American success prompts Cheveley Park return to Kentucky
$1.1m investment in two fillies is first in 12 years
Inspired by the success of American-bred runners across Europe, and particularly at Royal Ascot, Cheveley Park Stud has returned to action in the Keeneland sale pavilion for the first time in a dozen years.
Chris Richardson, the stud's managing director, secured fillies by War Front and Medaglia d'Oro on Tuesday after finding himself outbid for four prospects in the Book 1 session the previous day.
"They were both very athletic, very attractive fillies with great movement, and, obviously, there is a European connection in their families," Richardson said. "It's exciting. We're pleased to come here and get two. I was beginning to think the luck wasn't going to go my way, but thankfully it changed."
The War Front filly, sold as Hip 400 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency, out of French stakes winner La Conseillante, by Elusive Quality, is a full-sister to Group 2-placed War Envoy. Her third dam is Kentucky Derby-winning champion Winning Colors.
Richardson said he was pushed to his limit of $750,000 to acquire the War Front filly, who was bred by Joseph Allen. "Winning Colors is obviously a fantastic mare, so there is a good deal of depth in the pedigree," he said. "It was a little bit more than I wanted to spend, but at the same time, to have a War Front is exciting. So I'm very pleased."Medaglia d'Oro filly, meanwhile, is out of Laughing Lashes, a Mr Greeley mare who finished second in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and third in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. The filly, who cost $350,000, comes from the family of Racing Post Trophy winner Palace Episode and Canadian champion Spring In The Air.
"She's probably more of a mile to mile-and-a-quarter filly," Richardson said. "She'll need a little bit of time, but hopefully she will add fresh blood for the future of the farm."
Stud owners Patricia and David Thompson were stirred by American racing when their homebred Queen's Trust won the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf last year. Royal Ascot victories by American-breds such as Lady Aurelia, Caravaggio and Tepin also piqued their interest in finding fillies ultimately eligible to join their 140-strong broodmare band.
"It just made Mr and Mrs Thompson open their eyes to the potential and the possibility of coming here and seeing what might be available," Richardson explained. "And I think there are quite a lot of Europeans who have come again to Keeneland this year. We are looking for something with a little bit of turf connection, or a by a sire who could produce runners on the turf."Canda, a Storm Cat mare out of French Classic winner East Of The Moon.
The new September format – a streamlined Book 1, followed by a three-day Book 2 – was also appealing, Richardson said, adding that the quality of the horses assembled for the early days of the sale has been strong.
"There is that opportunity to buy something special over here," he said. "And we have been successful over past years in buying a few fillies here, and racing them, and they've made some foundation families for us. So we hope we can be part of things to come again. And maybe we'll be back in November [for the breeding stock sale] as well."