Larneuk snares Fastnet’s talented Cluster for 2015

Cluster joins the roster at Neville Murdoch’s Larneuk Stud, Euroa.

Watch video of Cluster on BRED TO WIN

Victorian breeders should find Gr.2 winner Cluster a welcome addition to the state’s stallion ranks as his $6600 fee looks very enticing for a talented son of champion sire Fastnet Rock. In the money in six of his 12 starts and winner of the Theo Marks Stakes (1400m), Cluster joins the roster at Neville Murdoch’s Larneuk Stud, Euroa.

The studmaster is delighted with his new acquisition, describing the attractive bay/brown as “an absolutely gorgeous horse.” Murdoch said Cluster (ex Tarcoola Diamond by Last Tycoon (IRE)) was an extremely athletic individual with a great deal of quality. “He is just a magnificent type and we think he will really appeal to Victorian breeders.”

His sire, Lightning Stakes-Gr.1 and Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 winner Fastnet Rock (Danehill (USA)-Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy (USA)), needs little introduction here, suffice to say that in 2014 he was the most expensive sire at stud in Australia (2015 ditto) and although his fee at Coolmore is private it is believed to be around $200,000 (189 mares in 2014 and more than 200 in each of the previous three seasons). His 47 Inglis Easter yearlings grossed $22.4m (five sold for $1m or more), 22% of the sale aggregate, and topped the averages at $476,809. The champion sprinter sired 15 Gr.1 winners from his first five crops including Wanted, Irish Lights, Rock Classic, Atlantic Jewel, Mosheen, Foxwedge and Your Song.

Fastnet Rock was leading the sires’ list by earnings and stakes winners to mid-April and had 111 winners (13SW) of $7.75m, led by wonderful filly First Seal. He also had three sons in the top 10 on the first season sires’ table, Hinchinbrook (fourth), Rothesay (ninth) and Stryker (10th).

Cluster’s female line can also boast some pretty good winners too and it arrived in Australia in the early 1950s when David Crystal, a partner with George Ryder in Woodlands and later owner of Bellerive Stud, imported Churra (IRE) (The Phoenix-Anne Bronte by Fair Trial) to NSW. Churra’s third dam Margeritta (Charles O’Malley) won the Queen Mary Stakes and descends from English Oaks winner Ghuznee (Pantaloon).

Among the foals Churra (1951, family 20a) produced for her new owner was the 1966 Flight Stakes and Keith Mackay Handicap winner Candy Floss (Pipe of Peace (GB)) and her older sisters I Like It (dam of stakes winners As You Like It and Gay Rosalind) and Woodland Lass. Her 1958 foal was the Rush (FR) filly Quick Wink, dam of 1973 Gimcrack Stakes winner Schemer. There are more than 50 stakes winners among Churra’s descendants and Cluster is from the branch started by I Like It (his fifth dam) via As You Like It (Dignitas (USA)), winner of the Magic Night Quality in 1976.

Her Champagne Stakes-Gr.1-winning daughter I Like Diamonds (by Golden Slipper winner Baguette) is Cluster’s third dam and she went to stud for Michael Willesee’s Trans Media Group, producing five foals, the first being Bletchingly filly Potent, a winner over 1400m in Sydney and dam of eight winners including stakes horses Chickaloo (Sri Pekan (USA)) and Tarcoola Diamond (Last Tycoon (IRE)), winner of five races to 1400m including the VRC Desirable Handicap-LR and runner-up in the Auraria Stakes-Gr.3. Diamond Snip (Snippets), another daughter of I Like Diamonds, produced the Gr.3 winner and Gr.1 placed Coup Align (Align) in NZ.

Tarcoola Diamond is the dam of Cluster and three other winners including stakes placed Inkling (Duporth), recently sold to race in the US, and $400,000 earner Diamond Jim (Encosta de Lago), eight wins from 1600m-3300m. She is by one of the best of the early shuttle sires in Last Tycoon (Try My Best-Mill Princess by Mill Reef), a good juvenile in France and then a top class sprinter in Europe with wins in the Nunthorpe Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes, Prix du Gros Chene. Sent to the US for the Breeders’ Cup Mile-Gr.1, he won the race at long odds in 1986.

