The Weekly Wrap: Sixties Still Swinging

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Sixties Icon | Norman Court Stud

By Emma Berry

Breed an Oaks winner to a Derby winner and get a Classic winner. Simple, eh?

And no, I’m not referring to Australia (GB), who notched his first British strike last Wednesday courtesy of Godophin’s four-length winner Beyond Reason (Ire), bred by Maurice Moloney, Harry King and David O’Loughlin of Coolmore and Order of St George (Ire) fame.

Another son of Galileo (Ire) has pleasingly been back in the spotlight of late, and that’s the 2006 St Leger winner Sixties Icon (GB), bred by Trevor and Libby Harris at Lordship Stud from their Epsom heroine Love Divine (GB) (Diesis {GB}).

Sixties Icon took the breeding world by surprise when his first crop of juveniles hit the track in 2012 and included the Woodcote S. winner Chilworth Icon (GB), Chesham S. runner-up Cruck Realta (GB) and Effie B (GB), who was third to Sir Prancealot (Ire) in the National S. He ended the season with eight winners from his 17 runners, with the entire crop numbering just 40.

That’s not really the kind of starts at stud one expects from a Leger winner, right? They’re only good for National Hunt studs, surely? Well no, certainly not Sixties Icon, who has been helped in no small way by the irrepressible trainer and breeder Mick Channon, whose close involvement with Norman Court Stud, where the stallion has stood since his retirement in 2009, has been key to his success.

Channon trained all three of the aforementioned early star performers, while Hugo Palmer was responsible for the other black-type winner from the 2010 crop, Audacia (GB). Others to have emanated from Channon’s West Ilsley stable include the Group 3-placed Harrison (GB), now also a winner in Australia for Lloyd Williams, the Group 3 winners Epsom Icon (GB) and Czabo (GB), and Nancy From Nairobi (GB), who has gone on to Grade II success in America with John Sadler.

The rip-roaring form of Channon’s stable this season has seen another wave of juvenile success for the stallion, with four winners from his eight runners to date. That 2016 crop of just 24 foals includes the dual scorer Kinks (GB). It has to be said, however, that followers of the music scene, as this colt’s part-owner Chris Wright most surely is, might have chosen the name Pink Floyd rather than Kinks for a horse by Sixties Icon out of Crazee Diamond (GB).

Wright will no doubt be delighted that Channon has played a part in the great start made by Bungle Inthejungle (GB), whom he bred at his Stratford Place Stud and raced with Emily Asprey to win a brace of Group 3 races at two. As is fairly typical of a Channon trainee, Bungle Inthejungle was busy as a juvenile, racing 10 times for four wins, including the Brian Yeardley Two-Year-Old Trophy at Beverley which six years later was won by his son Jungle Inthebungle (Ire) in the colours of Theresa Burns. The colt, also trained by Channon, was just one of three winners on Saturday for the freshman sire, including a breakthrough black-type victory courtesy of Sopran Artemide (Ire) in the listed Premio Vittorio Crespi at San Siro.

Incidentally, Sopran Artemide, bred by Eileen Farrelly, is the fifth individual black-type winner this year to feature the late Verglas (Ire) as broodmare sire.

Exceeding Expectations
Next week’s Royal Ascot meeting can be so crucial for young stallions and in recent years we’ve seen New Approach (Ire) and Zoffany (Ire) enjoy impressive first-crop results at the Berkshire course.

Whose turn it will be this year is anyone’s guess but it was hard not to be impressed with the five-length victory of Juddmonte’s Calyx (GB) at Newmarket on Saturday to give his talented father Kingman (GB) his first winner. Whether John Gosden feels that the Royal meeting comes a little soon for this headstrong colt will be revealed in the coming week. It may be that a return to the July course for Newmarket’s high summer meeting will suit him better.

The Hot To Trot Racing Club struck at Royal Ascot last year when winning the G2 Queen Mary S. with Heartache (GB) (Kyllachy {GB}) and clearly good things were expected from her half-sister Heartwarming (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) when she made her debut for the same connections at Sandown on Friday. Indeed, the Clive Cox-trained filly ran well, finding only one too good when finishing three-quarters of a length off the winner in second.

Her conqueror was another Hot To Trot filly, the lesser-fancied Kurious (GB), trained by Henry Candy. The half-sister to G1 Prix de l’Abbaye winner Tangerine Trees (GB) (Mind Games {GB}) is leased from her breeder Marie Matthews, who, on the lookout for a compact and precocious sprinter, was tempted to use Australian shuttler Kuroshio (Aus) when he arrived in Britain just before Christmas in 2014.

“Marie heard about us after Heartache’s win at Ascot last year and got in touch with us through Bumble Mitchell, who she boards the mare [Easy To Imagine] with,” said Sam Hoskins, manager of Hot To Trot, the syndicate which races solely leased fillies. “I went to see the Kuroshio filly and it was a no-brainer really. Not only is she out of a really good mare who has produced lots of good winners but she’s also gorgeous.”

The syndicate members may well now be trotting back to Berkshire next week for another shot at Queen Mary glory.

