About Archi, the Special One

EMMA BERRY of TDN visited Kirsten Rausing at Lanwades Stud in the UK for an interview about her favourite stallion Archipenko, who died recently.

It can be a little disconcerting to have to face down a bull terrier on arrival at Lanwades Stud. When it quickly transpires that the dog in question is more intent on sitting on the visitor’s lap rather than conducting a fierce mauling then the TDN interview commences in a calm, if a little unconventional, manner.

The extremely friendly Blix is quite clearly the apple of Kirsten Rausing’s eye. But then so was Archipenko, who died on the first weekend of December at the tragically young age of 13 after being diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.

‘Miss Rausing’, as the doyenne of Lanwades is routinely addressed by Sir Mark Prescott, one of her closest allies and longest-serving trainers, is in an understandably reflective mood as she comes to terms with the loss of a stallion whom she believed to be on the cusp of bigger and better things.

 

“One shouldn’t have favourites but he was very special to me and to all at Lanwades,” she says.

Indeed, the high regard in which Rausing held the regally-bred son of Kingmambo out of a classy daughter of the blue hen Special was quickly and poignantly justified. Just seven days after his death, Time Warp (GB), bred by Rausing from the Stormy Atlantic mare Here To Eternity, took Sha Tin by storm with a 2 ¼-length victory over Werther (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup.

The 4-year-old, whose three consecutive victories in Britain followed by two Listed wins in France typify the consistency of the protégés of his former trainer, graduated from Prescott’s Heath House Stables when sold privately to race in Hong Kong for Tony Cruz, where he has won a further four races.

Time Warp became the third Group/Grade 1 winner for Archipenko, for whom diagnosis to demise took less than a week and came during the frenetic fortnight of the Tattersalls December Sales. Rausing, clearly still dismayed by his death, delayed the announcement of the news until the sales had finished.

“I asked the lads to keep it under wraps because I didn’t think I could cope with people being nice,” she admits. “People mean well, of course, and you can cope with one or two, but a whole lot of people at the sales would have been too much.”

She continues, “Archipenko was a fantastic individual–yes, he could be quirky but in a nice way and he was very hard to fault on conformation, plus he had such a marvellous pedigree for so many mares. We have such a glut of Galileos and Danehills and, much as they are very admirable, we are in need of something else. I have tried with Selkirk and with him, Bobby’s Kitten, Sir Percy (GB) and, to an extent, Sea The Moon (Ger). I think ‘Archi’ was just on the cusp of general recognition.

“I said to the lads on the day he died, ‘Of course that makes Time Warp a certainty now’, and I must admit I shed a tear as he crossed the line.”

Any breeder is entitled to feel emotional at having produced a Group 1 winner, not least in these particular circumstances, and especially when the success is the culmination of a decades-long association with a particular family. Rausing tracked down Time Warp’s third dam, Hot Thong (Brz) (Jarraar), in Brazil, but she had also worked with several generations of the clan prior to that in Ireland and during her early days at Lanwades.

She recalls, “I had his sixth dam, Kilavea, here for my compatriot Magnus Berger. In the 1970s, Richard Galpin had been given a budget of $25,000 to buy Magnus a yearling at the Keeneland July Sale and he bought her for $40,000.”

Understandably concerned at having over-spent, Berger sought the advice of Rausing.

She continues, “I was in Sweden but I looked her up. She was by Hawaii out of a mare by Forli (Arg) that had run once and hadn’t bred a winner, but the third dam was Rough Shod and the mare had a colt foal by Northern Dancer. I told Magnus that knowing Mr Galpin the filly was probably very nice looking and I advised him to sell his grandmother or his house but to keep the filly for $40,000.”

The advice was certainly sound. The dam of the filly just happened to be the aforementioned Special and her colt foal became Nureyev. The Hawaii filly, later named Kilavea, won her only start for John Dunlop by six lengths and was winter favourite for the Guineas but a virus in the Dunlop stable meant that she never raced beyond her juvenile season.

With Kilavea retired by Berger as a broodmare, Rausing managed to persuade her owner to send the mare to Niniski during his first season at Lanwades Stud. She did not, however, remain in the Swede’s ownership for long. With Rausing as an intermediary, Colonel Dick Warden of the BBA, acting for a then-new owner to British racing, paid £860,000 to ensure that the half-sister to Nureyev would become an early broodmare purchase for Sheikh Mohammed.

