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BREEDING INSIGHTS: Ross finds his Metier with Grade 1 victory
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BREEDING INSIGHTS: Ross finds his Metier with Grade 1 victory
on 08 January 2021
Leo Powell checks out the connections of Grade 1 hurdle winner Metier

KEVIN Ross Bloodstock pops up on a regular basis when I come to review major winners, and here the agency is again. This time it is in association with the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle winner Metier. The agency comprises Kevin and his wife Anna Moore, and Metier now joins their roll of honour as he continues on an upward trajectory for trainer Harry Fry.

Metier was bred at the Hayes’ Knockainey Stud, though they were not the ones to plan the mating. Instead, the gelding’s dam We’ll Go Walking, a daughter of Authorized (Montjeu), was bought carrying Metier in utero, Knockainey paying €150,000 at Goffs for the mare who was expecting her first foal.

Metier is a son of Mastercraftsman (Danehill Dancer) and the five-year-old paid back some of the investment made in his dam when he sold as a foal to Mags O’Toole for 55,000gns. Sent by owner Pat Garvey to be trained by Andy Slattery, Metier won over nine furlongs at three at Gowran Park, was placed a few times, and then headed to Newmarket for the Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale in 2019 when Kevin Ross picked him up for 150,000gns.

Off the track for some time, and with a wind surgery under his belt, Metier is now unbeaten in three starts over hurdles and who knows where his career could go yet. One thing is certain, he is now the best runner over jumps for his sire who was, in 2008, the champion European two-year-old, going on the following year to classic success in the Irish 2000 Guineas and also landing the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

At stud Mastercraftsman has built a strong reputation for himself as a source of top-class international runners. In recent years the brilliant Alpha Centauri was one of the best of her sex until a setback ended her career. She nonetheless was successful in four Group 1 races.

Mastercraftsman’s first crop included classic winners The Grey Gatsby and Kingston Hill, as well as the dual Group 1 winner Amazing Maria.

By my reckoning Mastercraftsman has sired Group 1 winners on the flat in Argentina, Australia, Chile, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand and the USA, and now he can add a Grade 1 under National Hunt rules to that tally.

Metier is the first foal and winner for We’ll Go Walking. He is followed by the once-raced three-year-old Doctor Parnassus (Make Believe) who is with David O’Meara, while the mare’s yearling colt by Lope De Vega (Shamardal) was unsold at 160,000gns at the end of last year. In 2020 We’ll Go Walking was covered by Magna Grecia (Invincible Spirit) in his first season at stud.

We’ll Go Walking was bred by Jim Bolger and is from a family he has enjoyed much success with. He trained the filly who won on her debut at Gowran Park at three, was runner-up next time out at the same venue next time out in the Listed Victor McCalmont Stakes and then sold at Goffs at the end of the season to Renata Coleman for €125,000.

Transferred to Johnny Murtagh, We’ll Go Walking went back to Gowran to try to make amends for her defeat in the listed race again, and again she had to settle for the runner-up spot. Sadly, a much-desired stakes win eluded her, though she was second in a Group 3 at Naas and even travelled to Nottingham where she was placed in a listed event.

Metier is not the first member of the family to show some prowess over jumps. We’ll Go Walking’s full-brother is Constancio (Authorized) and he won a couple of times for Jim Bolger before joining Donald McCain and adding three successes over hurdles, the most recent back in October. Their dam is the winning Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) mare Senora Galilei and she is a full-sister to the unbeaten champion two-year-old and successful sire Teofilo.

Go back to the fourth dam of Metier and jumping off the pedigree pages are a couple of other runners to show ability over obstacles. Fiscal Focus (Intense Focus) won the Grade 2 Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in 2014, while Via Galilei (Galileo) won listed races over hurdles at Middleburg and Colonial Downs in the USA.

Agusta strikes Gold again at Fairyhouse

AGUSTA Gold earned a well-deserved success in another blacktype race at the weekend when she landed the Grade 3 John and Chich Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase.

With a string of placed efforts in graded chases to her name, the Michael Whitty-bred daughter of Gold Well, an unraced Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer) own-brother to Montjeu, is from a successful female line.

Trained and part-owned by Mag Mullins, Agusta Gold made an eye-catching debut in a seven-runner mares’ bumper at Tramore in mid-April 2018, in the hands of Patrick Mullins, and she was entered for the Goffs Punchestown Sale later in the month from Mullins’ Canterbrook Stud. She failed to match her seller’s expectations and was retained at €85,000.

Mag Mullins had purchased Agusta Gold as a three-year-old at the Derby Sale as a three-year-old for just €17,500, about a third of the sale average, and her patience was rewarded almost two years later when she won at the first attempt.

The decision to keep her has also been a good one and her performances to date, once out of the first three (when fourth) in 19 starts over hurdles and fences, has yielded four wins and earnings of some €140,000.

She won the Grade 2 Navan Handicap Hurdle before having her attention turned to fences and her placed efforts include being runner-up 320 days prior to her recent win, finishing second in the Grade 2 BoyleSports Grand National Trial Chase at Punchestown.

Agusta Gold is one of three foals from the unraced Chloes Choice (Presenting), and one of a pair of winners. Her full-brother Stick To The Plan (Gold Well) won over hurdles for Dan Skelton. Chloes Choice is a half-sister to Farmer Jack (Alflora) and he won a bumper, two hurdle races and seven chases, his best performances reserved for the larger obstacles.

Sadly, Farmer Jack died at the age of nine, and he was certainly at the peak of his career with Philip Hobbs when that happened. His last two runs saw him win the Grade 2 Aon Chase and the Grade 3 Racing Post Chase, while also within a four-month window he landed a Grade 3 chase at Aintree.

Farmer Jack’s dam Cheryls Pet (General Ironside) won twice over hurdles and she was the only winner from 12 foals, for her dam, the unraced Kilmanahan (Arctic Slave).

Another of that mare’s daughters was Billeragh Girl (Normandy) and she left her mark as the dam of Second Schedual (Golden Love), winner of the Cathcart Chase and the Punchestown Gold Cup.

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