Gerry Harvey endorses boom sire prospects of Conatus

Brian Russell - Bloodstock Media Service - 11 September 2008

Gerry Harvey – one of Australia’s biggest breeders and owner of the MM Sales – has given a major show of confidence in the young Danehill sire Conatus this season.

Harvey has bred an outstanding collection of some of his best young mares to the young sire, further indication of the strong reports from major trainers and pre trainers about the Conatus 2YOs and 3YOs in training.

Harvey, who bred Conatus (Danehill / Light Up The World) from the sensational Denise’s Joy family, remains a major shareholder in the horse, who stands at Plaintree Farms on the Darling Downs.

Harvey is the breeder and owner of Punjab, a 3-year-old gelding who was successful over 1600m at Wyong on September 4.

Some of the mares Harvey has sent up from Baramul Stud in the Widden Valley to Conatus this season include: Cinemascope (Mossman – Cinerama), a three-quarter sister to Staging, dam of million dollar Golden Rose winner Duporth; Primrose Sands (Zabeel – Kylemore), a Parramatta Cup winner and VRC Turnbull Stakes third; Ashenti (by French Two Thousand Guineas winner Ashkalani), two wins in Melbourne and second in the Edward Manifold Stakes and Tranquil Star Stakes; Exquisite Lass (Marscay – Startling Lass), a winning half-sister to Golden Slipper second Shovhog; and Zeditave’s half-sister Dulcinea (Marauding – Summoned) and her Woodman daughter Decking.

The sheer quality of the mares that Gerry Harvey is putting to Conatus this year suggests he expects more strong results from the first crop 3-year-olds. He put 30 mares to Conatus in his first season at Plaintree and has retained quite a few of the offspring.

The resident horse breaker at Harvey’s other stud, Broombee near Armidale in northern NSW says ‘they are the nicest line of horses he has started for GH’ and his Tamworth based trainer Paul St Vincent says he wishes he could ‘get them by the truckload because they are such nice horses. Everyone that comes in is better than the one before.’

With 83 mares in his first season and 109 in his second for a fertility average of just on 90.0%, Conatus is facing up to his best quality support this year. Besides the Harvey mares, those going to him include Sweetpick (by Piccolo), half-sister to Alma Mater, Group winning dam of top Success Express performer Savannah Success, producer of Cox Plate winner Savabeel; Cindy Kate (another Mossman mare), winner of seven sprint races; Just A Flyer (Bluebird), Group 2 producer from AJC Oaks winner Just Now; St Louis Blues (Semipalatinsk – All In Vain, by Vain), Brisbane winner closely related to Savannah Success; Tycoon Diva (Last Tycoon), Melbourne  winner from good performer Godina; Miss Yuen Yuen (Royal Academy), Brisbane winner closely related to Royal Academy stakes winners Tantra and Equal Rights; and Serene Halo (by Don’t Say Halo), winner and dam of Doomben Slipper winner Serenote.

Besides Punjab, Conatus also sired the 2YO Tuscon Rain (Gold coast winner, Doomben second), Demetria (three starts; second at Randwick), Lenny’s Lot (second Grafton) plus four other money earners..

Conatus followed a dashing trial win at Warwick Farm by recording wins as an odds-on favourite at 1100m at three in fine style at his first two starts, scoring by 3.3 lengths in class record time at Randwick and by 1.5 lengths at Gosford.

He also won twice at four, succeeding by four lengths in class record time in a 1400m event at Newcastle and by 1.8 lengths at Warwick Farm. He covered the 1000m journey at Warwick Farm in 0:57.48.

John Hawkes, the trainer of Conatus, told Gerry Harvey he considered that Conatus could have held his end up with the champion sprinter of the time, the Danehill product Exceed and Excel.

The brilliance of Conatus was not surprising as besides possessing the magic of Danehill, he was from Light Up The World, a top sprinter by Golden Slipper winner Rory’s Jester and from the Bletchingly mare Christmas Spirit, grandam of Bentley Biscuit and Thorn Park and granddam of the wonderful Group ! winner Denise’s Joy.

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There is a touch of divinity even in brutes, and a special halo about a horse, that should forever exempt it from indignities. As for those magisterial truck-horses of the docks, I would as soon think of striking a judge on the bench as to lay violent hands upon their holy hides.

—Herman Melville
from Redburn