Published: September 2016.
BREEDERS are rushing to use sons of Fastnet Rock and his son, new SA-based sire Valentia, certainly has the credentials to follow in the footsteps of Freshman Sire champs Hinchinbrook and Smart Missile. He was precocious on the track, is good looking and from a family that’s had great success here including a Golden Slipper heroine in Overreach and Blue Diamond winner in Reward for Effort.
WITH his sons Hinchinbrook and Smart Missile winning the Freshman Sires’ title in the past two seasons, it’s no surprise that stud owners are falling over themselves to get on the Fastnet Rock bandwagon. So Cornerstone’s Sam Hayes has made something of a coup by snaring that horse’s juvenile Gr.2 winner Valentia for the South Australian breeding industry.
The Skyline Stakes winner, who trainer Gai Waterhouse called “arguably the best looking colt ever seen at Tulloch Lodge”, will stand at just $11,000. As he is by a dual Champion Australian Sire and from the all-conquering Danehill (USA) male line and his dam is a member of one of the best families in Australia that makes Valentia (ex Smart Company by Mister C (USA)) a very attractive proposition indeed.
Valentia, bred by Lomar Park Stud’s Fred Peisah, was a $1.35m sale topper at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions and had just eight starts for a Coolmore-led syndicate (which included his breeder). He was third on debut for Gai Waterhouse behind Rubick and Twirl on a dead track over 1000m at Randwick on January 25, 2014. He was next out at Randwick on February 22 and made no mistakes to win a 1200m event for juveniles, running 1:10.41 on a dead (4) track from Greco and Khrysler. He was launched into stakes company next time out in the Skyline Stakes-Gr.2 (1200m) at Randwick and won by a half-length from Mr Bogart on a track also rated dead (4).
“It was a very good win although he idled a bit when he got to the front, but Tommy Berry kept him going,” Coolmore general manager Michael Kirwan said at the time. “The Slipper is a possibility but we will see how he pulls up.”
Unfortunately Valentia missed a placing next time out, striking a heavy (8) track in the Golden Slipper when 12th of 16 behind Mossfun and was sent for a break. Valentia resumed on August 23 and again struck a heavy (9) track when a close third to Scissor Kick and Panzer Division in the Up and Coming Stakes-Gr.3 (1300m) on the Kensington track and was then fifth (again on a very heavy track) in the Ming Dynasty-Gr.3 to Panzer Division before a third in the Stan Fox Stakes-Gr.2 (1500m) on a good Rosehill track on September 27 behind Shooting to Win and Scissor Kick.
His final run came when he was last in the Spring Champion Stakes-Gr.1 (2000m) on October 11. Although he trialled twice in January and February 2015 and three times in January, February and March this year (finishing second in the last two), he did not race again.
“Valentia won the Skyline Stakes very comfortably and he was my number one chance in the Golden Slipper,” Waterhouse enthused. “Sadly, a tendon injury restrained him from fulfilling the great three year-old career he was destined for.”
Valentia’s Gr.2 win made him the 57th stakes winner for his illustrious sire (he now has 95) who commands the highest fee in the land (private but reported to be around $150,000). As of mid-August Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy (USA)) had 797 winners (67.3% of starters) for earnings topping $98m. His 95 stakes winners represent a high 8% of starters and it’s worth noting 57 of them are Group winners (4.8% of starters) and 23 are Gr.1 winners. His runners have a winning distance index of 1429m.
Fastnet Rock, who stands at Coolmore, retired to stud in Australia in 2005 (book full, fee $55,000) and was the first Coolmore-bred Australian horse to join the stud’s roster (Choisir was the first Australian-bred to join the line-up in 2003). Fastnet Rock was first sent to stand in Ireland in 2010 and he is rapidly becoming just as successful in the north, making him one of the best “reverse shuttlers”. His northern hemisphere stars include the Ascot Champion Stakes-Gr.1 and Curragh Tattersalls Gold Cup hero Fascinating Rock (Polar Falcon), a Champion Older Horse in Ireland and Europe in 2015, the Curragh Pretty Polly Stakes-Gr.1 winner Diamondsandrubies (Sadler’s Wells) and the English Oaks-Gr.1 winner Qualify (Galileo).
