Broodmare owners employ various criteria when it comes to stallion selection.

Pedigree is a biggie. So are looks.

However, it’s often ‘performance’ that plays the biggest role.

Let’s face it, ‘To the manor born’ isn’t worth a jot if you can’t run out of sight on a dark night.

That’s why breeders would be well advised to YouTube CLUSTER’s victory in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill.

But before we get into the run itself, keep in mind that the Theo Marks is hardly run of the mill: Winx won in 2015, More Joyous five years earlier and, just this month, leading Everest contender, Arcadia Queen, made the race her own.

Still, none of them quite won the Theo Marks like Cluster. Caught at the tail of the field as they turned for home, Cluster produced a ‘Chautauqua-like’ finish to defeat Bull Point (now standing at $7,700) and $1 million earner, Ninth Legion, in a thriller.

Saddled up by Peter Snowden – Redzel anyone? – the veteran trainer had nothing but praise for Cluster:

“he has a massive amount of acceleration and the effort was huge. He’s really stamped himself as a horse with true ability”.

Cluster would only have two more outings – both at Group One – before retiring with three wins and three placings from 12 starts, but it’s worth noting that eight of those outings were at Group level.

Cluster would also run second to multiple Group winner Va Pensiero in the Group Three San Domenico and third to Group One Caulfield Guineas runnerup, Divine Calling, and Cox Plate winner, Shamus Award in the Group Two Stutt Stakes.

The thing is though, Cluster is much more than performance and athleticism. He really is to the manor born: Cluster’s sire, Fastnet Rock needs little introduction with a 70% winners to runners strike rate, multiple Champion Sires’ titles, 178 million progeny earnings and 148 stakes winners.

Importantly, not only does Fastnet Rock remain a top 5 Australian Sire, his sire sons include Smart Missile, the late Hinchinbrook, Foxwedge, Rothesay and Your Song – all in the current top 40.

A full brother to Group placed Miss Que and half to the multiple stakes placed Inkling, Cluster is from the Flemington stakes winner and Group Two placed, Tarcoola Diamond, who is, in turn, from a daughter of Group One winning 2YO, I Like Diamonds.

Cluster (right) with jockey Tim Clarke aboard winning the Theo Marks (Herald Sun)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With many of the Fastnet Rock progeny training on, there is already plenty of excitement around the first crop of Cluster with last season’s 2YOs including the stakes placed winner, Gee Gees Darl, multiple winner Galaxy and, now the promising 3YO, Tocatchacod.

Clearly one of the best value stallions on the Victorian stallion roster, Cluster stands at Larneuk Stud at a fee of only $6,600 and, for further information, phone Nev Murdoch on 0418 105 706.