Victorian based Sun Stud was celebrating last Friday night when their homebred two-year-old colt, Chess Star, gave the stud’s popular young sire, Fighting Sun his first stakes winner in the Listed St Albans Stakes at Moonee Valley.
And training legend Gai Waterhouse played a strong role in the story.
Not only is she a co-trainer (with Adrian Bott) of the young colt, she was also the trainer of Fighting Sun, a one-time Golden Slipper favourite who had speed to burn before succumbing to injury.
It was also fitting Chess Star’s jockey Mark Zahra wore the yellow and red colours of Sun Stud for the prominent win with the Romsey based operation having invested strongly in the stallion.
Sun Stud Operations Manager David Grant believes the win may validate Fighting Sun as next flagship stallion for the Victorian breeding operation, off the back of having stood six-timed Victorian Champion Stallion Bel Esprit.
“The main focus with Sun Stud is to race good looking, well-bred colts, ultimately at stakes level and higher, with the view to making them worthy of graduating to our strong stallion roster,” Grant said.
“Fighting Sun is really Sun Stud’s foundation stallion. He has been the flag bearer for our operation’s vision, as Mr Cheng bought him as a yearling, raced him, stood him at stud and now he is producing his own stakes winners.
“Remarkably, Fighting Sun has been able to sire a stakes winner sooner than his own sire, Northern Meteor did at the same point in his illustrious, but short-lived career.
“He has an exciting future ahead as he has covered brilliant numbers of well-bred and performed mares. In his first 4 years at stud, he has covered 560 mares, and interest is already strong for this season. He will definitely cover well over 100 mares again,” Grant said.
Chess Star is out of the stakes-winning mare Social Glow (Aghaadir) who was runner-up in the Group 1 Swettenham Stud Stakes.
Aside from Chess Star, other Fighting Sun progeny have also been racing with distinction including the winner and Group 3 placed Platinum Mam’zelle and quality winners Sunfighter and Naduri. The Mick Price trained Fighting Harada has been racing impressively without winning in good maiden company.
Gai Waterhouse’s Racing Manager Emma Pearce was thrilled with the win.
“He is an exciting youngster, and in his trials he has really pushed (Golden Slipper runner) Santos to the line. The stable had a good opinion of him, so we sent him down to Melbourne to gain experience and to take advantage of the VOBIS bonuses on offer,” Pearce said.
“Being only his first preparation, he has just excelled and is probably unlucky not to be a multiple winner, so it was really rewarding to get the stakes win under his belt.
“He is a very straight forward horse to deal with and mentally easy to handle. We are not concerned with him being able to handle the atmosphere of a big day, but saying that, he is still learning to really let down and find the line. The fact he is winning on raw ability shows that he has serious potential.”
After the courageous, front running win at Moonee Valley, the stable’s Melbourne Foreman Roger Elliott echoed Pearce’s sentiments, while adding that the progressive colt may now head to Sydney for his next assignment.