Star dates for dual-purpose mare band at Kenilworth House Stud
La Collina is the big name at Diana Vasicek's Tipperary farm
Blue-chip sires have been appointed to cover the five Flat broodmares owned by Diana Vasicek at her Kenilworth House Stud in County Tipperary.
The broodmare band is headed by La Collina, who carried the maroon and blue silks of Diana and her late husband Joerg to victory in the Phoenix Stakes and Matron Stakes.
The daughter of Strategic Prince has produced three foals. The first, now a two-year-old, is a filly by Dubawi bought by Godolphin for 625,000gns at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale in 2015. A year later, Godolphin snapped up her colt by Shamardal for 375,000gns.
“La Collina had a bay colt by Oasis Dream in February and she is visiting Dark Angel,” said Gerry Ross, who manages the farm outside Cashel.
“As a daughter of Strategic Prince out of a Galileo mare, an awful lot of Northern Dancer line horses are out for her, but Dark Angel is a good outcross. The market seems to want two-year-old speed and he will certainly provide that.”
La Collina's studmate Termagant also achieved Group 1 glory for the Vasiceks in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
The daughter of Powerscourt was covered late by Kodiac in 2016 and will be rested this year.
Her two-year-old daughter was retained by the breeders and is one of two juvenile fillies Vasicek has in training with Kevin Prendergast.
“Her Oasis Dream filly is called My Daydream and she is a lovely filly,” said Ross. “We chose Kodiac for her last year because, again, she was a top-class juvenile and he will get you two-year-old winners.
“His percentage of winners to runners is excellent at 58 per cent and with the better mares he was sent in the last few years, he will get better horses.”
Homebred Majenta gave birth to her first foal, a filly by Lope De Vega, last month.
A daughter of Marju out of What A Picture, Majenta is one of six winners produced by her dam. She won over 1m2f and 1m4f furlongs and Iffraaj has been chosen for her this season.
Ross said: “We are sending her to Iffraaj because it will produce a foal bred on the same cross as Ribchester, and Iffraaj is enjoying a lot of success again – both here and in the southern hemisphere.
“He's a good, established sire which is important for a young mare.”
Using proven sires is an important consideration when planning matings for all the mares on the farm. Majenta’s dam, What A Picture, will herself be covered by a long-established source of class.
“What A Picture is to be covered by Oasis Dream, who I think is very good value at that end of the market,” said Ross. “He's a Group 1 sire, a proven source of winners and we like him. What A Picture is a good and proven mare herself, so I think it's a good cross.”
Six of What A Picture's seven foals to have raced have won, with three of them gaining black-type and she was covered last year by Golden Horn.
She is by Peintre Celebre out of a half-sister to Irish Derby hero Grey Swallow, from the immediate family of Hong Kong champion Designs On Rome and Irish Oaks heroine Covert Love.
The fifth member of the Flat broodmare band at Kenilworth House Stud is another homebred - the 13-year-old Topka, who was trained in France by Francois Doumen. Her first foal was the Group 2 winner and Gold Cup third Top Trip, who was retired to Haras de la Hetraie and whose first crop are yearlings.
Topka is from the family of high-class stayer Opinion Poll and Markofdistinction, who won both the Queen Anne and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
“Topka was placed in Group 2 and Group 3 races in France and we have her two-year-old colt by Shamardal in pre-training,” said Ross. “She is in foal to Make Believe and I was impressed with him when I saw him at the Ballylinch Stud open day. He has really let down into a fine-looking horse.”
Star dates for notable jumps mares
Kenilworth House Stud also keeps a small but exclusive jumps broodmare band and enjoyed tremendous success in the past with Baden, who produced top-class winners Carlingford Lough and Thisthatandtother and the talented The Tother One.
Three of the Furry Glen mare's daughters are in service for the stud.
“Baden has been a great mare for us,” said Ross. “We have a sister to Thisthatandtother and two half-sisters to him and Carlingford Lough on the farm.”
Aventia is a 14-year-old daughter of Bob Back, which makes her a sister to Cheltenham Festival winner Thisthatandtother. In foal to Doyen, she has a yearling colt by the same sire and this year will be visiting Soldier Of Fortune, who sired his first Cheltenham Festival winner with Flying Tiger last week.
“Soldier Of Fortune was one of the very few sons of Galileo who liked to get his toe into the ground,” said Ross. “Very few Galileo horses like a bit of ease in the ground but he did and I think that gives him a very good chance of hitting the jackpot as a National Hunt sire.
“I think that is why Montjeu is providing a better source of National Hunt stallions than Galileo is in carrying on that Sadler’s Wells line.”
A son of Sadler’s Wells has also been chosen to cover Turica, a Flemensfirth daughter of Baden.
