THIS year's Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain has been retired from racing and will stand at the Irish National Stud.
A grandson of Shamardal - the sire responsible for three unbeaten Group 1 winning two-year-olds this year - Phoenix Of Spain is the highest rated and first classic winning colt to retire to stud by his most successful son, Lope De Vega.
Trained by Charlie Hills, Phoenix Of Spain was among the best of his generation as a juvenile. He won the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York's Ebor meeting and then finished second to future champion Too Darn Hot in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
The grey returned to Doncaster for the Group 1 Futurity Stakes and got within a head of the winner Magna Grecia, who would go on to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
During the winter the Irish National Stud bought a controlling interest in the horse and it proved an inspired move.
Making his seasonal debut in the Irish 2000 Guineas last May, Phoenix Of Spain took revenge on both Magna Grecia and Too Darn Hot. Jamie Spencer's mount ran out a three-length winner that day on good to firm ground, conditions which he did not get again in any of his four subsequent starts.
Charlie Hills said: “The fashion of his Acomb win told us we had a proper horse on our hands. Three weeks later his second to Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes confirmed this. The Futurity was an obvious target for us after his Champagne run and he was unfortunate not to get the decision that day from Magna Grecia by a head.
“When he renewed his rivalry with Too Darn Hot and Magna Grecia my thoughts were confirmed when he beat the high-class field in the Irish 2000 Guineas. I believe this was one of the fastest Guineas run in history.
"Being a classic winner by Lope De Vega, given his strength, physique, character and acceleration 'Phoenix' must have an exciting future at the Irish National Stud and I look forward to purchasing and racing his offspring.”
Cathal Beale, chief executive of the Irish National Stud, said: "When our team went to see Phoenix Of Spain, we all agreed he had the exceptional physical we had been looking for and we knew, there and then, he was the perfect fit for us. To then go on and win the first classic at the new Curragh, on our doorstep, was fantastic."
Beale added that a limited number of shares in the horse are available and a fee will be announced shortly.