Shoals lives up to superb pedigree in Surround Stakes
There is no sure-fire formula for producing top-class thoroughbreds but if you can afford to breed the best to the best it gives you a flying start.
I was reminded of this tried-and-tested recipe when the superbly bred Fastnet Rock filly Shoals became the first winner of the 7f Surround Stakes since its elevation to Group 1 status as a set-weights event for three-year-old fillies.
Settling second, Shoals reached the lead at the 100m mark, winning cleverly by a half-length from the strong finishing Torvill, by Not A Single Doubt, with Shumookh, by Dream Ahead, and Rimraam, by Commands, dead-heating for third. Race time was 1:23.46 on a soft track.
The win served to confirm the quality of Shoals, winner last spring of the Group 1 Myer Classic over 1600m after finishing second to Aloisia in the Thousand Guineas over 1600m. Earlier feature wins for Shoals as a two-year-old last autumn were in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes over 1200m and in the Group 2 Percy Sykes Stakes over 1200m.
Bred by Arrowfield and Jonathan Munz's GSA Bloodstock, Shoals did not see a sale ring but is raced by her breeders in partnership, with the Munz interests under the name of Pinecliff Racing. The owners are now considering taking the filly to Royal Ascot in June where she would not be overshadowed on pedigree.
Given that the partners outlaid A$1.9 million (£1.07m/€1.2m) to buy Shoals's dam The Broken Shore carrying the multiple Group 1 winner when Muzaffar Yaseen's Teeley Assets dispersed its blue riband collection of bloodstock at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale at the Gold Coast in 2014, it is pleasing to see the buyers quickly rewarded with a filly of such quality.
While it seemed a lot of money at the time for a relatively moderately performed mare, The Broken Shore possessed a pedigree that is priceless and she is proving very fertile, since foaling the as-yet-unraced sister to Shoals, named Tides, in 2015, a Fastnet Rock colt in 2016 and last year a colt by Medaglia D'Oro before being bred back to Fastnet Rock.
Her yearling brother to Shoals is expected to be a late highlight when he sells as Lot 400 at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale on April 11.
What made The Broken Shore, a minor winner in Sydney, such a sought-after broodmare?
Very simply, the mare has a pedigree par excellence coming from what is arguably Australia's finest contemporary family as a daughter of Shantha's Choice and thus a half-sister to three-time champion Australian sire Redoute's Choice, Platinum Scissors, Manhattan Rain, Sliding Cube - dam of young sire Rubick (Encosta De Lago) - and several more of note.
This is a female line of exceptional international depth, going back through American import Dancing Show and her dam Show Lady to Best in Show, the fifth dam of Shoals and a renowned foundation mare in the US.
Hussonet, damsire of Shoals, is a multiple champion sire and broodmare sire in Chile and since coming to Australia has made a significant contribution here in both spheres.
Being by Danehill's son Fastnet Rock, Shoals is bred on similar lines to Redoute's Choice and Platinum Scissors with her pedigree featuring a 4m x 4f double of champion Nijinsky plus duplications of such key names as Biscay and Sir Ivor, the sire of Sir Tristram.
Fastnet Rock has twice been champion sire in Australia and has also achieved considerable success from his seasons shuttling to Ireland. Of his 131 stakes winners worldwide, many of the best have been females, among them the Oaks winner Qualify, Diamondsandrubies and Intricately in Europe and Atlantic Jewel, Mosheen, Sea Siren, First Seal, Lone Rock, Driefontein, Amicus, Planet Rock, Irish Lights, Nechita and Catchy, all of them Group One winners, in Australia.
For complete coverage of racing and bloodstock in Australia and New Zealand, download ANZ Bloodstock News every day