Now retired champion Australian sire Encosta de Lago was again in the limelight at the 2016 Australian Horse of the Year Awards in Sydney on Thursday night with his star daughter English (4m Encosta de Lago x Court, by Anabaa) crowned Champion 3YO Filly, while his powerhouse son Chautauqua (6g Encosta de Lago x Lovely Jubly, by Lion Hunter) was honoured as the Champion Sprinter.
A homebred for Newhaven Park, the Gai Waterhouse trained English was runner-up to Vancouver in the 2015 ATC Golden Slipper Stakes. She returned at three to beat the best older sprinters in the country in the Group I ATC All Aged Stakes and Group II ATC Challenge Stakes.
Prepared by Hawkes Racing, Chautauqua won three Australian Group I sprints last season and then capped his greatness with a memorable victory in the Group I Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin in Hong Kong in May.
The Champion Australian Sire in 2008 and 2009, Encosta de Lago was also crowned Champion Australian Broodmare Sire this year for the first time.
“The versatility of his progeny has always been a big factor in his success. He’s had Group I winners from 1000m to 2400m, colts or fillies, two year-olds right up to older horses,” reflected Tom Magnier, Coolmore Australia.
“His stock could be a little inconsistent in terms of size, shape and colour, but generally speaking, he got well-conformed horses with good bone and real strength. A lot of his fastest progeny such as English and Chautauqua have inherited the same strong hind-leg that he has.
“Trainers love them because they take their racing very well and it’s hardly a surprise that his progeny have won over 3500 races. He’s had Group I performers in just about every major racing jurisdiction in the world and the positive attitude of his stock to racing is another obvious reason why he has been such a successful sire.”
It comes as no surprise that Coolmore were keen to find the right son of Encosta de Lago to continue his legacy and in precocious Group II winning sprinter Rubick (pictured), they may have something special.
“We had always been looking for the right son of Encosta de Lago to join the roster and in Rubick we think we’ve found him,” Tom Magnier revealed.
“He was a very mature, precocious horse, but had the raw speed to be a top-class older sprinter also. The success of Northern Meteor sets a good precedent for him in that regard and he’s got the most incredible pedigree.
“At last count there were 17 Group I sires under the first four dams of his pedigree and it’s hard not to be excited by a horse that is essentially bred to be a stallion in the way he is.
“The feedback on his foals has been great. Most encouragingly, they look like him – fast! They have quality, great hind-parts and good limbs. Whether Rubick is capable of breeding stock as versatile as Encosta is open to question, but if he can be half as effective at stud as his sire, we’ll be more than happy!”