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Fastnet Rock - Sire of Curved Ball(AUS)

Coolmore Stud has found thoroughbred breeding’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is an extract from a story in the 2012 Inside Breeding magazine.

Coolmore Stud, the big spending conglomerate that outlays a small fortune on the international search for stallions, must feel the irony that Fastnet Rock has fallen in its lap. This was a horse Coolmore couldn’t sell and retained in hope more than with great expectation.

Fastnet Rock(AUS), Image: Coolmore Stud

The big horse was a gangly, dopey, boof-headed yearling, but there were no takers at his reserve price of $300,000 at the 2003 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale despite the fact he was by the champion sire Danehill from a very precocious sprinting filly, Piccadilly Circus (b m Royal Academy (USA)-Gatana, by Marauding (NZ)).

“Too heavy … too coarse … too much money … take too long” were the general comments from those at the sales.

The yearling was sent to Harry and Arthur Mitchell’s Yarraman Park Stud to be broken in and educated. Even then, the horse was on the market but the interest in him was minimal.

Paul Perry, at Newcastle, was selected to train the colt in the wake of his wonderful success in 2003 with Choisir, who won the Group 2 King’s Stand Stakes and the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes in the same week at Royal Ascot. Coolmore bought Choisir from Perry and the unwanted Danehill colt came as part of the reward.

Fastnet Rock was raced by the group from Coolmore who owned Piccadilly Circus when she raced for trainer Lee Freedman, including Sue Magnier, wife of Coolmore’s principal John Magnier, Coolmore’s bloodstock agent Demi O’Byrne, and\ three men from the Australian arm of the Irish-based outfit, Michael Kirwan and Duncan Grimley, who at the time were joint general managers, and chairman Ken Barry. (Grimley has since left Coolmore.)

Surprisingly, because of his size and relative backward nature, Fastnet Rock emerged as a spring two-year-old. He finished second in a trial at Randwick in September, but Perry set him aside without a race. In the autumn, the big horse emerged as a Golden Slipper contender; a race in which he finished a game fourth behind Dance Hero in record time—splitting them was the outstanding eventual Group 1 winners Charge Forward, now a leading sire, and the crack filly Alinghi. It was a “hot” Slipper, because behind him were Dane Shadow and Econsul.

For a horse most people doubted would race until he was a three-year-old, Fastnet Rock proved an incredibly durable juvenile, despite not winning a race. His Golden Slipper run was his sixth for his first campaign—including seconds in the Group 3 Skyline Stakes and Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes—and it didn’t finish there. He backed up a week after the Slipper for his third run in 14 days to finish fifth behind Dance Hero in the Group 1 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

Although Fastnet Rock had the “look of a three-year-old”, there were doubters that he was genuine A-grade. He seemed to lack an explosive turn-of-foot, and some people felt he had been given too tough a campaign as a youngster in Coolmore’s quest to give him an elusive Group 1 as a two-year-old to cement a huge value on him as a stallion prospect.

One person who didn’t doubt Fastnet Rock was Perry. He recognised a toughness in the youngster that others not so close to the stable didn’t see.

In the spring, Fastnet Rock, after finishing second behind Charge Forward—Dance Hero third—in the Group 2 San Domenico Stakes (1000m, Randwick), finally broke through with wins in the Group 2 Up And Coming Stakes (1200m, Warwick Farm) and the Group 3 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m, Warwick Farm).

An attempt to step him up in distance in Melbourne failed when he could manage only eighth behind Econsul in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m, Caulfield), but freshened and back in trip, he bounced back with a win in the Group 3 L’Oreal Stakes (1200m) down the straight at Flemington on Derby day. To confirm his talent and toughness, he backed up seven days later to beat the older horses in the Group 3 Lexus Classic (WFA, 1200m) at Flemington.

In the autumn, Fastnet Rock, mature and primed, won the first two legs of the Melbourne sprint treble—the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m, Flemington) and the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m)—before his terrific second behind the brilliant Alinghi in a memorable Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

His second to Shamekha on a slow Randwick track in the Group 1 TJ Smith (1200m) was his final run.

Perry took the colt to England for the Royal Ascot carnival, but he didn’t run there after developing travel sickness. It was a shame, because a win at Royal Ascot would have fulfilled Coolmore’s desire to “make” Fastnet Rock a dual-hemisphere shuttle stallion—maximising profits—as he certainly was as good as, if not better than, Choisir. His Australian record certainly suggested he was.

Fastnet Rock’s speed-oriented pedigree is a major factor in his success, but also his immense size means that he is throwing fillies with great strength and bone—and a big advantage over their female rivals. Atlantic Jewel, Irish Lights and Mosheen are Group 1 winning fillies with a tremendous turn-of-foot.

The icing on the cake for Coolmore is that Fastnet Rock also is shaping as a sire of sires. His best sons are fast and tough—much like him—and in most cases better looking thanks to the astute selection of the mares he has covered.

Already Fastnet Rock has seven of the best young stallion prospects at stud in three states:

Fastnet Rock sons at stud (in stud fee order):

Third season

Wanted (B h 2006, from Fragmenation, by Snippets)
Eliza Park Stud, Kerrie, Victoria. Fee: $33,000.

