MANY THREADS OF MANY COLOURS MAKE MAZU’S STORY

Mazu winning the $1 million Arrowfield 3YO Sprint G2 at Randwick  in April 2022. (PHOTO: Lisa Grimm)

A glance at the Parsons Creek news page shows the significance of their star graduate Mazu. 

The latest three news items are all about him: the Doomben 10,000 G1 winner, the Arrowfield 3YO Sprint G2 winner, the three-time Listed stakeswinner, the $1.9 million earner and the Everest contender secured by The Star & Arrowfield for 2022 and 2023. 

As Parsons Creek Operations Manager Jo O’Gorman says, “He’s done wonders for us as a small farm, he’s opened a lot of doors and we’re very proud of him.”

The 4YO son of Maurice has emerged from a rich back-story woven across several decades, connecting multiple owners, breeders & trainers, three Arrowfield stallions, past champions, a leading syndicator and a fateful decision to buy a 17 year-old broodmare.

Born in 1999 at Arrowfield – whose brand she carries – from the third crop of future Champion Sire Flying Spur, Mazu’s dam Chatelaine was bred and raced by Sydney businessman Geoff Wild, one of the racing owners of the celebrated Australian champion of the 1980s, Emancipation. 

Chatelaine’s immediate family wasn’t top-drawer, but her third dam Cendrillon was a high-class filly who defeated the great Storm Queen in the 1966 Thousand Guineas.

A little further back in the pedigree is Grey Port, the dam of Mayfowl, conqueror of champion Flight in the 1943 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes. In one of this story’s several asides, Flight was owned by Sir Brian Crowley whose namesake race was Mazu’s first stakes victory in October 2021.

Chatelaine was sent to the Randwick stable of Ron Quinton who recalls, “She was a big filly and it was quite amazing we got her to the Widden Stakes as a two-year-old, when she probably needed a little bit more time.”

Chatelaine was second in that race, earning black type on debut, and as a Spring 3YO contested the Princess Series dominated by Victory Vein, splitting that filly and Calaway Gal in the Silver Shadow S. G2.

After six placings, Chatelaine finally won at a Canterbury night meeting in October 2002, but seven months later she was sold to Stuart Ramsey’s Turangga Stud and transferred to Peter Moody’s Melbourne stable. Ron, who otherwise describes Geoff Wild as “a lovely bloke”, says, “I went crook at him because I would have bought her myself if I’d known she was for sale!” 

Ron has hopes of his own for a 2YO Maurice filly, Watch My Girl (ex Minamya) purchased by good client Ray Gall from Arrowfield at Inglis Easter. 

Retired to stud in 2005, Chatelaine became an immediate gem for Turangga, leaving Champion 2YO Filly and Coolmore Stud S. G1 winner Headway in the first crop of former Arrowfield sire Charge Forward. 

That early success helped Chatelaine’s next two sale yearlings gross $700,000, and she left two more winners, Beckon & Empress Matilda, to Charge Forward. When the Ramsey family dispersed most of their bloodstock in July 2017, Chatelaine was Lot 36, in foal again to Charge Forward and knocked down to Marc & Lindy De Stoop for $54,000 – not a lot to pay for a Group 1 producer, but not peanuts, either. 

Jo (Marc & Lindy’s daughter) explains the background. “We’d bought Parsons Creek as a lifestyle farm but it had been beautifully set up for thoroughbreds by Jack and Lucy Horseman, so we thought we’d pick up a few mares to breed from.

“Chatelaine was found by our then-manager John Collison, he was very good on pedigrees and liked her as a Flying Spur mare. 

“A lot of people are put off buying older mares but she’s a really big roomy type, she’s very strong and carries her age well.”

The case for elite producers as older mares is supported by the early 1990s research of leading bloodstock consultant & analyst Bill Oppenheim who confirms the finding that broodmares “could up to the age of 21 produce a horse as good as the best horse they produced in their first six foals.”

Chatelaine delivered city winner The Cruiser in 2017 and Jo explains how she and her parents decided on her next mating. 

“We went to the stallion parades and saw Maurice. We didn’t know much about Japanese sires but he’s such a striking horse and super-athletic. We watched all his races and thought we’d take a punt on him as a young, fertile stallion.”

The foal that arrived in October 2018 wasn’t entirely the hoped-for result. “Mazu was small as a foal and not the strongest, but he was neatly made and had a lot of attitude.” 

His biggest fan was lifelong horseman and Parsons Creek Stud Manager Ross Bone who kept saying, “This horse is going to run – he’s fantastic.” 

By the time Parsons Creek came to sell the Maurice-Chatelaine colt, in the Farm’s first yearling draft at Inglis Classic 2020, Marc De Stoop shared that opinion and retained 25% of him after he was purchased for $180,000 by Triple Crown Syndications.

Triple Crown’s Chris Ward said at the time, “He’s one of those colts that really took our eye the second that Mike and I saw him come out of his box. Maurice himself was just simply an exceptional racehorse, so if he throws on any of that sort of quality to this colt, I think we’ll have a lot of fun.”

That prediction has proved to be accurate on every front. Jo says, “It’s a great group of owners and Triple Crown are very professional.” 

One of those owners, Matt Garreffa came up with the name Mazu, which is Japanese for “first” or “in the first place”, a position he’s filled in 7 of his 13 starts.

Jo, who previously worked in events & marketing, is well-organised for Everest Day. “We’ve booked three tables for family and friends, we’ll hang out with the Triple Crown owners and win, lose or draw we’ll all have a bit of a party afterwards at the Woollahra Hotel.”

Meanwhile, the “Queen of Parsons Creek” grazes happily with her best friend Noweheretosomewhere, a grand-daughter of Songline, forever famous as the dam of three-time Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Sunline. 

Now 23 years-old, Chatelaine is due to foal later this month to Redoute’s Choice’s dual Group 1-winning son King’s Legacy and the De Stoops are fervently hoping for a filly. 

However, they have a back-up plan in the form of Whitula (Onemorenomore-Chatelaine), purchased last year for $150,000 and now the dam of a yearling filly by Cosmic Force, and a filly foal by Maurice.

By Arrowfield Stud