Cornerstone stud will be bringing one of the largest drafts into the Great Southern Sale. Cornerstone Stud is owned by Sam Hayes, who assumed the role of Managing Director of what was previously known as Lindsay Park Stud in 2005. In 2008 Sam purchased the Lindsay Park Stud business from David Hayes, which paved the way for the name change to Cornerstone Stud
Their 2019 high-quality draft will be led by 10 Sir Prancealot’s weanlings. The Impact spoke to the bloodstock and nominations manager for Cornerstone, Sam Pritchard-Gordon about their exciting draft.
Pritchard-Gordon moved from the UK to Australia in 2005 to work at Arrowfield Stud. He later worked Australia’s elite Thoroughbred trainers like Gai Waterhouse Racing and Freedman Racing before taking out his own trainers permit in 2011. At Cornerstone, Sam is responsible for managing the stud’s bloodstock portfolios and key clients, as well as driving nomination sales and overseeing all marketing activities.
Q: Please, could you describe your draft for the Southern Sale? What are the draft highlights and why?
A: We have a large draft of 27 and we have consciously worked with Inglis to launch SIR PRANCEALOT’s first crop of weanlings.
Although we are probably forfeiting the opportunity of generating a lucrative income from holding back the 10 Sir Prancealots to sell
as Yearlings, we are trying to compete with a quality and a large number of First Season Hunter Valley sires with weanlings on the
ground and this our way of publicly courting recognition for the quality of stock that this unique stallion is delivering. We are
incredibly excited by what this stallion has achieved in the North and only this weekend did he land his 4th US Stakes
winner (from only 13 runners). So with the launch of Sir Prancealot at Oaklands, we hope that Pin hookers from across
all States will be attracted to a select draft of Weanlings, by a unique and proven First Season Sire. I suppose we want to offer
our Premium Product at wholesale prices in order to drive the stallion’s nominations into his 3rd season at Cornerstone.
Q: Please, could you tell us more about the history of Cornerstone Park and its vision for the future?
A: Cornerstone is a family-owned Stud, situated in Barossa and nestled amongst some of the most picturesque landscapes Australia has to offer. The Barossa is synonymous with fine wines and gentile living and I would like to think that Sam Hayes has crafted a stud in a very similar mould to the landscape in which Cornerstone sits. Yet it was Sam’s grandfather that possessed that initial vision with the creation of Lindsay Park nearly 40 years ago and from its training roots, CS Hayes laid the foundation for the shuttling stallion and crafted an iconic nursery that has consistently bred tough sound racehorses. When CS stated he “was investing in time” when he purchased what is now Cornerstone Stud, he was not wrong.
As for the future, Cornerstone is going to have to fight the decrepit and short-sighted State Government that has failed to rectify a tax that has systematically forced South Australian Racing into decline and its Prize money pool into recession. In short, the knock effect is a diminishing landscape of employment opportunities as owners, trainers and jockeys leave to chase the lucrative Prize money in neighbouring states. However, South Australian Breeding and Racing has now become a collaborative force to fight the State Government’s failings and this show of unity is hopefully the “bottom of the bell curve” and Cornerstone will be well-positioned as the premier Stud Farm in the State as we climb out of this mess the State Government has forced us into.
Q: What were the success-highlights at sales in 2019 thus far?
A: We offered the first Southern Hemisphere crop of FREE EAGLE and we were immediately rewarded with a $250,000 yearling at Melbourne Premier, which is a notable win given the mating was conceived of a $16,000 Service Fee. Furthermore, we presented a magnificent collection of weanlings at Magic Millions and generated $300,000 for a Not A Single Doubt colt that was purchased by Coolmore last week. Those prices are nice, but it was the $50,000 realized by a SIR PRANCEALOT weanling sold to one of the industry’s best judges in Dave Mee that generated the greatest pride; this stallion is our future and his first weanling to sell was a bombshell! That said, high prices are one thing, but it is the local SA Racing Industry that is our foundation and we found homes for nearly 40 yearlings at the recent Magic Millions Yearling Sale and we can only hope that a champion arises from that crop to help carry the SA Industry forward.
Q: Could you tell us more about Cornerstone stallions and how they offer different but still very high-quality parings for broodmares in Australia?
A: Sam Hayes, like his grandfather before him, plans for the future. We aren’t in a position to offer $20 - $30 million for
3yo colts off the track and ultimately our broodmare band and clientele demand stallions that are competitively priced
and give the breeder the opportunity to derive financial success at its local Sale; Magic Millions Adelaide has a steady yearling
average of approximately $40,000. Consequently, we have to “box a little smarter” and have duly found ourselves courting
the Northern Hemisphere in recent years. This model is not set in stone and we will continue to evolve, but right now it's our
“weapon of preference” to compete against the brute and brawn of the Hunter Valley.
ZEBEDEE, the “other proven son of Invincible Spirit” is making waves with his first crop of 2yos and has a commendable record of 3 winners from 10 runners to date and I’m expecting a strong rally by this stallion in the last two months of the season as his “public trailers” mid-season were very taking. Standing at $9,900 is a notable enticement when compared to another son from this sire line!
VALENTIA is a Group 2 winning son of FASTNET ROCK and on looks alone is a value stallion at $7,700. His first gallopers are currently being broken in and we take great excitement from Gerald Ryan’s conviction in this stallion and we are quietly hoping that his $130,000 Magic Millions purchase out of A COUNTRY GIRL can show up early next season and set this stallion alight.
AMBIDEXTER is our Owner-Breeder Go-To Stallion and standing at $5,500 and with winners to runners ratio of nearly 60%, it won't surprise us to see him cover a handsome book of 50 – 60 mares this season.
However, it is SIR PRANCEALOT, at $14,400, that gets us giddy with excitement because from a purist’s point of view his predilection for Australian mares that are laden with Danehill blood will see him succeed. His sire line through TAMAYUZ and NAYEF run at a mind-boggling 14 Stakes Winners for 54 runners when crossed over Danehill blood. Couples that with the types we are seeing develop before us and the future is certainly looking like a hazy shade of Barossa Red!
Q: What's on your bucket list for the next decade?
A: Standing SIR PRANCEALOT’s first G.1 winning son at Stud.