Widden Stud Acquire G1 Winner Portland Sky

 In 2017, News

The Australian breeding season may be in full swing, but Widden Stud already have their sights set on next year, enhancing their 2022 roster by the acquisition of exciting Group 1 winning sprinter, Portland Sky.

The brilliant son of Deep Field (now standing for $88,000) added his name to an elite band of 3YOs when winning the 2021 edition of the Group I MRC  Oakleigh Plate, joining the ranks of Snitzel, Fastnet Rock, Weekend Hussler and Starspangledbanner, impressively defeating older horses over ‘The Heath’s’ famous 1100m.

The fact that only Fastnet Rock has run a faster time in the race as a 3YO colt this century, bodes well for Widden’s new addition.

The four year-old retires to stud with an impressive record of four wins and two seconds from just 10 starts and a career defining victory in the Group I MRC Oakleigh Plate (1100m).

“A look at the honour roll tells you it takes an exceptional 3YO to win the race. Furthermore, Portland Sky defeated Anders, Dirty Work and Hanseatic that day, all of which have proven to be extremely popular freshman stallions with breeders this season,” said Widden’s Antony Thompson.

“He’s from a sireline we have the utmost respect for and is the best colt by Northern Meteor’s top class sire son Deep Field.

“He’s a masculine, good-looking horse with elite Group I sprinting form.”

A winner on debut, Portland Sky was victorious the Group III MVRC Red Anchor over 1200m at The Valley in his initial preparation, before returning to defeat Caulfield Guineas runner-up Aysar and Blue Diamond winner Tagaloa in the Group III MRC Manfred Stakes in the lead up to his Group I triumph.

“Interestingly, Widden sire Nicconi won the Manfred Stakes before his Group I Galaxy win as a 3YO against the older division and we’ve found that colts with the ability to beat open age gallopers is a great recipe for stud success,” Thompson added.

Portland Sky’s 3YO season culminated in a strong Group I second placing in the William Reid, at weight for age, behind 4YO Everest contender Masked Crusader and ahead of star sprinting mares Libertini and September Run – the power packed field containing eight individual Group I winners.

“The William Reid was a crack field and tellingly, Portland Sky beat home fellow 3YOs September Run and Swats That, who ran the quinella in the Coolmore during the spring,” Thompson pointed out.

Portland Sky was purchased as a yearling and trained throughout his career by Matt Laurie, and his trainer is adamant that Portland Sky has the makings of a serious stallion.

“He is a particularly good-looking horse, a magnificent animal and he’s definitely got the right attitude,” said Laurie.

“I was offered big money early days as a young horse off his very first trial, but it wasn’t enough, wasn’t anywhere near enough! We had a big opinion of this horse right from the beginning.

“Although there has been interest from a number of parties, I am thrilled that Portland Sky will become resident of a stud with Widden’s history and status as one of Australia’s most iconic farms.

“Portland Sky has been a special horse for myself, our team and of course, his owners. Not being breeders ourselves, our first goal was to ensure he went to a farm where he would be given every opportunity to excel in the breeding shed.

“History says these colts, who excel in open company, have the makings and ability to become great Australian sires, remembering he has the looks to boot.”

Portland Sky will cover his first book in 2022, though the final decision of whether he takes up duties in the Hunter or Victoria remains open.

“He is a stallion that is bound to be popular in either state and once we’ve taken stock of the situation, we’ll determine where the best opportunities lie for a horse of his class,” Thompson concluded.

Widden will be offering shares and lifetime breeding rights in Portland Sky and his fee will be announced next year.