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Anastasiou set to Fledge again after Orby Sale acquisition

The breeder of Cloth Of Stars picked up the War Command filly for €300,000

Lot 217: the War Command half-sister to Cloth Of Stars bought by Peter Anastasiou for €300,000
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One of the beauties of thoroughbreds is that you never quite know in which direction they will lead you. For Melbourne-based financier Peter Anastasiou, his association with the mare Strawberry Fledge has taken such a circuitous route that even Michael Palin would have been left wondering if he was holding his map the right way up.

Anastasiou's affiliation with Strawberry Fledge began at Tattersalls back in late November 2009, when he acquired the unraced four-year-old from the draft of the Niarchos family's Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard for just 110,000gns.

She was not the average unraced four-year-old, however, as her Kingmambo sister was none other than Oaks winner Light Shift, whose performance in the 2007 Epsom Classic will long be remembered for propelling Sir Henry Cecil back into the limelight.

Strawberry Fledge was offered in foal to Pivotal and duly produced a colt later named The Best Doctor. But by the time her fourth foal, Apollonian, was on the ground, the only form of any note her progeny had to offer was a Kempton maiden victory registered by her High Chaparral two-year-old Warrior Of Light.

And when that horse's sister, Niku, was delivered in April 2015, Strawberry Fledge had already found her way back into the hands of the Niarchos family.

Big updates

Horses have an awful habit of confounding us however, and no sooner had Anastasiou offloaded Strawberry Fledge than the family suddenly burst into life.

Her third foal, Cloth Of Stars - who Anastasiou bred and sold to Godolphin for 400,000gns - proved an instant hit, winning his first two starts at two, including the Group 3 Prix des Chenes, and then finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

He has remained on a steady but distinctly upward trajectory that has taken in five further successes, most notably the Prix Ganay, and he now heads to Sunday's Arc with a lively outsider's chance.

That, moreover, is not the only notable update that Strawberry Fledge's page has received since she returned to the Niarchos family, as her illustrious sister Light Shift is, of course, the dam of none other than Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International hero Ulysses - also in the Arc and trading as second favourite.

But just when it looked like a mare from one of the most in vogue families in the stud book had slipped through Anastasiou's fingers, the opportunity to buy back into the family unexpectedly arose during the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale.

Baroda and Colbinstown Studs offered Strawberry Fledge's War Command filly on behalf of the Niarchos family on Tuesday, and Anastasiou's representative Dermot Farrington duly swooped for the filly with a winning bid of €300,000.

"The family has erupted lately," said Farrington. "We were surprised to be able to get back into it, especially for that price. Peter has done so well with this family, but the Niarchos family made us an offer we couldn't refuse for Strawberry Fledge so we had to let her go.

"Peter isn't here [at Goffs] but will be on his way to France to watch Cloth Of Stars run in the Arc on Sunday."

No decision has been made on exactly where the War Command filly's future lies, but given her new owner's success with her relatives, not to mention the prospect of a major update coming out of Chantilly on Sunday, it will be well worth watching this space.

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We were surprised to be able to get back into it, especially for that price
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