He was Champion Sire in Australia in 1994 when his outstanding son Mahogany was in peak form (Racehorse of the Year) and his other locally bred Gr.1 winners included Knowledge, Magic of Money, Lady Jakeo,

Tracy’s Element, Tycoon Lil and leading NZ sire O’Reilly. His northern-bred sons included Bigstone (IRE) and Marju (IRE) and he died in Japan in 2006. His daughters have produced more than 1800 winners (64.1% of starters) of $234m and their 149 stakes winners represent 5.3% of starters and include champion mares Typhoon Tracy (by Red Ransom), Sun Classique (Fuji Kiseki), Bentley Biscuit (Peintre Celebre), Slumdogmillionaire (Strike Smartly), Alderflug (In The Wings), King’s Drama (King’s Theatre), Bonaria (Redoute’s Choice and inbred to Best in Show), Inspiration (Flying Spur), Hill of Grace (Zabeel), Saint Emilion (Zenno Rob Roy), Onemorenomore (Red Ransom), Casino Prince (Flying Spur), Wandjina (Snitzel) and Dariana (Redoute’s Choice), the last two also featuring double of wonderful producer Best in Show, who is the second dam of Last Tycoon’s sire Try My Best and the fourth dam of Redoute’s Choice.

Cluster was unplaced in his only run at two (April 2013) and trainer Anthony Cummings showed his high regard for the colt by giving him his first run at three in the San Domenico Stakes-Gr.3 (1100m) when he was narrowly beaten into second place by Va Pensiero after striking trouble 200m from home. He was then fifth in the Run to the Rose-Gr.3 before heading to Melbourne where he ran another cracking race to be third, beaten under half a length, in the Bill Stutt Stakes-Gr.2 (1600m) on September 27 behind Divine Calling, subsequent Cox Plate-Gr.1 winner Shamus Award and with Polanski, who would win the VRC Derby that year, in fourth. He was given a break after an unplaced run behind Long John in the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1 (Divine Calling second, Shamus Award third).

Owners Peter and Wendy Moran then sent Cluster to the Sydney stables of Peter and Paul Snowden and he returned to the track with a 900m barrier trial win on June 10 last year before heading to Kembla Grange on June 28 where he demolished the field in a 1200m maiden, winning by 9.25 lengths in 1:10.41. He then defeated Rock Sturdy over 1200m at Rosehill on July 19 and didn’t appear again until August 30 when threequarters of a length second behind Weinholt over 1200m at Rosehill.

Stepping up sharply in class, the talented colt proved his quality with a tough win in the Theo Marks Stakes- Gr.2 (1400m) on September 19, beating Bull Point and Ninth Legion into the minors and running 1:23.34 on a dead (5) track. He was shuffled back early before coming with a strong late charge to just prevail.

“To be back where he was with the second favourite outside of him making sure he wasn’t going to go anywhere, I was thinking I don’t want to be here,” Peter Snowden said after the race. “But full credit to the horse.

Once he got to the outside he showed what class he has really got. He has a massive amount of acceleration and we saw a bit of that.” Cluster was an eye-catching fifth behind Trust in a Gust, Dissident and Bull Point in the MRC Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes-Gr.1 next time out (September 28) but was injured and retired after running last in the VRC Darley Classic- Gr.1 on November 8. His record is three wins, two seconds and a third in 12 starts for earnings of $292,200.

“Cluster comes from a great family which is chock-full of speed and he’s by a champion sire,” Neville Murdoch said. “Danehill, Last Tycoon and Bletchingly are all great influences and he is a horse who looks ideal for the VOBIS schemes.” Cluster stands at $6600 (including GST) and limited shares are available.

Article from BlueBloods June 2015

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