Global Success For Mount Coote Grads

By Kelsey Riley

The pastures of Luke Lillingston’s Mount Coote Stud in Co. Limerick have proven especially fertile this year, with six graduates of the stud winning black-type races across Europe and Australia in 2017. Bateel (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) has been the flagbearer this year, and when she bested Group 1 winner Journey (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G1 Prix Vermeille on Sept. 10 she joined the likes of 1000 Guineas winner One In A Million, Foscarini, Fiji, Tamerisk, Balletto and Lush Lashes among Mount Coote’s Group 1 winners since 1963. Mount Coote consigns a draft of seven yearlings to next week’s Goffs Orby sale, all of which reflect longstanding relationships Lillingston has developed since he took over the day-to-day running of the farm from his father in 2000. Mount Coote’s root go much deeper than that, however.

“The farm has been in the family since 1938, when my grandfather purchased it,” Lillingston explained. “My father was a young child at the time and his father was killed in the Second World War in Normandy. He was an only child, and he took it over after the farm was looked over on his behalf while he was growing up. He basically took it over in 1958 and he bred his first stakes winner in 1963, which was the New S. at Royal Ascot, which is now the Norfolk S. Since then the farm has produced the winners of almost 170 black-type races.”

Bateel indicated she could be a potential star with her Vermeille win, which was her third straight following scores in the G3 Pinnacle S. and the G2 Prix de Pomone, but she is certainly not the only standout to have graced the track from Mount Coote this year. Also on the list is Raheen House (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), who was sold for 35,000gns as a yearling and won this year’s G3 Bahrain Trophy prior to finishing seventh in a competitive G1 St Leger. Raheen House’s full sister will be the first yearling through the Orby ring for Mount Coote as lot 12. Raheen House and his full-sister were bred by the Tsui family’s Sunderland Holdings, as was G2 Prix Gros-Chene winner and G1 King’s Stand S. fourth Muthmir (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), a 130,000gns yearling purchase by Shadwell. Steel Of Madrid (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), a 120,000gns yearling, won the G3 Earl Of Sefton S. in April, and Big Duke (Ire) (Raven’s Pass), who raced as Swashbuckling in Britain before being exported to Australia, is shaping up as one of that country’s more exciting stayers.

Big Duke won three group races on the bounce last season and was third in the G1 Sydney Cup.

Lillingston said he has known the Tsui family, who own Sea The Stars, “for a number of years.” Muthmir was among the first crop of yearlings he sold for them.

“I’ve been lucky enough to sell horses for Sunderland Holdings since that time and Muthmir has been a good one, and Raheen House is a high-class stayer in the making. I could see him being a really good stayer over the next few years.”

Sunderland Holdings is the breeders of four of the seven Mount Coote yearlings to be offered at Orby, and two were bred by John Moores and Charles Noell’s Merriebelle Irish Farm. Lillingston was involved in Merriebelle’s purchase of the Kilfrush Stud stock in 2013, which included the subsequent 4.7-million gns broodmare Immortal Verse.

“[The relationship with] Merriebelle came about as a result of knowing [Merriebelle advisor] Peter Bance from my days when I worked in New York for George Harris,” said Lillingston. “Peter Bance is an old school buddy of Charlie Noell and he rang me a number of years ago and said he had an old friend who wanted to buy some really good mares. I ended up buying Immortal Verse for him and subsequently covered her with Dansili the following year and we sold her for what was a European record for a pregnant broodmare, 4.7-million gns.”

Kicking off the Mount Coote draft at Orby on day one will be lot 12, the full-sister to Raheen House. The dam, Jumooh (GB), descends from the great producer Height Of Fashion (Fr) (Bustino {GB}). Her 3-year-old Shraaoh (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) is a winner and her 2-year-old Astrologist (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) sold for €135,000 at Tattersalls Ireland’s September Yearling Sale last year.

“It’s a world-class back family; Height Of Fashion is one of the great blue hen mares of the modern era,” said Lillingston. “I know the 2-year-old, Astrologist, is well thought of. He’s with Clive Cox and he hasn’t run yet but I was talking to him at Doncaster and being a Sea The Stars it’s all about next year and the year after, but he’s a horse that he’s pretty positive about.”

Lot 100, another Sea The Stars filly for Sunderland Holdings, is the first foal out of Ninas Terz (Ger) (Tertullian), a half-sister to the quirky but talented Hong Kong stakes-placed performer and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal). They are out of the stakes-winning Nina Celebre (Ire) (Peintre Celebre), whose Mastercraftsman (Ire) filly was bought by Bertrand le Metayer at Baden-Baden earlier this month for €235,000.

