Via Sistina Returns to the December Sale a Group 1 Winner

Via Sistina with her owner Rebecca Hillen and trainer George Boughey | Racingfotos 

With the benefit of glorious hindsight it seems scarcely believable that Via Sistina (GB) could have been sold at the December Yearling Sale four years ago for just 5,000gns by her breeder Laundry Cottage Stud. One thing is certain: when the Group 1 winner returns to Tattersalls in a few weeks among the elite Sceptre Sessions of the December Mares' Sale, her price will have many more zeroes on the end.

A big, scopey mare who took some time to fill her statuesque frame, the five-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock (Aus) is bred on what has come to be regarded as a golden cross. Her dam is the Galileo (Ire) mare Nigh (Ire), who, though unraced herself, is a half-sister to the top-class sprinter Kingsgate Native (Ire) (Mujadil).

“She's a big girl but a very sound horse in training and one who I'm sure is a massive racing prospect as well as a broodmare. She's peaking at five,” says George Boughey, who has trained Via Sistina since the retirement of her initial trainer, Joseph Tuite, and most recently saddled her to finish second in an epic battle with King Of Steel on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.

Even from her first season, Via Sistina showed plenty of class, rounding out her three-year-old season with two wins from five starts and a rating of 97. Bigger and better was to come, however. 

At four, she landed her first Pattern success, taking the G3 Prix Fille de l'Air in Toulouse after being beaten only a neck in the G3 Pride S. at Newmarket. This season, she picked up the baton again in the spring for a six-length victory in the G2 Dahlia S. on Guineas weekend at Newmarket

“The plan was always when she won in France as a four-year-old to go to the Dahlia, and arguably that was her best performance,” Boughey recalls. “She was pretty devastating that day. The rain obviously helped, but she's very versatile.”

From Newmarket, Via Sistina travelled to Ireland for her first attempt in Group 1 company, this time winning the Pretty Polly S. from Stay Alert (GB) and Above The Curve. In three subsequent runs, in the Falmouth S., the Prix Jean Romanet and the Champion S., she has never been out of the first three, including going down by just a nose to Mqse De Sevigne (Ire) in Deauville.

“She hit every target that we wanted her to, and to a tee,” Boughey says. “I think she very easily could have won in France as well, she just got a bit lonely in front. She's been brilliantly ridden through a career by some world-class jockeys and she needs putting there on the line. She's got a pretty good turn of foot for a big mare over that trip. There are a lot of good horses, but not many have a turn a foot and can sit last and quicken for 300 metres. 

“She's a very consistent Group 1 performer and certainly the best I've trained.”

That's high praise indeed from the trainer who was also represented by his first Classic winner last season in Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}). The winner of the 1,000 Guineas will also be offered in the Sceptre Sessions.

“I'm very proud of that, selling two Group 1 winners at Tattersalls,” Boughey says. 

“I never really dreamed of having a Group I winner, certainly not so early, and to have two selling within half an hour of each other is is pretty cool.”

He adds of Via Sistina, “She came here as a bit of a project and has turned into our star. So it will be a good day but it will be a sad day. It's hard to lose good horses and they do leave a big hole. You've got to go and find another one, but it's hard to find them when they're that good.” 


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