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Wanted: Fastnet Rock in Demand

The Danehill son Fastnet Rock is set to cover at least 21 group-winning or stakes-producing mares in Ireland this year, including English Oaks (gr. I) victress Alexandrova; Irish Oaks (gr. I) captress Moonstone; Damson, heroine of the Phoenix Stakes; Sea the Stars' classic placed half sister All Too Beautiful; and the dams of such as Araafa, Clodovil, Thewayyouare, Westphalia, Peeping Fawn, Johannesburg, King Charlemagne, and Rumplestiltskin.

Fastnet Rock's pedigree, race record, and early promise as a stallion make it abundantly clear why he has earned that sort of book. A son of Danehill, Fasnet Rock is out of the graded stakes-winning Royal Academy mare Piccadilly Circus. One of the best of his crop at 2, Fastnet Rock progressed the following season to earn honors as champion 3-year-old and champion sprinter. He picked up six graded stakes during the 2004-2005 campaign, and in a particularly outstanding spell captured in succession the Rory's Jester Stakes (gr. II), Linlithgow Stakes (gr. II), Lightning Stakes (gr. I), and Oakleigh Plate (gr. I). With his first crop he established himself as the leading second-crop sire standing in Australia (he's actually dueling for the outright title with his Irish stud mate High Chaparral (who shuttles to New Zealand). He's sired seven stakes winners in his first crop, headed by grade I winners Wanted and Irish Lights.

For a while it looked as if Wanted was destined to be a perennial bridesmaid when it came to grade I competition. The A$800,000 yearling won the Kindergarten Stakes (gr. III) at 2. Early in his 3-year-old career, he took second in the Rory's Jester Stakes (gr. II) and a third in the Schillaci Stakes (gr. II). As summer approached, Wanted really hit form, running second in three consecutive group I events, the Victoria Racing Club Stakes; the Lightning Stakes, in which he was only denied by a freakish performance from Nicconi, and William Reid Stakes (gr. I), again missing by a head. Turned back out for the Oakleigh Plate (gr. I), he took fourth, but beaten just ½ length for it all. For the Newmarket Handicap (gr. I), different tactics were adopted and Wanted led throughout to gain those all important group I laurels. Wanted is out of the speedy Snippets mare Fragmentation, winner of four races, including the Australia Cup Carnival Stakes, and second in the C.S. Hayes Stakes (gr. III). Fragmentation is off to a flying start as a producer as her first two foals are Wanted and the Charge Forward juvenile Shrapnel, winner of the Breeders' Stakes (gr. III) this year. The granddam, Southern Sprinter, is a daughter of the imported In Reality-line stallion Southern Appeal, a grade I-winning juvenile in the U.S. she is a sister to In the Mist, a versatile mare who won 10 races at a wide range of distances., five of them black-type, and also ran second in the Sedgwick Classic (gr. II). To Encosta de Lago, In the Mist subsequently produced the VRC Sires' Produce Stakes (gr. II) and SAJC Breeders' Stakes (gr. II) winner De Lago Mist. In tail-female line the family goes all the way back to Lady Wayward, an English-bred mare who was imported into New Zealand in early part of the last century. She owned an extremely strong pedigree, as she was by Ladas, winner of the Derby and Two Thousand Guineas, out of Vane, a sister to Triple Crown winner Flying Fox.

Wanted will retire to stand Widden Stud, an outfit that lately has done a remarkable job of securing hot young speedsters, Wanted being preceded by last year's first-season horses Sebring and Northern Meteor. He brings with him an intriguing pedigree pattern, which appears to be based around Northern Dancer (and particularly his dam, Natalma) with the Menow/Bull Dog combination. He's a Northern Dancer-line horse via Danehill, but Danehill's granddam, Spring Adieu, is by Buckpasser (by Tom Fool, a Menow/Bull Dog cross) out of Natalma. Fastnet Rock's broodmare sire, Royal Academy, is by Nijinsky II (whose dam, Flaming Page is a Bull Dog/Menow cross). Finally, Snippets is by a grandson of Tom Fool out of a mare by a son of Northern Dancer.

In addition to the standard Danehill fare there are going to be several interesting ways of building on the Natalma/Menow/Bull Dog background to support Wanted's stallion career. Any inbreeding to Buckpasser, Tom Fool, or Nijinsky II is going to be beneficial. The Mr. Prospector/Buckpasser cross, found in Woodman, Seeking the Gold, and Miswaki -- who all have representatives in Australia -- looks promising. Royal Academy is very closely related to Storm Cat, and tellingly, Fastnet Rock has sired grade I winner Irish Lights out of a mare by Storm Cat's son Hennessy. In addition to Storm Cat-line horses, it could pay to bring in Storm Cat's sire, Storm Bird (broodmare sire of Thunder Gulch), a genetic relative to Royal Academy's sire, Nijinsky II.The Minstrel, a three-parts-brother to Nijinsky II (with Zafonic, out a mare by The Minstrel looking particularly interesting), is another good bet. Playing on a theme, Blushing Groom is potentially very useful here, as his sire, Red God, is out of Spring Run, a three-quarters relative to Tom Fool, and a horse with a tremendous record when crossed with Nijinsky II.

 

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