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Cambridge-based Linwood Park has pulled off a major stallion coup with the acquisition of Echoes of Heaven, a stakes-winning Encosta de Lago half-brother to champion Australian Sire Redoute’s Choice.
Linwood Park principal Mary Fitzpatrick was determined to celebrate the farm’s relocation to its new, superbly appointed Cambridge property with a stallion prospect that would combine the key elements of pedigree, performance, physique and commercial appeal but with a price tag that would make such a horse available to all breeders.
“I couldn’t believe it when we were offered Echoes of Heaven. He ticks every box. Prospects like him do not come along very often and we are delighted not only to be able to stand Echoes of Heaven but also to secure an interest in this exciting sire prospect,” says Ms Fitzpatrick.
Echoes of Heaven was a two-year-old winner for trainer Mick Price in Victoria.
However, it was as a three-year-old last season that he really found form starting with a last-to-first win over 1422m at Sale.
He then stepped up to win the Port Adelaide Guineas (LR) over 1800m at Morphettville despite once again having to put in a huge finish to come from near-last in the middle stages. Echoes of Heaven confirmed his class with subsequent Group placings in the Chairman’s Stakes (2020m-Gr3) and the South Australian Derby (2500m-Gr1), beaten in the latter at Group 1 level by less than a length. An attempt on the Queensland Derby had to be abandoned after the colt developed colitis which brought his career to a premature end.
Echoes of Heaven is by the twice Champion Australian sire, Encosta de Lago, (by Fairy King) whose tally of career stakes winners reached 90 recently with 19 of these having won at Group 1 level including Racing To Win (5 Gr1 wins), Alinghi (4 Gr1 wins), Champion NZ 3YO Filly Princess Coup, Hong Kong Horse of the Year Sacred Kingdom (7 Gr1 wins) and Echoes of Heaven’s own brother, Manhattan Rain, who was rated 2nd top 2YO of his year and achieved Gr1 success in the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes before placing second to So You Think in the W.S. Cox Plate.
Sadly, the dam of Echoes of Heaven, Shantha’s Choice, passed away last week but her legacy will be felt for decades to come having produced seven stakes performers including five stakes winners (3 at Gr1 level) which in addition to champion Redoute’s Choice and Manhattan Rain include Platinum Scissors (AJC Spring Champion Stakes-Gr1).
Redoute’s Choice has sired 86 stakeswinners to date including 21 winners at Group 1 level such as Miss Finland, Samantha Miss, King’s Rose and Snitzel, while his recent A$2.6m yearling filly half-sister to Black Caviar was his 60th million dollar plus yearling.
The strength of the distaff family of Echoes of Heaven in terms of its ability to produce stallions extends beyond Redoute’s Choice with his dam being a half-sister to highly proven Gr1 sires, Umatilla (34 stakeswinners including six Gr1 winners) and Hurricane Sky (18 stakeswinners including four Gr1 winners).
Another close relative, Al Maher, has sired 12 stakeswinners from his first three crops while other significant sires from Echoes of Heaven’s high class female family include Spinning World (sire of Thorn Park), El Gran Senor (2000 Guineas and Irish Derby) and Try My Best (sire of Last Tycoon).
A strongly-made, very good-looking bay horse standing 16.3hh, Echoes of Heaven was retained by his Victorian breeder, Muzaffar Ali Yaseen, who raced the colt under his Teeley Assets Ltd banner like his siblings Redoute’s Choice and Manhattan Rain before him.
“This stallion’s type and pedigree profile combined with his race record as a Group 1 performer will strike a chord with not only astute breeders, but also with trainers and agents who appreciate the achievements of his family, sire and siblings both in Australasia and Asia,” according to studmaster Vic Booth who recently inspected Echoes of Heaven prior to his acquisition. “He’s a fantastic type, one of the best looking stallion prospects I have ever seen”, added Booth.
Linwood Park’s acquisition of an interest in Echoes of Heaven was on the recommendation of bloodstock analyst and former Kiwi Peter Jenkins of Arrowfield Stud. “Peter was insistent that this was the ideal stallion for New Zealand conditions both on type and pedigree and should prove highly compatible with a wide range of mares,” according to Ms Fitzpatrick.
Echoes of Heaven will join Ekraar, Mr. Nancho and Royal Gem on the Linwood Park roster in 2012 standing for a fee of just $6,000 + gst.