(Photo : Hong Kong Jockey Club)
(ROCK OF GIBRALTAR x MASSKANA)
Attendees at last October’s Emperors Palace Ready To Run Gallops at Summerhill, will recall the impressions left by the first progeny of the Freshman sires, Way West, Hobb Alwahtan and Cataloochee. In the event, they sold like the market had developed a renewed appetite for new sires again, and this weekend vindicated their judgement, when Waywest Goddess left the opposition for dead in the Ruffian Stakes (Listed). Sheikh Mohammed’s Hobb Alwahtan stock will, by nature, take longer to show their mettle, so it was encouraging to see two of them nominated for the R125,000 Sentinel Stakes in Durban, even though, in the end both were unfortunately withdrawn. They were obviously showing their trainers enough to warrant inclusion, so we can only look forward to their names among the nominations in the weeks ahead.
The Sheikh’s been in the news again with the announcement by Mike de Kock that his globetrotting Eagle Mountain (Rock of Gibraltar x Masskana by Darshaan), winner of the 2008 G1 Hong Kong Cup, has been retired after sustaining a tendon injury in training. The six-year old bay finished runner-up in the 2007 G1 Epsom Derby and G1 Champion Stakes when trained by Aidan O’Brien, and preceded his career highlight with a runner-up finish in the 2008 GI Breeders’ Cup Turf in his second start for Mike de Kock.
“This is his third career-threatening injury, and enough is enough,” the trainer said. “He’s been a great servant to Sheikh Mohammed and the stable, and he did us proud. Eagle Mountain’s future as a stallion is being discussed, and we will entertain offers for him. He has an amazing race record and was one of their best horses I have ever worked with.” Eagle Mountain, who finished second in a February 19 conditions event at Meydan in his final start, retires with a career record of 19-5-7-1 and earnings of £1,790,492.