Hawkbill (second left) defeats The Gurkha (right) in the EclipsePICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
European Group 1 joy for Hawkbill sire Kitten's
FORMER North American champion sire Kitten's Joy supplied his first European Group 1 winner when son Hawkbill continued his steep improvement with a half-length victory over Classic winner The Gurkha in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Hawkbill becomes the ninth top-flight scorer overall for Kitten's Joy, who stands at his owner-breeder Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Ramsey Farm in Kentucky.
The stallion's roll of honour is headed by multiple Grade 1 winners Big Blue Kitten, Real Solution and Stephanie's Kitten.
Kitten's Joy's Group 1 breakthrough in Europe is the culmination of the Ramseys' bold policy of showcasing the sire on the continent by racing his stock on the other side of the Atlantic.
They owned and bred Kitten's Lady, Kitten On The Run, Real Solution and Steaming Kitten, all of whom struck at stakes level in Italy, while their Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby's Kitten was an eight-length Listed winner at Cork in March after joining Dermot Weld.
The Ramseys also sent a batch of Kitten's Joy yearlings to be consigned by Voute Sales to last year's Tattersalls October sales, with Sackville Donald purchasing the most expensive, a 230,000gns brother to Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes winner Kitten's Dumplings.
Kitten's Joy, a 15-year-old son of El Prado, was a leading turf performer in the US for the Ramseys, winning the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.
He stood at Ramsey Farm this year at a fee of $100,000.
Hawkbill was bred by the Helen K Groves Revokable Trust out of the winning and Grade 3-placed Trensa, a daughter of Giant's Causeway and Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes heroine Serape.
Serape, a daughter of Fappiano, was in turn out of the In Reality mare Mochila, who finished second in the Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap and was a half-sister to Breeders' Cup Mile hero and leading sire Cozzene.
John Ferguson bought Hawkbill on behalf of Godolphin for $350,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.