Local female stars include Champion 3YO Filly Atlantic Jewel (Zabeel), the four-time Gr.1 winner Mosheen (Stravinsky), whose wins included the VRC Oaks and Randwick Guineas, triple Gr.1 winner Sea Siren (Success Express), a Doomben 10,000 winner who also tasted stakes success in Ireland, Gr.1 winner and $2m earner Driefontein (Export Price) and Flight Stakes-Gr.1 winner First Seal, along with NZ Gr.1 winners Amicus (El Moxie), Rock ‘n’ Pop (Sir Tristram) and Planet Rock (Zabeel).
Males include the William Reid-Gr.1 winner Foxwedge (Forest Wildcat), who started his dual hemisphere stud career in splendid fashion in 2015-16 and is based locally at Newgate Farm, Newmarket Handicap-Gr.1 winner Wanted (Snippets), now doing well on the Sun Stud roster, gelded Australian Cup-Gr.1 winner Super Cool (Kingmambo) and gelded Queensland Derby-Gr.1 winner Magicool (Galileo).
Early sons at stud included the Gr.3 winner and Gr.1 placed Hinchinbrook (Snippets), a three-quarter brother to Snitzel who was Leading First Crop Sire in 2014-15 and Second Crop Sire in 2015-16 (43 winners of $4.29m) for the Mitchell family’s Yarraman Park, Scone, his runners including Gr.1 star Press Statement (Kaaptive Edition). His contemporaries include Stryker (Woodman), a Gr.2 winner (who stands at the Liston family’s Three Bridges in Victoria and has already left NZ Derby-Gr.1 winner Rangipo) and Gr.2 winner Rothesay (Woodman) who is siring plenty of winners at Jon Haseler’s Glenlogan Park in Queensland and was fourth on the second crop list behind Hinchinbrook last season with 43 winners of $2.16m.
While last season’s First Crop Sires result proved a close-run thing, Arrowfield Stud’s Smart Missile (ex Comic Strip (USA) by Red Ransom (USA)), also a juvenile Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 placed topped the table with seven winner of $454,705. Foxwedge (six winners) was seventh. Such is the popularity of Fastnet Rock that 17 of his sons are listed for the 2016 season with the Australian Stud Book and a further five stand in NZ.
Passed in when he failed to make his $300,000 reserve at the 2003 Australian Easter Sale, one of only three of 41 offered by Danehill who didn’t find a new home, and raced by a Coolmore syndicate, who also raced his dam (Sue Magnier, Michael Kirwan, Duncan Grimley, Ken Barry), the hulking son of Danehill became a brilliant sprinter. Fastnet Rock won six races (all at three and all Group events) and was seven times second and twice third in 19 starts, earning $1.7m.
His major wins came in the VRC Lightning-Gr.1 (1000m), defeating Alinghi and international visitor Cape of Good Hope in 57.37 on a track rated a soft 7, and in the MRC Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 (1100m), defeating Segments. He was also second in the Newmarket-Gr.1 (to Alinghi) and T.J. Smith-Gr.1 (to Shamekha). Although he did not win in seven starts at two, he was runner-up in the Pago Pago-Gr.2 and Skyline-Gr.3 (half-length, to Dance Hero), third in the AJC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1 and fourth in the Golden Slipper-Gr.1 (1.2 lengths behind Dance Hero) and Silver Slipper-Gr.2. He was Australia’s Champion Three Year-Old Colt and Champion Sprinter in 2005.
After his Lightning win (his fourth in succession), jockey Glenn Boss said the horse had the sprint won a long way from home. “I would walk over a mile of broken glass to ride this horse and he’s not right yet. He was jogging with 400m to go.” Trainer Paul Perry said it was a “super win. I think he should improve and will get better”.
That proved spot on next start when the horse broke High Title’s 63 year-old weight carrying record when the three year-old lumped 57kg to win the 2005 Oakleigh Plate by a long neck from 150/1 shot Segments and Legally Bay in 1:02.58 (34.47). Three year-old Schillaci carried 54.5kg when he won the race in 1992, as did Spartacus in 1997, while Choisir, also trained by Perry, was third in 2003, with 55.5kg. Choisir went on to Gr.1 success in England, but it was not to be for Fastnet Rock who suffered from travel sickness when sent to the UK and did not race there.
Fastnet Rock’s speed should have come as little surprise as his sire Danehill (Danzig-Razyana by His Majesty) was a Gr.1 sprint winner in the UK before a stellar stud career in both hemispheres. A nine-times Champion Sire in Australia, and now a Champion Broodmare Sire, he is a noted sire of sires with sons like Redoute’s Choice, Exceed and Excel, Danehill Dancer leading the charge. So popular are his bloodlines that more than 50% of the foals born in Australia each season have at least one line of Danehill.
