Eagle climbs another Mountain

Globetrotting Irish galloper Eagle Mountain has returned to training after having fertility problems in his first two seasons at stud.

He stood at Brighthill Farm in New Zealand, where he sired only six foals.  Efforts were made to improve his fertility, but Eagle Mountain still couldn’t get his mares in foal.  It will be up to New Zealand trainer Steve McKee to get him fit for the races.

“He’s only a seven-year-old,” Brighthill’s Nick King said.  “The Sheikh has decided to put him back into work now, and while it might be a bit of a long-shot, the aim is to try and get him back for the Dubai meeting in March.

“There’s obviously a long way to go yet, but he didn’t turn into a real bull and he was such a good racehorse that it’s worth having a go.  Steve was chosen not only because he’s such a fantastic trainer, but he’s got his own property and private track and that will suit the horse.”

The British-bred Eagle Mountain bankrolled more than $2.40 million from a 19-5-7-1 record.  For his original trainer Aidan O’Brien, he ran with great promise as a juvenile, landing the G2 Beresford.

Eagle Mountain ranked as Ireland’s top three-year-old colt from 1900m-2200m in 2007, the year he won the G2 Royal Whip and placed in the G1 Epsom Derby, G1 Irish Derby and G1 Champion Stakes.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa purchased him privately from Coolmore and transferred him to Mike de Kock.  Sidelined by a pelvic injury for most of 2008, he returned with a course record-setting victory in the G3 Joel Stakes over Newmarket’s historic Rowley Mile.

Eagle Mountain beat all but Conduit in his second start back in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and moved forward to dismiss an international field in the G1 Hong Kong Cup.  Unfortunately, he sustained a suspensory injury early in 2009 that forced him to the sidelines again.  A tendon issue surfaced three races into his comeback, prompting his connections to retire him to stud in 2010.

“It’s hugely disappointing,” King said of the stallion’s fertility troubles.  “The breeders have been very supportive throughout, and it’s obviously a bit of an ask of the horse, but he’ll get every opportunity.”