English passes the test in Doomben 10,000
Les Young analyses the breeding of the dual Group 1-winning sprinter
With the obvious exception of Winx, few well-bred, top-class mares in Australia have racing careers extending over four or five seasons due to their value as potential broodmares or issues of soundness.
Newhaven Park Stud’s English, a daughter of Encosta De Lago, still racing as a rising six-year-old, is another exception to the rule, the decision to keep her going well justified by her victory in last Saturday’s $700,000 Doomben 10,000 in which she produced a strong finishing sprint to defeat the somewhat unlucky, stud-bound Lohnro colt Impending by a long head with Hard Spun gelding Le Romain another half-neck back in third place.
Last year’s Doomben 10,000 winner Redzel was a close-up fourth in the top-quality field. Race time was 1:09.58 while the time for the last 600 metres, 34.74, was the fastest of the day.
Since the late John Kelly established Newhaven Park Stud in Boorowa, New South Wales, shortly after his return from World War II, the Kelly family have bred and raced many outstanding performers and have stood a number of influential stallions, by far the most notable being Wilkes, three-time champion sire in Australia.
English is a credit to her co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott as she has been on the go since early in her two-year-old season, when she won the Group 2 Reisling Stakes before finishing second to Vancouver in the Golden Slipper, a performances which led to her being rated Australia’s champion juvenile filly of 2014-15, a ranking she repeated as a three-year-old.
Winning the 2016 All Aged Stakes, two renewals of the Group 2 Challenge Stakes and three other Group 1 placings have been other highlights of English’s racing career to date and it seems likely she will race on next season with The Everest, an early and enticing target.
Possibly the last Group 1 winner for her retired sire Encosta De Lago, English draws attention to the perhaps under-appreciated achievements of her father, twice champion sire in Australia in 2006-07 and 2007-08 and Australia’s leading broodmare sire in 2015-16 and 2016-17, a title he is poised to retain for the third successive season.
Legacy on the breed
Himself a Group One-winning sprinter-miler, Encosta De Lago has been versatile in terms of the winning distances of his progeny and so far has 114 stakes winners to his credit, among them other Group 1-winning fillies and mares Alinghi, Aloha, Apercu, Mnemosyne and Princess Coup.
Of course, Encosta De Lago’s male offspring have been no less talented, led by the wonderful sprinter Chautauqua and also Group 1 winners Delago Brom, Delago Deluxe, Douro Valley, Manhattan Rain, Newport, Northern Meteor, Puccini, Racing To Win, Road To Rock, Shadoways, Sirmione, Smokin’ Joey, Titanic Jack and Vanbrugh, with many of those now standing in Australasia.
Northern Meteor looked a champion sire in waiting before his early death at Widden Stud and high hopes are held for Coolmore Australia resident Rubick, a son of Encosta De Lago, whose first crop will race as two-year-olds next season.
Only time will tell if sire sons or broodmare daughters will provide Encosta De Lago’s greatest contribution to breeding in the long term but his mares have already produced 49 Group winners, among them young stallions Divine Prophet, Impending and Invader, not to mention multiple Group 1 winner Happy Clapper, Japonisme, Mighty Boss, plus a host of others.
English’s dam, the Anabaa mare Court, was a classy performer, her five wins including four black-type events up to 1350m. Her only other two foals to race, the stakes-placed Al Naifa and Puzzle are both winners but she has proved hard to get in foal in recent seasons although it appears she is expecting an early foal by Snitzel this spring.
Both Court and her dam Splish are products of Newhaven Park with Splish’s dam La Papaya an import from the US but a member of a very successful European family.
La Papaya is a half-sister to Grand Lodge, one of Europe’s leading two-year-olds of 1993, a dual Group One winner and later a very successful sire shuttling to Woodlands Stud in New South Wales, when the property was in the Ingham ownership.
In Australia, Grand Lodge left Group 1 winners Ambulance, Freemason, Grand Zulu, Hotel Grand, Lovelorn and Shogun Lodge, while in the northern hemisphere, his Group 1 winners were Grand Courier (in the US), Grandera, Indian Lodge, Queen’s Logic and Sinndar, winner of the Epsom and Irish Derby. Grand Lodge also made a mark as a maternal grandsire.
Magic Flute, fifth dam of English, won the Cheveley Park Stakes and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot as a three-year-old before going on to breed six winners, among them stakes winner Eagling, who spent time as a sire in South Australia. Several of her daughters became good producers of winners, one being the non-winner Early Song, dam in Australia of Fine Society, winner of the 1993 Canterbury Guineas.
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