Ballylinch Stud flagship sire Lope De Vega was represented by his tenth Group/Grade 1 winner as son Gytrash sprang a surprise in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
The seven-strong field for the five-furlong contest split into two groups, with Gytrash beating runner-up Redzel (by Snitzel) on the inside rail and Loving Gaby (by I Am Invincible) first home among the stands-side runners but third overall. Hot favourite Nature Strip, a three-time Group 1 winner for Chris Waller in 2019, showed strong early pace but faded tamely into fourth, throwing a potential raid on Royal Ascot this year into doubt.
Gytrash, a A$40,000 purchase from the Maluka Thoroughbreds draft at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, provides a first top-level success for his Morphettville-based trainer Gordon Richards. He is the third of Lope De Vega’s ten Group 1 winners bred in Australia, with the sire having shuttled from Ballylinch Stud to Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm from 2011 until that operation’s demise in 2014, when Gytrash was conceived.
With a pedigree free of Danehill, Lope De Vega has proved a useful foil for Australasian mares whose pedigrees feature the late son of Danzig, who is so ubiquitous down under. Both Gytrash and Santa Ana Lane, a five-time Group 1-winning sprinter in Australia, are out of mares by Danehill’s champion sire son Fastnet Rock, while Goodwood Handicap victor Vega Magic is out of a mare whose dam has Danehill’s son Danewin as broodmare sire. Lope De Vega has worked well with Danehill-line mares in the northern hemisphere too, with his champion two-year-old and Lockinge Stakes hero son Belardo out of a mare by Danehill himself, while North American Grade 1 winners Capla Temptress and Newspaperofrecord are out of mares by sons of Danehill in Dansili and Holy Roman Emperor respectively. Lope De Vega’s band of elite winners is rounded out by Jemayel, Phoenix Of Spain, The Right Man and Zabeel Prince. The increasingly influential son of Shamardal is commanding a fee of €100,000 at Ballylinch Stud this breeding season.
Gytrash was bred by Packaging Investments Australia and is the fourth foal and second winner out of Miss Barley, an unraced half-sister to Randwick Listed winner Strawberry Storm from the further family of stakes-winning siblings Danroad, Newtown Jet and Strawberry Boy.
The dam has a three-year-old filly by Rubick named Outlaw Miss and a two-year-old filly by Demerit called Pouakai, both unraced, and she was covered by Universal Ruler in the last two southern hemisphere breeding seasons.
Originally appeared in the Racing Post on February 15th, 2020