G1 Pretty Polly Quinella for Fastnet Rock
Champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock produced a Group I quinella in the Pretty Polly Stakes (1m2f) at The Curragh won by Via Sistina (5m Fastnet Rock x Nigh, by Galileo) defeating Stay Alert (4m Fastnet Rock x Starfala, by Galileo).
Trained by George Boughey and ridden by Jamie Spencer, Via Sistina was a dominant winner of the Group II Newmarket Dahlia Stakes in her seasonal return and she went to the post as favourite for the Pretty Polly.
She delivered on expectation, powering clear with an impressive surge and despite hanging in at the finish was able to win by more than two lengths over Stay Alert.
"It's unlike her as she's never hung before," said Jamie Spencer after the win.
"Once I saw the head-on (replay) I wasn't too concerned but you'd rather win more smoothly.
"I had a plan going out to jump smartly and sit third but she bobbed the gate and it was straight to plan B. I wasn't very comfortable for the first six furlongs of the race but, once I got her around the turn into the straight and went past one on the outside, she came alive. I was in business then."
Via Sistina was trained previously by Joe Tuite, who retired at end of last season, and she holds entries for several upcoming Group I races.
A bargain purchase from the Tattersalls December Yearling Sale where she made just 5000 guineas when bought by Stephen Hillen Bloodstock, Via Sistina has the overall record of five wins and two placings from 10 starts.
"She was big, gangly and a bit weak as a yearling," said Stephen Hillen.
"She just needed time and I was just there at the right time. Joe Tuite did a magnificent job nurturing her along and she's just taken a long time to get to the level she has.
"George Boughey is at the top of his game and her pedigree tells you she's going to get better the older she gets. I think she's versatile and can go a mile to a mile and a half. She could come back and run in the Falmouth Stakes or the Nassau (G1).
"When the ground gets softer I think she could do something special in one of these Group 1s."
Via Sistina is the first winner for Nigh, a half-sister by Galileo to Group I winner Kingsgate Native.
She is the 43rd Group I winner for Fastnet Rock and is the 49th for Galileo as a broodmare sire.
Both Via Sistina and runner-up Stay Alert are bred on the same Fastnet Rock x Galileo nick which runs at 20% stakes-winners to runners and ten of the 28 stakes-winners bred this way are G1 winners!
Fastnet Rock stands at a fee of $110,000 this spring with his promising young sire son Acrobat also on the roster a fee of $13,750.