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Bloodstock Desk: Talkin Man walking tall as he turns over Sadler's Wells in Turf.

Byline: Rachel Pagones & Janet Hickman

IT was supposed to be all about Sadler's Wells and sons, but from a sire's standpoint, the big winner in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Lone Star Park on Saturday was another Irish resident: Annshoon Stud's Talkin Man.

The two big guns, hot American favourite Kitten's Joy - by one of Sadler's Wells's best sire sons, El Prado - and Ireland's hope Powerscourt, by the great Coolmore sire himself, were supposed to fight out the spoils among them, but rank outsider Better Talk Now chose the moment to make himself heard.

It was the best result yet for Talkin Man, Canada's champion two-year-old in 1994 and winner of a pair of Kentucky Derby prep races in New York as a three-year-old - the Wood Memorial Stakes and the Gotham Stakes (both Grade 2).

He won each of those races by at least seven lengths, with subsequent dual Breeders' Cup Mile winner Da Hoss the runner-up in the one-mile Gotham.

A son of Canadian Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old With Approval - who was second to In The Wings in the 1990 Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park - Talkin Man started stud duties at Walmac International in Lexington, Kentucky in 1996. His initial fee was $7,500.

Michael Shefflin and Martin Walsh, co-owners of Annshoon Stud, recruited Talkin Man to stand the 2003 season in Co Kilkenny.

They spotted a chance to acquire a top-class horse with an excellent turf pedigree who may have been somewhat overlooked in the competitive and dirt-dominated Kentucky stallion market.

'He's a fine, big, good looking horse with a very good turf pedigree,' explains Shefflin. 'He's out of a Miswaki mare, which is another bonus, and we thought he'd work in Ireland.'

Talkin Man's dam, Pookette, won the Grade 3 Ontario Damsel Stakes. Her sire Miswaki has been a prominent international broodmare sire whose daughters have produced Classic winners Dalakhani, Daylami, Galileo and Landseer.

Talkin Man covered a book of around 100 mares last season for a fee of EUR1,500 - although that has been changed to 'on application', says Shefflin, who adds that he has been fielding phone calls from Americans interested in repatriating the sire. The move wouldn't be out of the question 'if the money is right'.

Talkin Man's first Irish-bred foals were born this spring, and 'everything is good so far,' Shefflin says.

Annshoon spread its own band of 10-15 mares between Talkin Man and their other stallion Expelled, a Juddmonte-bred brother to 2,000 Guineas runner-up Exbourne who began his career in France and went on to win the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar.

'We look for horses that the European world can relate to,' explains Shefflin. 'I worked in Lexington for a while, so I have contacts there.'

But Talkin Man is definitely the talking horse at Annshoon this week, the more so because Shefflin had a nice little bet on Better Talk Now on Saturday - at 33-1!
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2004
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