Racing

Gingerbread Man makes waves as a stallion

Trainer Bruce Marsh is not surprised his former champion is doing well at stud

Trainer Bruce Marsh is not at all surprised his former champion Gingerbread Man is making waves in the breeding barn, and against aristocratic opposition to boot.

The son of Shamardal currently sits in second spot in the Australian First Season sire category, a berth not many would have thought achievable against such blue-blooded competitors like Black Caviar's champion half-brother All Too Hard or Golden Slipper winner Pierro.

But the facts and figures are there for all to see - as well as the stark contrast between them.

Now nine, Gingerbread Man, Singapore's very own Champion Two-Year-Old (2010) and Three-Year-Old (2011), lies in second spot behind Vinery's All Too Hard, only $4,200 behind while Pierro, Coolmore's new royalty to have begun stallion duties, is in fourth spot.

Gingerbread Man stands at little-known Yarradale Stud in Perth, Western Australia.

All Too Hard actually leads from placings alone, as none of his 15 starters have yet to score, while Pierro has sired only one winner from his six starters.

If the leaderboard was based on strike rate, Marsh's former charge would be streets ahead.

Gingerbread Man has had only two runners so far and both have won, one race apiece - Achernar Star and Very Angry Gal, both trained by Simon Miller in Perth but raced by different owners.

The other similarity is that they both won in an Open race for two-year-olds at Belmont, Achernar Star first on Oct 1 and Very Angry Gal on Dec 26, for combined earnings of $144,200.

Just to put the results in perspective further, Gingerbread Man's stud service fee is only $5,500, while breeders have to shell out $77,000 and $66,000 respectively for their broodmares to be covered by Pierro and All Too Hard.

DEMAND

And the demand for their services was a lot higher, too. Pierro and All Too Hard have 150 and 144 live two-year-old foals respectively, while Gingerbread Man has only 32.

Of course, there is still a long way to go until the Champion First Season sire is eventually crowned. But just to sit so highly in the standings was certainly another feather in the cap for Gingerbread Man and Singapore, especially as not many proven stallions have forged their racing careers there, though the likes of Super Easy and soon, Super One, will create a lot of interest in years to come.

Marsh, for one, said Gingerbread Man's early success as a stallion did not knock him off his chair.

"It's not at all surprising his progeny have come through as early two-year-olds," said the Kiwi mentor.

"He himself was a two-year-old winner, but one who won the final race (Juvenile Championship) on natural ability. Then he had a phenomenal year as a three-year-old (winning all three legs including the Group 1 Singapore Guineas).

"He was very deceiving as a racehorse. He was quite small, but Vlad (Duric, his jockey at his 3YO campaign) always said he felt big underneath, which is always a big bonus.

"That is why I knew he would make it as a stallion. He has a big future ahead of him."

It is not just Marsh who believes those precocious qualities in Gingerbread Man have been passed down.

"He was a good racehorse in his own right up in Singapore which is what attracted us to him because obviously the West Australian connection with the Asian market has always been very strong," said Yarradale Stud manager, Bernadette Hamill.

"And his sire Shamardal had already kicked off his career with promising sire sons Lope De Vega, so Gingerbread Man had appeal to start with."

In a career spanning three-and-a-half seasons at Kranji, Gingerbread Man scored 11 wins, including five at Group level (one Group 1, two Group 2s and two Group 3s) and nine placings from 31 starts for stakes earnings in excess of $1.4 million for his owner Joe Singh.

He won his last race in the Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,400m on June 3, 2012, and ran his last race on April 5, 2013.