An A$800,000 yearling, Summer Passage was a high-class juvenile, winning the Listed Reid & Harrison Slipper (1200m) before showing sustained speed when crossing from the outside barrier to win the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) in emphatic fashion.
The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained colt then proved he was up with the best of his generation across the Tasman, when a brave second to Invader in the Gr.1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), defeating subsequent Group One winners Trapeze Artist and The Mission.
Raced by Hermitage Thoroughbreds, Summer Passage had a mixed campaign at three when plagued by a back injury, with the highlight being a second placing in the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) behind Perast, with Kementari in third.
The entire failed to fire in five-starts in Hong Kong and was subsequently retired and becomes the first son of Australia’s champion sire Snitzel to stand at stud in New Zealand.
Mapperley Stud principal Simms Davison was delighted to secure the precocious Group One winner and believes Summer Passage will add balance to the Matamata nursery’s roster, complementing barn-mates Contributer, Complacent, Puccini and He’s Remarkable.
“I had been looking for a horse ever since I lost Atlante, a precocious, physically strong horse who not only appealed to the Australian market but to traders, as far as not having to wait long to get a horse up and going,” Davison said.
“Summer Passage ticked all those boxes. We all know what he did as a two-year-old, especially in that Sistema Stakes when he had drawn wide. He stormed around the whole lot and charged to the front and he showed how tough he was.
“His run for second in the Sires’ Produce in Australia was exceptional, defeating a quality line-up which included Trapeze Artist.
“It is a funny old game, if he had won that day he would probably be standing for $40,000 or $50,000 over in Australia.
“With all the sons of Snitzel starting to stand at stud, it is only going to be a matter of time before one of them puts their hand up and is the real deal and there is no reason why it won’t be Summer Passage.”
Davison said Summer Passage was an imposing type and he took great heart from the good judges who selected the horse as a yearling.
“Lance O’Sullivan has a great client in Hermitage Thoroughbreds and every year they give him a pretty big cheque to go and buy a top colt. Lance, Paul and Dave O’Sullivan went over there (to Australia) and this was the colt they picked out.
“There wouldn’t be many better judges than those three walking around a sale complex.”
Davison was pleased to be able to stand Summer Passage at a value that would enable commercial breeders to get a return.
“There was no point in me getting the horse and standing him at money that I thought would be too tough for this environment, so it is great to get him here and stand him at $8,000.
“We are also selling some limited lifetime breeding rights to him. I don’t know how long they will stay around because once they are gone, they are gone.”
Summer Passage is out of a winning mare by Australia’s champion broodmare sire, Encosta de Lago.
His third dam Subterfuge is the dam of six stakes performers, including top-class gallopers Shania Dane and Scintillation.
The red-and-green silks of the Chuang family’s Hermitage Thoroughbreds have been regularly worn to success in recent years, with horses the ilk of The Autum Sun, Egg Tart and Willie Cazals joining Summer Passage as elite level-winners for the Hong Kong owners.
“Hermitage will be strongly supporting the horse,” Davison said. “They will be sending up to ten mares a year for the first three years, which should help give him every opportunity and I would expect a number of prominent breeders to also support the horse.”
Davison has also focussed on improving the quality of Mapperley Stud’s broodmare band and he has recently been active at the Sydney broodmare sale and is keen to source more mares to support his young stallion roster.
“Our own numbers are up around 70 mares, but I would like to get it down to about 60 and increase the quality,” Davison said.
“It has been a great Autumn for us, with Brutal (Gr.1 Doncaster winner) and Rattan (Group Two winner and Group One placed in Hong Kong) who were both bred off the place.”
Davison has also set the fees for Contributer ($12,500+GST), Complacent ($5,000+GST), Puccini ($5,000+GST) and He’s Remarkable ($3,000+GST).
“I am really excited about Contributer. I think about 65 percent of his horses went to Australia and his yearlings were well received,” Davison said.
“Godolphin has six yearlings by him getting broken in and they are absolutely rapt with them. They were taking all their mares home but have left them here to go again, such was the impression his stock have made.
“I have some ripper weanlings this year by Complacent. I feel his book of mares in his second year is almost better than his first. They were nice yearlings and for their first year they sold well at Karaka and the next ones will be another level up.“I am really happy with Puccini, whose eldest are foals, and the type he has left. They are athletic horses and have really come on as well. Monovale Farm (who bred and raced him) have been big supporters and are going to keep a lot of them and race them. They will get every chance.”