Awesome Rock Stakes Claim For Future Stud Career
The five-year-old stallion powered away from his rivals to defeat the high-class mare Real Love (Desert King) by two lengths with a further three quarters of a length to third-placed Set Square (Reset), a VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m) winner. Time for the race was 1:37.01.
Winning this Group Two race provided some compensation for Awesome Rock’s connections after the horse lost the Australian Cup (Gr 1, 2000m) on protest to Preferment (Zabeel) earlier in the year and gave him a second stakes success, his first achieved last spring in the Symphony Stakes (registered as Melbourne Cup Day Plate) (Listed, 1800m). He may now be set for the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) in October.
A winner at two over 1300 metres at Sandown, Awesome Rock also has to his credit five stakes placings including a second in the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m). He has now earned $688,720 in prize money to reward his group of owners who, via Spicer Thoroughbreds, paid $575,000 for him at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale when offered by Newgate Farm on behalf of Western Australian breeder Alan Olive.
The first foal of his talented dam Awesome Planet (Giant’s Causeway), Awesome Rock has some well-bred half relations to follow, a two-year-old Pierro (Lonhro) filly and a yearling filly by Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) and the mare is again due to foal to Snitzel this spring.
Awesome Planet was one of the best three year-old fillies to race in New Zealand in the 2008/09 season and over her career on the track won five races, one as a two-year-old, from 1200 to 2020 metres, among the two Listed races at home but her most important victory came as a late three-year-old in the BTC Doomben Roses (Gr 3, 2000m) over the Queensland Winter Carnival. She was also stakes placed four times, notably when second in the Wellington Cup (Gr 2, 2400m) and third in the New Zealand One Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m).
Giant’s Causeway (Storm Cat), maternal grandsire of Awesome Rock, was champion three-year-old colt in Britain and Ireland in 2000 when also Horse of the Year in Europe following a distinguished campaign as a two-year-old. Six of his nine career wins were in Group One company and at stud he has followed a similar path of success in becoming champion sire in the United States three times with 165 stakes winners to date around the world, with 31 of those winning at Group / Grade One level.
Daughters of Giant’s Causeway have so far produced 64 stakes winners, 11 at Group / Grade One level, among them the young sire Verrazano (More Than Ready) and two in Australasia, Escado (Casino Prince) and Warhorse (General Nediym), now at stud in Victoria.
Champion racehorse Shamardal, now a leading international sire, ranks as Giant’s Causeway’s most significant sire son but others such as Footstepsinthesand and First Samurai have also had their share of success.
From 2002 to 2005 inclusive Giant’s Causeway shuttled to Coolmore’s farm in NSW but while Awesome Planet, Juste Momente and nine other stakes winners resulted from those four seasons Giant’s Causeway’s stock generally failed to find favour at the yearling sales and his Australian trips were not continued.
The depth of family behind Awesome Rock equips him well for a career as a sire as his unraced third dam Band Of Angels (Alzao) is a half-sister to four stakes winners: Dr Devious (Ahonoora), winner of the Derby (Gr 1, 1m4f), Irish Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 1m2f) and Newmarket Dewhurst Stakes (Gr 1, 7f), Archway (Thatching), a top sprinter and successful sire, Shinko King (Fairy King), a Group One winner in Japan and a successful sire, and Royal Court (Sadler’s Wells), also a sire.
While Dr Devious failed to make a great impression as a sire in Europe before being sent to Japan, Archway found success as a sire in Australia as did Shinko King in New Zealand.
Archway left Group One winners Grand Archway, Roman Arch, Rose Archway, She’s Archie and Tails Of Triomphe. Group One winners for Shinko King are Azkadellia, Barinka, Bramble Rose, C’Est La Guerre and Eskimo Queen.
More recently two other Group One winners to emerge from Awesome Rock’s family are Dancing Rain (Danehill Dancer), winner of the Oaks (Gr 1, 1m4f) and Maybe (Galileo), the champion juvenile filly in Europe in 2011. Awesome Rock’s fifth dam is Rose Red (Northern Dancer) and this consistently powerful female line goes back to Djebellica (Djebel) through Torbella (Tornado).
Little need be said here about Awesome Planet’s champion sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill), responsible for 95 stakes winners in both hemispheres and an emerging force as a sire-of-sires like Hinchinbrook, Stryker, Smart Missile, Foxwedge and Rothesay.
Awesome Rock is linebred to the tough and brilliant American mare Crimson Saint (Crimson Satan) and carries no fewer than six crosses of the great Northern Dancer (Nearctic). He is bred on broadly similar lines to Group One winner Foxwedge and Classic winner Irish Lights, by Fastnet Rock from mares by Storm Cat-line sires.