ONTARIO SALES – MARCHFIELD

ONTARIO SALES – MARCHFIELD
Former Ontario-sire, Marchfield, will have his first yearlings enter the sales ring at the Canadian Premier Yearling Sale on the Woodbine sales grounds next week, and representatives from Park Stud, where Marchfield stood while in Ontario, are very pleased with how they look.

“We’re very happy with them,” said Warren Byrne, owner of Rancho Park Management, a company involved in marketing and stallion acquisition for Park Stud. “They’re big, scopey horses, they all seem to walk well and have good attitudes. We’re excited about them.”

Marchfield has 19 yearlings from his first crop available in the Canadian Premier Yearling Sale next week. Michael Byrne, Warren’s father and the owner of Park Stud, will consign 10 of those yearlings, including six out of his own mares. Another two Marchfield yearlings will be sold at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in Lexington, Kentucky later in the month.

With Marchfield’s success on the racetrack, Warren Byrne expects the offspring to follow in their father’s footsteps when it becomes their time to hit the racetrack.

“I don’t expect them to be early two-year olds,” Byrne said. “I expect them to be two-turn, classic type horses.”

Marchfield recorded seven wins in 23 starts, which included victories in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ Stakes at three, the 1 1/16-mile Grade II Autumn Stakes at four and the 1 3/8-mile Grade II Sky Classic Stakes and the 1 1/16-mile Grade III Dominion Day Handicap at five. He was also named Canadian Champion Older Male twice and earned $1,135,401 for owner Eugene Melynk.

“He’s a fine looking horse and was a top class racehorse on both  surfaces,” Byrne said. “He beat a lot of good horses including Champs Elysees the year he was Horse of the Year. He’s by the most prolific sire of sires of this decade out of a broodmare of the year. There’s a lot to like about him.”

By A. P. Indy, Marchfield is out of the Red Ransom mare, Pico Teneriffe, who was a multiple Grade III winner herself and was also named Canadian Champion Broodmare in 2009.

Marchfield was bred to 80 mares in his first year at stud in 2011, a high figure for a first-year Ontario stallion. Byrne believes that Marchfield filled a void in the market at a time when sons and daughters of Philanthropist and Niigon had yet to make a serious impact as two-year olds during the 2010 racing season.

“When Marchfield went to stud, there wasn’t a two-turn stallion in the province and then, suddenly, we ended up with two of them,” he said. “We were very sprinter heavy. I think that’s why these Niigons and Philanthropists do so well is because there’s few who want to go that distance.”

But with the emergence of three-year olds by Philanthropist and Niigon during the 2011 racing season, along with Park Stud’s additions of Court Vision and Victor’s Cry for the 2012 breeding season, Marchfield’s second year numbers took a hit, as he was bred to just 33 mares.

“You had three horses that became very popular, with Philanthropist being bred to a lot of mares and Niigon being bred to a lot of mares and the same with Old Forester,” Byrne said. “So you went from not having a lot of selection to four or five or six viable choices.”

Towards the end of the 2013 breeding season, it was announced that Marchfield would be relocated to South Africa after just his third season in Ontario.

“Eugene was looking to get out of the breeding business and the South Africans were looking for horses,” Byrne said. “They’re very happy to have him. We would still like to have him as well. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to shuttle a horse because of various diseases they have in South Africa. There’s no way for him to be dual hemisphere like you could in South America or Australia.”

Despite his departure from the market, Marchfield yearlings and future offspring could be attractive for buyers looking for a potential Canadian Classic horse. With his ability at longer distances, and his versatility on both turf and Polytrack during his racing career, it’s possible that Marchfield’s yearlings could bring some big numbers in the auction ring next week.

Byrne is hopeful that the Ontario sale will fit with the trend of recent yearling sales, like the OBS sale or the Saratoga sale, which both saw positive gains. But with the developments that have taken place in the Ontario horse racing industry over the past 18 months, Byrne doesn’t know what to expect when the Selected Session kicks off on Tuesday.

“The markets around the world have been incredibly strong,” he said. “Ocala was strong, Doncaster that just finished was strong, France was extremely strong, Saratoga was strong. If it keeps up with those sales at all, it should be a very good sale. I just don’t really have a feel for what it’s going to be like.”

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