Family Foundations To Airlie Orby Draft

By Kelsey Riley

Family values, of both the human and equine variety, have provided strong foundations for Airlie Stud. The success and prominence of those families are apparent through the eight yearlings Airlie will offer at the Goffs Orby sale on Sept. 26 and 27, most of which hail from pedigrees that the Rogers family has been developing for three or four generations.

Airlie Stud is currently home to “50 or 60 mares,” according to Anthony Rogers, who runs the stud alongside his mother Sonia Rogers. Around half of those are long-term boarders, with the others spread among the Rogers’s and Kirsten Rausing. The main stud is located outside Maynooth, Co. Kildare, and secondary farms under the Airlie banner are Grangewilliam and Kilmacredock Studs.

Airlie was started by Anthony’s father, the late Tim Rogers, in the 1950s. Sonia Rogers took up the running of the farm upon his death in 1984 and Anthony returned to Ireland in 1996 to assist her, having built up a global CV working with the likes of Gabriel Duignan and Three Chimneys in Kentucky, trainer Richard Mandella, Widden Stud and Inglis in Australia, and James Underwood in London.

Rogers said of his father, “He mainly set up a stallion farm and he did a lot of work in the stallion market. When he died in 1984 there were 16 stallions here and five farms in Ireland, one in America and one in New Zealand. Mum kept the whole thing going and we stood stallions for a while, but now our philosophy is more with broodmares.”

Rogers said his family decided to get out of the business of standing stallions because “it was getting a little bit competitive.”

“It was getting a bit pricey as well,” he said. “Likening it to the premiership at the moment, it’s quite hard competing with the people who are out there standing stallions. There are a few farms that are doing very well but really the stallions you could get would be the sort of lesser stallions, the five, six or seven-grand stallions. I stood a few stallions myself and so did mum, but when you’re sending a lot of your mares to those stallions it can be detrimental to your broodmare band in the long term, so we took a change in direction.”

That change in direction has included a focus on middle-distance families, which is readily apparent when flipping through the pages of the farm’s Orby draft. Rogers admitted they have tried to “speed up” a few of the families in recent years to cater to market trends, but he said Airlie wouldn’t stray from its primary goal of breeding a top middle-distance horse.

“We’ve tried to speed up a few and buy a few speedier families the last four or five years just trying to get a bit of everything, but we won’t veer away from trying to breed the Derby horse or the mile two or mile four horse,” he said. “A lot of the [Orby] yearlings, the families have been with us 20, 30, 40 years. A lot of them are middle-distance families, but we are trying to breed a few speedier types because that’s what the market wants.”

If the catalogue pages are any indication, it seems likely the market will want what Airlie has to offer at Orby.

“It’s a slightly smaller, select group,” Roger said. “Usually we might have 15 or 16 but this year it’s just a smaller amount. There’s a lovely Galileo filly out of Daneleta (lot 390), the dam of Intense Focus. She’s gorgeous; she’s very, very special. We bought Daneleta privately when she was a 4-year-old. We have a daughter by Street Cry called Dane Street, and her first foal by More Than Ready, a 2-year-old filly [named Data Dependant], ran at Saratoga in a maiden race. She was green first-time out, broke slowly and got knocked wide on the first turn, and she finished very nicely [to finish third], so hopefully she’ll come on from that.”

Airlie will offer a filly (lot 295) by one of the sires of the moment, Nathaniel (Ire), and she has the advantage of being a half-sister to the stakes-placed Temple Church (Ire) (Lawman {Fr}). The dam, the unraced All Hallows (Ire) (Dalakhani {Ire}), is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Allegretto (Ire). The third dam, the excellent producer Alruccaba (Crystal Palace {Fr}), was owned in partnership by Airlie and Kirsten Rausing.

“She’s a real quality, racy filly,” Rogers said. “[All Hallows is] the dam of a horse called Temple Church by Lawman, who Hughie Morrison trains and he thinks a lot of. He’s had a little setback but should be back in October. He said he’ll definitely stay in training as a 4-year-old.”

Also in the draft is a Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) filly (lot 298) out of a half-sister to All Hallows.

One of the speedier-bred yearlings is the filly by Kodiac (GB) out of Arty Crafty (Arch) (lot 317), who is a full-sister to the Grade I winner Prince Arch. Arty Crafty has produced a pair of winners from three to race, and Rogers said he has high hopes for her current 3-year-old Pincheck (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}).

“The three-parts brother Pincheck is owned by Jon Kelly. He bought him for a lot of money [€370,000] and he’s trained by Jessie Harrington. He’s won a couple races and he’s a big horse, he’s 16.2, 16.3, but Jessie loves him. Jessie’s probably going to run him in a big handicap and then keep him in training as a 4-year-old. I don’t know whether he’ll stay in Ireland for a couple of races or whether he’ll go race in America on the turf. He’ll probably get 10 furlongs and try to win some stakes races over there for Jon. He’s a nice horse to look forward to.”

Airlie bought Arty Crafty’s dam, Princess Kris (GB) (Kris {GB}), carrying her at Keeneland November in 2005 for $125,000.

“We had been looking at that family for about 15 years trying to get into it, and we bought her [Princess Kris]. She was 15 and she’s done us very well. She is a big girl, Arty Crafty, and Pincheck is a big horse, but this Kodiac isn’t too big. She’s still got a bit of size and she’s racy and Kodiac has done amazingly. He’s done well and I’m delighted for Tally-Ho; they do a good job and they deserve it.”

Lot 229, a Lawman (Fr) filly out of Swizzle Stick (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), is the fifth generation of a productive Airlie family. Swizzle Stick is a half-sister to the dual Group 2 winner Viztoria (Ire) (Oratorio {Ire}), they being out of the stakes-winning Viz (Ire) (Darshaan {GB}). Airlie owned the fourth dam Bold Example (Bold Lad). She produced two stakes winners but truly excelled through her daughters, being the second or third dam of the likes of Polish Precedent, Intikhab, Awe Inspiring, Zilzal, Negligee, Approve, Santa Catarina and a plethora of other stakes winners across Europe, North and South America and Japan. Towards the end of her career, Bold Example produced six straight colts before giving Airlie For Example (Northern Baby), the dam of Viz.

“We were desperate for a filly and the last foal, at last gasp, was a filly,” Rogers said. “She produced Viz from our share in Darshaan, and Viz won a couple listed races.”

Swizzle Stick was unraced after enduring “a few training issues,” and her second foal is Whiskey Sour (Ire) (Jeremy), the winner of two races at the Galway festival in July. Her Sea The Stars 2-year-old was bought by Australian agent John Foote for 110,000gns last year and is in training with Darren Weir.

“This is a big, strong Lawman filly, this year,” Rogers said. “She should be popular. For a big girl she uses herself well.”

In addition to a Raven’s Pass colt from the same family (lot 90), Airlie has a filly from the first crop of Sea The Moon (Ger) (lot 404), whose stock have been thus far well received, and lot 320, a Maxios (Ger) colt it is selling for the Niarchos family who descends from the great mare Coup de Genie (Mr. Prospector).

“He’s a strong, powerful, forward type that’ll make a 2-year-old I’m sure,” said Rogers of the latter.

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