Luke Comer sent out the biggest winner of his career when Raa Atoll sprang a 32/1 shock in the Comer Group International 48th Oleander-Rennen over two miles at Hoppegarten. The Willie Mullins-trained odds-on favourite Thomas Hobson chased him home in the Group 2 feature, beaten by a length and a half, with the Jean-Pierre Carvalho-trained Moonshiner another one and three-quarter lengths back in third. Jozef Bojko was the winning rider.
It was the colt's first run since being purchased by Comer for just 30,000gns at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training Sale last October, and he runs in his trainer's colours. He was formerly with John Gosden, finished second in a 10-furlong novice event at Newmarket on his debut last April, won two similar contests and then finished a promising fourth to Old Persian in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
The only other time he was seen in action was when finishing tailed off and virtually pulled up in the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket in July. Timeform gave him an end-of-year rating of 108.
The reported plan for the horse now takes in the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational in New York on June 7th, the Group 1 Gold Cup at Ascot (for which he is not currently entered – Thomas Hobson is in the race), the Group 1 Irish St Leger (which his owner sponsors) at the Curragh and then the Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Raa Atoll was bred by the partnership of Mr & Mrs J Davis and P Mitchell Bloodstock and the four-year-old is a son of the Timeform 140-rated standout and Gilltown Stud stallion Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross). He is a half-brother to Moderah (by Makfi), who was Group 3-placed over 12 furlongs at Newbury, and his dam is the middle-distance winner Meetyouthere.
As you might expect of a daughter of the prolific champion sire Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer), that mare comes from a top-class family. She is a full-sister to the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu winner and blacktype producer Moon Queen and also to the Group 2-placed stakes winner Rostropovich, and her siblings also include Barafamy (by Barathea) and Innuendo (by Caerleon).
Barafamy won the Group 3 Premio Dormello in Italy as a two-year-old and was placed in both the Group 3 May Hill Stakes and Group 3 Musidora Stakes, whereas Innuendo won Grade 2 and Grade 3 handicaps in Florida after being a Group 2-placed dual listed scorer in Europe. She then went on to produce a couple of stakes winners of her own at stud, notably Criticism (by Machiavellian) who won the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes and Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap and a trio of Grade 3 contests, and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes.
Infamy (by Shirley Heights), the grandam of Raa Atoll, got her top win in the Grade 1 Rothman's International Stakes at Woodbine in Canada and also won the Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket and Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown. Her string of pattern-race placings included the runners-up spot to Triptych in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Third dam Seriema (by Petingo) was a winning daughter of Sunbittern (by Sea Hawk) and that made her a half-sister to High Hawk (by Shirley Heights) and High Tern (by High Line). The first-named won the Group 1 Premio Roma, when it was still run over 14 furlongs, and her list of notable offspring was headed by the multiple Group 1 star and leading international sire In The Wings (by Sadler's Wells).
High Tern, on the other hand, was a minor winner but became the dam of 1998's Group 1 Derby star High-Rise (by High Estate), the grandam of Group 1 Oaks d'Italia heroine Zomaradah (by Deploy), and the third dam of classic-winning miler and major international stallion Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium). There are many other notable horses in the various branches of this famous family, including 2005's Group 1 1000 Guineas winner Virginia Waters (by Kingmambo).
All of this makes Raa Atoll a fascinating prospect for the year ahead, and with this Group 2 win to his name, and such a strong pedigree behind him, it would be no surprise to see him find a stallion role at some point in the future.
Sires & Winners