16 Mar 2012

Courtesy of Aidan Rodley, Waikato Times


Sir Patrick Hogan has achieved just about everything there is to achieve in breeding and racing.


The Cambridge Stud boss, who bought and stood stallion greats Sir Tristram and Zabeel, savours his successes as much as anyone, but he was positively bubbling with excitement as he prepared to reveal an exceptional new stallion acquisition for the upcoming breeding season.


Cambridge Stud will stand five-time Gr I-winning Galileo stallion Cape Blanco under an arrangement with Coolmore Stud.


It's a deal that Sir Patrick worked hard to make happen, showing he was prepared to walk away from it before Coolmore agreed to his terms, and now that's happened the studmaster can hardly contain his excitement.


``I'm really excited because I like the horse,'' Sir Patrick said.


``I'm excited about the horse because he won five Gr I races and the three he won in America were the top of the list.


``He was game every time he ran and he had a great turn of foot, which you need in a stallion these days. He beat horses like Workforce, Rip Van Winkle, Gio Ponti and Deans Kitten, and beat them well.


``Everyone loves Galileo and you can't get a better sire line in the world, going back through Sadler's Wells and Northern Dancer.''


Cape Blanco was a superior racehorse.  Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Cape Blanco won nine of his 15 starts, five at Gr I level and the quality of his performances in Ireland, England and the United States led to him being described as a ``trans-Atlantic superstar''.


He was unbeaten in three starts at two in Ireland, including the Gr III Tyros Stakes (1400m) at Leopardstown and the Gr II Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Fairyhouse.


He began his three-year-old career with a win in the Gr II Dante Stakes (2000m) at York, beating subsequent Gr I English Derby winner Workforce, and went on to win the Gr I Irish Derby (2400m) at The Curragh at just his sixth start.


He followed a second placing in the Gr I King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Ascot with his second Gr I success, in the Irish Champion Stakes (2000m) at Leopardstown, beating Rip Vin Winkle by 5 1/2 lengths with a dominant frontrunning performance.


He resumed as a four-year-old with a gritty fourth placing in the Gr I Dubai World Cup before he rounded out his career with three Gr I wins in the United States, taking out the Man O' War Stakes (2200m) at Belmont, the Arlington Million (2000m) and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic International Stakes (2400m).


In those American wins, he twice beat Gio Ponti and Deans Kitten, rated two of the best horses in the US and his performances there led to him being named leading male turf horse at the Eclipse Awards.


It also led to Cape Blanco beginning his stud career at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky this year, where he has already satisfied Sir Patrick's strict demands for fertility.


``I'm so excited about this horse because you can't buy this kind of stallion any more.  If he was for sale, our kind of money couldn't buy him,'' Sir Patrick said.


``We've done this twice before with Cape Cross and Stravinsky, two stallions that we couldn't purchase, but they proved how commercial and popular they were.


``Zabeel is in his twilight years. We continue to get another year from him and he's been an amazing stallion, but he's 25 and he's not going to be there forever. But Cape Blanco is going to be a huge horse to have on the farm.


``He fits the bill because if something did happen to Zabeel, we've got a good backup for those premier-bred mares.


``In Cape Blanco we're getting access to a five-time Gr I winning horse, who is beautifully bred as a son of the world champion sire Galileo and out of a mare [Laurel Delight] who won four races and was speedy enough to win at five furlongs [1000m] and who has been such a good producer that she was named 2010 Irish broodmare of the year.''


Cape Blanco's sire Galileo has produced 98 individual stakes winners, 26 of them winning at Gr I level, and Sir Patrick has noted the presence of Round Table in his new stallion's maternal pedigree, a sire who has proved to be a successful cross with Sir Tristram and Zabeel-line mares.


Sir Patrick admitted a potential disadvantage of not owning Cape Blanco meant that if he became successful as a sire, Coolmore would more than likely transfer him to one of their two Australian studfarms for his southern hemisphere shuttles.


However, he expected to get at least four seasons from him at Cambridge Stud.


``One could say get the best out the horse for as long as we can. The bloodlines are available in New Zealand and the access is there for breeders,'' he said.


``It's done no harm in the past with Cape Cross, Stravinsky, High Chaparral and Montjeu. That blood is out there and propping up our pedigrees.


``If he becomes a champion sire, there's every chance I could lose him to Coolmore Australia, but at least we've got the opportunity for the next four or five years.''


Sir Patrick will announce a service fee for Cape Blanco in the coming weeks but he intends setting it significantly lower than the figure mooted by Coolmore Stud.


Standing at 16.1 hands, Cape Blanco will join Zabeel, Stravinsky, Tavistock, Keeper and Lucky Unicorn at Cambridge Stud this season, the six stallions the most Cambridge Stud has stood at one time.

Cape Blanco winning the Irish Champion Stakes-Gr.1 (2000m) in September 2010