There is no guarantee that a stallion who excels in one region of the world will prove as effective in another and there have been some notable examples of northern hemisphere sires who never really clicked 'down under', and vice versa.
As a multiple champion sire in Australia, there was a good chance that Fastnet Rock would do well in Europe too, especially as he's a son of Danehill (by Danzig) and out of a Royal Academy (by Nijinsky) mare, and with Group/Grade 1 stars such as Diamondandrubies, Fascinating Rock, Qualify, and Zhukova to his name he has proved beyond doubt that he's a leading sire both north and south of the equator.
His European offspring also include last year's juvenile Group 1 scorers Intricately and Rivet, plus a string who have won at stakes and pattern level, and they are coming over a wide variety of trips.
Globally, Fastnet Rock has sired 123 stakes winners and he got his 29th individual winner at the highest level when the Tony Martin-trained Laganore won the Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio over 10 furlongs at Capannelle yesterday.
This clear-cut defeat of A Raving Beauty and Absolute Beast came just over a month after she had taken the Group 3 Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Stakes over a half-furlong less at Gowran Park.
She won a listed contest at Newmarket last year and her string of pattern placings include third to Elizabeth Browning in the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh in July and third in the 2016 edition of Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio.
Like the aforementioned Fascinating Rock – who has completed his first season at Ballylinch Stud – Laganore is owned and bred by Newtown Anner Stud.
She is the second foal of her dam, Lady Bones (by Royal Applause), and is somewhat closely related to the other top-level performers that appear in the first few generations of her pedigree.
Her grandam, Leukippids (by Sadler's Wells), was also unraced and although she produced just one winner among four foals, that son is the Hong Kong star Blazing Speed (by Dylan Thomas) whose double-digit tally of wins includes the Group 1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup and Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup, both at Sha Tin.
He, in turn, is closely related to Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and Group 1 Gran Criterium scorer Spartacus (by Danehill) and to Group 2 Gallinule Stakes winner and notable Hong Kong performer Johan Cruyff – full-brothers out of Teslemi (by Ogygian) and so half-brothers to Leukippids.
Teslemi is also the dam of a Grade 3 scorer in South Africa and her descendants include both the New Zealand-bred Listed (local Group 1 only) Hong Kong Derby winner Super Satin (by Danehill Dancer) and this year's pattern-placed Irish stakes winner Orderofthegarter (by Galileo).
All of this makes Laganore an intriguing broodmare prospect, and with Royal Applause (by Waajib) and Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) as her maternal grandsire and great-grandsire respectively, it would be no surprise to see stallions from the Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Acclamation (by Royal Applause) lines among her future mates.
One afternoon in the summer of 1993 I left the press area of the stands at Leopardstown feeling saddened by what I had just seen. A two-year-old filly I'd liked in the parade ring pulled-up, clearly badly injured, in the Listed Rochestown Stakes – her fourth start - and the end result for her seemed inevitable.
Scroll on a year and a half later, to my first morning as a student on the Irish National Stud's famous management course, a cold January day made warmer by what, or rather who I found in the farm's Kildare Yard barn.
The foreman misunderstood my surprise and my question “do you mean the Bluebird filly?” when she gave me the name of the next mare I was to bring out to the teaser, and it was over the next few weeks that I learned what an amazing individual their homebred chestnut Ridge Pool was.
Her injury at Leopardstown was, as it looked from the stands, to her pelvis, but thanks to her wonderful temperament and the dedication of the team at the stud, she made a full recovery after a lengthy period of convalescence that included some considerable restrictions temporarily placed on her ability to move about.
'Ridgey', the sweet-natured live model for practicals on tacking and bandaging, the frequent depositor of partially chewed feed in my jacket pocket – a garment she appeared to favour as an ideal scratching tool – was among the favourites of all of the horses with whom I've worked, and although she is long gone now, she left a lasting impression, both on me and on the racing scene.
Ridge Pool's only sibling was the stakes-placed nine-time winner Captain Le Saux (by Persian Heights), and she had just three foals of her own, but the last of them was Caumshinaun (by Indian Ridge), the top-rated older mare in Ireland in 2001.
That chestnut won five times for the Dermot Weld stable, including the Listed Platinum Stakes over a mile at Cork, and went on to become a prolific producer at stud.
Her finest hour in that role came in 2006 when her daughter Nightime (by Galileo), who was owned and bred by the late Marguerite Weld, ran away with the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh, and she became the grandam of a top-level star when Zhukova (by Fastnet Rock) trounced the boys with a six-length victory in the recent Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park.
Zhukova, who has also won the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes, Group 3 Kilternan Stakes and three listed contests for the Weld stable, is a daughter of Nightime.
She is reportedly being aimed at several major targets in 2017, including the Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and with the opportunities she has earned and will be afforded at stud, she could extend the family's Group 1 record to at least one more generation.
One of the best-bred fillies in training gave her future paddocks value another boost when easily winning the Group 2 Charm Spirit Dahlia Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket this afternoon. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Somehow (by Fastnet Rock) took over the lead from the front-running Elbereth at the furlong pole and pulled away to win by three and a quarter lengths on fast ground.
