Coolmore champion Encosta De Lago has kicked off the current season with a trio of promising three year-olds and their connections could be forgiven for getting a touch of spring fever.
Lional Cohen’s Aeronautical won the LR Rosebud Hcp at Randwick on August 6, Frank Tagg’s Decircles saluted at Seymour on August 7 and Kevin Maloney’s Houston Benefactor was on her best behaviour at Canterbury on August 10.
Aeronautical is the horse to beat in next month’s G1 Golden Rose after his barnstorming victory in the Rosebud. The Encosta gelding unleashed a breathtaking burst of acceleration to blow away his opposition.
A $100,000 purchase by Lionel Cohen from the Amarina Farm draft at the 2010 Magic Millions, Aeronautical was bred by Coolmore clients Bob and Rosemary Scarborough. Their other recent connection with Coolmore was with Danehill Dancer’s Group 1 winner Light Fantastic.
Aeronautical is the 83rd stakes winner for Encosta and, like all his stock, can be relied upon to show continued improvement.
Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien produced another G1 bound Encosta when Decircles annihilated millionaire yearling Godspeed by four lengths last Sunday.
Decircles was resuming from a spell having signalled his potential with a second placing to stablemate Running Tall in the G2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes. “He’s a high-class colt and I think he will be very strong when he gets to a mile,” O’Brien predicted. “Once he can get into a race and get some cover, he can finish off hard.”
Decircles was sold by Coolmore for $275,000 at the 2010 Inglis Easter Sale on behalf of Frank Tagg’s Arch of Gold Syndicate. His dam Lady Circles has a yearling filly by Duke of Marmalade and is due to foal this year to High Chaparral.
Encosta has always been able to sire top-class fillies and colts in equal measure and he appears to have another filly of considerable promise in the Anthony Cummings – trained Houston Benefactor.
The talented but enigmatic filly, whose poor barrier manners and slow getaways have more than once stood between her and victory, had been placed at three of her five juvenile starts. She did finish last season with a fifth placing behind Helmet in the G1 Champagne Stakes at Randwick.
“It was a strong maiden and we’re hoping she will take the next step,” Cummings said. “She will go to the Princess Series now and can hopefully make her presence felt.”
A $250,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the Vinery draft, Houston Benefactor is raced by Kevin Maloney’s Segenhoe Thoroughbreds. She was bred by Gerry Harvey’s Baramul Stud and is a three-quarter sister- in-blood to Encosta’s champion daughter Princess Coup.
Encosta de Lago will, yet again, be in contention this season for the title of Champion Sire. And that makes him particularly good value at his current service fee of $110,000 (inc gst).
That fee could spell big profits when those yearlings are paraded at the 2014 majors.