“Turica has a fine Sholokhov colt foal on the ground who is around a month old. She will probably return to him as the cross between Baden, who is a daughter of Furry Glen, and Sadler’s Wells horses seems to work very well and Sholokhov sired last year’s Gold Cup winner Don Cossack.”
Her Definite Article half-sister Vindonissa is the dam of Krugermac, a six-year-old gelding by Kalanisi who Gary Moore paid £185,000 for at the Goffs UK Spring Horses In Training Sale in 2015.
“Vindonissa is in foal to Shantou and we've had great luck with her previous two foals by him at the sales. Her 2015 colt sold for €66,000 to Richard Rohan at the Fairyhouse November Sale that year and last November her colt foal was bought by Ben Case for €60,000. We haven’t decided whether to return to Shantou with her for the fourth year in a row yet.”
Kenilworth is also home to Bilboa, who carried the colours of the Vasiceks to third place in the Champion Hurdle in 2002. Trained by Francois Doumenr, Bilboa was a high-class hurdler winning the Grade 2 Glenlivet Anniversary Hurdle at Aintree, beating future Champion Chaser Azertyuiop into second place.
Bilboa is a daughter of Maisonnaise, a half-sister to successful French sire Mansonnien, making her a half-sister to the Grade 3 winner and Grade 1 placed chaser Makounji, who in turn is the dam of Roulez Cool.
Since retiring to stud, Bilboa has proved a successful broodmare with all of her first eight foals making it to the track and seven of them winning.
“Bilboa foaled late last year so she was rested in 2016 but has already been covered and is in foal to Sageburg,” Ross said. “He was the third leading sire of two-year-olds in France last year and Spain Burg sold for €1.5 million at the Arc sale after winning the Rockfel Stakes.
“Sageburg is out of a Linamix mare and they are noted for tough, sound stock. He is by Johannesburg, also the sire of Scat Daddy, and he won the Prix d’Ispahan so I think he could add speed and precocity to the Irish mares. Bilboa seems to produce tough and sound horses that get to the tracks so I think they could be a good combination.”
This season's Unicoin Group Chase winner Theatre Guide is another Kenilworth-bred and his sister Erins Stage was retained by the Vasiceks. In foal to Flemensfirth, the daughter of King's Theatre will visit Shantou this year.
“Shantou seems to work very well with King’s Theatre mares - he has a 43 percent winners to runners ratio with them,” said Ross.
The homebred Shuil A Hocht won a bumper and maiden hurdle and is a half-sister to Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase winner The Outlier. They are out of Shuil A Cuig, a half-sister to Scottish Grand National winner Baronet and to the dam of Champion Bumper and Royal Bond Novice Hurdle victor Liss A Paoraigh and Liss De Paor. It is the family of Stayers’ Hurdle winner Shuil Ar Aghaidh and of River City and Kid Cassidy.
Shuil A Hocht has bred two winners from two runners so far, with Space Cadet by Flemensfirth, trained by Gordon Elliot for Chris Jones, successful in a bumper and over fences. His year younger half-brother by Kalanisi called Jot’em Down has won his bumper for trainer David Bridgwater.
“Shuil A Hocht was rested last year and is now in foal to Califet, who is a lovely outcross for Irish mares and we have done well with our Califets so far,” said Ross.
Kenilworth House Stud is cultivating another strong family with its daughters of Irish Grand National winner Ebony Jane and two of them are members of the eight-strong jumps broodmare band.
“Ebony Jane was a fantastic broodmare with all her ten foals making it to the track and winning,” said Ross. “For a racemare as good as she was to become as successful as a broodmare is fantastic and we still have two homebred daughters.
“Amber Light is a winning point-to-pointer by Anshan so she is a sister to the multiple winning chaser Gansey. She has three winners from three foals to race and is in foal to Sholokhov.
“Ebony Palm was a winning point-to-pointer, by Great Palm, and she is in foal to Notnowcato.”
The farm is also home to a couple of AQPS mares who were successful in France for the Vasiceks and Francois Doumen. Quespia is a three time winner in France from the family of Grade 1 victor Notre Pere and Champion Hurdle runner-up Osana. A daughter of the Linamix sire Fragrant Mix, she has a yearling colt by Califet and is in foal again to the Boardsmill Stud sire.
Bambouzle, a six-year-old by Forestier, won six times for the farm and was the highest rated AQPS mare in France. She was covered last year by the Linamix stallion Martaline and is due her first foal.
Bambouzle is already booked in to Haras du Hoguenet’s up and coming sire Montmatre. The 13-year-old son of Montjeu won the Grand Prix de Paris and is sire of last week's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Labaik.
Joerg Vasicek died suddenly last year but Ross said it is business as usual at Kenilworth House Stud.
“Everything is going on as normal here but it was a fierce shock when Joerg died,” he said. “Diana loves racing too and her daughter Caroline is taking an interest too which is great to see it being carried on.”