published: 01 Aug 2016 in Stallion profiles

“Speed, speed and more speed,” famous American breeder A.B. “Bull” Hancock’s oft-quoted maxim of what is takes to make a stallion, is certainly apt in Rubick’s case. This recipe for success is further strengthened as he’s by a champion sire and from a champion dam line and had the looks to make $460,000 as a yearling. No wonder breeders think this Coolmore resident is the bee’s knees.

ANY horse who can attract more than 200 mares in his first season at stud must have really caught the eye of breeders and in Rubick’s case it’s easy to see why. The young Coolmore Stud sire was a $460,000 yearling who lived up to his looks and pedigree by shining at the track.

  This brilliant son of Encosta de Lago showed exceptional speed at two and then demolished a classy group of older sprinters first up at three to win the Schillaci Stakes-Gr.2 (1000m). Not only is he by a champion sire, but his Gr.3-winning dam, Sliding Cube (Rock of Gibraltar (IRE)), is a three-quarter sister to multiple Gr.1 winner and champion sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill (USA)).

  Sliding Cube’s siblings also include Gr.1 winners and sires Platinum Scissors (Danehill) and Manhattan Rain (Encosta de Lago) and the stakes winner and now NZ-based sire Echoes of Heaven (Encosta de Lago). Their dam, Shantha’s Choice (Canny Lad-Dancing Show (USA) by Nijinsky), is a daughter of a Golden Slipper winner and a half-sister to the juvenile Gr.1 winners and sires Umatilla (Miswaki) and Hurricane Sky (Star Watch), the latter also a Gr.1 winner at three. Rubick’s fifth dam is 1982 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Best in Show (family 8f), a Gr.3 winner who became an outstanding producer and has founded a thriving international family.

  So it’s no puzzle why breeders were lining up to use Rubick at $17,600 in 2015 and his fee remains the same in 2016. His arrival at Coolmore was perfectly timed as Encosta de Lago (Fairy King (USA)-Shoal Creek by Star Way (GB)) was retired from service in December 2014 after covering 34 mares in his 18th and final stud season. He got 15 live foals from that crop and left 2050 foals from his southern use, with his fee rising to as high as $302,500 in the heady days of 2008. Twice Australia’s Champion Sire (2007-08, 2008-09), he started much more modestly in Victoria in 1997 ($8500) and is a great local success story with international sprint star Chautauqua (whose dam is also by a son of Danehill) his latest super star, following in the footsteps of Racing to Win, Alinghi, Sacred Kingdom and others.

  Before looking more closely at his pedigree though, we should take a look at Rubick’s race record. Purchased by David Raphael for $460,000 at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions Stable and syndicated with owners including Raphael’s Stallion Racing syndicate, Jadeskye (Damion Flower), his breeder Muzaffar Yaseen’s Teeley Assets and Neil Werrett’s Werrett Bloodstock, Rubick was sent to trainer Gerald Ryan.

  Punters soon got the idea Rubick was a pretty smart customer when the juvenile landed a 900m Rosehill barrier trial on January 7, 2014 by 7.25 lengths in 52.50. Ryan revealed he’d been working the colt against older horses. “He brains them and he does it on the bridle, it’s scary. That’s when you know they can stand up.”

  Rubick was hot favourite on debut at Randwick over 1000m on January 25 and sat second for most of the journey before clearing out in the straight to win by 2.75 lengths from Twirl with Valentia four lengths back in a class record 56.39, the last 600m in 33.29 on a dead track. Rubick shaved 0.55 seconds off the record set by Earthquake earlier in the season. Ryan said he had not been this confident with a two year-old on debut since Snitzel when he won the Breeders’ Plate. Bookmakers reacted to the win by making the colt favourite for the Blue Diamond and top of the betting for the Golden Slipper.

  “Every time you show him something he picks it up quickly,” Ryan said. He’s got the attitude, he’s got the action and he’s got the ability and we will head for the Blue Diamond prelude in a fortnight and then the Blue Diamond.”

  The Prelude-Gr.3 (1100m) on February 14 gave the Sydney colt his first racetrack test of the reverse way of going and he was favourite as they went to the barriers. Still a big baby, Rubick played up a bit before loading and was tardy at the start for rider Brenton Avdulla but soon kicked into top gear and gave a sustained display of speed to lead and dominate throughout, beating Jabali by a length and with Chivalry third. He ran 1:03.71 (35.27), the same time clocked by Earthquake in the fillies’ division, although her final 600m was slightly quicker (34.33).

