He’s a Cracker!

Tara Madgwick - Wednesday September 20
A fast stayer with an exceptional pedigree by an outstanding shuttle sire in Shamardal, Crackerjack King (IRE) is all class and stands at Wyndholm Park Stud in Victoria this spring.

Crackerjack King was a Group I winner on the trackImported to Australia as a potential Cups horse by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, Crackerjack King had only four starts here before his career was curtailed through injury, but a third in the Group I MRC Underwood stakes behind Foreteller (GB) and Happy Trails was some indication of his class.

"He had terrific natural speed and was a genuine Group I horse," said his trainer David Hayes.

Crackerjack King won seven of 14 starts up to 2200 metres with highlight victories in the Group I Rome Premio Presidente della Repubblica and Group II Italian Derby.

"He could carve our four successive sub-11 second furlongs in a race and sustain his speed to be a Group I winner at 2000m. He was a sensationally fast stayer," said Darren Dance of Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock.

His female pedigree is one of the best in the world as Crackerjack King is a half-brother to Group I winners Jakkalberry and Awelmarduk as well as stakes-winners Kidnapping and Joyful Hope.

His dam Claba Di San Jore is a blue hen of the highest order with seven winners from nine foals to race, three of them Group I winners.

Crackerjack King is one 110 stakes-winners sired by Darley's top class sire Shamardal, who enjoyed success in Australia as the sire of local Group I winners Faint Perfume, Delectation, Captain Sonador and Maybe Discreet, not to mention the Aussie bred HK based World Champion Miler Able Friend.

Shamardal has also proven his stripes as a sire of sires, most notably through his French Derby winning son Lope de Vega (IRE), who shuttled to Australia for four seasons.

Lope de Vega has certainly made his mark in spectacular fashion as the sire of high class sprinter Vega Magic, a brilliant winner of the Group I MRC Memsie Stakes and a leading contender for $10 million The Everest.

A fast stayer from a strong female family, Lope de Vega has more than a little in common with Crackerjack King!

A dashing grey with an eye catching presence, Crackerjack King stands his third season at a fee of $6,600.

Wyndholm Park Stud co-principal Kim McKellar, a CRV board member of seven years and veterinarian for 40 years is adamant that Crackerjack King’s speed can ensure his success at stud.

"The critical ingredient to standing any successful stallion is that the stallion possess speed. It doesn’t matter if the horse was a 1000m or a 3000m horse, but the horse must possess speed – it’s a well-recognised fact, ”

Rebel RaiderMcKellar is quick to highlight his fellow Wyndholm Park stallion Rebel Raider as another prime example of the requirement of a stallion to possess speed at all distances.

"You look at Rebel Raider’s sectionals in the (Vic) Derby he won. He came back to win a Group race over 1200 metres after winning two Derbys,” McKellar enthuses referring to Rebel Raider’s (Reset) subsequent victories in the SAJC Chairman’s Hcp and SA Derby in the autumn of 2009 following his Victoria Derby victory at 100-1 in 2008 where he defeated Whobegotyou.

A long-time firm believer that breeding is a pursuit where everyone has the opportunity to breed a top class horse, McKellar is adamant that Crackerjack King gives breeders that opportunity in an environment that he sees as quite positive for Victorian breeders.

"There is no question our (Victorian) stallions and broodmare bands have significantly improved and there are results that endorse that,” McKellar says.

"What we – the breeding industry, need to be mindful of is making sure all breeders especially the rank and file participants of our industry are encouraged rather than discouraged.”

McKellar is referring to some of the recent new Stud Book regulations which he sees as having the potential to become too onerous on the smaller individual breeders. 

"There’s got to be a balance between accountability and practicality at the same time,” McKellar added.

A Ballarat Turf Club committee member of 15 years and chairman of the Club for four years, McKellar also stands Floral Pegasus and Sports Edition alongside Crackerjack King and Rebel Raider at Wyndholm Park – a 600-acre farm he and wife Elizabeth purchased in 1985 and have developed since to become one of Victoria’s longest family-run commercial studs.

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