The stud career of Starspangledbanner has hit new heights with two Irish Group successes in four days, combined with a career-best season from his progeny in Australia.

Fertility issues plagued the early part of the four-time Group 1 winner’s stud career, but thanks to the careful management of both Coolmore and Rosemont Stud, his current home in Australia, he has been able to shuttle successfully between hemispheres.

The 13-year-old son of Choisir has recently arrived back in Australia and is serving out a period of quarantine before taking up residence again at Rosemont Stud in Victoria for the 2020 season at a fee of $19,800 inc GST.

“He’ll arrive at Rosemont in the first week of August and we’re really looking forward to seeing him again. He’s such a popular stallion here in Victoria and statistically is as good a sire standing in the state,” Rosemont’s General Manager, Bloodstock, Ryan McEvoy, said.

“He is tracking in the vicinity of 6.5 per cent stakes winners to runners and over 11 per cent black type horses to runners so his ability to get a higher class of horse is unquestionable.”

A look at his black type statistics sees Starspangledbanner striking at 6.3 per cent stakes winners to runners globally, with four of his 14 career stakes winners saluting in Australia.

He heads into his ninth Australian season with an incredible head of steam, thanks to three Northern Hemisphere stakes winners in the past 10 days.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Dickiedooda (Ire) kicked things off on July 13 with a win in the Listed Tipperary S. at Cork before the Fozzy Stack-prepared Aloha Star (Ire) became his 14th stakes winner overall with a win in the G2 Airlie Stud S. at The Curragh on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Starspangledbanner’s G1 Cheveley Park S. winner, Millisle (Ire) returned to the winner’s circle for Harrington in the G3 Ballyogan S. at Naas.

It was the 3-year-old filly’s third stakes success, making her just the second of Starspangledbanner’s progeny to secure three or more black-type wins after Home Of The Brave (Ire), who has six.

“She’s back on track. She was very good there and Shane (Foley – jockey) said she’s only really learning to sprint now,” Harrington said of Millisle after the race.

“We’ll probably go to The Curragh now for the Phoenix Sprint, another Group 3 and then we could go to France for the [G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville]. It’s just hard enough to find races for her.

“There are very few fillies races, that’s the trouble, and she’s probably not hardened enough to take on the older sprinters yet. I think she will be in time, as I think she’s a proper sprinter. I’d love to look at a Group 1 towards the end of the season. “

“I think she’s a proper sprinter. I’d love to look at a Group 1 towards the end of the season. ” – Jessica Harrington

In a measure of the faith in the stallion, Harrington confirmed Millisle’s dam, Green Castle (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}) had been sent back to him this year at Coolmore Ireland.

“Her dam went back in foal this year to Starspangledbanner aged 23. She had been retired, but they brought her back in out of the field,” she said.

Above: Millisle (Ire) | Image courtesy of Rosemont Stud

Strong numbers support stronger fertility

In a positive indication of his ongoing fertility, Starspangledbanner served 148 mares at 80 per cent strike rate in Ireland this season.

“Between Coolmore and Rosemont, we have learned a lot about how effective he is in the shed, the techniques to manage him and maximise his fertility. We’ve analysed the data and put that to good use,” McEvoy said.

“Certainly, the fertility concern would appear a thing of the past and breeders should feel increased confidence in sending their mares to Starspangledbanner this season. Reproductively speaking, he’s matured and from a practical management viewpoint we’ve worked hard to best maximise his fertility going forward.”

Above: Prime Star winning the R. Listed Inglis Millennium

In terms of his Australian progeny on the track, it’s been a career-best season for Starspangledbanner.

He has had 34 winners from 61 runners in 2019/20, with his progeny earning close to $3 million, a considerable increase on his previous record of $1.4 million last season. He also sits comfortably in the top five Australian 2-year-old sires for this season.

His star performer has been the 2-year-old Prime Star, who won the R. Listed Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm in February for Richard and Michael Freedman.

The China Horse Club-owned gelding has recovered from an injury which ended his 2-year-old preparation and had a recent trial at Randwick, finishing second.

Promising signs from Rosemont fillies

Also set to return in the next few weeks is the smart Rosemont-owned filly Brooklyn Hustle, who thrashed subsequent The Everest winner Yes Yes Yes on debut and has been very competitive in stakes company in her subsequent five starts, including a third in the G3 Blue Sapphire S., last spring.

“She might be the forgotten filly who has been off the scene, but certainly not from our point of view,” McEvoy said.

“We have been waiting to get her back, and you only have to think about her debut, where she made such an impression in a highly rated race, of course she skipped past Yes Yes Yes and won that race so convincingly. Clearly that form reference will be noted when she does return to the races reminding people of what a unique talent she is.”

Above: Brooklyn Hustle

Starspangledbanner’s next stakes winner could come as soon as Saturday with the Rosemont-owned Knowles to contest the Listed Lightning S. at Morphettville.

“She’s really well-placed there for Jason Warren. She is a filly that while she hasn’t achieved it yet, we do think she is a stakes horse. We think she is capable of measuring up in a race like that for sure,” McEvoy said.

Rosemont also have another Starspangledbanner filly, the Tony Gollan-trained 2-year-old Starosa, which it has high hopes for after a 6l win at Doomben in May.

McEvoy said the upcoming season, where Starspangledbanner stands at $19,800 (inc GST), looms as another opportunity for the stallion to build on his burgeoning record.

“He’s been a phenomenal stallion for the team to be involved in and whilst it may feel like he’s been around for a while, he’s still a relatively young stallion. He covered a seriously good book of mares last season and he is on target for that again this year,” he said.

“We’ve recently finalised our matings, and again, he’ll be backed up with another strong book of mares from the Rosemont band.”

Article courtesy of Bren O’Brien TDN