Royally bred colt Niagara (3c Encosta de Lago x River Soong, by Fusaichi Pegasus) presented in the mounting yard at Rosehill on Saturday in magnificent order and ran right up to his dazzling good looks when blitzing older rivals to win the Group II ATC Ajax Stakes as he pleased.
The Gai Waterhouse trained colt was stakes-placed twice in Melbourne during the spring following a facile six length maiden win at Canterbury, so has always shown ability, but this preparation he is obviously ready to get serious.
Driven forward to lead by Tommy Berry under his light weight of 53 kg, Niagara relished the task and led his rivals a merry dance before skipping clear to win the 1500 metre event by three and a half lengths.
“I enjoyed every second of that,” Gai Waterhouse said.
“I’ve always had a great opinion of this colt. He’s got a physique like ahh… to die for.
“He’s a particularly furnished colt now and whatever he runs in he’ll be hard to beat.”
A $620,000 purchase from the Coolmore draft at the 2010 Magic Millions, Niagara races for a syndicate of partners including long time Waterhouse client Yvonne Smith, several Coolmore partners and Julia Ritchie’s Bangaloe Stud Syndicate.
He has won two races and placed five times from nine starts earning $238,580 in prizemoney and will doubtless win more races before the autumn carnival concludes.
Niagara is the first winner for Fusaichi Pegasus mare River Song, a half-sister to Group III winner Murjana and to the dam of Group I winner Gathering and this season’s classy three year-old filly Florentina.
River Song is a grand-daughter of Dancing Show (USA), whose many Group I winning descendants include champion sire Redoute’s Choice, Hurricane Sky, Umatilla, Al Maher etc. and Group I winner Manhattan Rain, who is also by Niagara’s sire Encosta de Lago.
Niagara is the 87th stakes-winner for champion sire Encosta de Lago and is his eighth in Australia this season.
Encosta de Lago has a sensational draft of 47 of the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.