New Year’s Day Group Winners for Encosta

Champion sire Encosta de Lago was in hot form on New Year’s Day with two new stakes-winners, Decircles taking the Group III VRC Standish Handicap at Flemington and Delago’s Secret (pictured) landing the Group III City Of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie in New Zealand.

A winner at Flemington in January last year, Decircles (6g Encosta de Lago x Lady Circles, by Ascot Knight) posted the biggest win of his career at the same venue on New Year’s Day when capturing the Group III VRC Standish Handicap.

Having his third run back from a spell, the Danny O’Brien trained Decircles travelled second in the run and then forged clear to win the 1200 metre sprint by three-quarters of a length for Steve Baster.

Second in the Group II VRC Sires Produce Stakes at two, Decircles has always shown above average ability, but wind issues have hampered his ability to fulfil his potential.

“He’s had a wind operation but at this time of the year over the last couple of seasons, he’s always put himself in the frame,” O’Brien said of Decircles, who ran third in last year’s Standish Handicap.

“We were pretty confident he was going as well as last year and he’s run right up to it.

“Throat operations either work or they don’t and he’s been one of our more successful throat ops we’ve had.”

Decircles was snapped up by Danny O’Brien for $275,000 from the Coolmore draft at the 2010 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale and has the overall record of five wins and 10 placings from 27 starts with prizemoney of $437,020.

Decircles is a sibling to stakes-placed King Raedwald, Raffles Knight and Hybrid, being one of five winners from Lady Circles, a half-sister by Ascot Knight to Elvstroem and Haradsun from stellar producer and Group I winner Circles of Gold.

Foaled and raised at Coolmore, Decircles was bred by Frank Tagg’s Arch of Gold Syndicate, who have retained a share in the colt to race.

Lady Circles was on-sold in 2014 for $90,000 to the Vieira Group and was covered by Golden Slipper winner Pierro last year.

Decircles was one of two new stakes-winners on New Year’s Day for champion sire Encosta de Lago, who also had Delago’s Secret (4g Encosta de Lago x Divine Secret, by Thunder Gulch) win the Group III City of Auckland Cup.

Prepared by Roger James, Delago’s Secret did best in a thrilling finish to win the 2400 metre staying test by a head, his fifth win from 14 starts.

“It was a great effort today as he was wide throughout the race wherever he went,” noted James.

“I thought Danielle (winning rider Danielle Johnson) did a good job as the barrier did her no favours but she got some cover instead of being four wide and tracked into the race at the right time.

“He showed plenty of ticker so full marks to the horse.”

Delago’s Secret was a $180,000 NZB Premier purchase from the draft of Lyndhurst Farm having been pinhooked successfully from the Coolmore draft at the Inglis Select Weanling Sale for $65,000.

Foaled and raised at Coolmore, he is the best of three winners from Group I placed Thunder Gulch mare Divine Secret, a daughter of stakes-winner Prayerful.

Encosta de Lago is now the sire of 105 stakes-winners worldwide and has half a dozen entries for Magic Millions 2015.

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