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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Olmedo impresses on the home front for sire now making US sales impact

Declaration Of War colt latest exciting Arqana graduate found by trainer

Jean-Claude Rouget proudly stands alongside his latest Arqana gem after Olmedo made a striking debut at Deauville on Tuesday
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They haven't done it again, surely? It is, of course, too early to know for sure. But the men who brought us Almanzor, La Cressonniere and Avenir Certain – and, in part, Brametot as well – certainly appear to have rolled another potential star off the production line, judging from the debut of Olmedo at Deauville on Tuesday.

Whether or not this colt can build on first impressions, having circled most of the field to win by four lengths going away, Jean-Claude Rouget has yet again found an early flagship for a young stallion. For it was not quite a year ago, just over the road at the Arqana sales complex, that the French champion trainer paid €100,000 for a member of the first crop of Declaration Of War.

This price was perfectly consistent with the highly respectable dividends achieved by the Coolmore stallion's initial yearlings, 77 changing hands for an average exceeding £80,000 from an opening fee of €40,000. They represented a single crop sired in Tipperary before Declaration Of War relocated (via a shuttle stint in Australia) to Coolmore’s Kentucky wing at Ashford, where he had himself been raised. That move reflected not only the rising status of his sire, War Front, but also Declaration Of War's knockout dirt debut when a close third in the Breeders' Cup Classic on his final start.

Though you could not read too much from a sample of four deemed eligible for the boutique Fasig-Tipton sale at Saratoga earlier this week, the good vibes about his first American crop were reflected in an average of $247,500 and a prediction from Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales (who consigned two of them) that his stock were "going to get very expensive in a big hurry".

Right on cue, Olmedo emerged over the ocean just a few hours later and Rouget was unequivocal in anointing him as the best of his youngsters – an endorsement bound to excite interest, in a colt carrying the same Antonio Caro colours as Almanzor and Avenir Certain, and likewise owned in partnership with Gerard Augustin-Normand. It was the latter who had the honour, in terms of racing colours, when they raced La Cressonniere; while his ties to La Cauviniere – a stud currently undergoing rebranding – also prompted him to invest in Rouget's latest dual Classic winner, Brametot.

The latter is by a rookie sire in Rajsaman, and is duly promoting him much as Avenir Certain (a €45,000 yearling found by Rouget at Arqana's October sale) did his studmate Le Havre. Rouget performed a similar service for Haras d'Etreham in picking out Almanzor – just like Olmedo, as a €100,000 Arqana August yearling, from Wootton Bassett's first crop – and Coolmore must be hoping that his Midas touch will now extend to Declaration Of War.

True, Declaration Of War is only half the story in Olmedo's pedigree. For one thing, he has one of the great damsires in Pivotal, whose daughter Super Pie has produced a four-time winner from her only previous starter. She is out of a Group-placed half-sister by Linamix (himself a noted distaff influence) to Prix du Jockey-Club runner-up Super Celebre; their dam, in turn, a half-sister to American grass champion Steinlen and to the dam of Irish Derby winner Zagreb.

Olmedo, incidentally, was not the only exciting youngster introduced to unabashed acclaim from a seasoned trainer on Tuesday's card. Freddy Head, who once trained one called Goldikova, suggested that he has not trained many better fillies than Efaadah after the daughter of Dansili quickened away from the front to score by three lengths over the same seven and a half furlongs. The Shadwell homebred is out of a stakes-winning half-sister by Oasis Dream to Alrahma, runner-up in the Prix Morny for the stable last year.

Already Head candidly rates this filly as her superior, so it augurs well for Olmedo that he produced the quicker time of the pair. Whatever the future holds for this particular colt, he has already confirmed Rouget as a man to watch on both sides of the Avenue Hocquart de Turtot next weekend.

Jean-Claude Rouget has yet again found an early flagship for a young stallion
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