Racing Post: live blog

Australasian horses at Royal Ascot

A look at the well-bred Australasian horses who have taken Royal Ascot by storm over the last few years



    Choisir had the honour of being the first Australian-trained horse to win at Royal Ascot back in 2003. 

    A son of Danehill Dancer out of the Lunchtime mare Great Selection, Choisir inherited his sire's ability for sprinting. Before making the trip over to Britain he had won five times in his native Australia and those victories included a top-level success in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February 2003. 

    There was no better way to advertise the talents of southern hemisphere horses than when on the first day of the Royal meeting he got the better of Acclamation to land the Group 2 King's Stand Stakes. 

    Four days later he returned to Ascot and recorded success in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes, a feat that has yet to be repeated. 
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    Starspangledbanner winning the Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2010 

    Sprinting was clearly in Starspangledbanner's genes. His sire Choisir needs no introduction, and he is out of the Made Of Gold mare Gold Anthem, who won twice at two as well as finishing second in the Listed Balcrest stakes over 5f. 

    A half-brother to another Australian sprinter in Gold Chant, Starspangledbanner was a top-class sprinter and miler in Australia winning five races. His biggest successes came in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and the Oakleigh Plate. 

    Four years later, Starspangledbanner took Royal Ascot by storm again when his his small first crop of two-year-olds - he has proved subfertile at stud - contained Coventry Stakes hero The Wow Signal and Queen Mary Stakes winner Anthem Alexander.

    by Zoe Vicarage edited by Martin Stevens 6/10/2016 1:41:33 PM
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    The late High Chaparral, who shuttled to Cambridge Stud in New Zealand as well as standing at Coolmore's Irish base, excelled with his southern hemisphere crops. 

    His ten-time Group 1 winner So You Think was conceived when his fee in New Zealand was NZ$22,000 and was bred out of the Group 2-winning Tights mare Triassic. 

    Eight victories followed in Australia, with five of those at the highest level, and his exploits saw the Coolmore partners buy a majority share in the colt in 2010. 

    Transferred to the care of Aidan O'Brien, he rounded off his career with an emphatic victory in the 2012 running of the Prince of Wales's Stakes. 

    So You Think has shuttled between Coolmore's bases in Ireland and Australia and his first European two-year-olds race this year.
    by Zoe Vicarage edited by Martin Stevens 6/10/2016 2:00:25 PM
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    Black Caviar 

    Black Caviar arrived at Royal Ascot in 2012 with a huge reputation, having been unbeaten in 21 races including 11 Group 1s. It was a heart-stopping moment when jockey Luke Nolen appeared to ease down on his mount in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes but she gamely clung on to win the race by a head from Moonlight Cloud. 

    A daughter of Bel Esprit, Australia’s superstar mare is the first foal out of the unraced Desert Sun mare Helsinge.

    Her pedigree is packed full of sprinting performers as her dam is a half-sister to a Group 1-winning sprinter Magnus, who finished  third in the 2007 King’s Stand Stakes.

    Black Caviar produced her first foal, an Exceed And Excel filly, in September 2014, and added a Sebring colt a year later. She visited Snitzel for her third mating last year.

    by Zoe Vicarage edited by Martin Stevens 6/10/2016 3:52:52 PM
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    Black Caviar's Diamond Jubilee Stakes victory in 2012 remains the last time an Aussie raider won at Royal Ascot, but that very nearly wasn't the case.

    Having won twice at the highest level in Australia in the Coolmore Stud Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap, the Chris Waller-trained colt Brazen Beau headed over to Royal Ascot last year for a tilt at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. 

    Despite leading alongside the stands’ side rail as the race entered its final stages, the striking black colt could not hold off the challenge of Undrafted who came with a late surge to win the race by half a length in one of the most enthralling finishes to the contest.

    A son of emerging Australian sire I Am Invincible, who was the first son of Irish National Stud stalwart Invincible Spirit to stand in Australia, Brazen Beau is out of the Group-placed Snaadee mare Sansadee.

    Brazen Beau is standing his first season in Europe this year at Dalham Hall Stud at a fee of £10,000.

    by Zoe Vicarage edited by Martin Stevens 6/10/2016 3:55:15 PM
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    Takeover Target (1) winning the King's Stand Stakes in 2006 

    The late Takeover Target, a son of Prix du Jockey Club winner Celtic Swing, was bought by his trainer for just A$1,250 and visited Royal Ascot three times during his career.

