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Breeder’s Royal Ascot dream still alive

4 min read
Rosemont Stud’s Anthony Mithen remains keen for a crack at the Royal Ascot carnival with young home-bred talent.

Mithen's plan to do just that earlier this year was thwarted at the 11th hour but this audacious strategy remains on his breeding bucket list.

He was all but on his way with Luck Favours (Starspangledbanner) in June before the filly’s European venture was foiled by an elevated temperature as she was about to accompany Group 1-winning sprinter Redkirk Warrior (GB) (Notnowcato {GB}) to England.

“Unfortunately, she had a spiked temperature 24 hours before the plane was due to go so the top hat and tails stayed in the cupboard.” – Anthony Mithen.

“She was a filly we had dreams and aspirations for to go to Ascot and she was booked to go,” he said. “Unfortunately, she had a spiked temperature 24 hours before the plane was due to go so the top hat and tails stayed in the cupboard.”

Luck Favours has now made the first winning strike of her career, albeit on a far less celebrated stage, with the Mark Young-trained filly giving age and a beating on debut to her older maiden rivals at Seymour on Thursday.

Although she is recognised as a 3-year-old in Australia, Luck Favours was bred to Northern Hemisphere time and is still a juvenile here, being a February foal.

Royal Ascot dream

Mithen had planned the mating with the dream outcome of a trip to Europe for the G2 Queen Mary S. only to be denied on the eve of her departure.

“We didn’t really have a Plan B after that so she went to the paddock and we decided to poke about with her here and see how good she is with the possibility of sending her up to race in the European summer against her own age group,” he said.

“I was a little bit nervous (at Seymour), the last thing I wanted was to feel a goose if she got beaten when we’d talked up Ascot, but she acquitted herself well. She still did things wrong and gawked about so it was very encouraging.

Luck Favours winning at Seymour

“She’s got a lovely pedigree and she’s out of a half-sister to Sweet Idea, who’s in England and owned by the Queen now, and Showtime.” – Anthony Mitten.

“She’s got a lovely pedigree and she’s out of a half-sister to Sweet Idea, who’s in England and owned by the Queen now, and Showtime.”

While his Ascot plan ended in frustration this year, he is still very much keen on the idea.

“I’ve had discussions with Harry Mitchell (at Yarraman Park Stud) about doing a similar thing with I Am Invincible and we might revisit that again early next year,” he said.

Mithen said the efforts of American trainer Wesley Ward and his 2-year-old success at Royal Ascot had also inspired him.

Carnival upset

In 2009, the then-unknown Ward stunned the carnival when he became the first American trainer to win there with Strike The Tiger (USA) (Tiger Ridge {USA}), who caused an upset in the Windsor Castle S. The following day stablemate Jealous Again (USA) (Trippi {USA}) won the Queen Mary.

Ward is now a perennial and continually successful visitor to Ascot with the likes of the Lady Aurelia (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}), who also claimed the Queen Mary and 12 months later the G1 King’s Stand S. This year he won the G2 Norfolk S., with Shang Shang Shang (USA) (Shangai Bobby {USA}).

“He’s been prepared to take the risk and got paid handsome dividends so I thought maybe we could plunder the European riches," Mithen said. “I think we might have a bit of an edge, but it didn’t play out that way.”

Aside from Luck Favour’s dam Marcia Proba (IRE) (Falbrav {IRE}), Rosemont bred a number of mares to Starspangledbanner to Northern Hemisphere time.

“They’re at various stages of development and one of them is a nice colt who is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Montoya’s Secret with Troy Corstens.” – Anthony Mithen.

“They’re at various stages of development and one of them is a nice colt who is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Montoya’s Secret with Troy Corstens,” Mithen said.

Starspangledbanner

“He’s called Kidburg and he was in the picture for Europe before he got injured.

“This filly (Luck Favours) got further down the track. The idea was borne out of Starspangledbanner’s first crop when he only had 30, because of fertility issues, and three of them won at Ascot.

“That was when he burst onto the scene and my thinking was we could parachute a few 2-year-olds into Europe and see how we fared. My feeling is with the right stallion and right 2-year-old type we could put them to the sword.”