True to Type
A dual Group I winner in Australia, Starspangledbanner cut a swathe through the European sprinters in 2010 winning the Group I Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group I July Cup at Newmarket before finishing second in the Group I Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
Starspangledbanner retired to Coolmore with much fanfare, but subsequent fertility issues put his stud career in serious doubt.
And then something magical happened at Royal Ascot last year that made Starspangledbanner hot property – fertility issues or not.
The superstar son of Choisir produced the two best juvenile winners of arguably the world's greatest racing carnival with The Wow Signal capturing the Group II Coventry Stakes and Anthem Alexandra taking the Group II Queen Mary Stakes.
Having just his second race start following a nine length debut win at Ayr, The Wow Signal cruised home to win by a length and three-quarters and followed up to win at his next start at Deauville in the Group I Prix Morny.
On that occasion he won the six furlong sprint over Hootenanny and Ervedya, both subsequent Group I winners.
Sadly for his owners Al Shaqab Racing, The Wow Signal had just one more run at two and was injured earlier this year curtailing his racing career prematurely.
Harry Herbert, racing advisor to Al Shaqab Racing, said on the owner's Facebook page: "We are very sad that The Wow Signal has had to be retired. It is always disappointing when a horse like this is prevented from reaching his full potential. His two-year-old form emerged as some of the best in the world and I have no doubt that he would have gone on to be an exceptional three-year-old.
"That's something we'll all be left to ponder, but one thing we do know for sure is that The Wow Signal was a fast and precocious two year-old, which is something very much in demand in Australia and he is very true to type for his sireline.
The Wow Signal will be the first son of Starspangledbanner to go to stud anywhere in the world and as such will be looking to continue the legacy of his forbears. Starspangledbanner was a brilliant debut juvenile winner of the Inglis Banner on Cox Plate day, while his sire Choisir opened his career with a debut win in the Listed AJC Breeders Plate before going on to become the original Royal Ascot Aussie hero in 2003. Go back another generation and we come to Danehill Dancer, arguably the best two year-old ever sired by the legendary Danehill in the Northern Hemisphere. He won three of four starts at two, winning on debut at Newmarket in July before reeling off Group I wins in the Phoenix Stakes and National Stakes in Ireland before finishing second in the Group I Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. The Wow Signal has only to follow in the footsteps of all that has gone before to become a significant asset for the Victorian breeding industry and at a fee of $15,000 has been priced competitively by Swettenham Stud against his sire Starspangledbanner, who stands at $44,000. The Swettenham Stud roster bristles with talent and diversity, but for sheer precocious juvenile speed, The Wow Signal is your man!