The smart win of Henry Dwyer’s 2yo filly Melveen at Sandown-Lakeside last week at just her second trip to the races further underlined the growing momentum of her sire Starspangledbanner as the sales season rolls on towards Melbourne and Inglis Premier. Melveen, emergency for Saturday’s G1 Blue Diamond stakes, was just the second 2yo runner for Starspangledbanner this season.

The Danny O’Brien trained Jarmanagic is the other who has turned in some impressive performances including a close up fifth placing in the Listed Inglis Banner on Cox Plate day and a recent fourth at Moonee Valley behind Tony McEvoy’s Sanctimonious before that colt went on to run an unlucky second in the rich Inglis Classic at Warwick Farm last weekend.

The sub-fertile Starspangledbanner left only 42 live foals in this 2yo crop – his best season to that point – and if these first two runners are any indication then his 2yo’s this season bear close watching.

Although his fertility has steadily improved each year since then, his 2014 crop (now 3yo’s) was even less productive, leaving only 23 live foals. But low numbers doesn’t seem to worry Starspangledbanner; four of his 3yo’s have won races in the last two months. Two more have placed.

The list is headed headed by Mick Price’s pair Red White and Blue and Miss Oklahoma. The former has in fact won twice from his only two runs, the first a convincing maiden win at odds on, followed by an all-the-way effort at Park in a strong BM64 headed by Aaron Purcell’s highly regarded Rellson. Bigger assignments clearly await. For her part, Miss Oklahoma won her maiden by a widening three lengths at start number two and is now entered for the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday. The Corstens’ Pledgeofallegiance and Darren Weir’s Sea of Stars round out Starspangledbanner’s recent winning 3yo quartet.

Starspangledbanner’s fertility issues have been well documented but his ability to throw a good horse has rarely been doubted. His first Australian crop (now 5yo’s) was headlined by G3 Blue Diamond Prelude winner Of The Brave, a highly precocious 2yo whose life was tragically cut short after that win.

The sire only had 20 runners from that crop but 15 of them won, with other quality winners including $300k-earner Mr Individual, who was beaten less than 1.5 lengths in a Caulfield Guineas Prelude before beating future G1 Toorak winner He’s Our Rokki over the Caulfield mile. Surfin’ Safari is the winner of over $200,000 in stakes while Tony Gollan’s mare Khalama has banked over $150,000 and was beaten 2 lengths in a stakes race just prior to Christmas.

Of course in Europe, where Starspangledbanner raced so successfully for G1 victories in the Golden Jubilee and July Cup, the chestnut’s exploits in the barn are as legendary as his performances on the track. Sire of G1 winner and sire The Wow Signal, as well as group winners Anthem Alexander, Home Of The Brave and Spangled, Starspangledbanner boasts an incredible record of 70% winners to runners worldwide. His record of 8 stakeswinners worldwide from only 71 runners (11.4%) is unrivalled. Successful Australian sires such as Foxwedge, Smart Missile and So You Think, much more popular and with far more numbers, all have less stakes winners than the ‘Banner and far inferior winner to runner ratios.

In recent seasons, under the guidance of the Rosemont and Coolmore Studs, Starspangledbanner’s fertility has improved. Smart buyers, aware of his impressive statistics and mindful that a serious horse may well be lurking for this stallion, have been active at the current yearling sales where his sales ring numbers are belatedly catching up to where his stallion statistics say he should be. On the Gold Coast, his colt out of Authoress sold for $360,000 to Darren Weir while at the recently concluded Classic Sale at Riverside, he had four yearlings average $93,500 with Ciaron Maher Bloodstock teaming with Aquis to lodge the winning bid on his Sell In May colt at $180,000.

The forth-coming Melbourne Premier sale represents the best chance yet to secure a Starspangledbanner yearling. He has 15 sons and daughters catalogued, which represents around a third of his 2016 live foal crop.

Rosemont Stud, who stood the stallion in 2015, will present 11 of those yearlings. Given the current momentum both on the track and in the sales ring, the progeny of Starspangledbanner promises to be one of the more intriguing stories of the 2017 Inglis Premier Sale.

For further information on Rosemont Stud’s 2018 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale draft which can be viewed HERE, contact Anthony Mithen on 0413 486 767.