150th Stakes-Winner for Fastnet Rock
Champion sire Fastnet Rock sired his 150th stakes-winner on Saturday when progressive three year-old Sherwood Forest (3g Fastnet Rock x Chasing Mammon, by Giant’s Causeway) won the Group III War Decree Stakes at Riccarton in New Zealand.
Sherwood Forest has been touted as a serious contender for the Group I Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in a fortnight and his admirers would have been well satisfied with his latest performance.
Settled well back by rider Troy Harris after missing away slightly at the jump, the Tony Pike-trained galloper was still spotting the leaders a conservative six lengths as the field approached the home bend.
Harris peeled Sherwood Forest to the centre of the track where a few huge bounds carried him to the front before he stalled off all challengers to win the one mile feature by a length.
Pike stable representative Dean Williams was delighted with the run as a final lead-up to the upcoming Group I challenge.
“It is fair to say I was a bit nervous when he was slow away,” Williams said.
“Troy got him some cover and then plenty of clear air and he was a touch too good for them.
“We are down here now; he is well and we know he loves the mile.”
TAB Bookmakers responded by tightening Sherwood Forest into an $8 second favourite for the 2000 Guineas.
A $100,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Coolmore draft for New Zealand Bloodstock, Sherwood Forest has won two of six starts and was foaled and raised at Coolmore.
A full brother to stakes-winner Royal Ocean, he is from Chasing Mammon, a half-sister by Giant’s Causeway to stakes-winner Zelsnitz from the family of dual Group I winner and leading sire Holy Roman Emperor.