It was a big day for 18-year-old broodmare Ascutney at Goodwood on Tuesday. Not only did her freshman stallion son Raven’s Pass sire his first stakes winner but his full-sister, the two-year-old Snow Rose, shed her maiden tag on just her second start.
Ascutney, a daughter of Lord At War, was brought into Darley’s American broodmare band on Sheikh Mohammed’s acquisition of Robert and Janice McNair’s Stonerside Stable. A dual turf winner as a juvenile, she is a full-sister to E Dubai’s dam Words Of War.
Her sixth foal, Raven’s Pass, a son of Darley’s Elusive Quality, was sent to Newmarket to be trained by John Gosden and ran for the McNairs as a juvenile before switching to the green-and-black colours of Sheikh Mohammed’s wife Princess Haya for his Classic season.
A track record-breaker in the Solario Stakes at two, Raven’s Pass was beaten only a short-head by Twice Over in the Craven Stakes and went on to be fourth in the 2,000 Guineas. He was never again out of the first two in six subsequent starts.
Raven’s Pass had to settle for second to his freshman sire title rivals Henrythenavigator (in the St James’ Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes) and Tamayuz (Prix Jean Prat) but then got the better of them both in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the middle leg of a three-win final flourish to his racing career. He saved his finest performance until last, however, when once again gaining the upper hand over Henrythenavigator in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with the strongly-fancied Curlin back in fourth.
Despite his American origins and successful finale in the land of his birth, Raven’s Pass was retired by Darley to Kildangan Stud in Ireland, in a year which saw the same operation stand Derby winner New Approach at Dalham Hall Stud.
Both chesnut stallions have made a promising start to their stud careers – New Approach with his extraordinary Royal Ascot juvenile stakes hat-trick and now Raven’s Pass with his first black-type winner, Steeler, who won the Listed Peter Willett Stakes on Tuesday after finishing a good second to the exciting Dundonnell in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York.
In the European first-crop sires’ table, Raven’s Pass is level numerically with former foe Tamayuz, also at stud in Ireland at Derrinstown, on seven apiece. Each has sired a winner beyond Europe, too, with Raven’s Pass’s daughter Raven’s Rockette having scored in America at Presque Isle Downs on August 14, while Tamayuz has notched his first Group winner courtesy of Meiner Eternal’s success in Japan on Sunday.
Their old nemesis Henrythnavigator settled further afield in Kentucky for his stud career but his name has been kept very much alive in Europe thanks to the exploits of his first-crop runners, which include Group 1 winner Pedro The Great. He is now head of the table by prize-money won.
Snow Rose, who is trained for Godolphin by Mahmood Al Zarooni, landed the second division of the fillies’ maiden over a mile at Goodwood by two lengths. Her dam Ascutney has no current foal or yearling but is in foal to Street Cry.