Geoff Guest and his wife Jill Kewish had good reasons – lots of good reasons actually – to be cheering home Ana Royale in Saturday’s Group Three UBET SA Fillies Classic over 2500m at Morphettville.
Aside from being the principal of leading pre-training facility, Rockmount, Guest pays the bills for Ana Royale … he raced the filly’s sire, Anacheeva … and he raced the mother, Sacha Royale too.
“It was a great run on Saturday, she came from a long way back and had to race wide, but ended up winning pretty easily with Mark Zahra easing her right down on the line,” Guest enthused. “Fantastic result. She’s certainly been knocking on the door at recent runs.”
That she has. With two wins and five placings from 11 outings (and $221,620 in stakes), Ana Royale’s previous run was in the Group One Schweppes Oaks two weeks ago over 2000 metres, where she finished a brilliant third.
“I’m not so sure about the field on Saturday, but the run in the Oaks was outstanding and I reckon you’ll find the form out of that race is first class,” trainer Stuart Webb points out. “Egg Tart and Kenedna (first and second in the Oaks) are both very good fillies, as the latter proved on Saturday by winning the (Group Two) Roses at Doomben.
“We actually tossed up about keeping Ana Royale in Adelaide or taking her to Brisbane for the Roses and it worked out well in that regard, but the Queensland Oaks has always her target and it’s now full speed ahead for Brisbane.”
Ana Royale hails from the first crop of Group One Caulfield Guineas winner, Anacheeva, who stands at Victoria’s Chatswood Stud for a fee of $6,600 inc. GST in 2017.
“Rockmount raced Anacheeva and remains the major shareholder in the stallion,” Guest explains. “He’s only had relatively few runners at this stage but he’s got some promising youngsters coming through – gallopers like Segovia, Nacho Libre and Scappare.
“We’ve only got a handful of mares ourselves, but they’re good quality and we’ve supported Anacheeva from the outset and, consequently, he has a couple of good ones waiting in the wings.
“Ana Royale is his first stakes winner but if she wins the Queensland Oaks I’m sure a lot more breeders will start taking notice.”
One of those quality mares Guest referred to is Ana Royale’s dam, Sacha Royale, who was raced by Rockmount to three wins – two in town – and broke a class record.
“She was a very good mare but could have had a bit more luck go her way … she was in a four way photo at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day and finished fourth,” Guest laughs. “Very good family too … her granddam is (Group Two winner) Twiglet and so Sacha Royale is closely related to Fairy King Prawn, Easy Rocking, Cosmic Endeavour and co.
“We normally race the fillies and sell the colts – well, usually – but we’ve retained Ana Royale’s half brother, Baccarat, who is now an unraced 2YO.”
Spread over 200 acres in Victoria’s Strathbogie Ranges, Rockmount’s services include pre-training, spelling and rehabilitation.
“Rockmount was purchased in 2005 and features an 1100m rubber based training track, 45 boxes in the main barn and a water walker,” Guest adds. “We do a lot of pre-training and rehab work for trainers like Stuart (Webb), Robert Smerdon and Henry Dwyer and provide a number of specialist services.
“We’ve got around 80 horses on farm at the moment and the business is going along nicely, but it would be nice to add ‘Group One breeder’ to the CV as well!”