  “He did a lot of work early in the race and will improve, he gets a good pass for that as he’s only been here for four days. You like a good doer, but not as good as he is,” Ryan said of the eating habits of his laid-back colt. “I won’t do much with him before the Diamond.”

  As it turned out the filly had too many guns in the $1m Blue Diamond-Gr.1 (1200m) at Caulfield on February 22 and although he was second for most of the way, Rubick wound up fourth, beaten 2.75 lengths by Earthquake (1:09.87), with Jabali and Cornrow second and third. He was sent for a spell, returning with a 900m Rosehill barrier trial win over Time for War and Law for new jockey Kerrin McEvoy on September 30, 2014.

  Back at Caulfield on October 11 for the $200,000 Schallici Stakes-Gr.2 (1000m) and with Coolmore now part of the ownership team, Rubick had racegoers cheering his brilliant display of sustained speed in the WFA feature as he duelled with Golden Slipper heroine Overreach for the lead all the way until they turned for home. Rubick then changed gears in the straight, lengthening right out to shake off the Slipper winner, who was having her first start in 18 months, and defeated fast-finishing Platelet by a length with Overreach a neck back in third and Iconic in fourth. He ran 56.68 (33.33) against the older sprinters at weight for age and really impressed his trainer.

  “I’ve always wanted to get to Royal Ascot and I reckon this horse might get me there,” Ryan said. “He’s recovered from the virus that made us miss the San Domenico and he will go straight to the Coolmore (Ascot Vale) now.

  “I thought he might have been a bit vulnerable today first up against the older horses. It is always very hard for a three year-old in the spring against the older horses,” Coolmore’s Michael Kirwan said. “Kerrin gave him a great ride and he’s a really good horse.” 

  Rubick was beaten 11 lengths when 12th of 16 behind Brazen Beau in the Coolmore on November 1, his chances not helped when he drew the inside barrier and had to deal with a strong headwind down the straight Flemington 1200m, while the winner came down the outside fence. He was awarded a World Thoroughbred Ranking of 115 in 2014.

  Off the scene until March 7, 2015 Rubick was a luckless third behind Miracles of Life and Va Pensiero in the Challenge Stakes-Gr.2 (1000m) at Randwick after being blocked for a run rounding the turn then being badly bumped at the 300m and unable to get out. Rubick was 2.4 lengths from the winner and just pipped for second (half-head). 

  “We just had no joy, if we had a clear run we would have given the winner a run for the money,” McEvoy said.

  Rubick would have just two more starts, finishing mid-field in The Galaxy-Gr.1 behind Sweet Idea on March 21 and fifth of 10 in the Royal Sovereign-Gr.2 (1200m) on April 11 behind Delectation. There were plans to take the horse to Queensland for the Gr.1 sprints in the winter but wet weather put an end to that.

  “He had no issue and he retired sound,” Ryan said in announcing the horse’s retirement to Coolmore in May. “He was a horse who never even went shin sore or had a sore day in his life, so he’s retired sound and 
it was just the right time to do it. He was by far and away the fastest two year-old I’ve ever trained and always been a stand out physically.”

  “His natural speed and precocity are in great demand in the commercial market place and we have been overrun with enquiries for him for some time,” Michael Kirwin said on Rubick’s retirement. “People are going to be very impressed when they see him.”

  Trained by Lee Freedman, who was a part owner along with a Coolmore syndicate, Encosta de Lago also had just eight starts and also won three races (all in succession at three), the best of them being the VATC Invitation Stakes-Gr.1 (1400m) when he defeated Scenic Royale and Lochrae, coming from barrier 18 at Caulfield and running 1:24.25 after being 13th at the 400m. He also won the Ascot Vale (now Coolmore) at three by two lengths when the 1200m feature for three year-olds was a Gr.2 event (at the start before his Gr.1 success) and the Bill Stutt Stakes-Gr.2 (1600m) by 3.37 lengths. He was then third in the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1 behind Alfa and Intergaze, beaten 1.5 lengths.

