Matings mix: Twin Hills Stud

Twin Hills Stud has an exciting addition to their stallion roster for 2023, and studmaster Olly Tait revealed that Daumier will be in receipt of a number of high-quality mares to get his first season underway.

Expecting to foal around 150 mares this season, a busy time lies ahead for Olly Tait and his team at Twin Hills Stud in Cootamundra. Soon coming to fruition are the mating plans started around March of 2022, and which never really stop “right up until the mare is actually covered.”

It’s now six years since Olly and Amber Tait took control of the farm, having purchased it from Godolphin, whose Australian arm was started by Olly years ago.

It’s four years since they first took a draft of yearlings to the Magic Millions Gold Coast in January, and all-up they have now sold 505 horses under the name of Twin Hills Stud, for just over $33 million – an impressive sum for a young commercial farm.

Twin Hills Stud | Image courtesy of Twin Hills Stud

“Sadly that’s not all ours,” was Olly Tait’s good-humoured response.

It’s still early days in the timeframe of breeding, producing and trading horses, but the success has been there with numerous examples already. Latterly, they include the $500,000 garnered by a Written Tycoon filly out of Exceeds (Snitzel) at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Exceeds, a half-sister to Group 1 winner Rock Kingdom (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), was a $200,000 purchase herself by Tait at the 2021 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, when carrying the fancied filly.

She has a Maurice (Jpn) colt to follow, and is in foal to Tagaloa again, though a late cover means she may not be served in 2023.

Exceeds | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

“I sent her to Tagaloa and I’ve got another mare going to Tagaloa this year,” Tait explained.

“I wanted to support Tagaloa himself, because he’s a very good racehorse, but also wanted to support Yulong. The investment that Mr Zhang has put into the industry in Australia is extraordinary. So, in my own little way, I wanted to support that operation.”

That’s despite Twin Hills itself standing five stallions in 2023, with new boy Daumier very much the centre of attention.

Daumier | Standing at Twin Hills Stud

Getting him off to a good start

Sales appeal aside, a late foal from Exceeds might not bother Tait as it certainly didn’t hold back Daumier. The only Group 1-winning 2-year-old colt of his foal crop, Daumier was a November 26 foal. It’s a fact that Twin Hills is proudly promoting.

“You don’t get many opportunities as a stud farm to stand a Blue Diamond winner,” Tait said. “We see it as a great opportunity for Twin Hills… and we’ve got some good shareholders in him.

“He’s a lovely looking horse. We took him down to Melbourne for the Great Southern Sale and showed him off there.

“You don’t get many opportunities as a stud farm to stand a Blue Diamond winner. We see it as a great opportunity for Twin Hills… He’s (Daumier) a lovely looking horse.” – Olly Tait

“Then we’ve had a number of people through the farm and we’re going to have a lot more people through the farm in the next few weeks.”

The son of Epaulette stands for $16,500 (inc GST) in his debut season at Twin Hills, and will be in receipt of significant in-house support according to Tait.

“I’ve got a good knowledge of our own mares, of what they’ve produced, what their own physical attributes are and, if they’ve had foals already, what the physical attributes of those foals are, and where they fit commercially,” he said.

“Naturally when you stand your own stallions as well, you’re trying to assist those stallions and trying to get them off the ground at the same time.”

“Naturally when you stand your own stallions as well, you’re trying to assist those stallions and trying to get them off the ground at the same time.” – Olly Tait

Giving Daumier every chance will include sending him Demetria (Conatus), a three-time winner and half-sister to Champion Female Sprinter in Australia in 2013/14, Samaready (More Than Ready {USA}), the dam of G1 Golden Slipper S. winner Shinzo (Snitzel).

“Demetria’s sister is a Blue Diamond winner, and she’s going to a Blue Diamond winner, so there’s a bit of symmetry there,” Tait added.

In the past couple of years, the support of such a mare has been directed at Peltzer, to whom Demetria carries this year, with a “beautiful” yearling colt on the ground. Whilst Tait is by no means ignoring the rest of his roster, he’s plain that it’s time to get behind Daumier.

Peltzer x Demetria ’22 (colt) | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Another that will be sent his way is Moonlight Music (Redoute’s Choice), whose first foal was the stakes-winning juvenile Moonlight Hussler (Hussonet {USA}). She has a strong back pedigree too, being out of US juvenile winner Heavenly Night (USA) (Woodman {USA}), from the family of Holy Roman Emperor (Ire). Not served in 2022, her latest foal is a Peltzer yearling colt.

“She’s an older mare, and Redoute’s Choice mares are getting rarer and rarer, naturally… and he was Champion Broodmare Sire again this year,” Tait said.

“She’s been a very good-producing mare. And again, I think she’s the sort of mare that could get Daumier off to a good start, and that’s the most important thing for us.”

“She’s (Moonlight Music) been a very good-producing mare. And again, I think she’s the sort of mare that could get Daumier off to a good start, and that’s the most important thing for us.” – Olly Tait

Another smart-looking recent mare purchase for Tait, Redeeming Spirit (I Am Invincible) cost $120,000 via the Inglis Digital April (Late) Online Sale this year. A winner and a half-sister to Group 3 winner Sweet Redemption (Snitzel), she was bought in foal to Wild Ruler (her maiden mating), and will also visit Daumier.

“Interestingly, she’s descended from Dark Jewel, which was a mare that my grandparents owned many years ago,” Tait added.

“She’s a phenomenal broodmare who produced a Golden Slipper winner, a Thousand Guineas winner and an Epsom Handicap winner.”

