American Pharoah Winning Double for Ron and Judy Wanless
When the Kris Lees trained juvenile Flag of Honour (2g American Pharoah x Godiva Rock, by Stratum) won on debut at Newcastle last month he landed a massive betting plunge, but punters were not quite as confident at Rosehill on Saturday when he was stepping up in class and distance.
Partnered by Hugh Bowman, Flag of Honour settled back in the field and powered to the line showing plenty of heart to hold off determined race favourite Alberich to win the 1400m contest by a neck.
A $425,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Baramul Stud draft for Tasman Bloodstock, Flag of Honour runs for well-known owner breeders Ron and Judy Wanless and with two wins in as many starts has already banked over $120,000 in prizemoney.
"He had a bit to do there today," Kris Lees said, who indicated the Group I ATC Spring Champion Stakes was on the radar as a possible spring goal.
"I thought in the run the favoured horses were up on the speed and were getting a nice enough run in front and nothing really took him into the race. He had to peel out and do it all himself.
"I was probably more confident at the furlong than the last 50m, but he stuck his head out where it mattered."
Hugh Bowman was well pleased with Flag of Honour and believes there is much more to come.
"I was pretty impressed, he's a horse that looks as though he's still got a bit of maturing to do physically, but he's got a beautiful action," Bowman said.
"I've ridden a couple of nice young ones (American Pharoahs), we'll start to see them filter through to the races more and more now. I think this guy's a good example of what he can produce.
"He's an exciting horse for the future."
Bred by Gerry Harvey, Flag of Honour was the second highest priced yearling by his sire sold at Magic Millions in 2021 and is the first winner for Group I placed Stratum mare Godiva Rock, whose grand-dam is a half-sister to Group I Victoria Derby winner Redding.
This is the prolific Black Type ‘Leica’ family that has produced G1 horses such as Nothin’ Leica Dane and Leica Smile.
Godiva Rock has a weanling filly by American Pharoah and was covered again last spring at Coolmore by the Triple Crown winner, who had a metro winning double on Saturday with the Peter Moody trained Daytona Bay (3g American Pharoah x Soubrettes, by High Chaparral) saluting at Flemington.
Raced by Ron and Judy Wanless, who also own Flag of Honour, Daytona Bay has now won three of four starts earning over $135,000 in prizemoney.
American Pharoah will be rested from shuttle duties in Australia this spring.