When Too Darn Hot filly Arabian Summer surged away to win the Ballarat Magic Millions 2YO Classic by 3.5 lengths on Saturday, she became the 17th horse by a first-season sire to win a race in Australia this season.

We are only in mid-December, not even three months since the first Australian two-year-old race of 2023/24 was run, and the freshmen sires, that is those with their first two-year-old crops at the racetrack, are making a formidable impression.

As it stands, 40.3 per cent of two-year-old races this season - 23 of 58 - have been won by juveniles of such a profile, out-performing their overall representation of active two-year-old runners, which sits at 25.3 per cent.

Those 58 two-year-old races have been won by 52 individual two-year-olds, of which, over a third (18) have been by first-season sires.

At the same point of last season, only nine juveniles by first-season sires had won races, while in 2021/22, the figure on December 10 stood at 11. It was the same number in 2020/21.

Yulong’s Alabama Express, Newgate’s Tassort and Telemon Stud’s Sun City lead the way with three winners each, then follows Vinery’s Exceedance and Darley’s Too Darn Hot with two apiece.

Newgate’s Cosmic Force, now Yulong stallion Pierata, Rosemont Stud’s Strasbourg and Kingstar Farm’s Unite And Conquer are the others with winners to date.

But it is not just about the quantity of winners flowing from the latest crop of stallions, their quality to date is also setting new benchmarks. So far in Australia this season, there have been four stakes-winning two-year-olds by first-season sires. They have won 36.4 per cent of two-year-old stakes races.

We have gone back through to 2009/10 and have not found another season where there have been four freshman sires with stakes winners by Christmas. Those four stallions are Alabama Express (Karavas), Tassort (Manaal), Pierata (Coleman) and Exceedance (Dublin Down).

Further to that, fellow freshmen Darley’s Blue Point, Coolmore’s Yes Yes Yes and Newgate’s Cosmic Force have all had stakes placegetters.

First-season sires with Australian winners in 2023/24

Sire Runners Winners SW
Alabama Express 6 3 1
Tassort 8 3 1
Sun City 5 3 0
Too Darn Hot 3 2 0
Exceedance 3 2 1
Cosmic Force 5 1 0
Pierata 5 1 1
Microphone 4 1 0
Strasbourg 3 1 0
Unite And Conquer 1 1 0

*Sourced from Arion

Alabama Express also has the impressive winner of the Golden Gift, Shangri La Express, who is currently clear favourite for the Golden Slipper, while a host of first-season sire representatives, headed by Arabian Summer, are expected to figure prominently in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast next month.

Further underlining the dominance of the newest crop of stallions, in Saturday’s Inglis Nursery (Listed) at Randwick, four of the top five two-year-olds across the line were by first-season sires.

The winner of that race, Odinson, was not one of those, but rather conceived off an overseas cover by Darley’s Night Of Thunder.

Night Of Thunder is an intriguing story in himself, standing just one season in Australia in 2016 before being kept to duties at Kildangan Stud in Ireland.

That one Australian crop yielded five stakes winners from just 46 runners. He was the leading first-season sire in Australia on stakes winners in 2019/20 with three. Off the back of that success, Darley offered him to serve from Southern Hemisphere time from Ireland in 2020.

There were 10 subsequent Australian-bred foals from that experiment, including Odinson, whose dam, the Group 3 winner Good Vibes, had been purchased by Qatar Bloodstock in 2019. She was sent to Australia to Widden Stud after her meeting with Night Of Thunder.

Odinson, purchased by Ciaron Maher for $320,000 at this year’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, is the first winner from that crop and looks highly promising. Underlining what Australian breeders may have missed out on when Night Of Thunder didn’t return after that first season, Odinson is the seventh stakes winner by his sire from 56 Australian runners.

But Night Of Thunder’s success is hardly confined to this part of the world. He has 43 stakes winners from 402 runners overall, including an extraordinary 22 from 91 runners from his first Irish-bred crop.

Night Of Thunder's progeny record

Location Runners Winners SW
Globally 402 269 43
Australia 56 42 7

*Sourced from Arion

On the topic of two-year-old producing sires, Eureka Stud’s Spirit Of Boom had Barbie’s Sister win the Calaway Gal Stakes at Eagle Farm on Saturday and become his 25th stakes winner. Of those 25, 13 have won black-type as two-year-olds, while it is the third time in the past seven years that one of Spirit Of Boom’s fillies has won that particular race.

Barbie’s Sister’s sister Outback Barbie won the Calaway Gal in 2017 and Malaboom was successful last year.

That win was part of a stakes-winning treble at Eagle Farm for Spirit Of Boom, who also had All That Pizzazz win the Bribie Handicap and Chatty Lady take out the Just Now. It is the first time the Queensland stallion has had three stakes winners on a single day.

A final mention to Shooting To Win, the former Darley stallion who relocated to Western Australia’s Oakland Park Stud last year, and who now has his first Australian Group 1 winner, and second Group 1 winner overall, thanks to Dom To Shoot’s thrilling victory in the Northerly Stakes at Ascot.

For the progeny of an Oakland Park-bred stallion to win the recently renamed Group 1 seems appropriate given Northerly was bred and owned by Oakland Park principal Neville Duncan.

It’s been quite the WA carnival for Oakland Park and Duncan, who bred the granddam of last week’s Winterbottom Stakes winner Overpass, Boardwalk Belle, who was a half-sister to Northerly.