  Although he didn’t win in two starts at two, he certainly came to hand early. He placed third in both events, the Debutant Stakes-LR (900m), after being sixth at the 400m, and the Maribyrnong Plate-Gr.2 (1100m). In the latter event Encosta de Lago was just 2.1 lengths behind Flavour.

 He was an immediate success at Blue Gum Farm and early Gr.1 winners like Delago Brom (El Quahira), Alinghi (Monde Bleu), Douro Valley (Lord Seymour), Titanic Jack (Stage Door Johnny) and Lashed (Salieri) ensured he was soon whisked off to Coolmore’s southern headquarters in the Hunter Valley. He is now the sire of 26 Gr.1 winners among his 109 stakes winners (6.9% of starters), the latest Gr.1 success coming in South Africa in early June thanks to Mac 
de Lago. His 1114 winners of 3558 races have collected more than $162m and his winners-to-starters ratio is an impressive 70.2%. Twice Champion Sire, he is also the Champion Broodmare Sire-elect this season with his daughters producing 224 winners (15SW) of an astounding $15.11m to early June. He was also Champion Sire in Hong Kong in 2011-12, his best runner there being Sacred Kingdom (Zeditave), HK Horse of the Year in 2010 and a four-time Champion Sprinter there whose 17 wins included the Hong Kong Sprint-Gr.1 (twice) and who also ventured to Singapore to collect the Krisflyer International Sprint-Gr.1. Another of his HK-trained runners Ultra Fantasy (Sir Ivor), a Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 runner-up there, travelled to Japan to claim the Nakayama Sprinters’ Stakes-Gr.1.

  His current star in Australia is the brilliant sprinter Chautauqua (Lion Hunter) whose 12 wins include the ATC T.J. Smith-Gr.1 (twice), VRC Lightning-Gr.1, MVRC Manikato Stakes-Gr.1 and the HKJC Chairman’s Sprint Prize-Gr.1 at his latest start. He’s also the sire of five-time Gr.1 winner Racing to Win (Kenny’s Best Pal), whose 13 wins included the Doncaster Mile, Epsom Handicap and All-Aged Stakes and four-time Gr.1 winner Alinghi, winner of the Blue Diamond, Newmarket, MRC 1000 Guineas and Swettenham Stud Stakes.

  His NZ stars include champion filly Princess Coup (Sovereign Red) and champion 3YO Puccini (Paris Opera), along with NZ 1000 Guineas heroine Costa Viva (Bel Esprit). Others who shone locally and abroad include dual Gr.1 winner Mnemosyne (Canny Lad), outstanding South African performer Delago Deluxe (Flying Spur), who now stands at Newhaven Park in southern NSW, dual Gr.1 winners Road to Rock (Midyan) and Sirmione (Defensive Play) plus Gr.1 winners Smokin’ Joey (Blazing Sword), Newport (Nishapour), Aloha (Danehill), English (Anabaa), also runner-up in the Golden Slipper-Gr.1, Spring Champion Stakes-Gr.1 winner Vanbrugh (Lucky Owners), Apecu (Zabeel) and Manhattan Rain (Canny Lad), the latter a half-brother to Redoute’s Choice, stands successfully at Arrowfield.

  But perhaps the greatest triumph and tragedy in the Encosta de Lago story is that of the Coolmore Stud (Ascot Vale) Stakes-Gr.1 winner Northern Meteor (ex Explosive (USA) by Fappiano) who retired to Widden Stud in 2009 and was dead in mid-2013 after just four seasons. From the same family as Encosta de Lago’s sire Fairy King (and that horse’s brother 14-times Champion UK-Ireland Sire Sadler’s Wells and three-quarter brother Nureyev), Fairy King’s third dam Thong being a sister to Northern Meteor’s third dam Moccasin (Nantallah-Rough Shod by Gold Bridge), he proved an immediate success and was Champion First Crop Sire in 2012-13.

  To early June he was credited with 199 winners (67.7% of starters) of more than $22m, his 20 stakes winners (6.8%) including the Gr.1 winners Cosmic Endeavour (Danehill), Speak Fondly (Flying Spur), Romantic Touch (Snippets), Amanpour (Marscay), Zoustar (Redoute’s Choice), standing alternate seasons at Widden and Woodside Park and Shooting to Win (Elusive Quality), who stands at Darley. Two of his Gr.2-winning sons Deep Field (Elusive Quality) 
and Eurozone (Don’t Say Halo) are on the roster at Newgate Farm. A Listed winner, Fighting Sun (Ivory’s Irish), unbeaten in two starts at two, stands at Sun Stud in Victoria.