“I bought the dam of this for Mrs. Tsui in Deauville with the specific idea of inbreeding to Allegretta, because Tertullian is out of a daughter of Allegretta,” Lillingston said. “She’s a very athletic filly and a nice first foal. Pakistan Star is a very interesting horse, I think everybody in the world knows who Pakistan Star is and he’s not a stakes winner yet. Ninas Terz is the first foal out of Nina Celebre and Pakistan Star is the second. It’s a young branch of one of the best families in Germany.”

Lot 146 is a colt bred jointly by Mount Coote, Barton and New England Studs, and he is an automatic standout as the lone Dubawi (Ire) colt in the sale. He is out of the French stakes winner Rainbow Dancing (GB) (Rainbow Quest), who was luckless with her first three foals but whose fourth foal, Arctic Sea (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), is a winner.

“He has a little more scope perhaps than a typical Dubawi but is a nice horse in his own right,” said Lillingston. “We had Arctic Sea, who was an ok horse, and then she had a Sinndar and another one who was exported to Australia as a foal. She hasn’t strictly speaking done it yet, but two of the four didn’t really get much of a chance. Rainbow Quest has been champion broodmare sire in the past and Dubawi is arguably the best stallion in the world-one of the top two anyway. I think Dubawi is the most versatile stallion in the world.”

Lot 163, a Lope de Vega (Ire) filly, is the first of the offerings from Merriebelle and comes from a proven cross, with the dam, Roscoff (Ire) (Daylami), having already produced the stakes-winning Hero Look (Ire) and this year’s stakes-placed Isabel de Urbina (Ire) by the same sire.

“Obviously the cross has already worked twice and it’s a very good Kilfrush family,” Lillingston said. “When we bought all the Kilfrush mares this was one of them. Isabel de Urbina ran in the Oaks and wasn’t good enough that day, but we’d be very hopeful she’s still going to be a graded stakes winner in due course. For somebody wanting a proven pedigree and a nice filly, she’d fit the bill. She’ll take a bit of time physically but so did Isabel de Urbina; that’s just the way they are.”

Sunderland Holdings’s lot 177 is a Sea The Stars colt whose full-brother made 260,000gns at Tattersalls last year. The dam, Scarlet and Gold (Ire) (Peintre Celebre), is a half-sister to Le Havre (Ire) (Noverre) and stakes winner Astronereus (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), and champion and sire Polar Falcon appears under the third dam. Lillingston said, “This is a really beautiful colt and he’s got a stallion’s pedigree. [The dam] was bought by Mrs Tsui to breed to Sea The Stars and Sea The Stars has already worked well in the pedigree once. I have good hopes for the 2-year-old, who was a lovely colt that we sold at Tattersalls last year. He hasn’t been named but I think like a lot of the Sea The Stars’s he’s just not a particularly precocious horse, but he was a beautiful colt and this is another really lovely horse.

Mount Coote offers two on the second day of the sale starting with lot 255, a Speightstown colt for Sunderland Holdings from the deep family of Group 1 producer Alidiva (GB) (Chief Singer {GB}) and Classic winner Sleepytime (Ire) (Royal Academy).

“This is a touch of coincidence here because we had Alidiva and Sleepytime and Ellen [the colts first three dams] here at one point for Mr. Charlie Wacker. This is a really racy colt that I think, given his sire, would have some international appeal. [G3 Superior Mile winner] Hathal under the third dam is a current horse and Don’t Be [under the second dam] is here on the farm. Sleepytime was pretty special, she was one of Henry Cecil’s great fillies, and Alidiva was a great mare.”

Mount Coote’s Orby draft comes to a close with a Mastercraftsman filly (lot 261) bred by Merriebelle. The likes of Zipping (Ire) (Zafonic {Ire}) Zelding (Ire) (Warning {GB}), Beauty Is Truth (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) and The United States (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) appear under the second dam, and Last Tycoon is under the third dam.

“She’s a really good type, this one,” Lillingston said. “The first foal is a winner and the second filly hasn’t run yet. This is another from a really good, arguably the best, Kilfrush family. This family keeps giving and giving, and this is just a young mare.”

As a nursery that keeps giving and giving itself, there is good reason to pay attention to the Mount Coote draft at Goffs Orby.

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