Encosta Ends Season on a High

Our champion sire Encosta de Lago has been retired from active stud duty, but his brilliant Group II winning sprinter Rubick is set to take his place.

The considerable presence in Australia of Encosta de Lago now stretches in every direction with successful sire sons, a legion of top producing daughters and a stakes-winner in his own right on Saturday with veteran gelding Smokin’ Joey (7g Encosta de Lago x Dalzing, by Blazing Sword) taking out the Group III MRC Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield.

Fresh from a Queensland winter holiday during which he won the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich, evergreen seven year-old Smokin’ Joey was at his sparkling best in the 1200 metre weight-for-age sprint.

A Group I winner of the SAJC Goodwood Handicap last year, Smokin’ Joey produced that style of A game to blitz his rivals and win by two lengths, taking his overall record to nine wins and eight placings from 53 starts with prizemoney just shy of $1.5 million.

"I was a bit surprised how easy he did it. It was better than having a jump out next week that’s for sure,” said his trainer Wez Hunter.

"We didn’t give him a long time off from Queensland as he thrives on racing and it’s more a case of keeping him fresh.

"You just have to mix it up for him, yesterday he jumped about a dozen hurdles.

"He’s been doing it for about two years now and he’s a very good jumper.”

Next on the agenda for Smokin’ Joey is the Group II MRC PB Lawrence Stakes over 1400m in three weeks time at Caulfield.

Retained to race, Smokin’ Joey is a full brother to multiple Group II winner Our Smokin Joe, who won 10 races and more than $1.6 million in prizemoney with multiple placings at Group I level.

He is one of five winners from the Blazing Sword mare Dalzing, who was retired from stud duty in 2009, Smokin’ Joey being her final foal.

Smokin’ Joey is one of six stakes-winners this season for Encosta de Lago, who will finish fifth on the Australian General Sires List by earnings and third on the Australian Broodmare Sires List by earnings.

With his oldest progeny just four year-olds, Encosta de Lago’s ill-fated sire son Northern Meteor will finish ninth on the General Sires List by earnings with eight stakes-winners.

Another of his best young sons Manhattan Rain, whose oldest progeny are three year-olds, sired a new stakes-winner in Adelaide on Saturday in Wild Rain to finish the season with an impressive four stakes-winners.

Coolmore is poised to write the next chapter of success for Encosta de Lago with blue-blooded speedster Rubick (pictured), a close relation of Manhattan Rain, joining the roster this year at a fee of $17,600.