Ascot Stud Pride As Young Sire Breaks Gr1 Ice In Australia

He would have been a fine prospect in SA

A first crop Gr1 winner is a significant landmark in the career of any stallion and this past weekend, young Australian-based stallion Royal Meeting was off the mark when his juvenile daughter Hayasugi won the prestigious Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield.

In fact, she made a clean sweep of the Blue Diamond Series, having won both the Gr2 Blue Diamond Prelude and Gr3 Blue Diamond Prelude (both for fillies) in the lead-up to the Gr1 race over 1200m.

Hayasugi ridden by Jamie Kah wins the Sportsbet Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse (Pic – Inglis)

Purchased as a weanling by ex pat James Bester, Hayasugi is also the first stakes winner for her young sire, who just happens to be a British-bred son of South Africa’s Champion Juvenile Filly Rock Opera, herself an unbeaten juvenile winner of the Gr1 Allan Robertson Fillies Championship, where she inflicted a two-length defeat on Secret Of Victoria, the dam of champion All Is Secret.

By the increasingly successful sire of sires Invincible Spirit, Royal Meeting won the Gr1 Criterium International at Chantilly in just his second start, quickening with ease to defeat the Aidan O’Brien-trained Galileo filly Hermosa, who would later go on to highlight her ability by winning both the English and Irish One Thousand Guineas.

Rock Opera, who also produced the multiple Gr2 winner of 15 races Heavy Metal, hails from a family nurtured at Ascot Stud, that of homebred Mullineaux mare Swinging Girl.

She foaled the Al Mufti filly Drummer Girl, who sadly never raced due to chronic lameness caused by a puffadder bite suffered as a foal.

However, Drummer Girl was inbred to the mighty Roberto (the sire of Al Mufti) and his lesser-performed full brother Mullineaux, hence she was retained for stud.

Little did anyone know at the time that she would become the dam of a champion and the grandam of three Gr1 winners, with Rock Opera’s Gr1-placed own sister Rock Concert producing the Gr1 Mercury Sprint and Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion winner Van Halen, whilst half-sister Royal Drummer ‘s trio of stakes winners is headed by Gr1 Cape Flying Championship ace Gulf Storm.

Rock Opera’s son Royal Meeting in action – he has made a bright start to his stud career (Pic – Godolphin)

In hindsight, Ascot Stud master Dr Ashley Parker agrees that Royal Meeting would have been a fine stallion acquisition for South Africa.

He remarked rather ruefully: “I put out some feelers about the horse, but didn’t pursue it, as I never got a reply from the owners.”

More’s the pity, as Royal Meeting found his way Down Under and as a Gr1 winning juvenile, by the same sire as top Australian stallion I Am Invincible, he was quickly snapped up by Australian breeders.

Fortunately, the Drummer Girl dynasty is still going strong at Ascot Stud.

Ashley is especially high on a yearling colt by Fire Away destined for this year’s National Sale. “He’s a cracking colt and is out of Queen Of Pop, who is a winning own sister to Gulf Storm.”

By the way, Royal Meeting is one of a number of Australian-based stallions out of a South African-bred mare.

In The Congo (Snitzel x Via Africa) enjoys international Gr1 success

Speed merchant In The Congo, who capped his career in the Gr1 The Golden Rose, is out of Var’s champion daughter Via Africa.

The son of champion sire Snitzel retired to stud last season and stands at Newgate Stud Farm in New South Wales.

Fort Wood’s stakes winning daughter Secret Heart features as the dam of American-bred Pluck, who carried the Team Valor silks to victory in the Gr2 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf.

From limited opportunity, the son of More Than  Ready has nevertheless managed to sire Gr3 winners Life On The Wire, Aspect, Mongolian Wolf, as well as the Listed stakes winners Happy Go Lucky and Rhaegar.

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