Lions Ready To Roar At Arqana

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Roaring Lion | Tweenhills

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Buyers at this weekend's Arqana August Yearling Sale will have the chance to get their hands on an extremely rare commodity when eight yearlings from the lone crop of 2018 Cartier Horse of the Year Roaring Lion go up for sale in Deauville.

Qatar Racing's Roaring Lion was euthanized in August 2019 in New Zealand after suffering several bouts of colic. The grey had not long before finished covering a debut book at Tweenhills Stud in Britain that resulted in 90 registered foals.

David Redvers, racing manager to Qatar Racing and owner/managing director of Tweenhills Stud, said, “We've seen quite a lot of the Roaring Lions that are around and we have a good number here, somewhere between 30 and 40. They're a very good, level group of miler, middle-distance type of horse very much in Roaring Lion's image at the same stage.”

Redvers would know. He and his team picked out Roaring Lion at the same point in his life, on the first day of Keeneland September in 2016, for $160,000-not quite a steal, but certainly under the radar of the $305,171 session average. Placed under the tutelage of John Gosden, Roaring Lion won his first three starts on the bounce, including the G2 Royal Lodge S., before finishing a neck second to Saxon Warrior (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 Racing Post Trophy. Third behind eventual Derby winner Masar (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) in the G3 Craven S. and fifth behind Saxon Warrior in the Guineas, Roaring Lion bounced back to win the G2 Dante S. by 4 1/2 lengths before finishing third in the Derby. He then embarked on a remarkable four race Group 1 win streak taking in the Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion S. and Queen Elizabeth II S., the Group 1 winners in his wake including Saxon Warrior, Laurens (GB), Addeybb (Ire), Study Of Man (Jpn), Rhododendron (Ire), Thunder Snow (Ire) and Hawkbill.

“When the horse has been and gone it's easy to forget what a brilliant racehorse he was, but there have been so many by him that are similar in their action and that have his quality,” Redvers said. “The ones that have just started their prep, we love their outlook, movement, everything. We're delighted with what we're seeing and we're massively invested. Qatar Racing is going to have 25 to 30 in training by him.”

Redvers said he and his team will also be on the lookout for the Roaring Lions at the sales, likening the scenario to another Horse of the Year that was lost too soon, Dubai Millennium, and Dubawi, the outstanding sire he left in his lone crop.

“We'll be trying to identify one or two of the best horses [at the sales] and the hope is that we will identify the Dubawi in the Dubai Millennium crop,” Redvers said. “And while we know what we like the look of, we don't have a crystal ball, so there will be plenty of opportunity for other people there as well.”

Roaring Lion finished second only to Saxon Warrior by average among first-crop sires at the foal sales last year, his eight sold averaging £61,027/€71,985, and his first yearling to step into a sales ring will be lot 4 at Arqana on Saturday, a colt out of the Pivotal (GB) mare Every Time (GB). He is a homebred for Haras d'Etreham, which purchased the mare for 300,000gns at Tattersalls December in 2015. Every Time is a placed half-sister to the dams of G3 Oh So Sharp S. winner Mot Juste (Distorted Humor) and G1 Moyglare Stud S. and G3 Albany S. winner Cursory Glance (Distorted Humor), whose half-sister Willow View (Lemon Drop Kid) is the dam of American Grade I winner Digital Age (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}). The Roaring Lion colt is the fifth foal out of the mare, whose first foal is a winner. The mare's second foal, a filly by Invincible Spirit (Ire), was injured before she could go into training and her third, the Zoffany (Ire) filly Villa Wagram (Ire), has been placed this year at three. She also has a 2-year-old colt by Camelot (GB).

“He's a colt we've always liked; he has size, scope, a bit of quality about him, and a good walk,” said Etreham's Nicolas de Chambure. “He looks a Classic type of horse to me. He looks mature already, and as the Americans would say, he's a real two-turn type of horse. We're very happy with him. He has that bit of class that Roaring Lion had.”

Etreham also sends the final Roaring Lion of the sale through the ring. Lot 321 is out of the winning Amarysia (Fr) (Medicean {GB}), a two-time winner and half-sister to the stakes-winning and producing Skia (Fr) (Motivator {GB}). Lot 321 was a €65,000 Arqana December foal.

“He is being pinhooked by one of our clients,” de Chambure said. “He has a very good mind as well, and that's something those [Roaring Lion] colts have in common. He has a bit of scope, and he looks a bit earlier. He's a bit more compact and more close to the ground, but he has that good walk as well and some quality about him.”

Ecurie des Monceaux offers a homebred Roaring Lion colt (lot 96) out of Secrete (Fr) (Cape Cross {Ire}). The 12-year-old mare has repaid the €250,000 Monceaux invested when it purchased her out of the Wertheimer et Frere draft at the 2012 Arqana December Sale; her first foal, Normandy Eagle (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), was Group 3 placed and her third foal, Solage (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) was a listed winner in Ireland. Her fourth foal, Rumi (Fr) (Frankel {GB}) won this year's G3 Prix Vanteaux. Both Solage and Rumi were €700,000 yearlings at this sale.

“I was quite impressed with Roaring Lion and I wanted to send him a nice mare,” said Monceaux's Henri Bozo. “Secrete is the mare we sent him and she's a really nice one-she's produced three black-type horses including Solage who won a stakes in Ireland and Rumi who won a Group 3 in France this year. It's a very proven family in Europe. The Roaring Lion colt is quite similar to the stallion; he has a good walk and a good temperament so I'm happy with him. He's a nice horse and I think it's interesting to have the Kitten's Joy bloodline.”

