Stakes Double for Fastnet Rock Raises His Tally to 153


Champion sire Fastnet Rock was in hot form in New Zealand on Saturday with a stakes-winning double at Pukekohe

FASTNET ROCK - Champion Sire

Exciting two year-old Unition (2c Fastnet Rock x Diademe, by Savabeel) won the Listed Fasttrack Insurance 5K Bonus 2YO Stakes (1100m) and was then followed later in the day by tough stayer In A Twinkling (4g Fastnet Rock x Moment in Time, by Archway) who took out the Group 3 Ssangyong Counties Cup (2100m).


UNITION (Fastnet Rock) defeates HASSTOBEMAGIC (Scissor Kick)

Blue-blooded two-year-old Unition (2c Fastnet Rock x Diademe, by Savabeel) showed plenty of grit as he made a winning debut at Pukekohe in New Zealand on Saturday when he took out the Listed Fasttrack Insurance 5K Bonus 2YO Stakes (1100m).

Prepared by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Unition had caught the eye when winning an 800m trial at Cambridge back in September before finishing second behind race-rival Amor Fati over the same distance at Avondale last month.

Rider Leith Innes took advantage of the colt’s inside barrier draw to settle outside the pacemaking Amor Fati in the early stages of the 1100m dash with race favourite Cool Aza Beel tucked in behind the pair.

Innes said go at the top of home straight and Unition bounded to the lead before being hotly challenged by eventual runner-up Hasstobemagic (Scissor Kick).

The pair fought out a tooth and nail struggle all the way to the line with Unition holding a long neck margin at the post.

Innes said: “Very quiet going to the start but when he jumped out, he felt like a different horse, he felt like he’s got a good X-factor there.

“He’s done things right and it won’t be his last win that’s for sure.”

Co-trainer Murray Baker admitted the stable held a high opinion of the colt who holds a nomination for the Group 1 Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Randwick next March.

“We do rate him and were expecting a pretty good run from him,” Baker said.

“He has been nominated for the Golden Slipper but that’s still a fair way off at this stage.

“He comes from a top family with his full brother (Conqueror) runner-up in the Sandown Guineas (Gr.2, 1600m) last weekend.

“We had targeted this race and gave him three trials just to make sure he had enough experience for his first-up run.

“We’ll take him home now and see how he pulls up but there is a possibility that we will take him to Trentham for the Wakefield Stakes (Gr.2, 1100m) in a fortnight.”

Foaled and raised at Coolmore Stud, Unition sold for $650,000 at the 2018 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale to dissolve a partnership between his breeders Coolmore and China Horse Club, in whose colours he now runs.

A brother to Group 2 placed Conqueror, he is the second foal and second winner from Savabeel’s Group 1 winner Diademe, a full-sister to another Group 1 winner in Embellish.

Unition became the 152nd stakes-winner worldwide for champion sire Fastnet Rock.

In A Twinkling

Later in the day, In A Twinkling with Oppie Bosson on board dictated play from the moment they left the gates.

Allowed some soft sectionals throughout the middle stages, Bosson upped the tempo on the Fastnet Rock four-year-old with 600m to run and immediately had his nearest challengers struggling to respond.

Maintaining a strong gallop to the line, In A Twinkling registered his third career victory when surging to the line to win by more than a length.

Trainer Jamie Richards was delighted with the victory by a horse who had taken time to deliver on his three-year-old form which saw him finish runner-up in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) while also placing fifth in the Gr.1 ATC Derby (2400m).

“In front, rolling along and setting his own tempo is probably the way to ride him.

“He’s had a bit of a frustrating run of seconds and been unlucky here and there, so this is really good for the team.

“He had very good form in Australia, so he is a fair horse.

“We’ll take him home now and set him for the Waikato Cup (Group 3, 2400m) as he does have a future as a stayer with some nice races coming up.”

Purchased out of the Curraghmore draft at the 2017 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale for $250,000, In A Twinkling holds a nomination for the Group 3 NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham in January, along with the Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie in March.

Foaled and raised in Australia at Coolmore, In a Twinkling is a half-brother to stakes-winner I’m Incredible from multiple Group 3 winner Moment in Time, a tough and talented stayer that won up to 2800m.

In a Twinkling became the 153rd stakes-winner for champion sire Fastnet Rock.

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