  While Northern Meteor has proved easily the best of Encosta de Lago’s sons at stud, Delago Brom has left 200 winners (5SW) up to Gr.2 level of $12m, while Manhattan Rain, who only went to stud in 2010, has 71 winners (6SW) of more than $5m up to Gr.2 level and Victorian-based Listed winner Lago Delight (Rancho Ruler) has Gr.3 winner Shylight among 160 winners of $7.4m. The Gr.2 winner and Golden Slipper runner-up Von Costa de Hero (Scenic) retired to stud in 2010 and has 37 winners, the best being stakes placed Sea Spray. Other sons at stud like Delago Deluxe, the dual Gr.1 winner and Champion 2YO Colt in South Africa in 2010-11, and Tasmanian-based Gr.3 winner Needs Further (Danehill) are yet to have runners.

  Well ahead of Zabeel in the race for Champion Broodmare Sire this season, Encosta de Lago’s complete broodmare sire record shows his daughters have produced 745 winners (52SW) of more than $67m. Their five Gr.1 winners are Musir (Redoute’s Choice), The Quarterback (Street Boss), Japonisme (Choisir), Peeping (Redoute’s Choice) and Sofia Rosa (Makfi), while Gr.2 winners Sertorious (Galileo) and Philippi (Host) are also Gr.1 runners-up.

  Encosta de Lago’s sire Fairy King (USA) (Northern Dancer-Fairy Bridge by Bold Reason) raced just once but was given his chance at stud thanks to his relationship to champion sires Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev and parlayed that into a successful international stud career (as did another once-raced three-quarter brother Perugino (USA), a son of Danzig and Fairy Bridge who left multiple Gr.1 winner and successful sire Testa Rossa in Australia).

  In the northern hemisphere Fairy King left the likes of Arc winner Helissio (Slewpy), Irish 2000 Guineas winner Turtle Island (High Top), British 2003 Horse of the Year and Japan Cup winner Falbrav (Slewpy), Second Empire (Ela-Mana-Mou), Revoque (Lafontaine), Victory Note (Jaazeiro), Beckett (Groom Order), who all shuttled. He also sired English Derby winner Oath (Troy), who ended his stud career in India after standing in Japan. In two southern seasons (1992, 1996) Fairy King left about 120 foals including Gr.2 winner King Ivor (at stud), Gr.3 winner Adventurous (at stud) and Listed winners Special Bond (at stud), Masterkova and Gwendolyn. Encosta de Lago is easily his best Australian runner and his descendants are keeping the line alive.

  Several stakes performers by Encosta and his sons feature duplications of the Rough Shod family using horses like Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev to match with Fairy King. This could be a useful tactic with Rubick as could doubling Encosta de Lago’s female line. His dam Shoal Creek (Star Way (GB)-Rolls (USA) by Mr. Prospector) is a half-sister to the Golden Slipper winner and leading sire Flying Spur (a cross used to success). Her third dam is Gr.1 winner and noted producer Fanfreluche (Northern Dancer-Ciboulette by Chop Chop), a sister to modest racehorse but successful sire Night Shift (USA), whose Gr.1-winning son Align stood with success in NZ. This is also the family of Gr.2 winner and sire Snaadee (USA), while Fanfreluche’s son, l’Enjoleur (Buckpasser), a Horse of the Year in Canada is another name often spotted in pedigrees as is her brother Barachois.

  Star Way, a Gr.1 placed son of the Arc winner Star Appeal (a grandson of Herbager) is from the same family as Hyperion (Gainsborough), Pharamond (Phalaris) and Sickle (Phalaris), his third dam New Moon (by Gainsborough grandson Solfo) is their half-sister (all ex Selene by Chaucer). Another relation is Sir Tristram as his fourth dam All Moonshine is by Gainsborough son Bobsleigh and from Selene. Sir Tristram is a son of Sir Ivor, the sire of Encosta de Lago’s third dam Grand Luxe. 

