A victory in the Norfolk Stakes naturally prompted a wave of outside interest in Superstar Leo. Fast, precocious and tough, the filly was winning her third race on the bounce for William Haggas when trouncing colts in the Royal Ascot contest and by the time she lined up in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury the following month, it came as little surprise to see she was under different ownership, with The Superstar Leo Partnership having accepted a significant offer from Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stable.
In the short term, it proved to be a shrewd move by the Jacksons. Superstar Leo remained with Haggas and went on to rattle off further wins in the Super Sprint and Flying Childers Stakes alongside placings in the Phoenix Stakes and against older horses in the Prix de l’Abbaye. The best runner sired by the moderate College Chapel, Superstar Leo was undoubtedly the top sprinting juvenile filly of 2000 and a component in the rising popularity of the Haggas stable.
Perhaps not so thrilled were her former owners The Superstar Leo Partnership, the nom-de-plume of a group that included her co-breeders Lester Piggott and Tony Hirschfeld. Piggott had allegedly named the filly after a boat in Hong Kong upon which he had enjoyed a party, and in an interview with The Independent following her Super Sprint win, Haggas went as far as to remark: “Lester will kill me for selling her. But it was a good offer, too good to refuse.”
As it was, with her Norfolk Stakes win she had handed Piggott a remarkable Royal Ascot winning four-timer as a jockey, trainer, owner and breeder; incidentally, one of his 116 victories as a jockey had come aboard College Chapel in the 1993 Cork and Orrery Stakes.
Although Superstar Leo never won beyond her two-year-old season, the acquisition has also gone on to reap many rewards for the Jacksons in the long term. Lael Stable have had better broodmares through their hands perhaps, among them Bordighera, the dam of George Washington and Grandera, and La Ville Rouge, the dam of Barbaro, but in Superstar Leo, they have a mare that has spawned a real legacy, and one whose family is today readily associated with not only themselves but also the Haggas stable.
“Superstar Leo was undoubtedly the top sprinting juvenile filly of 2000 and a component in the rising popularity of the Haggas stable”
The power of this family was on show again at the Qatar Goodwood Festival last Friday when the half-siblings One Master and Prompting, who are out of a daughter of Superstar Leo, scored within hours of each other.
Lael homebred One Master, a two-time winner of the Prix de la Foret, still retains all her enthusiasm at the age of six, having been patiently handled in her younger days. The class act of last week’s 12-runner Oak Tree Stakes and widely expected to oblige at odds of 6/4 as a result, it briefly looked as if the mare and her partner Tom Marquand would be caught out by the quirky nature of Goodwood. But class always tells and although repeatedly short of room coming down the hill, One Master took full advantage once a sliver of light appeared to run down Valeria Messalina and win by a head.
Plans now call for the Fastnet Rock mare to head to Longchamp for a third crack at the Prix de la Foret.
Not to be forgotten, however, was her half-brother Prompting, who did his bit for the family two races later when striking in the Golden Mile Handicap. A highly progressive gelding, the son of Bated Breath is now unbeaten in three starts this season for David O’Meara, having originally been picked up for just 7,000gns as an unraced three-year-old by Colm Sharkey at the 2019 Tattersalls February Sale.
The pair are out of Superstar Leo’s talented daughter Enticing. By broodmare sire extraordinaire Pivotal, Enticing herself twice shone at Glorious Goodwood when taking the 2006 Molecomb Stakes as a two-year-old and the King George Stakes at four. Those wins were the highlights of a lengthy and productive career that also yielded multiple placings at Group 3 level.
Hat-trick! Prompting makes it three in row with this biggest success of his career in the @UnibetRacing Golden Mile Handicap for Harry Bentley and David O’Meara #QatarGoodwoodFestival pic.twitter.com/CDwDXzNPwE
— Goodwood Racecourse (@Goodwood_Races) July 31, 2020
One Master, one of eight Group 1 winners sired in Europe by Coolmore shuttler Fastnet Rock, is the sole stakes winner out of Enticing to date but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Prompting will also be able to pick up some black-type in the future. Superstar Leo might have been a champion two-year-old but a key aspect of this family is its progressive nature and Prompting, who didn’t make his debut until last autumn, is another that seemingly falls into that category.
Enticing has a two-year-old filly by Kodiac with Haggas named Arousing while she foaled a full brother to One Master this year.
Enticing is the best runner produced to date by Superstar Leo but her Danehill Dancer daughter, Sentaril, was also pretty smart, running second in the 2012 Jersey Stakes before gaining a deserved stakes success in the Fleur de Lys Stakes at Lingfield Park. Sentaril has also now made a bright start at stud, notably as the dam of current three-year-old Kettle Hill, who got off the mark at the second time of asking last month at Windsor.
In all, Superstar Leo has ten daughters on the ground, some of whom have been sold into other hands. Lael, however, remain for the most part in control of this family; not only do they have Enticing and Sentaril continuing to breed for them but also Superstar Leo’s winning daughters Cloud Line (by Danehill Dancer), who has a yearling colt by Showcasing, and Yaraki (by Frankel), who has a yearling colt by Speightstown. As for Superstar Leo herself, the 22-year-old has a yearling colt by Havana Gold.
As alluded to above, Superstar Leo was the best sired by the former Coolmore stallion College Chapel, a son of Sharpo who is probably best remembered nowadays as handing Vincent O’Brien a final Royal Ascot winner in the 1993 Cork and Orrery Stakes. Her dam, the General Assembly mare Council Rock, remained a maiden throughout her lengthy career for Geoff Wragg and then Clive Brittain, and Superstar Leo was the only one of her 18 foals to gain black-type.
“A key aspect of this family is its progressive nature”
However, Council Rock did boast excellent connections as a daughter of Philip Oppenheimer’s 1982 Nassau Stakes heroine Dancing Rocks, thereby making her a half-sister to Prestige Stakes winner Glatisant and Listed scorers Gai Bulga and Rockerlong.
Glatisant, whose death at the age of 29 was announced last week, later became a major cog in the Oppenheimer family’s Hascombe and Valiant Studs as the dam of 2,000 Guineas winner and successful sire Footstepsinthesand, fellow Group 1 winner Pedro The Great and Frappe, the dam of Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Power.
However, it says a lot for Council Rock and the management behind her that her influence on today’s breed does not lag too far behind. Superstar Leo leads the way in terms of production but Council Rock’s Galileo daughter Starship has also carved out a fine career at stud as the dam of Racing Post Trophy winner Rivet – another Fastnet Rock representative trained by Haggas – and Group 3 winners Out And About and Alexander Pope.
Another daughter, New York (by Danzero), is the dam of Australian Group 1 winner December Draw while her half-sister Rocking (by Oasis Dream) is the granddam of Roger Varian’s Classic-placed miler San Donato.
It’s safe to say that we will only hear more of this branch of the Dancing Rocks family as time goes on.