Long Leaf (Fastnet Rock) winning the Listed MRC Merson Cooper Stakes at Sandown

125th Stakes-Winner for Fastnet Rock

The familiar navy blue Coolmore colours were carried to victory in the Listed MRC Merson Cooper Stakes at Sandown on Saturday by talented colt Long Leaf (2c Fastnet Rock x Frustrating, by Stravinsky), a $750,000 NZB Premier purchase for BBA Ireland from the Curraghmore Stud draft. Trained by the Hayes / Dabernig partnership, Long Leaf opened his account with a narrow victory at Morphettville last month and took plenty of benefit from that outing. Stepped up to stakes class, Long Leaf jumped well from the outside gate for Kerrin McEvoy to go forward and sit outside the leader and was strong to the line when challenged by runner-up Oohood. He relished the battle sticking on with tenacity to hold off Oohood and win the 1000 metre scamper by a short head . “Adelaide was a nice kick off for him and he showed that day the more he got into the race the more the penny dropped,” said Kerrin McEvoy. “Today he was out quickly and always in control of the race. There was only a small margin at the finish, but he’s a lovely colt that will keep improving.”

Having been bought from Karaka and part-owned by Sir Peter Vela, Long Leaf may be under consideration for a start in the Karaka Million in January for which he is eligible with $100,000 in prizemoney already in the bank.

Foaled and raised at Coolmore, Long Leaf is the first winner for Frustrating, a winning Stravinsky daughter of blue hen Parfore, whose long list of stakes-winning offspring is headed by Group I winners Terravista, Tiger Tees, Group II winner Ball of Muscle and Singapore Horse of the Year and sire Super Easy. Frustrating has a yearling filly by Fastnet Rock and was covered by the champion sire again last spring.

Long Leaf is the 125th stakes-winner for Fastnet Rock, who will travel back to Ireland for another Northern Hemisphere season in 2018.