By MARTIN STEVENS of Racing Post
Another chapter in the extraordinary story of Starspangledbanner was written on Saturday when daughter Millisle became his second Group 1 winner by storming to success in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.
To give a brief summary of Starspangledbanner’s biography so far, the well-bred son of Choisir won the Caulfield Guineas and Oakleigh Plate in his native Australia and was subsequently bought by Coolmore and sent to be trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, for whom he notched the Golden Jubilee Stakes and July Cup double.
The horse initially encountered fertility problems after being retired to Coolmore, but his depleted first crop of 33 foals yielded 21 winners including Anthem Alexander and The Wow Signal, who struck in Royal Ascot juvenile contests, and the classy Home Of The Brave.
His second European crop of just 11 foals has delivered six winners, including multiple scorers Fashaak, Shaiyem, Siege Of Boston and The Commendatore.
Starspangledbanner remained at Rosemont Stud in Australia in 2013 and 2014, and was due to return to Coolmore in Ireland in 2015 after the exploits of Anthem Alexander and The Wow Signal, but missed the shuttle trip due to a bout of colic.
He finally returned to Coolmore in 2016 and experienced a significant upturn in fertility, with Weatherbys recording the 120 mares covered by him having produced 70 foals who are now two-year-olds.
Millisle is the best of 15 winners from the resultant crop, but by no means the only highly talented one as it also contains Anglesey Stakes runner-up Lil Grey (ninth to Millisle in the Cheveley Park) and Listed Marygate Stakes third Lady Kermit, as well as Chasing Dreams, who has not been since handing subsequent Listed winner Good Vibes a five-length beating on debut at Newmarket in April.
Starspangledbanner’s fertility issues certainly seem to be a thing of the past as he covered 123 mares at Coolmore in Ireland in 2017, 152 in 2018 and 168 this year.
He is currently serving mares back at Rosemont Stud in Victoria, run by Anthony Mithen, a shareholder in the stallion, after several seasons standing at Coolmore’s Jerrys Plains facility.
Millisle, trained by Jessica Harrington for owner-breeder Stonethorn Stud Farms, strikes a blow for older broodmares as she is the 12th foal and one of nine winners out of the Indian Ridge mare Green Castle, who was 17 when the newly anointed Group 1 heroine was conceived.
Green Castle is also the dam of Listed Braveheart Stakes winner Ithoughtitwasover (by Hurricane Run) and Listed-placed pair Glenmayne (by Duke Of Marmalade) and Green Island (by Fasliyev), the latter having gone on to produce the smart sprinter Shamshon (by Invincible Spirit).
Millisle is the last registered progeny of her dam, who is out of Listed scorer and Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Green Lucia and is thus a half-sister to Group 2-placed Luchiroverte.
Green Lucia was a Green Dancer half-sister to Prix du Jockey Club and Irish Derby victor Old Vic as well as to stakes winners Bobinski and Splash Of Colour.
Those siblings were out of Cockade, a Derring-Do half-sister to 2,000 Guineas hero High Top, from a family expertly cultivated by the late Bob McCreery.