The other Roaring Lions on offer are Haras de la Perelle's colt out of G1 Falmouth S. winner Giofra (GB) (Dansili {GB}) (lot 13); La Motteraye's filly who is the first foal out of the listed-winning Lbretha (Fr) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) (lot 38); Haras du Cadran's filly out of the dual listed-winning Avenue Gabriel (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) (lot 137); Haras des Capucines's colt out of the listed-winning Cheriearch (Arch) (lot 153), whose 2-year-old half-brother Welwal (Fr) (Shalaa {Ire}) won on debut at Deauville on Sunday; and Normandie Breeding's colt out of New Desire (Ire) (Dansili {GB}), a full-sister to champion Islington (lot 239).

Tweenhills launches another sire at this year's yearling sales, and although categorized as a first-crop sire on these shores he is in fact not at all, having already made waves in the Southern Hemisphere with his first four crops to race. Zoustar won the G2 BRC Sires' Produce S. at two before going on to take the G1 Golden Rose S., G2 Roman Consul S. and G1 Coolmore Stud S. at three, after which Qatar Racing and Widden Stud bought into him. The decision was taken to wait to shuttle the son of Northern Meteor (Aus) until he had proven successful Down Under, and thus when he covered his first Northern Hemisphere book of mares at a fee of £25,000 in 2019 he already had seven stakes winners Down Under led by the brilliant Sunlight (Aus), who had led home a 1-2-3 for her sire in the 2018 edition of the Coolmore Stud S. Zoustar's first Northern Hemisphere book resulted in 103 foals-which averaged £57,028/€67,268 at the foal sales last year–and his proficiency continued in such fashion in Australia that his fee actually rose to £30,000 for his second British book in 2020.

“His best crop is his second crop, which is an extraordinary thing,” Redvers said. “His nomination fee went up and he got a bigger book of mares and that was because his second crop was off the back of his extraordinary results with his first 3-year-olds in Australia,” Redvers said. “He had the first three in the Coolmore Stud S. and produced a couple champions. We've had the benefit of seeing what an extraordinary sire of sprinters and milers he is in Australia and that's as close you can get to an open goal as a breeder.”

“They're a different type of horse to the Roaring Lions,” Redvers continued. “The Roaring Lions are all quality and screaming back-end 2-year-old and a mile to 10 furlong 3-year-old. The Zoustars that are bred on speed lines look like absolute rockets, but they don't look like small, precocious horses; they have big hips and a great action. So many of them have his undeniable, immediately recognizable characteristics: that big broad head and jaw, and you can just see him in them. I'm as excited about him as it is possible to be about a stallion, and hopefully we're going to see a new era in the production of speed horses in the UK and Europe.”

There are five Zoustars catalogued at Arqana, and Etreham offers a colt out of the winning Fortitude (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}) (lot 181). Etreham purchased Fortitude as a 3-year-old for 90,000gns at Tattersalls December in 2017 and she has enjoyed some major family updates this year, with her 5-year-old half-brother Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) winning four stakes races including the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, and her 2-year-old half-brother Point Lonsdale (Ire) (Australia {GB}) taking the Listed Chesham S. at Royal Ascot. Fortitude has a 2-year-old by another Australian-bred sire, the Etreham shuttler Scissor Kick (Aus), and the Zoustar colt is her second foal. De Chambure said that in sending Fortitude to Zoustar, he was attempting to replicate the speed-on-speed matings that have worked so well for Zoustar Down Under.

“I thought it would be interesting to breed that Green Desert line to Zoustar,” he explained. “He's done really well with those speedy Australian mares and I thought I'd try to replicate that by sending him a mare that has a bit of speed. Sometimes we probably make the mistake of using those Australian sires to speed up a pedigree and send them a Classic mare or 2400 metre type of mare, and sometimes that doesn't work because it's too extreme. So I thought I'd send him a mare with true speed. We're happy with the colt, he has that good length from Oasis Dream and he's very athletic and a good walker.”

Monceaux's Zoustar filly, lot 269, is the first foal for her dam, the winning Saccharose (GB), who is by Australian champion sire Exceed and Excel. Monceaux bought Saccharose for €170,000 at Arqana December carrying this filly in 2019.

“She's has the physical and she moves well, and she looks quite forward and precocious,” Bozo said. “She looks like she could run early. I have another Zoustar selling in October. I have three of them and they're all very athletic horses; they have a lot of strength.”

The other Zoustars catalogued for Arqana are a filly out of the Listed Lanwades Stud S. winner Arabda (GB) (Elnadim) (lot 134) offered by Arcadia Elevage; Haras de Saint Pair's half-sister to Grade III winner Guildsman (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) from the family of Almanzor (Fr) (lot 162); and Haras d'Haspel's colt out of Meandering (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), a full-sister to multiple group winner Up (Ire) and a half to multiple Group 1 winner and sire Dutch Art (GB) (lot 224).

It is exciting times for the team at Tweenhills Stud. Although Roaring Lion is much missed, he and Zoustar's first yearlings look to usher in a new era for the stud, which also has some first-crop yearlings by the crack miler Lightning Spear (GB) (Pivotal {GB}). Its elder statesman Havana Gold has hit another gear this season, and G1 2000 Guineas winner Kameko covered his first book this spring.

“Roaring Lion was the first serious world champion we produced so it's incredibly exciting seeing his first crop of yearlings going through, obviously tinged with a huge amount of sadness that there aren't more crops to follow for him,” Redvers said. “But Zoustar is possibly the horse that excites me personally even more, because we know already that he is the sire of two Group 1 winners from his first crop in Australia and that he's going from strength to strength down there. So it's going to be the most fascinating 12 months. Hopefully this time next year we'll be seeing the fruits of it.”

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