Wanted is Fastnet Rock’s first Group 1 winner and his first son to be retired to stud. After a string of outstanding Group 1 placings behind some great horses, Wanted won the 2010 Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m, Flemington). Conservatively used in his first season because he is a rig—Wanted covered 75 mares—but he stepped up to 112 mares last season with strong fertility figures. His commercial stud career is assured. His first crop foals have been the highlight of the 2012 weanling sales season, selling for $255,000 (colt from Regal Arena, by Arena), $190,000 (filly from Aquatint, by Supremo (USA)) and $117,500 (colt from Vestment, by Danasinga).

Second season

Hinchinbrook (B h 2007, from Snippets’ Lass, by Snippets)
Yarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW. Fee: $16,500.

Hinchinbrook looked a genuine Golden Slipper chance when he won the 2010 Group 3 Skyline Stakes (1200m) and the Listed Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at his first two starts, and he was far from disgraced in the Slipper when he finished fourth behind Crystal Lily. He finished his 2YO campaign seven days later with a solid third behind Yosei and Skilled in the G1 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m, Randwick) when he was run down in the final 50 metres. He didn’t find form in the 2010 spring, but bounced back last year in the autumn with third placings in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate and Group 1 William Reid Stakes before finishing second to Hay List in the Group 1 All-Aged Stakes.

Hinchinbrook, a three-quarter brother to Snitzel, covered 119 mares in his first season in 2011.

Rothesay (b h 2006, from Schiaparelli, by Woodman (USA))
Glenlogan Park Stud, Qld. Fee: $12,100.

Rothesay was a crack racehorse from the start for trainer Gerald Ryan, who rated the horse highly. He lived up to his reputation with a brilliant, storming victory in the 2009 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m, Eagle Farm) and at four he beat all but More Joyous in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m, Rosehill) before injury forced his retirement after only nine starts.

Rothesay, whose granddam Canny Lass was an outstanding multiple Group 1 winner, comes from one of Australia’s great families—he is closely related to Canny Lad and Sepoy.

He was very popular in his first season at Glenlogan Park, covering 152 mares in 2011.

Stryker (B h 2006, from Laetitia, by Woodman (USA))
Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, Eddington, Victoria. Fee: $11,000.

Winner of the Group 3 BTC Classic (1350m, Doomben) and third behind Denman and Trusting in the 2010 Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m, Rosehill) and third, behind Shellscrape, in the 2011 The Galaxy (1100m, Randwick).

Stryker is a magnificent-looking stallion who cost Ingham Bloodstock $600,000 as a yearling.

He represents the famous Denise’s Joy family, which apart from producing champion fillies such as Tuesday Joy and More Joyous, also is the foundation family behind New Zealand’s outstanding young sire Thorn Park.

Stryker covered 124 mares in his first season in 2011.

Therock (B h 2006, from Bumps, by Scenic (IRE))
Bombora Downs, Bittern, Victoria. Fee: $3850.

Therock was an eye-catching horse from early on—he was a $407,000 Magic Millions weanling in 2007. Started his career with a bit of fanfare for trainer Gerald Ryan after winning three trials as a 2YO. Raced twice at two before emerging in the 2009 spring as a 3YO to win consecutive races at Warwick Farm and Rosehill, but a leg injury stopped him going to Christchurch for the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas.

Therock is closely related to the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Reward For Effort.

He covered 28 mares in his debut season at Waterford Stud, Western Australia, before moving to Victoria.

New for 2012

Foxwedge (B h 2008, from Forest Native (USA), by Forest Wildcat (USA))
Newgate Farm, Scone, NSW. Fee: $33,000.

Foxwedge was sought after by a number of studs, but Henry Field’s Newgate Farm won out. He ticks a lot of boxes—Group 1 winner, Group 1 contending 2YO, magnificent looking colt; and solid international pedigree.

Curved Ball(AUS). Image:

He first showed he was an A-grader when he almost ran down the champion colt Sepoy in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m, Flemington) last spring, and he confirmed that by beating Hay List in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m, Moonee Valley) in the autumn. He didn’t come up in the Sydney autumn and missed the plane to Royal Ascot, but his future was already sealed.

Smart Missile (B h 2008, ex Comical Smile (USA), by Comic Strip (USA))
Arrowfield Stud, Scone, NSW. Fee: $22,000.

The decision by John Messara’s iconic Arrowfield Stud to chase Smart Missile as a stallion should be recommendation enough for breeders. Smart Missile may not be a Group 1 winner, but nobody will doubt he was a Group 1-class horse. At two, he was the only horse to beat the champion Sepoy—in the Group 2 Todman Slipper Stakes (1200m, Rosehill)—and, of course, Smart Missile lost the chance to prove that form when he was withdrawn from the Slipper at the barrier. Sepoy went on to win.

Smart Missile also put up a monstrous performance, charging late for second behind Manawanui in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m, Rosehill) at three, and was stiff when 10th behind Toorak Toff in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m, Caulfield) when badly blocked for a run.

Smart Missile comes from a famous stallion-producing family—his fifth dam Rough Shod is a breed shaping broodmare who is the fourth dam of Sadler’s Wells and the third dam of Nureyev. View the pedigree of Curved Ball(AUS) at the following link, courtesy of

Please contact Warwick Render at Bush Hill Stud for more information at 082 872 7799 or 082 896 4809 or email

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