  Encosta de Lago’s Gr.1 winner Apercu is from a Zabeel daughter, that horse being a son of Sir Tristram and from a daughter of Nureyev, linking him nicely to Fairy King (three-quarter to Nureyev), Star Way (same family as Sir Tristram) and Grand Luxe (Sir Ivor). Daughters of Zabeel grandson Lonhro could prove a good fit with Rubick.

  There is not much more anyone can say about the female line of Rubick, other than it is sensational, as proved when many mares descending from Dancing Show were dispersed by Teeley Assets in 2014, several topping $1m including Rubick’s sisters Drifting Cube, who made $1.1m and was sent to the US and Rex is a Star who sold to Murray Anderson. Shantha’s Choice daughter Monsoon Wedding (Danehill) made $2.3m to a bid by Coolmore’s Tom Magnier and her daughters, Gr.3 winner Precious Lorraine (Encosta de Lago) and Quench The Thirst (Encosta de Lago) made $1.5m, two of the five daughters of Monsoon Wedding knocked down to Newgate Farm. There were also five daughters of Shantha’s Choice sold including The Broken Shore (Hussonet) who made made $1.9m. 

  Unfortunately Sliding Cube, whose three wins (1000m-1200m) included the San Domenico Stakes-Gr.3 and Keith McKay Handicap-LR, died in 2012 shortly after foaling a More Than Ready (USA) filly, subsequently named Golden Cropper, placed at four of her five starts to date. Luckily though Sliding Cube left three fillies and a colt to carry on her branch of this line. Her dam Shantha’s Choice showed talent in a short career on the track, winning at two before injury and she is by Golden slipper winner and successful sire Canny Lad (Bletchingly-Jesmond Lass by Lunchtime (GB)), whose daughters have left more than 40SW and who is also dam sire of I Am Invincible.

  Shantha’s Choice is of course dam of multiple Gr.1 winner and multiple champion sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill), Gr.1 winner and sire Manhattan Rain (Encosta de Lago), Gr.1 winner and sire Platinum Scissors (Danehill) and stakes winner and Gr.1 runner-up Echoes of Heaven (Encosta de Lago), at stud in NZ. She also has six well-bred daughters who, along with their female descendants, are going to the best stallions and adding new stakes winners to the family each season.

  Third dam, Dancing Show (Nijinsky), a daughter of one of Northern Dancer’s great racing and sire sons, won in the US and her six winners include Gr.1 winners and sires Hurricane Sky (Star Way) and Umatilla (Miswaki), while her winning daughter Show Dancing (Don’t Say Halo) is dam of Gr.1 winner and sire Al Maher (Danehill). Dancing Show’s dam, the unraced Show Lady (Sir Ivor-Best in Show by Traffic Judge), is a sister to former SA-based sire Gielgud (USA), Monroe (dam of champion Xaar, a Zafonic horse who shuttled and whose daughters could suit Rubick) and half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner and noted producer Blush With Pride (Blushing Groom). Best in Show’s daughter Sex Appeal (Buckpasser) found fame as dam of Gr.1 winners and sire Try My Best (sire of Last Tycoon (IRE)) and El Gran Senor, both sons of Northern Dancer. Inbreeding to best in Show’s family has been successful and is a tactic worth considering for Rubick, while inbreeding to the Rough Shod line is also a tried and true tactic and there are plenty of mares in Australia who could suit.

  Show Lady’s sister Minnie Hauk is the third dam of European Champion Miler and Coolmore sire success Spinning World (Nureyev), whose son Thorn Park (second dam by Bletchingly) became a champion racehorse and sire in NZ. Daughters of Thorn Park look really suited to Rubick as do daughters of Written Tycoon, whose sire Iglesia is a son of Last Tycoon and from a mare by Marscay (by Biscay).

  This is family 8f and Best in Show is a half-sister to juvenile stakes winner (Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes) and sire Journalist (Nashua-Stolen Hour by Mr Busher). Their stakes placed dam being a half-sister to Ladies Handicap-Matron Stakes winner War Date (War Admiral-Late Date by Hourless), winner of 14 races.

  A young, fast horse by a champion sire and from a wonderful dam line, Rubick is being given every chance by Coolmore and it will be no surprise at all to see him become a stud success. He looks good value at $17,600. n