Cocoa creates another milestone for Congrats

The unprecedented success of Vinery’s Champion USA stallion Congrats continued on Sunday when Cocoa’s Image increased his record to 55 winners of 100 races.

Cocoa’s Image (3f Congrats – Duchess of Cocoa by Cozzene) overcame a slow start to win her maiden with ease over 1300m at Presque Isle Downs.

The Gary Terrien trained filly lugged in at the start but recovered quickly and stalked the leaders Fly Robyn Fly and Sheza Throw Back until the 400m pole.  She drew off in the straight to score by more four lengths under a hands and heels ride from Mario Pino.

Cocoa’s Image was bred in Florida by Robert and Sandy Murphy and is owned by Say Bay Racing.  She is from a half-sister to Florida stakes winner Mary Murphy (Coronado’s Quest).

Another close relation is G1 Donn Hcp winner Stephen Got Even.  Like Congrats, he is a son of champion sire A.P. Indy.

Congrats has instantly proven himself to be one of the most prolific young sires on the national roster and importantly, for his potential to deliver the same in Australia, his stock are as adept on turf as they are the dirt.

“More Than Ready’s progeny are just as capable on turf or dirt.” Vinery Stud’s Adam White said.  “We are delighted to see the Congrats stock displaying the same sort of adaptability at the corresponding stage of their respective careers.”

Around 70% of Congrats first crop of 114 foals made it to the track as 2YOs which is remarkable in itself, the winning strike rate of this crop resulted in the son of A.P. Indy claiming the first season honours in 2010.   More important than the number of winners was his four Grade 1 performers.  Two of those Grade 1 winners have gone on as three-year-olds.

“We know that Congrats can sire early horses, we know they can run and win on any surface including turf, so there’s no reason at all that he won’t reproduce his results down here.”

Another positive for Congrats is that buyers at future yearling sales won’t have to be introduced to an unfamiliar horse.  “It’s never easy to get a stallion off the ground that isn’t well known to trainers especially,” White said.  “But trainers in particular will like Congrats stock.

“You can imagine the buzz that would be around them as yearlings given that he is the Champion Freshman Sire in the USA in what is definitely one of the most competitive market in terms of stallion numbers and the quality that he was up against.

“So add a couple more years to his record and who knows where he could be by the time his first yearlings go to the sales.

“Being a proven stallion takes away the risk associated with acquiring or breeding to a first season sire,” according to White, “The market is very global now, buyers understand and appreciate overseas success, particularly in the States, and especially on turf.

“They demand turf winners, that’s fair enough too – Congrats is a stallion every stud would like to have at the moment.”

Congrats will cover a restricted book of around 120 in his first southern season this spring.