3 minute read
Colt striving to give Coolmore another Aussie-bred winner at Royal Ascot
Coolmore is no stranger to success with three-year-old Australian sprinters at Royal Ascot.
The global racing and breeding giant stood trailblazer Choisir at stud and bought both his son Starspangledbanner and Merchant Navy before their wins in the Group 1 event that will this year be known as the Platinum Jubilee Stakes.
But it hasn't been all smooth sailing.
Just two years after Choisir's famous sprint double in 2003, Fastnet Rock was a victim of travel sickness and didn't make it to the track, while Vancouver, who Coolmore bought into after his Golden Slipper success, also travelled but didn't race.
It is why Tom Magnier is not taking anything for granted with Coolmore's 2022 Australian representative, Home Affairs, despite the son of I Am Invincible being favourite for the same race won by Starspangledbanner and Merchant Navy.
"Fastnet Rock got really sick when he went up there and he never raced, so it's not a given," Magnier said of the task confronting Home Affairs.
"It's a huge thing to travel these horses all that way. But there's no better team to be doing it than Chris Waller's team, so fingers crossed he can run well."
Waller proved that on Tuesday when Nature Strip blitzed his rivals in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes (1000m).
Nature Strip will not back-up in Saturday's 1200-metre Group 1 Platinum Jubilee (1200m), for which Home Affairs is favourite.
The colt has won four of his nine starts, headlined by a five-length win in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) last spring victory in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m), when he held off Nature Strip in a thrilling finish.
His other wins were the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at just his second start and the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at his first run as a three-year-old.
Unlike Starspangledbanner and Merchant Navy, Home Affairs has carried the Coolmore colours from debut, with Magnier going to $875,000 to buy him out of the Torryburn Stud draft at the 2020 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.
Coolmore has already announced that he will stand for a record first-season stallion fee of $110,000 in Australia later this year with the aim of Royal Ascot to increase his appeal on an international scale and Magnier is confident he will do the team proud.
"I don't think we've ever owned a horse like this down here (in Australia) before, so it's really exciting having him at Royal Ascot.
"I'll be hanging my hat on him as a stallion."
Magnier said it would particularly special if Home Affairs was to win on Saturday, not only from a value and prestige viewpoint, but also because it is the first Royal Ascot since the death of Choisir in early December.
"We lost Choisir a few months ago and he was obviously the flag-bearer for Australian horses that went to Royal Ascot," Magnier said.
"It's really exciting to have another one trying to do what he did."