High hopes for star draft from Mountarmstrong

Alexander Goldrun: her Shamardal filly to be offered at Goffs this week

PICTURE: EDWARD WHITAKER High hopes for star draft from Mountarmstrong
By Aisling Crowe 12:01PM 26 SEP 2016

COMBINING the genes of brilliant racemare Alexander Goldrun and dual world champion Frankel produced the most expensive yearling sold at auction from the sire's first crop, at €1.7 million.

The filly – sold to China Horse Club at last year's Goffs Orby Yearling Sale and now in the care of Jim Bolger – was consigned by Alexander Goldrun's owner Mountarmstrong Stud.

She was the second yearling out of Alexander Goldrun, a five-time Group 1 winner by Gold Away, to change hands at auction after the lightly raced Juniper Tree, who made 950,000gns at Tattersalls in 2012.

The latest yearling offering out of Alexander Goldrun is a filly by Shamardal who will be offered as lot 358 at the Orby Sale on Wednesday.

Mountarmstrong Stud manager Robert Tierney admits to feeling the burden of expectation.

"There probably is a bit of pressure," he says. "But we have a nice filly again this year and we'll present her as well as we can at the sales.

"The dam was brilliant, winning five top-flight races, and Shamardal is an excellent and successful stallion too. But the circumstances are different this year without Frankel in the mix. The filly will do what she'll do."

The Frankel filly – named Goldrush – has yet to be seen on the track but her year-younger sibling has certainly inherited her mother's looks. Both fillies are similar in features to their mother rather than their celebrated fathers.

Alexander Goldrun's first four foals were by Galileo, Frankel and Shamardal, but this year Mountarmstrong Stud owner Noel O'Callaghan decided to look in a different location for a stallion and the middle-distance star is carrying a foal by last year's champion sprinter Muhaarar.

She is not the only mare of the 35 who reside in the rolling hills of Tipperary, watched over by the famed Rock of Cashel, who is in foal to Shadwell's popular new boy. Heroine Chic made the journey to Norfolk in the spring and she too is in foal to Muhaarar. Her second foal, a colt by Kodiac, is lot 721 in Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.

"He's a fine, professional yearling and really knows his job," Tierney says of the muscular bay. "Heroine Chic is by Big Bad Bob and she's a sister to a pair of black-type horses in Backbench Blues and Banksters Bonus. Further back it's a very successful American family."

Heroine Chic is owned by two of Noel O'Callaghan's sons – Charles and Paul – and they share their father's passion for bloodstock and pedigrees, according to Tierney.

"They have shares in a few with their father but own Heroine Chic themselves," he says. "The first mare they had bred a black-type horse and they're good lads, very enthusiastic, very clued into pedigrees and very astute."

Back at Goffs and Alexander Goldrun's daughter is not the only star among the Mountarmstrong yearlings.

Lot 360 is a good-looking Sea The Stars filly out of Alexander Youth. A ten-year-old winning daughter of Exceed And Excel, Alexander Youth is a half-sister to Moss Vale and has bred three winners.

The third member of this stellar trinity is lot 359, a daughter of Kodiac out of Alexander Queen. Her colt by Dream Ahead was bought by Shadwell for £200,000 at Tattersalls October Book 2 last year. He has yet to race but all five of his siblings have, and all five foals out of this half-sister to Anthem Alexander and Dandy Man have won.

The policy of the farm is focused on quality over quantity and O'Callaghan is in the business of adding classy mares to the broodmare band the hotelier has built up on his 250-acre establishment.

There is a blend of homebred mares and acquired ones in the group, as new bloodlines and families are added to the mix in the hope of improving the foals bred by the farm.

Tierney says: "We're improving the quality of our mares all the time and Noel has enjoyed a good year on the track with his two-year-old fillies. Rapacity Alexander won a Listed race over five furlongs and there is Asidious Alexander, who is a Listed winner and has been placed in Group 3 company on her last two starts, as well as Sweet Solera Stakes winner Nations Alexander and Pious Alexander, a half-sister to Anthem Alexander and Dandy Man.

"They'll all come back to the farm next year or the year after."

Tierney also has news of one of the best fillies bred by O'Callaghan.

"Anthem Alexander was retired at the end of last year and she's in foal to Kodiac," he says. "She's due in March and that should be a fast foal. Online Alexander was a black-type mare, she's back here too and we're hoping both mares can be successful in the paddocks."

An Iffraaj filly out of Obama Rule is one of the potential highlights of the Mountarmstrong draft offered at Book 1 at Tattersalls this year. The dam is a sister to dual Group 3 winner Osaila, who was also third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita in 2014.

Tierney explains why such potentially exciting broodmares as her and the Shamardal filly out of Alexander Goldrun are for sale. "The whole thing has to be commercial," he says. "Every yearling is offered for sale and if they make what they're worth, they're sold; if not, Noel keeps them to race."

As demonstrated by Anthem Alexander – not sold as a yearling for 48,000gns before she carried O'Callaghan's silks to victory in the Queen Mary Stakes – it is often the reluctant buyers who lose out.

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