“I spoke to Henry Candy this morning and he’s keen to go to Ascot,” Hoskins confirmed on Monday.

The Darley stallion Kuroshio—who, like Bungle Inthejungle, is a son of dual-hemisphere success story Exceed And Excel (Aus)—stood for just one season at Overbury Stud and had only 24 foals on the ground in 2016 but is making an impression in this season’s European freshman table. He is presently in fourth place behind No Nay Never, Bungle Inthejungle and Gregorian, and is thus far responsible for five winners from 11 runners, compared to his two winners from nine runners in the Southern Hemisphere, which sees him in 19th place on the Australian list. Kuroshio’s British-bred offspring also include the listed runner-up Daphinia (GB).

So could a Royal Ascot winner could mean he rejoins the Darley shuttle? “We’ve had breeders asking if he’s coming back but there’s been no decision at this stage,” said Overbury’s Simon Sweeting.

Australia’s Star Turn
Meanwhile in Australia, Zoustar (Aus) is offering a break in the Danehill male-line dominance with the runaway success of his first crop.

With three group winners and more than A$3 million in progeny earnings, the 8-year-old’s promising start offers some consolation for the untimely death of his sire Northern Meteor (Aus) who showed similar promise but was just seven when he succumbed to colic.

Two-thirds of Zoustar’s earnings have come from his Magic Millions-winning daughter Sunlight (Aus), who also landed the G2 Silver Slipper and was placed in the G1 Golden Slipper, giving her sire an unassailable lead in the race to be crowned champion freshman at the end of July.

European breeders were given a tantalising glimpse of the stallion owned in partnership by Widden Stud and Qatar Bloodstock when he made an appearance alongside Makfi (GB) ahead of the inaugural Goffs London Sale of 2014. The intended appearance at Royal Ascot for Zoustar had been shelved at that stage and for the last four Southern Hemisphere seasons the 8-year-old has alternated between Woodside Park Stud in Victoria and Widden in the Hunter Valley, which was also home to his sire.

Following a court case last month to resolve a contractual dispute between the two studs, Zoustar will now stand permanently at Widden, but Qatar Bloodstock’s part-ownership in the grandson of Encosta De Lago (Aus) surely raises a distinct possibility of a dual-hemisphere career.

One person who would presumably be particularly in favour of such a development is Tweenhills Farm’s bloodstock manager Hannah Wall, who is not only a part-owner of flying filly Sunlight but also recently parted with A$650,000 for three Zoustar foals at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale through the Redwall Bloodstock pinhooking syndicate she runs with David Redvers.

 A Right Royal Trooper
Her Majesty the Queen’s official birthday was recognised with the Trooping The Colour parade over the weekend but successfully trooping her own colours on the other side of the Atlantic was the William Haggas-trained Call To Mind (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), who won the GII Belmont Gold Cup 24 hours ahead of Justify’s Triple Crown victory. Even better, the royal representative won without the aid of Lasix.

The globetrotting seems likely to continue for the 4-year-old with a potential Melbourne Cup bid now being considered.

“The Australians have already been on to John [Warren] and he’s a two-mile horse who handles every type of going so everything is on the radar,” Haggas told TDN on Monday.

“It meant so much to his breeder. Her Majesty derives so much pleasure from seeing these horses born and raised. We were delighted to be part of this success and Belmont enjoyed having him there so it was wonderful all round.”

Haggas has so far trained all the offspring of the Queen’s Danehill Dancer (Ire) mare Memory (Ire). Her first foal, Call To Mind’s full-brother Recorder (GB), won the G3 Acomb S. but sadly failed to recover satisfactorily from a subsequent tendon injury. He stood his first season at Haras de Montfort & Préaux in Normandy this year where he covered 160 mares, including six owned by the Queen.

“Recorder was always a marvellous horse,” recalled Haggas, who now has the 2-year-old full-brother Space Walk (GB) in his yard. “He was only just getting going when he won at York so it was a tragedy to lose him through injury. He showed a lot more speed than Call To Mind.”

A Toast To Bagel The Hack
There were many reasons for John Hammond to enjoy the success of Bagel (Fr) (Slickly {Fr}) at ParisLongchamp last week. Not only did the 5-year-old take the trainer’s career tally of Quinté Handicap victories to 100, but he also comes from a family which Hammond knows well, as he trained the gelding’s first two dams Crumpett (Ire) and Pretty (Ire) as well as his damsire, the great Montjeu (Ire).

But perhaps the most satisfying reason is the fact that the trainer has a very close relationship with Bagel.

“He’s a ‘dual-purpose’ horse as he doubles up as my hack,” explained Hammond. “That means that he feels like he’s running loose in the afternoon with only 54kg on his back.”

Ascot’s own War Horse
Racegoers on their way in to Royal Ascot next week will pass a new statue on the roundabout alongside the course and Car Park 1 which was unveiled last week.

Dubbed ‘Poppy’, the equine sculpture by Susan Leyland is a memorial to the one million horses called into action during the First World War, most of whom never returned home.

The Weekly Wrap will be taking a break next week to indulge in a spot of car park picnic-hopping at Royal Ascot—as well as some first-class racing, of course.

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