By Sid Fernando
Just the other day on Twitter, Coolmore’s Ashford division in Kentucky heralded the arrival of Vancouver from Australia and invited inspections. From what we’ve heard at Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, Inc., there’s been a lot of interest in this champion Australian son of Medaglia d’Oro from the moment it was announced he was reverse shuttling. But, there’s been great curiosity about his physique, too. Ashford will be swamped by visitors in the coming days, weeks, and months to see him. The Irish farm has boldly proclaimed Vancouver will not disappoint, too, and this is very much in line with what we’ve heard from our Australian contacts who’ve seen him race as a 2-year-old champion with Gai Waterhouse and later return to Australia for stud duty after an aborted attempt to race in Europe with Aidan O’Brien.
— Coolmore America (@coolmoreamerica) December 26, 2016
Vancouver was bred by Fairway Thoroughbreds in Australia and was purchased by Waterhouse at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale in 2014 for the equivalent of about $165,000. Fairway, by the way, is the nom de plume for breeder John Camilleri, who also bred Australian legend Winx and is gaining a reputation as a guy who knows what he’s doing. The construction of Vancouver’s pedigree is textbook.
From the Danehill mare Skates, Vancouver is bred on the Sadler’s Wells/Danehill cross that has become the supercross of recent times in its specialized version through Galileo/Danehill, of which Frankel is the poster boy. Like Frankel, Vancouver was explosive at 2, winning all four of his starts, most notably the G1 Golden Slipper over 1200 meters — the defining stallion-making race in Australia. After losing his only start at 3 in Australia, Vancouver was sent to Ballydoyle to prepare for the G1 Diamond Jubilee and the G1 July Cup to build up his international resume.
A big and muscular colt with terrific athleticism, Vancouver was fast and talented enough in his training that O’Brien reportedly thought higher of him than any of the other ex-Aussies he’d handled, including So You Think. But best-laid plans went awry when the colt’s bloodwork prevented him from preparing adequately for Royal Ascot, and he was retired to stud at Coolmore in Australia. A partnership, including the China Horse Club, owns Vancouver, and the horse recently completed his first S. Hemisphere season for A$66,000.
He will stand for $15,000 in Kentucky, and that’s a bargain for the package of performance, looks, and pedigree that Vancouver brings to the table. In fact, he’s the best-suited reverse shuttler we’ve ever had here. His sire is one of the best in N. America and a proven entity for our racing environment. On top of this, Vancouver is a half-brother to the G1 winner Juste Momente, a Giant’s Causeway mare; and the black-type winner Captain Coltish, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus. Both Giant’s Causeway and Fusaichi Pegasus, of course, stand at Ashford, but, in the bigger picture, they are sons of Storm Cat and Mr. Prospector, respectively, and these lines are ubiquitous in the mare population in N. America and have already shown an affinity for Vancouver’s female family.