‘Luck And Lack Of Management!’ – Manhattan Jungle’s Overjoyed Breeder

She had achieved black-type success in France as a two-year-old last season and on Sunday Manhattan Jungle (Ire) (Bungle Inthejungle {GB}) took her tally of listed wins to two when scoring comfortably at Santa Anita under Frankie Dettori but you won’t find her breeder Patrick Headon getting carried away with himself back in Ireland. 

The County Offaly operator joked on Monday, “It’s vindication for a lot of luck and lack of management!”

Of course, Headon was doing his best to deflect praise for his tried and trusted method of producing winners on a budget. Who’s Steph (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) was the filly who got the name of Headon’s Wraymount Stud in lights when collecting a string of Group 3 successes for Ger Lyons and Manhattan Jungle hails from a similarly well-bought mare of his.

Headon sourced Manhattan Jungle’s dam Skylight (Ire) from Rathasker Stud at Goffs in 2015 for just €15,000. Llew Law (GB) (Verglas {Ire}), the dam of Who’s Steph, was an even bigger steal at €5,000. One thing’s for certain, Headon knows a bargain when he sees one, and he revealed on Monday that he is allowing himself to believe that the share price in Manhattan Jungle’s pedigree could scale even higher in the coming months. 

“She’s a stakes winner at two and three now, and is also Group-placed. She’s pretty solid,” he said. “I bought the dam off Maurice Burns at Rathasker–he never fails to remind me! I’m good friends with Maurcie and we gave €15,000 for Skylight at Goffs. 

“Her first foal was very small and we sold her for just €1,600. She’s by Gregorian (Ire) and went to Italy, where she managed to win. The second foal was by Dandy Man (Ire), and we got €12,000 for him to go to Italy as well. He was better, I think he won three or four out there, but then Manhattan Jungle came along to bring the pedigree to a new level.” 

He continued, “We got €20,000 for Manhattan Jungle off Amy Murphy and her boyfriend Lemos De Souza. They opened up a satellite yard in France, where she was trained and picked up that first listed win. She actually ran a big race for them at the Breeders’ Cup.”

That Breeders’ Cup effort came over a furlong or two too far but, even so, the signs were there that Manhattan Jungle could be suited by the demands of America. 

Headon explained, “I was at a celebratory dinner for my nephew after he completed his PHD in engineering. We were celebrating in a restaurant on Wicklow Street but decided to escape to the pub next door to watch the Breeders’ Cup. Of course, we were the only three eejits in the pub watching the race, and we thought a furlong out that it might just happen but then she ran out of petrol over that trip. She’s won her listed race out there now, which is fantastic.”

Headon credits Manhattan Jungle for getting Skylight up and running as a broodmare but says that the Sioux Nation half-brother who was knocked down to Johnny Hassett for €90,000 at last year’s Orby Sale at Goffs could elevate things to a new level. 

He said, “If the Sioux Nation turns out to be good, it will put the icing on the cake. She has a colt weanling by Shaman (Ire) and is in foal to Invincible Army (Ire). My wife, my son and I had the book out at the kitchen table today and we were discussing where we might go with the mare this year.

“Bungle Inthejungle is a son of Exceed And Excel, so that Danehill (Ire) line has clicked with her before so we could look at something like that. Unless we go to something sexy, a complete outcross, I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. Cotai Glory (GB) is Exceed And Excel and is an option, too.”

By his own admission, Wraymount Stud has been flying a little under the radar, largely down to the fact that many of Headon’s clients are based abroad. However, Manhattan Jungle may do her bit to ensure that is no longer the case.

“The reason why we’re slightly under the radar is that I keep a lot of stock here on the farm for clients in Italy,” he explained. “They’ve done very well with our stock in Italy and we bred the champion two-year-old filly from a couple of years ago out there called Telepathic Glances (Ire), who is by Pride Of Dubai (Aus).”

He added, “Broodmare sires are very important to us. Acclamation (GB) was starting to get going as a broodmare sire when we bought Starlight but now he is firmly established. I have a couple of Cape Cross (Ire) mares, but funnily enough, they aren’t really firing for us as of yet. I like Rock Of Gibraltar (Ire) as a broodmare sire as well. The reason why we bought Llew Law was because she was by Verglas, who we also liked. 

“We keep six or seven four ourselves and then we have a few paying guests on top of that. We were at Goffs last week with a couple of yearlings and my son Tommy bought the Gregorian half-sister to Manhattan Jungle back for €5,000. She’s not very big but she is well-made–she’ll go to Bungle Inthejungle this year.”

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