Roaring Lion’s exploits have been well documented this season but for his breeder Jan Vandebos, who watched the colt claim a fourth straight Group 1 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, it was the culmination of 18 years of breeding.
Vandebos and her late husband, Bob Nafiy, bought into Roaring Lion’s granddam Cambiocorsa, a daughter of Avenue Of Flags trained by Doug O’Neill who went on a winning spree after the pair had secured shares in her.
She said: “Cambiocorsa won eight stakes races on the downhill [track] at Santa Anita and then we decided to breed from her.
“Her first four foals were all fillies and they all managed to be stakes-placed or Graded winners.”
One of those four fillies was Vionnet, Roaring Lion’s dam, who added valuable black-type to her name when finishing third in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita.
Vionnet joined the pair’s broodmare band and subsequently produced Roaring Lion after being mated to America’s leading turf sire, Kitten’s Joy.
Until Saturday, Vandebos had not seen Roaring Lion since selling him for $160,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016.
Vandebos added: “He’s changed unbelievably since he was a yearling – and he was a bay!
“A beautiful bay but all of the family have become greys when they reach two years of age. He’s now just a beautiful grey, so calm and so like his dam, who I lost this year along with the half-sister, which was very traumatic.”
Having never been to Ascot before, Vandebos reflected on Roaring Lion’s latest achievement and said: “I’ve been trying to come over for the last five races but I’ve had so many responsibilities in California. I saved the best for last!
“I’m so grateful to have had him and to see how much happiness he has brought everyone.”