Qatar's Al Shaqab Shuttles first Gr.1 Son of Starspangledbanner to Swettenham
Class, speed, toughness and “the heart of a lion”.
There is little else that could be asked of a racehorse.
But The Wow Signal has all that, and more.
And he is bringing it to Victoria's Swettenham Stud in what is the farm’s second major coup for the season.
Along with the physical qualities that make a superior racehorse, The Wow Signal possesses the attributes of a great sire.
And, in his case, they are a rare set.
The Wow signal not only has a world-class stallion’s pedigree, he established his racing record in the most testing of arenas.
If there is one race meeting in the world that stamps a horse’s papers, it is Royal Ascot. On that score, The Wow Signal has the right credentials. Not only did he win at the Royal meeting, so did his sire Starspangledbanner and so did his grandsire, Choisir.
On top of that, his great-grandsire Danehill Dancer was the champion sire of Great Britain and Ireland for 2009 and one of the most successful shuttle stallions to have undertaken dual-hemisphere duties.
As a stallion for Australia, The Wow Signal could hardly have more to recommend him.
So impressive was he in a nine-length win on debut at Ayr last May that Al Shaqab Racing snapped him up.
The decision was immediately rewarded with a successful step up to Group Two company in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot before a search for a suitable Group One event led to France.
The switch from the firm ground at Ascot to soft going in the the Prix Morny at Deauville proved no obstacle with the colt scoring a victory over six furlongs.
This performance encouraged connections to begin planning a Guineas campaign. It was a mission strongly favoured by jockey Frankie Dettori, who had partnered the colt in all three wins.
“He's so tough and determined, he has the heart of a lion,” Dettori said after the Prix Morny in which he beat the Royal Ascot winner Hootenanny who later won the Group One Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf and Ervedya the subsequent winner of the Gr.1 French 1,000 Guineas.
“We know we’ve got a good horse with a lot of class, it was no fluke in the Coventry.”
The Guineas plan also appealed to Al Shaqab’s racing manager Harry Herbert.
“We were over the moon, it was a really superb performance over a trip that was becoming too short for him,” Herbert said.
The Wow Signal had one more run as a two-year-old, but a virus was found to have affected his chances in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp on Arc day.
Back in training at three, his Guineas preparation was progressing well when he suffered an injury and was retired to Al Shaqab's French stud Haras de Bouquetot where his career as a stallion will be guided by manager Benoit Jeffroy.
Australian breeders are already familiar with the quality of the Starspangledbanner stock through the performances of such talented horses as the local stakeswinner Of The Brave and in Europe his first crop also produced another Royal Ascot winner, Anthem Alexander.
The Wow Signal will become the first son of Starspangledbanner to go to stud, joining Swettenham’s other new resident for the coming season, Toronado, also owned by Al Shaqab and the only son of High Chaparral standing in Victoria.
Swettenham's Adam Sangster described the impending arrival of both The Wow Signal and Toronado as a great show of faith by the Qatar-based Al Shaqab in his team and in the Australian industry.
“To be entrusted by Al Shaqab Racing with a horse such as Toronado was a tremendous privilege,” Sangster said.
“And now for us to also have The Wow Signal join him is a measure of the strength and the quality of the bloodstock industry in this country.”
The Wow Signal will stand for $15,000 including gst. To make a booking please contact Chris Belli on 0417 514 552.