    Having won the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap a trip to Ascot followed and he duly landed the King’s Stand Stakes by a short head.

    In a bid to emulate Choisir’s dual victories in 2003, the son of Celtic Swing lined up in the Golden Jubilee Stakes where he finished third, two and a quarter lengths behind the winner Les Arcs.  

    He returned the following year, contesting the same two races where he finished fourth in the King’s Stand Stakes and second in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.

    In 2008 he lined up in the same races once again, finishing second to Equiano in the King’s Stand Stakes and fourth behind Kingsgate Native in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.

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    Haradasun (left) gets the better of Darjina and Finsceal Beo in the 2008 Queen Anne Stakes 

    Haradasun boasts a pedigree that has done well at Royal Ascot - his half-brother Elvstroem finished third in the Prince of Wales's Stakes when the meeting was held at York in 2005 and close relation Starspangledbanner scored in the Golden Jubilee Stakes. 

    Having been crowned champion three-year-old in Australia in 2007 thanks to victories in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes and Doncaster Handicap, Coolmore bought a stake in him and he was transferred to be trained by Aidan O’Brien.

    On what to be his final career start, Haradasun got the better of top fillies Darjina and Finsceal Beo to win the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes in 2008.

    by Zoe Vicarage edited by Martin Stevens 6/10/2016 5:25:09 PM
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    Star Witness (right) is beaten by Society Rock in Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2011

    In 2011 Star Witness attempted the King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes double that Choisir had achieved eight years earlier.

    He did not manage the feat, but lost little caste in defeat when second to Prohibit in the King's Stand Stakes and third to Society Rock in the Golden Jubilee.

    Star Witness is the son of another horse who ran well in defeat at the royal meeting - Starcraft, a New Zealand-bred son of Soviet Star who won three Group 1s down under before joining Luca Cumani and winning the Prix du Moulin and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Starcraft also finished third to Valixir in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot at York in 2005.

    Star Witness seems to have got his sprinting ability from his dam Leone Chiara. She was the winner of seven races including the Group 3 Irwin Stakes and Listed W H Wylie Handicap over 5f.

    by Zoe Vicarage edited by Martin Stevens 6/10/2016 6:24:44 PM
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    Miss Andretti: best runner by Ihtiram 

    Miss Andretti stormed to success at Royal Ascot in 2007 when she broke the course record to claim the King’s Stand Stakes.

    She also attempted to land the Golden Jubilee Stakes in the same year but finished down the field behind Soldier’s Tale in the 2007 edition of the race.

    Miss Andretti is the first foal out of the Marooned mare Peggie’s Bid and her sire is Ihtiram, a four-time winner for John Dunlop whose biggest success came when landing the Listed Steventon Stakes.

    Ihtiram boasted a strong family as his dam was none other than Welsh Love who produced nine winners from 11 runners and 14 foals including Group 1 winner Second Empire.

    Since retiring to stud, Miss Andretti has been his best performer to grace the racetrack.

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  • Scenic Blast on his way to victory at Ascot in 2009

    Until Scenic Blast came on the scene, his sire Scenic was arguably best known as being a pair of dead-heaters in the Dewhurst from his sire Sadler's Wells' first crop of two-year-olds.

    Sadler's Wells-line sires are best known for transmitting stamina and indeed Scenic supplied Melbourne Cup winner Viewed in November 2008.

    However, in the following year Scenic Blast defeated Fleeting Spirit to win the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for trainer Daniel Morton and jockey Steven Arnold.

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    Elzaam shows how the Australian influence began to permeate into northern hemisphere pedigrees.

    He is by Redoute's Choice, a multiple champion sire who stands at Arrowfield Stud and covered mares to northern hemisphere time for several seasons.

    Elzaam was the product of one of those covers. Bred by Kia Ora Stud out of the Mambo In Freeport, he was bought by Shadwell at the 2009 Arqana August Yearling Sale for €280,000.

    He clearly picked up his sire’s talent for sprinting and lined up at Royal Ascot twice, first in 2010 where he was beaten a nose in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes and then in 2011, when he finished fourth behind Society Rock in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.

    Elzaam now stands at Ballyhane Stud and his first crop of two-year-olds has yielded six winners.

    Redoute's Choice, meanwhile, travelled up to Europe in 2013 and 2014 to cover two northern hemisphere books. Those first two-year-olds run this year.
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