An charraig aonair, Gaelic for Solitary Rock or Lone Rock, is a description taken from Wikipedia of a rock island, one topped by one of the world’s most famous lighthouses, that rises out of the sea 6.5 kilometres from the southerly point of Ireland and on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean.
Officially named Fastnet Rock, but sometimes Ireland’s Teardrop because it was the last part of the country Irish migrants saw on their way to America, it has been a pilot for ships for hundreds of years and in modern times is used as the midpoint in the Fastnet Race, a world offshore yachting classic.
In the past twelve months the name Fastnet Rock, however, has become familiar as a new beacon to racing excellence, a lighthouse guiding the way to two of the giants of world thoroughbred breeding, the Coolmore studs of Ireland and Hunter Valley, Australia.
This Fastnet Rock is a son of Danehill who was bred for clients on Coolmore Hunter Valley, raced to top sprint level by a Coolmore syndicate and returned to Coolmore to become Australia’s champion sire for 2011-12, a year his oldest were five and which he donkey licked his opposition with Australian record earnings of $12,683,189.
The contributions came from 273 starters, 130 winners of 231 races and 67 others placed. He led Australia by earnings, race wins, stakes winners (16) and stakes wins (31). His juveniles comprised 15 winners (three won five stakes) of 25 races and $2,548,760, third top money behind Lonhro ($3,419,680) and Snitzel ($2,877,680).
His achievement at Group 1 level during the year resulted in four winners of ten races, ranging from1200m to 2000m.The horses were Foxwedge (3yo colt from mare by a Storm Cat sire; MVRC William Reid Stakes), Sea Siren (3yo filly, dam by Success Express; BTC Cup, Doomben10,000), Atlantic Jewel (3yo filly, Zabeel; AJC All-Aged Stakes, MRC Thousand Guineas) and Mosheen (3yo filly, Stravinsky; VRC Australian Guineas, Oaks, AJC Randwick Guineas, Oaks, STC Storm Queen Stakes).
Fastnet Rock has been a high input sire in Australian racing ever since he kicked off with a dozen 2-year-old winners in his first crop in 2008-09. He moved up into the top ten for 2009-10 with 59 winners (9 won - 13 stakes races), 101 wins $5,700,872; and repeated in 2010-11 (oldest four) with 95 winners (4 won 6 stakes races, twelve 2YO winners), 148 races and $5,650,554.
His Australian sired progeny have also won in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, South Africa and The Philippines. He looks certain to have another big year in 2012-13 and to have hundreds more winners in the future. Five of his seven books have each been in excess of 200 and he has already supplied nearly a thousand foals.
Fastnet Rock also looks set to join two other Australian Danehill descendants, Choisir (Coolmore) and Exceed and Excel (Darley), as a good European sires. He has been used at Coolmore in Ireland in the past three northern hemisphere seasons and will have his first 2-year-olds there next year.
Commanding a 2012 fee of $220,000, Fastnet Rock is the product of the mating with Coolmore’s awesome dual hemisphere sire Danehill of Piccadilly Circus, a brilliant quality 2-year-old bred by Stanley Wootton’s daughter Catherine Redmond using another Coolmore influential shuttle sire, Black Caviar’s paternal grandsire Royal Academy (USA), and Gatana, a VRC Newmarket second by the Sir Tristram Golden Slipper winner Marauding. He was out of a mare by the Stanley Wootton bred Biscay.
Also, Piccadilly Circus is a sister to Raheeb, a handsome, good class performer from 1100m to 1600m who is one of the Patinack Farm sires. He has had books of 81 in each of his first two seasons, 2010 and 2011.
Fastnet Rock raced 19 times over 14 months – two and three, and in 2004-05 was ranked Champion Australian Sprinter and 3YO Colt following six wins, including the VRC Lightning Stakes, Linlithgow Stakes, MRC Oakleigh Plate, AJC Up and Coming Stakes, and four seconds, including to Alinghi in the VRC Newmarket.
He did not win at two, but finished second in the Skyline and Pago Pago, third in the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and fourth in the Golden Slipper and Silver Slipper.
Fastnet Rock is the third son of Danehill to capture the Champion Australian Sire title, being preceded by two at the Arrowfield Stud, Redoute’s Choice (2005-06) and Flying Spur (2009-10). He is also Coolmore’s third Australian Champion Sire, preceded by Danehill (a record nine times) and Australian bred Encosta de Lago (twice – 2007-08 and 2008-09).
Since Danehill’s last title in 2004-05, locally bred horses have been the Champion Sire every year. In 2011-12 all but two of the top twenty on earnings – nine descending from Danehill - were Australian racehorses. The exceptions were current shuttler More Than Ready (USA) (Vinery) fourth and former Darley visitor Elusive Quality (USA) seventeenth.