Champion sire Fastnet Rock was frustratingly close to a trans- Tasman Group I double on Saturday with star colt Heroic Valour (2c Fastnet Rock x Myrrh, by Nassipour) winning the Group I Sistema Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie in New Zealand, while Awesome Rock (4h Fastnet Rock x Awesome Planet, by Giant’s Causeway) was first past the post in the Group I VRC Australian Cup, but lost on protest.
Unbeaten colt Heroic Valour powered to the top of the two-year-old standings in New Zealand when he stretched his unbeaten record to three wins on the trot in the Group I Sistema Diamond Stakes.
The Te Akau colt’s greenness couldn’t mask his raw ability with a sterling effort to down the season’s most competitive juvenile line-up in the 1200 metre feature.
A debut winner at Trentham, who then claimed the Listed Matamata Slipper, Heroic Valour was ridden aggressively by Jonathan Riddell from a wide gate to race close to the lead and he rounded off strongly in the run home to maintain his perfect record.
“He’s improving all the time and keeps stepping up,” said Jamie Richards, who trains the youngster with Stephen Autridge.
“He still does a few things wrong and that’s why we brought him up here to gallop on Tuesday and to give him a god look around.”
Heroic Valour credited Te Akau with their fourth individual Group I winner of the season.
“He’s a very talented colt and a very valuable one – we won’t be making any decisions just yet on the next move,” Richards said. “We’ll take a couple of days and then make a plan.”
A three-quarter brother to the Group I ATC Doncaster Handicap winner and $2.2 million earner Triple Honour, Heroic Valour was a $400,000 Karaka yearling purchase from the Curraghmore Stud draft for Te Akau principal David Ellis, who also purchased the full-brother for $510,000 earlier this year.
Bred in Australia and foaled and raised at Coolmore, Heroic Valour is one of eight winners from the good producing Nassipour mare Myrrh, who was covered last spring by Zoffany.
Heroic Valour is the 23rd Group I winner for Champion Sire Fastnet Rock, but his first to win at the highest level at two.
Already a stakes-winner, Awesome Rock ran the race of his life in the Australian Cup and the Leon and Troy Corstens trained entire is clearly set for his best preparation to date.
Troy Corstens was gracious in defeat following the outcome protest.
“It’s obviously not the way we wanted it to be but we’re very proud of our horse and we’ll give him another chance to win a Group I race,” he said.
Fastnet Rock is most represented sire at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale with 52 entries.