'We were very proud to have him' - dual Group 1 winner turned sire Ask dies aged 21

Ask: Coronation Cup winner and successful sire has died aged 21
Ask: Coronation Cup winner and successful sire has died aged 21Credit: Willow Wood Farm

Ask, the dual Group 1 winner turned sire, has died at the age of 21.

The news was announced on Tuesday by Willow Wood Farm, the Tarporley stud where Ask had spent the past few seasons.

They said: "Sadly we have had to say goodbye to Ask. He achieved a lot in his lifetime and we were very proud to have him and have a lot to thank him for. 

"He has bred plenty of winners and we hope he lives on in the progeny he has left."

The son of Sadler’s Wells was bred by Side Hill Stud out of the Rainbow Quest mare Request, a homebred of the late Queen who also produced the Listed winner Bess Of Hardwick, by Dansili.

Ask was sent into training with Sir Michael Stoute for the Duke of Devonshire and Sue Magnier. He didn’t run at two but after a couple of promising efforts as a three-year-old, including in a division of the Wood Ditton Stakes on his debut, he got off the mark in a maiden at Chepstow on his third start.

He had his first crack at a Group 1 later that season in the St Leger, that year held at York, and acquitted himself well in fourth behind Sixties Icon.

Ask showed he would be a force to reckon with as a four-year-old by winning the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester on his return, now in the ownership of Patrick Fahey, and he followed up in the same grade in the Cumberland Lodge at Ascot.

Ask and Ryan Moore (right, red cap) win the 2009 Coronation Cup
Ask and Ryan Moore (right, red cap) win the 2009 Coronation CupCredit: Edward Whitaker

He finished that campaign being beaten just a nose by Cloudy's Knight in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine.

He again won a Group 3 on his reappearance the following season, the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown, but he found the rest of the campaign, mainly spent in Group 1 company, a struggle.

However, in the spring of 2009, then aged six, he won yet again first time out, this time by a thumping six lengths in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.

Next, it was Ask’s turn to win at the top level by a nose, as he pipped Youmzain in a thriller of a Coronation Cup at Epsom.

He subsequently followed home stablemates Conduit and Tartan Bearer in a Stoute-dominated King George at Ascot, before striking again at the top level in the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp, beating Schiaparelli by a length and a half.

Ask was given his most ambitious assignment yet the following year, when making his seasonal debut in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Punters sent him off favourite, despite that, but he was unable to land a blow in fifth behind Rite Of Passage, It proved to be his last run.

He was almost inevitably going to be a National Hunt-oriented sire and duly took up stud duties for Coolmore at The Beeches.

After eight seasons of service, he was moved on to Dunraven Stud, and had spent the last few years at Willow Wood in Cheshire.

Ask has been a reliable source of winners and quality at stud, especially in light of the modest fees he stood for – never higher than his opening salvo of €3,000.

Stellar Story (left) ridden by Sam Ewing wins the Albert Bartlett from The Jukebox Man
Among Ask's progeny is recent Albert Bartlett runner-up The Jukebox Man (right)Credit: John Grossick

The Jukebox Man, beaten just a head by Stellar Story in this year’s Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and frustratingly second again at the top level in the Sefton at Aintree the following month, was a strong recent reminder of what his sire was capable of, his Racing Post Rating of 151 being the highest yet for a progeny of Ask.

Close behind was Ask Dillon, the Cheltenham handicap hurdle winner who was also Graded-placed, while another of the sire’s best was six-time winner Earth Moor.

His top-earner is Ask Paddington, the nine-time winner whose prize-money haul was boosted by third-place finishes in Grade 1s in the United States, namely the Lonesome Glory and Grand National Hurdle in the autumn of 2022.

Lookaway, the likeable flagbearer for the Neil King yard, won the Grade 2 Sharp Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham only last season, and was a fine second to Captain Teague in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury.

On the Flat, his best performer has been Lunar Jet, the eight-time winner whose most recent success came last April at Redcar.

Read next:

'If every stallion was as easy to deal with, life would be very simple' - James Hannon on the late Sholokhov 

Bloodstock editor

Published on inNews

Last updated