First Australian Stakes-Winner for Starspangledbanner
Sire sensation Starspangledbanner has been a superstar in Europe this year with his first small crop of runners and showed it will be more of the same in Australia when his two year-old son Of The Brave (2c Starspangledbanner x Runaway Jesse, by Rory’s Jester) scored a dominant debut win in the Listed MRC Debutants Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday. A dashing chestnut like his sire, the Mark Riley trained Of The Brave was the quickest heat winner at Cranbourne two year-old trials last month and ran right up to that ability under race conditions. He did everything right from gate one for Steve Baster to travel well throughout on the pace, quickening off the turn to win the 1000 metre scamper by a length and three-quarters. “The horse is not even close to being anywhere near his best,” Riley said. “I think potentially he’s the best horse I’ve ever had. He’s most exciting. “His coat hasn’t even come out yet but we ran him today because he’s just done everything so right. He’s just a natural racehorse. He’s got a great attitude.” A $170,000 Magic Millions purchase for his trainer from the Rosemont Stud draft, Of The Brave is eligible for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast in January, but Riley said he would assess his options while the two-year-old enjoys a break. Of The Brave is bred to go fast being a three-quarter brother to brilliant Group III winner Eloping and Group II placed Jesse’s Girl. He is the fourth winner for Runaway Jesse, a half-sister by Rory’s Jester to Group III winner All Courage. Of the Brave is the first Australian runner for Starspangledbanner, who has sired seven winners in Europe this year from limited runners led by Group I winner The Wow Signal and Group II winner Anthem Alexandra. The Caulfield Guineas hero in 2009, who went on to achieve global Group I success at Royal Ascot, Starspangledbanner is covering a select book of 50 mares at Rosemont Stud in Victoria and will shuttle back to Coolmore Ireland for his 2015 season.