Just one week earlier she won a listed contest over a half-furlong farther at Gowran Park, a performance that came a month after she was beaten half a length by Czabo in the Group 3 Park Express Stakes over a mile at Naas.
Somehow, who was bred by the partnership of Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt, was third to Pretty Perfect in a seven-furlong Leopardstown maiden on her only start as a juvenile, and got off the mark first time out at three, taking a 10-furlong maiden on heavy ground at that same venue.
She followed that with a half-length win in the Listed Cheshire Oaks, was then a well-beaten fourth behind Minding in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, and finished an eight and a half-length fifth to Seventh Heaven in the Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
A few weeks later and wearing a visor for the first time, she was beaten a neck by Best In The World in the Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes over 12 furlongs at Cork, but since then she has dropped back in trip with a seven-length defeat of Epsom Icon in the nine-furlong Group 3 Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes at the Curragh her remaining start.
Her sire is well known in both hemispheres – a prolific classic and Group 1 source – and her dam Alexandrova (by Sadler's Wells) will be remembered by most as she won both the Group 1 Oaks and Group 1 Irish Oaks in 2006.
Alexandrova is also the dam of the Group 2-winning stayer Alex My Boy (by Dalakhani), her daughter Drops (by Kingmambo) is the dam of the useful colt Majoris (by Frankel), and her own siblings include the Derby-placed stallion Masterofthehorse (by Sadler's Wells) and Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Magical Romance (by Barathea). That speedy star is the dam of the Group 2-placed Australian stakes winner Tall Ship (by Sea The Stars).
Shouk (by Shirley Heights), the winning grandam of Somehow, is a half-sister to the listed race scorer and Group 3 Park Hill Stakes runner-up Puce (by Darshaan) and also to one-time scorer Sitara (by Salse), both of whom have caught the eye at stud.
The latter is the dam of Group 3 Chester Vase winner and Group 1 Irish Derby runner-up Golden Sword (by High Chaparral) and grandam of the Group 2-placed Saratoga listed race winner Julie's Love (by Ad Valorem), while Puce is the dam of both Group 2 Lancashire Oaks winner and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Pongee (by Barathea) and dual listed scorer Lion Sands (by Montjeu).
Puce is also notable as being the grandam of Group 3 Prix de Lutece winner Pacifique (by Montjeu), of Group 2-placed stakes winner Pinzolo (by Monsun) and of listed scorer Prudenzia (by Dansili), and the latter is the dam of the Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine and Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) runner-up Chicquita (by Montjeu).
These are the highlights of the first few of generations of Somehow's pedigree and, with connections like these, it is no surprise that she has become such a high-class performer.
Her string of big-race entries includes the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, and Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes, and although further improvement is required to be up to winning any of those, this 113-rated bay has plenty of ability.
Regular racegoers could be forgiven for underestimating the prospects of Diamond Fields in Sunday's Group 3 Gladness Stakes at Naas as last time she had been seen in action in Ireland was when finishing a four and a half-length fourth behind Divine in a Group 3 sprint at the Curragh in early June.
Before then she had won just once from six starts, chased home Washington DC in a six-furlong listed contest at Navan, and been well-beaten on her only attempt over seven. But all of that was before she began to travel abroad.
First stop was Royal Ascot where, at 33/1, she chased home the subsequent Group 1-placed pattern winner Persuasive (rec. 2lbs) in the Listed Sandringham Handicap over a mile on soft ground.
Then it was off to Saratoga where, on her second run, she was third to Time And Motion in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes over nine and a half furlongs on firm turf, and, a month later, she chased home On Leave in the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes over the same trip at Belmont Park, again on firm ground.
Sunday's win was both her first start since that mid-September run, and her first for new trainer Fozzy Stack, and she claimed a notable scalp with her half-length defeat of Alice Springs (gave 5lbs).
It seems unlikely that she could beat that chestnut Group 1 star again, especially over the latter's favoured mile trip, but Diamond Fields has plenty of ability and is good enough to win again at least at the same level.
The four-year-old was bred by Sweetmans Bloodstock and she is a daughter of the Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill) whose handful of shuttle-years at Coolmore Stud resulted in the Group 1 stars Qualify, Diamondsandrubies, Intricately, Rivet, and, best of all, Fascinating Rock.
Her dam, Question Times (by Shamardal), earned her blacktype when runner-up in the Listed Bosra Sham Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket as a juvenile, and the mare is a half-sister to Sunday Times (by Holy Roman Emperor), a Group 3 Sceptre Stakes winner who was a half-length runner-up to Lightening Pearl in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes.
Their dam, Forever Times (by So Factual), won six times from five to seven furlongs and is a half-sister to three sprinters of note. Brave Prospector (by Oasis Dream) is a Group 3-placed prolific winner, Majestic Times (by Bluebird) got his best win in the Listed Abergwaun Stakes over the minimum trip at Cork, and the third sibling is Welsh Emperor.
