Unforgotten the fastest-ever Australian Oaks winner
Daughter of Fastnet Rock hosed home in a time of 2:27.21
Fastnet Rock filly Unforgotten, victorious in last Saturday's ATC Australian Oaks, will be remembered as the fastest-ever winner of this Classic for three-year-old fillies.
Her time of 2:27.21 easily broke the previous record of 2:28.80 set by Serenade Rose, a daughter of Stravinsky, in 2006 but since then the Australian Oaks has mostly been run on rain-affected tracks.
Coming from well back in the field, Unforgotten finished powerfully in the home straight to catch the front-running High Chaparral filly Hiyaam in the closing stages, defeating her by a length with another two and a quarter lengths back to the third-placed Miss Admiration.
Although bred in Australia by Coolmore-linked Roncon, Unforgotten was sold as a yearling in New Zealand in the Curraghmore Stud draft at the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock National Sale, bringing NZ$360,000 (£185,000/€213,000) to the bid of trainer Chris Waller. She is the fourth consecutive Australian Oaks winner to graduate from Karaka after Bonneval last year, Sofia Rosa in 2016 and Gust Of Wind the previous year.
Magic Bloodstock Racing, a part-owner of Winx, is among a big group of owners of Unforgotten, who was runner-up to Hiyaam in the Vinery Stud Stakes at her previous start, having won the ATC Phar Lap Stakes - her first stakes win - on her second last start. Unforgotten’s Phar Lap win showed she had recovered fully from cardiac arrhythmia suffered when last in the ATC Surround Stakes on resuming from a spell in early March.
Unforgotten's emergence continues the remarkable affinity developed between her sire Fastnet Rock when bred to mares by fellow Coolmore stallion Galileo, a cross which has resulted in 27 per cent stakes winners to runners. She is the seventh Group/Grade One winner bred this way with most of the others – Qualify, Intricately, Rivet and Zhukova – conceived at Coolmore in Ireland. Magicool became the first local Group 1 winner for the cross when he won the 2015 BRC Queensland Derby and more recently it has yielded another Group 1 winner, Age Of Fire, in New Zealand.
The Fastnet Rock-Galileo cross mirrors the even more recognised Galileo-Danehill cross which has resulted in the likes of Frankel, Teofilo and a host of other stakes winners.
Galileo, the dominant sire of major winners in Britain and Ireland for the past decade, is fast becoming equally successful as a maternal grandsire, his tally of Group 1 winners in this sphere reaching 18 at the weekend when Sistercharlie captured a Grade 1 in the United States. Overall, Galileo mares have to date produced 94 stakes winners throughout the world.
Unforgotten's father Fastnet Rock, twice champion sire in Australia, had a memorable day on Saturday at Royal Randwick as not only did he supply the Oaks winner but also another black-type winner, California Turbo, in the Listed South Pacific Classic, his 134th stakes winner with Unforgotten his 34th at Group 1 level.
The Australian Oaks winner is a sister to Special Memories, a stakes-placed winner in New Zealand, and to the winner Zijin Cheng from the superbly related Memories Of You, a high-priced yearling when sold in Britain in 2008 but a disappointment on the racecourse, finishing no closer than fifth in six starts before being exported to Australia.
Memories Of You has a first crop No Nay Never weanling colt and is due to foal to Air Force Blue in the spring.
Breeding buffs will find the pedigree of Memories Of You exciting as she is a half-sister to four stakes winners headed by Matiara, a dual Group/Grade One winner in France and the US, where she was sent after capturing the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
Other half-relations to Memories Of You are Group 2-winning stallion Pyrus; Marathon, another Group 2 winner; and Listed winner Precious Ring.
Unforgotten's second dam, Most Precious, was a Listed winner in France, placed twice in Group 1 contests and comes from one of France's finest families.
Miss Summer, third dam of Unforgotten, also won a Listed race in France and close up in this star-studded family are Group 1 winners Lydian, Sanglamore, Eishin Apollon, Master Of Hounds, Minorette and Second Step plus the good Australian performer Irish-bred High Church, winner of the Listed Warrnambool Cup.
Unforgotten has four crosses of Northern Dancer in her fourth and fifth generations, all via sons, plus a 4f x 6m double of French sire Luthier.