Fastnet Rock has hit top gear with the onset of spring racing, his brilliant sons Smart Missile (3c Fastnet Rock x Comical Smile, by Comic Strip) and Foxwedge (3c Fastnet Rock x Forest Native, by Forest Wildcat) fighting out the finish of the Group III ATC Run to the Rose at Rosehill on Saturday.
Three days before Smart Missile made his career debut in the time honoured Listed ATC Breeders’ Plate at Randwick last season, his trainer Anthony Cummings boldly predicted the colt may well be the best horse he has trained and in three starts since, the strapping bay has done everything to live up to expectations.
After winning the Breeders’ Plate, Smart Missile handed Sepoy his only defeat to date in the Group II ATC Todman Stakes and then was a shock late scratching from the Golden Slipper before being spelled immediately after.
His eagerly anticipated return in the Run To The Rose looked to have gone pear shaped when he was slow to gather speed from the barriers and was hooked backed to last by Glen Boss.
His winning chance looked forlorn on the point of the home turn where the speedy filly Karuta Queen set up a commanding lead over the rise, but when that filly began to weaken and Foxwedge took the lead, Smart Missile started to find his mojo.
He zoomed down the centre of the track for Glen Boss to score an arrogant neck win over Foxwedge.
“He’s just an amazing animal,” winning trainer Anthony Cummings said.
“At the furlong I’d given up but he’s just an extraordinary horse.
“When the filly (Karuta Queen) kicked clear and he was still last I thought ‘well this is impossible’ but he’s an amazing animal.
“Only a very short list of horses can do that.”
“He looked good today, I was very happy with how he presented,” Cummings said.
“He has improvement in him and with that improvement he’ll be very tough to beat in a fortnight I’d say.”
The enthusiasm of his trainer looked quite measured after his exuberant rider weighed in.
“He is quite possibly one of the best horses I have ever thrown a leg over, it’s unbelievable what he has done,” Boss said.
“You have to give him credit as it was his third start in a race and he did not know what to do. Quite
electric and I cannot wait until he gets to a mile as that will be when he is in his backyard.
“The best three-year-old I ever rode was Fastnet Rock and this bloke is probably a bit better than him as he has more scope.
“Honestly we have seen the birth of an absolute superstar,” Boss enthused.
A homebred for Eduardo Cojuangco’s Gooree Stud, Smart Missile is a half-brother to stakes-winner Kiss From a Rose out of the Comic Strip mare Comical Smile (USA), a half-sister to Group I winner Northern Meteor.
Like many of the Gooree homebreds, Smart Missile traces back to one of America’s great families and they don’t come much better than his fifth dam Rough Shod, whose descendants include the great stallions Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev.
Fastnet Rock also hit the mark with smart filly And Rock (3f Fastnet Rock x Bee and Bee, by Grand Lodge) taking the open 1400 metre fillies event at Caulfield.
A $100,000 purchase from the Woodside Park draft at the 2010 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, And Rock is prepared by John McArdle and has two wins and two seconds from six starts and over $80,000 in prizemoney