Offspring of Coolmore sire Rock of Gibraltar have been on a roll recently; three group winners from May 24-June 1 pushed him past a major milestone that little more than 50 other stallions have achieved.
The son of Danehill was represented by his 100th stakes winner May 25 when Ajaxana won the German One Thousand Guineas (Ger-II), becoming his second classic winner, at Dusseldorf. On June 1, Savanne became his 101st stakes winner when capturing the Prix de Royamont (Fr-I) at Chantilly, the same day son Prince Gibraltar finished third there as the favorite in the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I, French Derby).
The milestone comes from just nine crops of racing age, amidst 867 winners from 1,394 starters through June 5. Among his progeny are 58 graded or group winners, 12 of which have won at the top level. They include 2012 Etihad Airways One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Samitar, his first classic winner; and group I winners Society Rock, Mount Nelson, Diamondrella, and Eagle Mountain, who was runner-up in the 2007 Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and 2008 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
May 24 was an important day for Rock of Gibraltar. Not only was he the sire of the one-two finishers in a group I race in South Africa, he also showcased himself an emerging sire of sires.
Two-year-old daughters Alboran Sea and Rich Girl, both Australian-breds, finished first and second in the Allan Robertson Fillies Championship (SAf-I) in Scottville, South Africa. A notable first came on the same card, when Guiness, a colt from the first crop of son Seventh Rock, won the Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion (SAf-I). Also the same day, Purr Along, a daughter from the first crop of son Mount Nelson, won the Lanwades Stud Stakes (Ire-III) at the Curragh. Mount Nelson's daughter Volume was edged by a nose for second in the Investec Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) June 6 after leading early.
Rock of Gibraltar also is proving effective as a broodmare sire. Japan-based 3-year-old Mikki Isle, out of winning daughter Star Isle, became his first stakes winner in that category when in January at Kyoto he launched a sequence of three consecutive group victories, capped off by the NHK Mile Cup (Jpn-I) May 11 at Tokyo.
Rock of Gibraltar bettered Mill Reef's six-race string of consecutive group I victories, capping off a then-unprecedented string of seven consecutive group I wins in a career that saw him post a 10-2-0 record from 13 starts and earnings of $1,888,048 for John Magnier and Alex Ferguson. Included in the chain of wins were the Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I). Though he came up three-quarters of length short of extending the win streak when second to Domedriver in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), Rock of Gibraltar was named Europe's Horse of the Year of 2002.
Rock of Gibraltar is out of stakes-placed Offshore Boom, by Be My Guest. Second dam Push a Button is a half sister to French classic winner and leading sire Riverman, who sired 128 stakes winners.
A 15-year-old stallion, Rock of Gibraltar is now a permanent resident at Coolmore's base in County Tipperary, Ireland, after eight seasons of shuttling to Australia and South America. He commands a 2014 fee of €12,500.