“This Is Massive For Us” – Asadna Has Aughamore Team Excited For Ascot

Michael Gleeson | Tattersalls


Aughamore Stud's Michael Gleeson has said that producing Asadna (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}), arguably the most impressive two-year-old winner there has been so far this season and a genuine Royal Ascot contender, eclipses anything the family-run farm has achieved in the sales ring. 

Gleeson runs one of the shrewdest breeding and pinhooking operations in Ireland along with his brother Laurence. The Westmeath men have made a habit of producing a number of big results at the sales in recent years and are now savouring what looks a real Coventry S. contender in TDN Rising Star Asadna. 

He said, “This is massive for us. The sales ring is brilliant but it's the winner's enclosure where you really want to be. We were fortunate enough to have sold a Group 1 winner [Champers Elysees (Ire) (Elzaam {Aus})] who won the Matron S. during lockdown so we couldn't be there for that. That's always going to stick in the back of your mind so we're going to make sure we're at Royal Ascot to see Asadna run.”

That might be a good idea. The ratings suggest that what Asadna did on debut at Ripon was something out of the ordinary. In actual fact, no two-year-old has posted a bigger Timeform rating than Asadna did when pulling a massive 12 lengths clear of his rivals to win over six furlongs on debut at Ripon for George Boughey. 

For Asadna to win on debut didn't come as a surprise to anyone close to him. But for him to go and post one of the most impressive speed figures in recent times for a debutant, just over a month after selling from Church Farm and Horse Park Stud to owner Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah for 160,000gns, could not have been predicted by anybody. 

Gleeson said, “We spoke to John Cullinan and Roger Marley, who breezed him, and they were very keen on the horse. But then again, he didn't blow the lights out at the Craven but still managed to sell well. 

“Obviously, they got him sold on their reputation because it was probably the soft ground that killed him in the breeze. We heard he was going well with George and everyone liked him but you never want to get too far ahead of yourself. 

“You hear so many stories about horses who are going to be the next big thing and it normally doesn't work out so you have to try and keep your feet on the ground.”

He added, “When you first saw him win by that distance, you were in shock. And then the more information that came out in the following hours and days made you wonder if it actually happened. At the same time, it was still only a maiden, but he looks very exciting.” 

Asadna is a best-priced 4-1 for the Coventry but most firms are quoting just 5-2 about him winning one of the most prestigious two-year-old races in the calender. His success is a triumph for the Gleeson brothers' patience and once again highlights their ability to sniff out a bargain given the dam Looks Great (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) was picked up for just 10,000gns through Hamish Macauley at the Tattersalls July Sale seven years ago.  

Gleeson said, “We've seven broodmares on the farm now but a lot of those have only been purchased in the past couple of years. Asadna is out of one of the original mares that we bought when we moved back home to the farm to try and give it a go so it has taken time. It's a long time since she was bought from the sales as a three-year-old. 

“As her name suggests, she was an outstanding individual and we knew that her dam [Danehill Dreamer (Danehill)] produced lovely-looking stock. There was a Nathaniel (Ire) colt  [Ecole d'Art (Ire)] out of the mare that made 675,000gns as a yearling. 

“You need to find an angle and have to forgive something somewhere when you are shopping at that level. So we forgave her page because she had a strong backpage and felt that New Approach (Ire) would be a very good broodmare sire, which he now looks to be. He looks to be the next big thing as a broodmare sire.”

He added, “We were actually debating whether or not to put her in training after we bought her off Godolphin but we just didn't have the finances to test the waters.”

The Gleesons kept it local by travelling just 20 minutes from their base in Streamstown, County Westmeath, to their near neighbours in Tally-Ho Stud to visit Mehmas just before his first runners hit the track. It turned out to be an inspired decision given the heights Mehmas has scaled in the interim and Gleeson is hoping that Asadna can be the latest star for the popular sire. 

He said, “We went to him during his first season and it just made sense to go back. He is local to us there in Tally-Ho Stud and they have always been very good to us. It was an easy decision. When we used him the second time with the mare, with the resulting progeny now being Asadna, there was actually a lot of word about his first runners so we decided to send two mares to him before anything hit the track. It proved to be the last chance saloon when you consider what his stud fee is now. 

“But with the way the market is gone now, there has to be an element of risk because sire power is everything, especially with the mares who don't have the big pages. You need to land on the right sire to potentially upgrade your mare.”

Gleeson added, “Looks Great now has a Belardo (Ire) yearling filly who I imagine we will bring to the Tattersalls Ireland September Sale. She's also in foal to Nando Parado (GB, who we have a share in, so we were keen to support him this year with something decent.”

“Even though The Fugue (GB) (Dansili {GB}) is in the pedigree, you also have Limato (Ire) (Tagula {Ire}), while Fille De Reve (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) and Sulaalaat (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) were other highly-rated performers in the pedigree as well. Sulaalaat actually won over six furlongs so we just said that we'd embrace the speed element of the pedigree. From a commercial point of view, it made sense to go that way with that level of a stallion.”

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