Ultimate Sniper, New Zealand’s reigning Horse of the Year, has been purchased by Alabar and Nevele R studs.
He has been retired and will commence stud duties in the new season.
The recurrence of filling in the site of his leg injury meant that future options had to be evaluated and Alabar/Nevele R jumped at the opportunity.
Nevele R's Ged Mooar said “both Alabar and Nevele R believe it’s important and beneficial to the breeding industry to invest in high quality, well credentialed local stallions that appeal to breeders throughout Australasia”.
Alabar's Graeme Henley said “he’s the number one stallion prospect we’ve had our sights on for some time, so we’re thrilled to be able to buy him".
"We appreciate the awareness of the owners realising that now was the time a decision had to be made," Henley said. "Sniper deserves a great chance at stud and we’re sure he’ll get excellent support from the broodmare owners of New Zealand and Australia.”
The son of Bettor’s Delight goes to stud on a five-race win streak – and as New Zealand’s most intimidating racehorse.
He was brutal on NZ Cup Day 2019, sitting parked and crushing the opposition in a 1:55.3 mile rate in the junior free-for-all.
He then went to Auckland where he was simply sublime in dominating the Inter Dominion Championship. It was to be his career defining carnival.
“Winning the Inter Dominions was the thrill of a lifetime for the syndicate,” said part-owner Philip Kennard.
“He had no favours with the draws through the series but his will to win came through and he put up some amazing performances. We’re in awe of what he achieved. His performances were Lazarus like. To do what he did when he was just a four-year-old is incredible."
In the first heat, Ultimate Sniper was three wide for the majority of the 2200m journey but still got up to win in 2:35.4 – a new NZ record. Truly astonishing given the extra ground he covered.
In the second heat, he was again three wide for the 1700m journey and still came his last half in 54.8 to win in a 1:52.6 mile rate.
In the third heat, he looked like he was no chance on the final corner but still found the strength to pick himself up and win – again recording a 54.8 last half.
In the final, he once again stamped his superiority, sitting parked and proving too strong in 3:14.7 (1:56 mile rate) for the 2700m.
Few Inter Dominion campaigns have been so dominant – and certainly not by a four-year-old. The world was at his feet.
Tragically he had suffered an injury at some point through the carnival and he was never to race again.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Ultimate Sniper quickly became a sensation as a three-year-old, being unbeaten through the spring culminating in a dominant victory in the NZ Sires Stakes 3yo Final.
He also scored resounding victories in the Alabar Classic, NZ Yearling Sales Series Final, Northern Derby and NZ Derby on his way to being awarded NZ Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year.
In total, Ultimate Sniper has retired with a record of just 20 starts for 14 wins, one second and two thirds for $842,793.
“He’s a gorgeous type and just the kindest, sweetest horse and really intelligent,” said co-trainer and regular driver Natalie Rasmussen.
“It didn’t matter what the tempo in the race was. He could fire a slick quarter if you wanted but really time meant nothing to him, he just did whatever he had to do so effortlessly He had a wonderful temperament and was a lovely horse to work with.
“He was very brave in what he did at the Inter Dominions, especially with him only being a four-year-old. He just had such a tremendous will to win..
Co-trainer Mark Purdon said “the Inter Dominions showed a glimpse of what he was capable of but we really felt he was only going to get better as he matured”.
A powerfully built black stallion, Ultimate Sniper is a stunning type. He is also beautifully bred.
He is a full-brother to Ultimate Machete who, like his brother, was also NZ’s Three and Four-Year-Old Pacer of the Year. Their dam (Reality Check) was a smart race filly winning the NZ Yearling Sales Series Two-Year-Old Fillies’ Final. She is also the dam of the top racemare, Major Reality (1:50.9, $434,415) whose first foal sold for $300,000 at this year’s Auckland yearling sale.
His grandam is the NZ Broodmare of Excellence winner, Maureens Dream, who is a half-sister to the excellent sire Tuapeka Knight.
In the words of Philip Kennard “it’s just such a gutsy family".
"Sniper had this tremendous will to win and he could just carry his speed longer than other horses,” he said.
“We never took him for granted, he always surprised us with what he could do and that made the thrills even greater.
“We made the decision to retire to him now to give him the best opportunity at stud. We could’ve carried on but now is the right time to give him his best chance – which he deserves. I’m sure we’ll all get a lot of pleasure out of following his progeny”
Ultimate Sniper’s fee and standing location will be announced shortly.