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 that stallion’s 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, recording one of the fastest times for the classic. 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.
Hills said: Being a clasic winner by Lope De Vega, given his strength, physique, character and acceleration, ‘Phoenix’ must have an exciting future at stud. 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.