Sheikh’s Passion pays off at Thirsk

Sheikh Mohammed has spent millions supporting Medaglia D´Oro and the investment started paying dividends when his USA bred colt Passion For Gold bolted in at Thirsk on Friday.

Passion For Gold (2c Medaglia D´Oro – C´Est l´ Amour by Thunder Gulch) made most of the pace on debut and kept on strongly in the final stages to score by five lengths over 1600m.

The Godolphin colt topped the 2009 Tattersalls Craven 2yo Sale in April.  He made 260,000 guineas (AUD 553,000) as part of Gay O’Callaghan’s Yeomanstown Stud draft.  The vendor had pin-hooked the youngster for US $125,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Passion For Gold’s dam C´Est l´ Amour was a G2 winner in the US and was also G1 placed in the Acorn Stakes.  Her half-sister Passion Flower (Deputy Minister) is the dam of dam of 2008 Del Mar Derby (G2) winner Madeo (Mizzen Mast).

Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado) is the sire of champion filly Rachel Alexandra and he was purchased earlier this year to stand at Sheikh Mohammed’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington.

Passion For Gold is not the only Medaglia d’Oro targeted by the Dubai ruler this year.  He paid US $1.5-million for a Medaglia d’Oro – Cat Dancer filly at the Fasig-Tipton August Sale on August 10.  She is out of a Storm Cat sister to 2002 Monmouth Breeders’ Cup Oaks (G2) winner Magic Storm.

Sheikh Mohammed’s agent John Ferguson topped the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale in July with a $425,000 bid for a Medaglia d’Oro filly out of the G2 winning Argentine-bred Ting a Folie.  She is a half-sister to English stakes performer Bastakiya (Dubai Destination).

“Sheikh Mohammed has been following Medaglia d’Oro’s stud career with great interest and has been most impressed not only by the likes of Rachel Alexandra but also by the quality of yearlings that we have seen at public auction,” Ferguson said at Kentucky. 

Medaglia d’Oro won 8 of his 17 starts headed by Group 1 triumphs in the 2002 Travers Stakes, 2003 Whitney Handicap and 2004 Donn Handicap.  He stood the 2009 season for US$60,000 at Stonewall Farm in Kentucky before Darley purchased a majority interest in the ten-year-old stallion in June.

Darley Australian has announced Medaglia d’Oro will be available to cover on southern hemisphere time at Jonabell this year.