as up to date as I usually do.  Mostly things of a personal nature, which meant I just didn't have the heart to write in what can best be described as a difficult past 4 weeks.  It's also been the sheer amount of work to get through, following my return from the Hunter Valley, then the Golden Rose, then the George Main, with another trip up to the Hunter tacked on to that.  And the kids have both been sick as well, and that never helps.

So in an effort to put things back on track, with the Spring Carnival now well and truly upon us, I will start with the first of the Stallion Parades I photographed for the major studs whom are valued clients of mine.  I have now photographed Darley's Stallion Parade for them for the past 2 years.  As I've often said, the relationship with Darley is a special one, particularly with the boys on the farm, and of course, their wonderful, wonderful horses, who have rendered me speechless when laying eyes on them. They have a particularly wonderful stallion manager, in Stuart McKay, who apart from being a terrific person and fantastic horseman, is warm and welcoming as well.  He trusts me with his precious horses, and for that I am very grateful.

The first horse out was the great Lonhro.   This horse has the great distinction of joining the mighty racehorse and stallion Vain as the winner of both the Australian Racehorse of the Year (2004) and Champion Stallion of the Year (2010-2011).   He has let down into a fine looking stallion and as one of my 'favourites boys' at the track, it is always wonderful to catch up with them at the farms.

I threw these couple of images in, from the Darley Staff Parade the day before, because it was such a gorgeous day with lovely light and he gleams in light like this. Unfortunately for the main parade it clouded right over, and even rained lightly during the first couple of horses, and that was a real shame.

Next out was Lonhro's son, the G1 Golden Rose winning colt Denman.  He was a little stirry, and played up a little bit, so did only two laps of the parade ring.  He's thickened up and strengthened since I photographed him last year, as he continues to let down as a stallion.

Ad Valorem was next, and the way this horse has settled down now that he stays at Darley 100% of the time, instead of shuttling back to Ireland is remarkable.  I commented to Stuart that I'd never previously photographed the horse on all four legs and that usually you can look forward to some dazzling rearing photographs from the horse, but he walked around like a child's pony, and is a happy and contented horse these days.

The great Commands was lead out next.  He's quite a heavy and dark son of Danehill and he's incredibly different looking to his full brother Danewin, whom I photographed last week for Emirates Park.

After Commands they brought out the prancing stallion Authorized.  He's always on his toes, bursting with energy, and every time I've seen him he is resplendent in glorious dapples.

Time Thief, the young stallion by Redoute's Choice followed, and he's developing into a nice looking stallion.


Exceed and Excel, the sire of the very exciting, brilliant but extremely naughty 3-yo Helmet, looked fabulous.  He's doing fantastically well, and has just been leading sire in both the UK and in Australia.  He didn't catch my eye at last year's parade so much, but this year, perhaps because Helmet has put him squarely back in my mind, I was very pleased with the images of him, and I thought he looked gorgeous.


Henny Hughes, the powerhouse chestnut followed.  I have to admit it.  I'm taken by this horse, and from time to time think he's exactly the sort of horse I'd have loved fanging around a paddock bareback on when I was about 16 years old.  He's explosively fast, and I can't wait to see the foals on the track, and like to hope he'll be a horse who'll do well over here.



Shaft, Nadeem and Canny Lad followed, with the latter getting on in years but losing none of his brilliance as a sire.  His influence is profound, particularly as a broodmare sire, with the great Redoute's Choice being out of a Canny Lad mare.

Dear old Canny Lad.
 Then we came to a couple of my favourite stallions on the Darley roster, in Street Sense and Bernardini.  I love both of these, who are very different in type and personality, but they exude personality and presence, and were just so brilliant on the racetrack you like to think they will do well as stallions over here.  Berni is doing brilliantly as a sire in America, and I think Street Sense is getting very good early results too, so fingers crossed as the first of the Bernardini and Street Sense 2 year olds hit the racetracks, this year I think.

Street Sense
Bernardini!  Here's a horse!!!!
love him....


Finally, we had Teofilo, Street Cry and Medaglia d'Oro.  The latter we dub the showpony, he has movie star good looks, he exudes presence, he dances and shows off, floats over the ground, and is also, importantly, proving to be an incredibly good sire.  I truly hope his ability as a stallion that he's demonstrated so well in the northern hemisphere translates over here.  I realise that there are horses that do well over there, and make no impact here in Australia..  Please, please, let this horse not be one of those individuals......  I did photograph one of his foals, and was very taken with it.

Street Cry.  It's a thrill to photograph the sire of Zenyatta.  Again...

Medaglia d'Oro - he's glorious.  The poor boy got very stirred up because of the audio playing one of his racetrack wins.