Winners Flow for Royal Ascot Hero
The Swettenham Stud roster for 2015 is bristling with sparkling new sire talent, but it's the horse that has runners that has been making all the news in recent weeks. A flood of recent winners for two-time Royal Ascot hero Equiano (Fr) has seen him zooming up the European second crop sires list.
Equiano has 37 winners of 50 races on the board including Group winners Fly on the Night and Strath Burn as well as stakes-winning two year-old colt Waipu Cove.
A remarkable run of 14 wins in 20 days last month was the catalyst for his rise up the ladder and that winning strike-rate has continued into August.
Class colt Strath Burn leads the Equiano charge for black-type this term after a Group III victory in the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury on July 18.
"He will be a better horse with more juice in the ground," trainer Charlie Hills said. "There's a few nice races for him now."
Strath Burn is a typical Equiano – he earned black-type in France and England last year but is beginning to realise his full potential as a three year-old.
"He has obviously got plenty of ability and his form is rock solid," Hills said. "He was caught out a bit by inexperience last year but he's improved with those runs under his belt." Qatar Racing's Sheikh Fahad bought into the colt last year – he was initially purchased by Meikle Ben Stables owner Ronnie Bartlett for 62,000 guineas (AUD 116,400) at the 2014 Tattersalls Craven 2YO Sale. Strath Burn holds a number of entries for upcoming Group I and II sprints so won't lack for opportunity in coming months. Equiano hails from the Acclamation sireline which has emerged as a major influence in Europe through his exciting son Dark Angel. Dark Angel heads the European 2YO Sires List this year by earnings and went further ahead when Godolphin colt Birchwood, interestingly from a daughter of Exceed and Excel, won the Group II Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on July 11. Dark Angel retired to stud three years before Equiano and has now sired 23 stakes winners from his base at Morristown Lattin Stud in Ireland. Acclamation retired to stud in 2005 and he too is going strong on the European Two Year Old Sires List running equal third for winners and seventh by earnings. Equiano has had three smart Australian winners since the start of the new season in Devils Pinch, Best Bold andDel Piero and is back at Swettenham Stud for a $13,750 fee this year.