Kilavea’s earlier mating to High Top (Ire) produced Puget Sound, who was bought by the Niarchos family for 520,000gns before her own branch of the family scattered far and wide.

“Puget Sound’s daughter ended up in South America and I ended up buying her grand-daughter in Brazil,” says Rausing. En route back to Lanwades, Hot Thong, a Group 3 winner in Brazil, was bred to Lear Fan at Gainesway Farm, producing German Listed winner Heat Of The Night (GB). That mare’s daughter Here To Eternity was sent, like her dam, to be trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, for whom she won a seven-furlong maiden on her second start. Time Warp is her first foal and she has subsequently produced his full-brother, the 90-rated dual winner Glorious Forever (GB).

While Time Warp produced a posthumous tribute to his sire, the first to advertise properly his prowess, not to mention the merits of inbreeding to Special, was Madame Chiang (GB), victrix of the G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares S. in Rausing’s colours and a member of a different branch of the same family.

Rausing had kept a weather eye on the family, particularly Kilavea’s Niniski daughter, Kiliniski (GB), winner of the Lingfield Oaks Trial and second in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks for Sheikh Mohammed. Born the year after Kilavea’s half-sister Fairy Bridge produced Sadler’s Wells, Kiliniski eventually ended up being offered for sale as a barren mare in Lexington.

“At 14 or 15 she ended up at Keeneland’s January Sale without having produced much,” Rausing says. ” I rang Joss Collins and asked him to bid on her for me. I said I’d give him $8,000 and he bought her for $2,000. At the time Northern Park had just gone to Gainesway and I didn’t want to ship a barren mare so I grossly inbred to Northern Dancer and she had a filly for me. In fact she had four fillies in four years and one was Robe Chinoise (GB), later the dam of Madame Chiang.” 

Kiliniski’s final daughter, the Listed winner Kiswahili (GB), was by the Lanwades stalwart, Selkirk, and is another of Rausing’s broodmare band to have visited Stormy Atlantic. The mating resulted in Listed Star S. winner Kinetica (GB), whose current 2-year-old daughter Kinaesthesia (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) won on debut for Ralph Beckett at Nottingham last month.

Rausing says, “I have the family well represented through different branches. They all go back to my association with Kilavea and Puget Sound and so on. It’s taken a long time but if you can stick it, it’s worth it. People don’t see things your way, however, and then nobody wants to buy the colts.”

Rausing has resolutely stuck to her beliefs since her arrival at Lanwades in 1981, housing an eclectic line-up of stallions, all of which adhere to her strict criteria on pedigree and performance. Surviving Archipenko are the 2006 Derby winner Sir Percy (GB), German Derby winner Sea The Moon (Ger), whose first yearlings were favourably received this season, and the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby’s Kitten, whose first foals are expected imminently.

She says, “We have the first son of Sea The Stars (Ire) to retire to stud in Europe and the first son of Kitten’s Joy in Europe, plus we have the only sireline representative of Mill Reef in Britain. People are starting to pay some decent money for Sir Percy’s daughters as broodmares and one hopes that his decent sons Bombyx (GB) and Thrave (GB) will both go on. Henry Candy is very sweet on Thrave and is talking about him as a Guineas horse.”

She adds, “What happened to Archipenko I did not see coming and it was gruelling. He was the future but that’s all behind us now. None of the horses I’ve had here since my arrival 37 years ago could measure up to him on looks and he had the most fantastic pedigree.”

Rausing has some consolation in having retained a number of Archipenko’s daughters, not least Madame Chiang, who has a filly foal by Kingman (GB) and is in foal to Invincible Spirit (Ire). And despite the fact that she may sometimes fly in the face of fashion, she is also at the heart of one of the most fashionable tales of our time in racing and breeding–that of increasing globalisation.

She says, “Time Warp won in Hong Kong, ridden by an Australian, bred by a Swede in England by an American horse who did his racing on three continents. It truly illustrates the international aspect of racing now.” – TDN.

 

Hello