Cassandra Go, the 2001 King’s Stand Stakes heroine who later became an outstanding broodmare for her owner Trevor Stewart, has died at Ballyhimikin Stud at the age of 25.
The daughter of Indian Ridge foaled nine winners, four of whom are black-type horses. They included the 2008 Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Halfway To Heaven, who has gone on to forge her own legacy as the dam of Magical and Rhododendron.
Cassandra Go’s death brings an end to a remarkable association with the mare for Trevor Stewart, who paid 82,000gns for her as a foal through Joss Collins of the BBA. It was a particularly live family at the time since her dam, Rahaam, had been represented earlier that year by Coventry Stakes winner Verglas and Prix La Sorellina winner Persian Secret. Stewart reoffered the filly the following autumn as a yearling but bought her back on a bid of 200,000gns.
They say every cloud has a silver lining and sent to Geoff Wragg, Cassandra Go went on to win six races including the King’s Stand and Temple Stakes during an excellent first half of 2002 while in foal to Green Desert. She went out on a high, running a game second to Mozart in the July Cup.
“Winning the King’s Stand was amazing – how do you replicate that?” says Stewart. “It’s been an amazing journey. She opened a lot of doors, allowed us to be associated with some excellent trainers and given us immense joy and satisfaction.”
Cassandra Go’s first foal, the Green Desert filly Neverletme Go, was a dual winner for Steward and has since bred German Listed winner Best Regards.
Her third foal, Theann, was one of the auction highlights of Rock Of Gibraltar’s first crop, selling for €400,000 to John Magnier, and went on to win the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York for Aidan O’Brien.
Theann – who was named by Evie Stockwell after her granddaughter Anthea – has subsequently become an important producer in her own right as the dam of American Grade 1 winner Photo Call, who was sold for $2.7 million to continue her career at Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm in Japan in 2019, and Richmond Stakes winner Land Force, now a stallion at Highclere Stud.
Theann was followed by the Pivotal filly Halfway To Heaven, a €450,000 yearling purchase by Demi O’Byrne on behalf of the Coolmore team. It proved to be money well spent, with the grey going on to win the 2008 Irish 1,000 Guineas, Nassau Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes before becoming an exceptional producer; she has been a regular visitor to Galileo, to whom she has produced two outstanding fillies in Magical and Rhododendron, the winner of nine Group 1 races between them, as well as Group 3 winner Flying The Flag, now a promising young stallion in South Africa.
Cassandra Go’s later foals also included the Abernant Stakes heroine Tickled Pink, one of the last stakes winners to be trained by Sir Henry Cecil who is the dam of Stewart’s promising three-year-old Corps Des Pages, and the Group 3-placed Fantasy. Both are daughters of Invincible Spirit.
Unsurprisingly, Cassandra Go’s stock became highly prized commodities at auction. Fantasy, purchased for 1,600,000gns by MV Magnier as a yearling, was one of two seven-figure yearlings out of the mare alongside the Shamardal colt Chess Master, who sold for 1,700,000gns to John Ferguson. A Dark Angel filly out of Halfway To Heaven’s sister Allez Alaia also set a new Tattersalls October Book 2 record when sold to Shadwell for 1,050,000gns in 2019.
Four of Cassandra Go’s daughters remain in Stewart’s ownership including her most recent offspring, by Night Of Thunder, and the Gleneagles filly Holly Golightly, a 93-rated winner this season who is held in high regard by trainer Ger Lyons. Connections also appear have plenty to look forward to from her two-year-old Churchill colt Once Upon A River, who ran a close third on his debut at Gowran Park earlier this month.
“There are some wonderful memories,” says Stewart. “And to think that her last four foals were among the best she has produced – all big, strong, correct foals. I’m very lucky to have four of her daughters and we’ll keep the legacy going.”