The progeny of Coolmore’s FASTNET ROCK (by Danehill ex Piccadilly Circus) are generally known to improve with age.
Trainers and bloodstock agents often comment that they are generally “three-year-old types”, and anything they achieve in their two-year-old season is a bonus.
In recent times it seems there have been more frequent stakes-winning two-year-olds by this Champion Sire, compared to years gone by.
In Saturday’s Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes, two of his progeny are fancied runners: LONG LEAF and ENNIS HILL. Their race track deeds so far earn them high praise.
When added to Lindsay Park stablemates CATCHY and FORMALITY last season, ADVANTAGE in New Zealand (winner of the Karaka Million) and several other stakes-winning sons and daughters of Fastnet Rock, it has prompted the questions:
Are breeders learning to breed more precocious runners by this great sire?
Are trainers learning how to better train sons and daughters of Fastnet Rock as two-year-olds?
So I checked on the statistics, specifically his 2YO runners in Australia/New Zealand only.
I compared his results from the last three seasons (from 1-Aug-2015) with results prior to that.
Prior to the start of the 2015/16 racing season in Australia and New Zealand, Fastnet Rock had sired 14 stakes-winning 2YO’s (4.2% of 2YO runners). That list included brilliant performers like SMART MISSILE, DRIEFONTEIN, HINCHINBROOK and WANTED. They all improved again into their 3YO season (although Smart Missile did not get his chance in the Golden Slipper).
His 2YO runners in this period also included FOXWEDGE, MOSHEEN and IRISH LIGHTS who all placed in stakes-grade as 2YO’s and trained on to be stars. Very good 2YO results for a stallion by any measure.
Since 1-Aug-2015 however, his nine 2YO stakes-winners come at an improved strike rate of 9.2% of 2YO runners, and a slightly improved overall win-rate. And they include his first 2YO Group 1 winners, HEROIC VALOUR and CATCHY.
Average 2YO prize money per runner has also boosted from approximately $27k to around $48k.
Average number of wins per winning horse has risen from 1.25 to almost 1.7 (although average number of runs per horse remains similar around 2.3).
And we still have the bulk of 2YO racing to come this season!
2YO stakes-winners by Fastnet Rock since 1-Aug-2015
HEROIC VALOUR (13c). 3 wins from 1000m to 1200m, A$144,699, 1st ARC Diamond S., Gr.1.
MISSROCK (13f). 2 wins from 1000m to 1200m, A$500,500, 1st ATC Percy Sykes S., Gr.3, MRC Debutant S., L.
CATCHY (14f). 4 wins from 1000m to 1200m, A$1,102,000, 1st MRC Blue Diamond S., Gr.1, MRC Blue Diamond Prelude (f), Gr.2.
SHOALS (14f). 3 wins from 1100m to 1200m, A$566,650, 1st ATC Percy Sykes S., Gr.2, VRC Thoroughbred Breeders S., Gr.3.
FORMALITY (14f). 2 wins from 1000m to 1100m, A$352,400, 1st MRC Chairman’s S., Gr.3.
MERCHANT NAVY (14c). 3 wins from 1200m to 1400m, A$106,200, 1st VRC Anzac Day S., L.
ENNIS HILL (15f). Winner at 1000m, A$95,750, 1st MRC Chairman’s S., Gr.3.
LONG LEAF (15c). 3 wins at 1000m, A$190,500, 1st MRC Blue Diamond Preview (c&g), L, MRC Merson Cooper S., L.
AVANTAGE (15f). 4 wins from 800m to 1200m, A$538,445, 1st ARC Karaka Million 2YO (R), L.
This week’s Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield looks to be a terrific edition.
I’ll be expecting LONG LEAF and ENNIS HILL to improve further in the Spring and next Autumn, just like last Spring’s Coolmore Stakes winner MERCHANT NAVY.
But I do think either can win the Diamond and further strengthen FASTNET ROCK’s improving record with two-year-olds.