Gallery: Some of the mares visiting Daumier this season

Love for Peltzer

Peltzer’s second crop of foals are due this spring, and he is by no means forgotten about by Tait. Standing at the top of the Twin Hills roster alongside Daumier at $16,500 (inc GST), Peltzer covered over 80 mares in his first two years, which Tait has previously described as “solid books.”

“You’ve never heard of a horse stud who stands a stallion, that hasn’t said that they like the first foals by their stallion,” Tait laughed, as he described how Peltzer is stamping his stock.

Peltzer | Standing at Twin Hills Stud

“They’ve got plenty of size,” he added. “Peltzer himself is a bit more refined than your average So You Think, and So You Think himself is such a phenomenal stallion that really stamps them.

“They’re largely very correct, with good bone. He had a foal make $100,000 this year and another one went for $60,000. For a horse off a $15,000 service fee, that’s good going.”

The $60,000 weanling, which sold to Lyndhurst Farm at this year’s Inglis Great Southern Sale, is out of Twin Hills’ Fastnet Rock mare Infinite Love. She’s from a speedy, stakes-winning American family, was covered by Peltzer in 2022, and will visit him again this year.

The Peltzer x Infinite Love (colt) that sold for $60,000 at this year’s Inglis Great Southern Sale | Image courtesy of Inglis

“There isn’t a whole heap of science to that mating except for the fact that it worked the first time round, so let’s give him another go with him,” Tait said.

Keeping it commercial

Tait might be putting a considerable portion of Twin Hills’ mare power behind the home roster, but some smart mares will still step outside the property in 2023.

“We’re in the business of selling horses,” Tait summed up. “We feel that, if you’re going to play in the commercial market, then there are certain stallions that you want to have exposure to.

“Naturally, you’re just trying to find the ones that are heading in the right direction. We’ll send the majority of our own mares to our own stallions, but we do send some out.”

For the second year in a row under Tait’s guidance, juvenile stakes winner Let Me Sleep On It (Manhattan Rain) – a half-sister to Group 1 winner Mazu (Maurice {Jpn}) – will head up to the Hunter Valley, and towards Arrowfield Stud.

Let Me Sleep On It (pictured) will visit Maurice (Jpn) this season | Image courtesy of Inglis

She was sourced from the 2022 Inglis Chairman’s Sale for $200,000 when in foal to Capitalist, now a yearling colt.

“We’re only in the first few seasons of Maurice,” Tait noted. “What he’s achieved in a short period of time is impressive.

“It’s an obvious mating for her. She was a stakes-winning 2-year-old, and you’re producing a close relative of Mazu.”

“It’s (visiting Maurice) an obvious mating for her (Let Me Sleep On It). She was a stakes-winning 2-year-old, and you’re producing a close relative of Mazu.” – Olly Tait

Also visiting the Hunter, but this time heading to Newgate Stud, is Tiny (Lonhro). Another Twin Hills purchased from this year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, dual winner Tiny was bought from Godolphin carrying her maiden cover to Earthlight (Ire).

Tait paid $280,000 for the mare, and had the mating to Russian Revolution in mind from the outset.

“Despite her name, she’s a very big mare so I thought that, physically, he would suit her,” he said.

“He looks like he’s consistently getting good 2-year-olds. He’s obviously had a Group 1-winning 3-year-old this year. So, again, he’s a horse that I feel is heading in the right direction.”

Tiny (pictured) will visit Russian Revolution this season | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

Just down the road from Newgate, Too Darn Hot (GB) stands at Darley Kelvinside, and will receive Nevershotthedeputy (Written Tycoon).

From the family of Time For War, Nevershotthedeputy was bought in partnership with Watership Down for $200,000 at the 2022 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, with Tait happy to join in the venture with the British stud who co-own Too Darn Hot.

The family jewels

Aside from the commercial proceedings at Twin Hills, Tait oversees a handful of family owned homebreds. These include Tortoni (Strategic), who is out of Group 1 winner Whisked (Whiskey Road {USA}), and from the great Corumbene family of Ichihara (General Nediym) and Isurava (General Nediym).

“She’s an interesting mare in that she was the last foal of Whisked, who was Australian Broodmare of the Year and dam of Tie The Knot,” Tait explained.

“She’s (Tortoni) an interesting mare in that she was the last foal of Whisked, who was Australian Broodmare of the Year and dam of Tie The Knot.” – Olly Tait

“Before we owned Twin Hills, she was served by Strategic at Twin Hills when it was owned by Darley. She then came back the next year to have the Strategic foal, and she sadly died having that foal, who is Tortoni.

“Not the most glamorous-looking mare,” a severe sway back didn’t stop Tortoni winning a race before she retired to breeding duties, at which she’s been very successful.

“After Amber and I bought Twin Hills, Cherry Tortoni was in the first crop of foals that were bred here.

Group 2 winner Cherry Tortoni | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

“He obviously went on to win a Group 2 and was Group 1 placed, a fabulous horse. So, I guess she’s a meaningful mare for us.”

Tortoni is “still knocking around,” at Twin Hills, whilst her fifth foal, Jenny Jerome (Churchill {Ire}), was stakes placed last spring and not too far away in the G1 Thousand Guineas.

Owned by Tait’s father and aunt, Tortoni will head back to Churchill (Ire) this year and is carrying to St Mark’s Basilica (Fr).

Tortoni will visit Churchill (Ire) (pictured) this season | Standing at Coolmore

Also, amongst the family mares, being owned by Tait’s parents, G1 VRC Oaks runner-up Douceur (No Nay Never {USA}) will be paired with So You Think (NZ) for her maiden mating, and may become another fruitful mare for Tait and Co., being from the family of Group 2 winner Shania Dane (Danehill {USA}) and, further back, Group 1 scorer Summer Passage (Snitzel).