27th Nov 2019
Free Eagle’s first runners hit the track in 2019 and a return of 12 winners from 42 runners (29% w/r) including Listed winner Justifier earned him plaudits from trainers and breeders alike. The smashing son of the late High Chaparral retired to the Irish National Stud in 2016 at a fee of €20,000. Trained by Dermot Weld and ridden by Pat Smullen his biggest victory came in the G1 Prince Of Wales at Royal Ascot at four. He achieved a Timeform rating of 128 and was also an unlucky third to Golden Horn in the G1 Irish Champion Stakes.
Amongst his 12 winners are a number of unexposed impressive maiden winners that have real classic aspirations for 2020. The most impressive of these no doubt is Thames River trained by Joseph O’Brien, who is a half-brother to G1 winner Barney Roy. He did well to win a 1m maiden at Dundalk in October having been drawn out wide in stall 14 on only his second start. With his pedigree and the manner of this victory it would be no surprise to see him develop into a Derby contender should he be aimed down that road by connections. On the other side of the Irish Sea, Derby entry Khalifa Sat was an impressive winner on his second start for Andrew Balding. He made an eye-catching debut when a running on 6th behind subsequent G3 winner’s Kenzai Warrior and Max Vega, before easily winning a Goodwood maiden on his second start. Physically he looks like the type that will greatly improve from two to three and like Thames River could be aimed down the Classic trails road come spring.
Both listed winner Justifier and Lp Auxilia are in the care of Ger Lyons, who dipped back into the yearling market this autumn to purchase more progeny by Free Eagle. Justifier ran out an impressive winner of a Leopardstown maiden in June before confirming that promise when scoring in a Tipperary Listed race in August. He ended the season with a placed effort in the G3 Eyrefield Lodge Stakes at Leopardstown where the soft under foot conditions didn’t seem to suit. Stable mate Auxilia ended her two year old campaign with a placed effort behind Fancy Blue in the Listed Staffordstown Stud Stakes at the Curragh. A campaign full of promise she has the potential to develop into yet another Classic hope for her sire. Free Eagle is standing at a fee of €12,500 for 2020.