published: 03 Sep 2015 in Freshman 2015

WINNING COLOURS Farm at Rockley near Bathurst has carved out a niche in the thoroughbred world by standing rare coloured thoroughbreds such as the overo stallion Profile in Style (USA) and cremello Glacial Gold (USA).

Principal Peta Oxenbridge’s new horse for 2015 is the import Moonlark (USA), a flashy chestnut with sabino (white) markings on his body.
  Moonlark’s unusual colouring is really a bonus as he also owns a pedigree of some distinction, being by champion Mr. Prospector son Gone West and is from Laptop, a daughter of speed influence Phone Trick. A $US625,000 Keeneland yearling, Moonlark showed plenty of promise on the track in a short career, placing at two before winning over 5.5f at Hollywood Park and 6f at the same track at three when he was also twice third. He also placed at four and five and retired to stud in the US in 2013 with seven first three finishes in 15 starts for earnings of $92,498.
  His allowance win at Hollywood Park was the fastest for the 5.5f journey at the track in 2010 and he ran 1:02.66, despite being eased to the line, just a tick outside the track record of 1:02.03. He beat multiple Group winner Stoneside by 6.5 lengths that day.
  Half-siblings to his dam have made $US2m (a record for a 2YO in training), $US1.5m and $1.1m and his second dam, the multiple Listed winner Roll Over Baby (Rollin On Over-Sweet Praise by Honey Jay) made $1m at auction as a broodmare. His dam produced three winners and his second dam’s nine winners include the stakes winners Sing Sing Baby (Unbridled’s Song), Roll Hennessy Roll (Hennessy), Value Plus (Unbridled’s Song) and Majorbigtimesheet (Carson City).
  Moonlark, who is bred on the same Gone West/Clever Trick cross as champion US sprinter Came Home, is certainly an eye-catcher as he has an “Apache Cat” blaze, four white feet (to his knees) and the unusual white patches on his stomach. 
His sire, who won the Dwyer Stakes-Gr.1 and left the winners of more than $112m (95SW), is an important sire of sires including the likes of Zafonic, Mr Greeley (USA), Grand Slam, Speightstown, Western Winter and Zaminder. 
Gone West’s shuttling son Elusive Quality (USA) left Golden Slipper hero Sepoy among his Australian stakes winners who also included Gr.1 juvenile Camarilla. Elusive Quality’s best US runners include Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, Quality Road and Raven’s Pass. 
  Gone West (CAN), a minor US winner and son of Gone West, did a marvellous job at stud in Tasmania, leaving more than 280 winners, his stakes winners including Dream Pedlar, Dream Quest and Esterel. Gone West is also a champion broodmare sire. 
  The line has nicked very well with Danehill locally with other Northern Dancer horses such as The Minstrel, El Gran Senor, Nijinsky (Strawberry Road), Nureyev and Storm Cat also featuring in the pedigrees of his best runners. Moonlark’s fee is $7700. 
Gone West’s dam is the Secretariat mare Secrettame and Lion Cavern (USA), another of her sons by Mr. Prospector, also stood in Australia for three seasons (2000-2002), leaving the eight-time Gr.1 winner and similarly marked flashy chestnut Apache Cat (dam by Whiskey Road) among his winners here.
  Moonlark, who stood from 2013 at Colorworld Ranch a in Phoenix, Arizona before being sold to come to Australia, is a member of family 1c and his ninth dam Bonne Etoile (Wrack-Etoile Filante by Fair Play) is a sister to Pimlico Futurity and Selima Stakes winner Fair Star and a half-sister to Astralobe (Sir Galahad) whose descendants include successful local sires At Talaq (USA) and Beautiful Crown (USA). 
Bonne Etoile’s half-brother High Quest (Sir Galahad) won the Preakness Stakes. More distant family members include Arts and Letters, Waquoit and Island Whirl. n