While he is now considered an ‘elder statesman’ of the Coolmore Australia stallion roster, there can be no doubt that Encosta de Lago is one of the premier stallions standing in Australia this year. The son of Fairy King has amassed a sensational record at stud with 6.32% SW to Foals and 7.6% SW to Runners (up to his current 4yo crop) and is now closing in on 100 stakes winners for his career.
With over 1400 foals that are four year old and older, the pedigree patterns that Encosta de Lago responds to are well established with mares by the Turn to sireline, via either Hail to Reason or Sir Gaylord proving best. While this may be the case for the direct sireline, there is another stallion whose presence in pedigrees of the dams bred to Encosta de Lago has far outperformed opportunity and is a “Key Ancestor” for those that are looking to purchase yearlings by this leading sire.
Within 5 generations of the foal, there are 143 foals of racing age that carry Bletchingly in their pedigree with 14 of these, or 9.7% SW to Foals, being stakes winners include the Group One winners Manhattan Rain, Mnemosyne, Racing to Win and Aloha. The strike rate of Bletchingly appearing in the pedigree of these foals outperforms opportunity and not surprisingly diminishes the further back it recedes into the pedigree page. 85 foals have the presence of Bletchingly within 3 generations and 10 of these horses are stakes winners (12% SW/Fls) while for the other 58 foals with Bletchingly appearing at the 4th and 5th generation, there are just 4 stakes winners (7% SW/Fls which is getting back towards his general strike rate).
The diminishing effect of a Key Ancestor is not unique, rather it is to be expected as the recombination of genes as generations progress makes it less likely that whatever “genetic goodies” Bletchingly provided for Encosta de Lago are inherited. In this vein, the presence of Bletchingly in mares bred to sons of Encosta de Lago hasn’t proved so fruitful. With over 200 foals by Encosta de Lago’s sons that contain Bletchingly in their pedigree in five generations, there are only two stakes winners with both of these being by the same stallion in Northern Meteor, a resident of Widden Stud, the same stud that once stood Bletchingly. The reason for the failure of sons of Encosta de Lago to act in a similar fashion to him with Bletchingly may come down to a generational effect with the presence of Bletchingly appearing in the 4th and 5th generation of the foals that are by his sons and his sons themselves providing another generation for recombination.
For whatever reason Northern Meteor, may prove to be the exception to the statistics and be one that, like his father, responds positively to Bletchingly. With just 13 foals from his first crop carrying Bletchingly he has two stakes winners – Romantic Touch and Zoustar who this weekend ran 1-2 in the Group One J.J Atkins Stakes for two year olds. Both of these racehorses carry Bletchingly via his Golden Slipper winning son Canny Lad the same as Encosta de Lago’s stakes winners Manhattan Rain, Mnemosyne, and Echoes of Heaven.