Stars align for return of Rosemont favourite

4 min read
Rosemont Stud will welcome Starspangledbanner home with open arms following confirmation the former crack international sprinter and Group 1 producer will return to Victoria in 2019.

Majority owned by Coolmore, the son of Choisir previously stood at Anthony Mithen’s farm for three consecutive seasons from 2013, 2014 and 2015 before returning to Coolmore in 2016.

He has regularly shuttled to the Northern Hemisphere and a deal has now been completed for his Victorian homecoming.

“Starspangledbanner is a horse that we have had tremendous success with and is a fantastic addition to the Victorian stallion ranks,” Mithen said.

“We are rapt to have him back and grateful to Coolmore for keeping us involved. At stud, his numbers continue to be extraordinary off relatively low foal numbers.

“He has a stakes winners to runners percentage of 8.5 per cent and that is elite – in the realm of Australia’s very best stallions.

Starspangledbanner

"At stud, his numbers continue to be extraordinary off relatively low foal numbers.” – Anthony Mithen.

“I Am Invincible, Fastnet Rock and Exceed and Excel all bat at between 8.1 and 8.8 per cent and on that measure he is up there with them and miles ahead of a lot of unproven stallions standing for much higher fees.

“People also forget that he was a brilliant racehorse with the unique achievement of winning Champion Sprinter titles in both Australia and Europe in successive seasons. He was a dual Group 1 winner in both Hemispheres . It is a record that again far outstrips some of the newer stallions going to stud for much higher service fees.”

Following Group 1 success in Australia and Europe in the Caulfield Guineas, Oakleigh Plate, Golden Jubilee and July Cup, Starspangledbanner began his stud career with Coolmore in Ireland in 2011 before shuttling to its Hunter Valley Australia base for the 2011-2012 season.

Despite large numbers in both Hemispheres, those two crops netted only 58 live foals and the stallion was labelled sub-fertile and returned to training.

Starspangledbanner

Subsequently, 51 of his first season foals opened their racing careers and nine of them were stakes winners and Starspangledbanner returned to active duty at Rosemont Stud.

“We changed his environment, lightened his work load and focused heavily on keeping him happy.” – Anthony Mithen.

“We changed his environment, lightened his work load and focused heavily on keeping him happy,” he said. “It helped turn him around and we increased his fertility to over 60 per cent, which was respectable.

“Thankfully his improvement continued after he returned to Coolmore and his 2017 crop returned a fertility rate of 87 per cent. We’ve learned that as long as he isn’t over-worked, there’s nothing wrong with his fertility.

“The best thing was that we supported him with our own mares. Our racing team has done really well in the last couple of years, but our best juvenile runners have all been by him and headed by Thrillster and Brooklyn Hustle.”

Rosemont has achieved great success with the offspring of Starspangledbanner, including the deeds of Brooklyn Hustle

In Europe, Starspangledbanner recently produced a pair of 2-year-old winners now aimed at the G2 Queen Mary S. at Royal Ascot in June. Chasing Dreams (GB) won on debut at the Newmarket Craven meeting by five lengths for Godolphin while Lady Kermit (Ire), followed up a six length debut win with another victory at Newcastle

“We think that this is a fantastic result for Victorian breeders.” – Anthony Mithen.

Given the turnaround in his fertility, continued success in Europe and the juvenile stars in his own racing team, Mithen is understandably excited to welcome Starspangledbanner back to Rosemont.

“We think that this is a fantastic result for Victorian breeders,” he said. “It is a tough game. Increasingly, breeders are stuck with the bleak choice of either paying massive prices for sires with a good record or taking a massive punt on a sire whose credentials are unproven in the breeding barn and in some cases, on the race track as well.

“This is a stallion who won four Group 1s and has a proven record as a sire of good stakes winning horses from low numbers to date. Best of all, he has done both in Australia as well as Europe and there is no doubt that as a sire, his best is yet to come.”

Starspangledbanner will stand at $22,000 (inc GST) and will serve a limited book.