Fastnet Rock’s dam, Piccadilly Circus (Royal Academy (USA)-Gatana by Marauding), a sister to Gr.3 winner and sire Raheeb, reinforces this legacy of speed as she won four races from 900m-1000m including the VATC Blue Diamond Prelude-Gr.3 at two when she was also third in the Blue Diamond Stakes-Gr.1. Her sire Royal Academy (Nijinsky-Crimson Saint by Crimson Satan), whose half-sister Terlingua (Secretariat) is dam of brilliant juvenile and Champion US Sire Storm Cat (Storm Bird), was sharp enough to win the July Cup-Gr.1 (6f) at Newmarket before stretching that speed to take the Breeders’ Cup Mile-Gr.1 on turf at Belmont Park.
Royal Academy was another dual hemisphere sire success and his Blue Diamond-Gr.1 winner Bel Esprit is the sire of unbeaten champion sprinter Black Caviar. It could be interesting to put daughters of Royal Academy or Bel Esprit (or his son Moshe), or mares carrying the blood of Storm Cat, to Valentia. There’s more speed too in the shape of Fastnet Rock’s second dam Gatana, a Listed winner of four races to 1200m and by Golden Slipper winner Marauding (Sir Tristram-Biscalowe by Biscay).
Valentia’s dam Smart Company won once at 1100m but she is a sister to three very good performers (among 11 winners from their dam Ever Elegant), notably the dual Gr.1 winner Super Elegant (19 wins and $2m including the Doomben 10,000 and Goodwood Handicap), the Gr.2 winner Elegancy (12 wins and $376,000) and Gr.3 winner Mister Elegant (14 wins and $319,000). A half-sister, Miss Chanel (Splendent), is the dam of Gr.2 winner Miss Fantabulous (Encosta de Lago).
Valentia’s dam sire Mister C was a fast miler in the US where he won at Listed level and equalled the track record in an 8f turf handicap at Churchill Downs. A son of US Champion Sire Danzig (as is Danehill, giving Valentia a 3mx3m cross of that horse), he won nine races including a 7f event at Keeneland by five lengths and was twice Gr.3 placed. Mister C’s damsire Herbager won the French Derby and his 69 stakes winners include Grey Dawn, Seahawk, Big Spruce and Appiani (grandsire of Star Way).
Smart Company’s dam, Ever Elegant, is a daughter of the Irish Derby-Gr.1 winner Steel Pulse (GB) (Diatome-Rachel by Tudor Minstrel) and Social Smile. That mare’s daughter Sea Holly (Fairs Fair) left six winners including the top class sprinters Razor Sharp (15 wins 900m-1200m including the VRC Newmarket twice) and Steel Blade (11 wins including the Challenge Stakes-Gr.2, sire) and Sail to Glory (Reginald Allen Handicap-LR), all by Steel Pulse, another stallion who did sterling service at Lomar Park for Fred Peisah.
This is a family that has given the veteran Sydney breeder enormous success, tracing to the unraced import Social Smile (GB), by Golden Cloud’s Nunthorpe Stakes winner Ennis from Cotytto by Court Martial son and Middle Park Stakes/St James’s Palace Stakes winner King’s Bench, third dam of Valentia. Social Smile’s second dam, Miss Radiant (Stardust-Celestial Light by Donatello II), is a sister to Queensland sire great Smokey Eyes (IRE) and of course is by the same sire as Star Kingdom (IRE). A half-sister to Miss Radiant is Latest Edition (Solferino), dam of NZ sire legend Sovereign Edition and his sister Royal News (Sovereign Path), the latter a well known name in breeding here via daughters like Life at Last, Engagement, Barron Fey, Betty Box and Royal Comment, all founders of prolific lines of this very strong family (13a) whose number include the Golden Slipper winner Overreach (Exceed and Excel) and Blue Diamond-Gr.1 winner Reward for Effort (Exceed and Excel). It could be a very fruitful exercise to send their descendants to Valentia.
Next dam Gleam (Galloper Light-Eagerford by Aldford), seventh dam of Valentia, is also second dam of Irish 2000 Guineas winner Stalino and Irish Derby winner Bright News, both sons of Stardust and from Gleam’s daughter Inkling (Son-in-Law). Other descendants of Inkling include the NZ sire success Three Legs (Petingo), while the fast sire Efisio (Formidable) is a descendant of Gleam’s daughter Sparkle (Blandford).