That gelded son of Emperor Jones (by Danzig) won 13 times including the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes, Group 3 Bentinck Stakes, and two listed events, and his string of pattern race placings featured twice taking the runners-up spot in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret, to Caradak and Toylsome respectively.
These are among the 10 offspring of the once-raced maiden Simply Times (by Dodge), one of those rare mares with a 100% record of winners to foals born.
Her dam, Nesian's Burn (by Big Burn), was a listed-placed five-time winner from two to four years of age in the USA, and her siblings include the listed scorer Bucky's Baby (by Buckaroo) and Nesian's Dancer (by Sovereign Dancer), the unraced dam of dual listed race winner Sejm Run, a gelded son of the unraced Danzig (by Northern Dancer) stallion Sejm.
Nesian's Burn, in turn, is out of the unraced Marnesian's Cross (by Sun Cross), which makes her a full-sister to the 22-time US winner Catch If You Can and half-sister to Aristocratic Cross (by An Eldorado), a grandson of Vaguely Noble (by Vienna) whose impressive tally of 33 wins from 106 starts included several listed events.
This is a family that has an established history of producing blacktype horses and also of coming up with some who are both durable and prolific. All of this boosts the prospects of Diamond Fields doing well at stud, whenever her current and admirable racing career comes to an end.
One Foot In Heaven is lightly-raced for a horse of his age. He did not make his debut until mid-October of his three-year-old season, when he finished sixth in a 10 and a half furlong Saint-Cloud maiden, and he opened his winning account two months later on the polytrack at Deauville. First time out at four he was third in an 11-furlong contest at Lyon Parilly, and at that point of his career one could be forgiven for thinking that he was not going to live up to his illustrious pedigree.
The colt still has some way to go to be as talented as his dam, but the son of outstanding Australian stallion Fastnet Rock (by Danehill) won a 12 furlong listed contest at Maisons-Laffitte in April, followed-up in the Group 3 Prix d'Hedouville over the same trip at Saint-Cloud a few weeks later, and then completed a hat-trick when beating Garlingari by three-parts of a length in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly on Sunday.
He was bred by Craigavon Agro Ltd, he is trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, he is the fourth foal and fourth winner for his dam, and that mare is the Group 1 Champion Stakes heroine Pride (by Peintre Celebre). She also won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Group 1 Hong Kong Cup, the Group 2 quartet of Prix Corrida, Prix Jean Romanet, Prix Foy and Prix du Conseil de Paris, and also the Group 3 Prix Allez France.
She was only beaten a neck by Rail Link in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, by the same margin when runner-up to Vengeance Of Rain in the 2005 edition of the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup, and by three-parts of a length when chasing home David Junior in that year's Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket. She retired with the equivalent of almost £2.2 million in prize money to her name, and Timeform rated her 128 as a six-year-old.
Pride's fifth foal is a three-year-old colt named Man of Honor (by Raven's Pass), her sixth is a juvenile filly named Speciality (by Lawman), and she had a son of classic star Reliable Man (by Dalakhani) in 2015.
She is out of Specificity (by Alleged) and that makes her a half-sister to Fate (by Teofilo), a mare who also raced to the age of six. She won the Group 3 Prix de Flore, was runner-up in the Group 2 Prix Corrida, and her third place finishes include to Cirrus Des Aigles in the Group 1 Prix Ganay, to Ming Dynasty in the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris, and to Al Kazeem in the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt.
Pride is also a half-sister to Tenderly (by Danehill), who is the non-winning dam of the US six and a half furlong Grade 3 scorer Ten Meropa (by Johannesburg), and of Specifically (by Sky Classic), the one-time winner whose double-digit tally of successful progeny is headed by the Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine Speciosa (by Danehill Dancer).
That classic star also won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes, third in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes, and has produced a couple of minor winners. Her current two-year-old is named Leveck (by Dutch Art), that colt was followed by a son of Dark Angel (by Acclamation), and having been rested for a year, she was reported in the spring as being booked to visit Kyllachy (by Pivotal) this season.
Speciosa's half-brother Major Rhythm (by Rhythm) has a double-digit tally of wins to his name, including a Grade 3 handicap at Arlington and several listed races, and her half-sister Special Meaning (by Mount Nelson), who was runner-up in a Group 3 contest at Hanover in October 2014, won six times including a 12 furlong listed event at Goodwood.
Specificity, the grandam of Speciosa and of One Foot In Heaven, won the Listed George Stubbs Stakes over two miles at Newmarket, she is out of the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes winner and Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes runner-up Mandera (by Vaguely Noble), and that makes her a half-sister to a couple of horses of note. Touching Wood (by Roberto) won both the Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Irish St Leger in 1982, and dual Grade 3 scorer African Dancer (by Nijinsky) was only beaten by a length when second to Marlin in the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap in 1997.
With a Group 2 success to his name one would imagine that One Foot In Heaven will now step up to Group 1 level at some point in the season, and if he could win or be placed in that sort of company then, with his pedigree connections, he could have prospects of getting a good place at stud whenever his racing days come to an end.