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  • Local breeders set to reap rewards as Fastnet Rock stays put

    2019 - 08.21

    Local hero: Fastnet Rock will not shuttle to Europe for this year’s northern hemisphere season. Photo: Kate Geraghty Local hero: Fastnet Rock will not shuttle to Europe for this year’s northern hemisphere season. Photo: Kate Geraghty
    Nanjing Night Net

    Local hero: Fastnet Rock will not shuttle to Europe for this year’s northern hemisphere season. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Local hero: Fastnet Rock will not shuttle to Europe for this year’s northern hemisphere season. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Australia’s champion sire Fastnet Rock is an absentee from Coolmore’s 2015 northern hemisphere breeding season, a decision that will no doubt be a popular one with local breeders.

    Fastnet Rock has been shuttling to Coolmore’s Irish base since 2010 and during that period has had 436 foals born. He had 55 live foals in his first year after arriving late in the season in Ireland.

    The following year he successfully covered 136 mares and in 2013 had his most successful season with 183 mares foaling. However, last year his book was just 85 mares served – a decision that no doubt prompted the Coolmore team to keep him in Australia.

    Fastnet Rock’s oldest progeny are four year-olds and he has had more than 40 winners in Europe, including several group wins and a group 1 placing.

    The son of Danehill won the Australian 2013-14 stallions premiership with earnings of $9,440,061 from 340 foals, which featured 151 individual winners, including 13 stakes winners.

    Fastnet Rock has been at the top of this year’s premiership for the past four months – 106 winners from 205 runners and $7,232,589 in earnings. First Seal is his leading lady and she runs in the group 1 Vinery Stakes at Rosehill as a hot favourite on Saturday.

    Last Saturday he sired the Golden Slipper third-placegetter Lake Geneva, a $1 million yearling sale purchase, which has been placed at her only three starts earning $520,000.

    Fastnet Rock will once again be the star attraction at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sales with 57 lots catalogued. He has relatives to Ocean Park, Mosheen, Smart Missile, Starspangledbanner, Dance Hero, Igugu, Rock Classic, Arapaho Miss and Fiveandahalfstar.

    He also has full sisters to Lake Geneva and last year’s Inglis Sales top lot, the Fastnet Rock x Perfect Persuasion colt, which fetched $1.6 million and races as Lighthouse Keeper in Saturday’s opener at Rosehill.

    US breeders set to spend up

    One of America’s emerging breeding operations, Merriebelle Stables, will again be represented at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sales at Newmarket beginning on April 7.

    A year ago Merriebelle’s wealthy owners, John Moores and Charles Noell, sent noted bloodstock agent Mick Flanagan to Sydney and he purchased three yearling colts on their behalf going to trainers Chris Waller, Peter Moody and Gerald Ryan.

    Waller’s two-year-old is the Encosta De Lago colt Vanbrugh, a $100,000 buy, which won first-up at Randwick before finishing fifth to Tarquin in the Pago Pago Stakes on March 14.

    Moody prepares a More Than Ready youngster, which cost $230,000 and Ryan’s two-year-old is a $100,000 purchase by Nicconi.

    Merriebelle Stables began their splurge into racing three years ago and currently have 15 broodmares in America and 10 in Europe with a number of seven-figure buys.

    “This year we could buy a filly or two in Australia. We believe that our interests will be able to grow slowly over time and the owners really like the overall racing there,” Flanagan reported.

    Overall, a number of American’s have become extremely impressed with the Australian breeding set up and have been most active at the past two Easter sales and Magic Millions Gold Coast sale in January.

    Star miler for Swettenham

    Adam Sangster’s Swettenham Stud in Victoria has received a major boost to its 2015 breeding roster with European champion miler Toronado joining shuttle sires Americain and Equiano.

    Toronado becomes the second European sire from Sheikh Joaan in the space of a week to be involved in a shuttle season to Australia. Last week Bloodlines reported Arrowfield Stud had done a deal to stand Olympic Glory in 2015.

    Sangster claims Toronado is the quickest son of the deceased High Chaparral and was described by champion English jockey Richard Hughes as the fastest horse he has ever ridden in a mile race at Ascot.

    Toronado stood his first season at the English National Stud this year and was strongly supported by Sheikh Joaan’s Al Shaqab operation with many of the top breeders in Britain, France and England also sending big numbers to the stallion.

    His Australian service fee at Swettenham Stud is $22,000.

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