First Cornerstone Horse
First Cornerstone Horse

Jockey Chris Hayes celebrates aboard First Cornerstone

(Photo : RTE)

“Galileo’s achievements last week in amassing ten Stakes winners must eclipse even the Proteas feat.”

So South Africa has reached the top of the ladder with all of international cricket’s three disciplines; the Test, ODI and T-Twenty standings, after a quite remarkable victory over England Tuesday. Hashim Amla has become the “Frankel” of the cricketing world, with a scintillating 150 in Tuesday’s contest, on top of his triple century in the opening test at the Oval and 121 at Lord’s. Yet, like Frankel, this was an all-round team performance, with the South African bowling and fielding equally superior.

For all that though, if you’re a racing man you’d have to believe that, as unlikely as it may sound, Galileo’s achievements last week, (headed by Frankel,) in amassing ten Stakes winners (six at Group level and the other four Listed) must eclipse even the Proteas feat. For the life of us, we can’t remember any stallion in history with ten Stakes winners in a week, and to put it into context, last season, Jet Master produced just 5 in the entire year.

In a similar vein, Summerhill stallion Visonaire’s part-owners, Team Valor International, scored a quick return in a juvenile Group 2 in Ireland as well. Team Valor’s principal, Barry Irwin, clinched the deal mid-week to buy First Cornerstone (Ire), a Listed winner as a maiden of his previous start, who cruised to a 1,5 length victory in the Galileo Futurity Stakes (Gr.2) at The Curragh in Ireland on his first outing for the American-based outfit.

Irwin said they’d tried purchasing First Cornerstone for a few weeks, but were initially not keen on the idea of running the colt in the Futurity, which had once been expected to attract leading 2-year-old Dawn Approach (Ire). “At the price it didn’t bother me too much, but the trainer and the owner wanted to run here in the Futurity, and I really didn’t want to because I thought the race was going to be too tough”, Irwin explained. “Trainer Andy Oliver told me he thought the ground was going to be very soft and heavy, and that a couple of the horses that were expected to run, he didn’t think they would. I wanted the horse, so I just bit the bullet and we bought him in the middle of the week, which didn’t give us a whole lot of time to syndicate him or promote him”.

Team Valor was able to sell half the shares in the horse right away, and will now look to sell the other half. Irwin said that prior to purchasing First Cornerstone, he was impressed with the colt’s races, and the fact that he seemed to be defying his pedigree. “He’s by a horse that was a mile-and-a-half horse, yet this horse, I wouldn’t call him precocious, but he’s certainly doing a lot more as a 2-year-old than what you would expect from a Hurricane Run”, Irwin said. “Every time you see a horse that does something different than his breeding suggests, that either means he took after his dam or that means that he’s out of the ordinary. And I think this horse might be out of the ordinary”.

Little wonder then that Team Valor lead all public syndicate groups by a country mile, double the number of stakes wins, and double the number of Group winners.

US Public Syndicate Groups

Stakes Stats for 2012

Syndicate

Stakes Wins

Stakes Winners

Graded Stakes Wins

Individual Graded Winners

TEAM VALOR INTERNATIONAL

10

7

5

4

ECLIPSE TB PARTNERS

5

4

2

1

PINNACLE RACING

4

2

3

2

PEACHTREE

3

3

2

2

STARLIGHT

3

3

2

2

Correct as at 26 August 2012

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