Cole Harden’s success on Saturday rightly enhanced the reputation of both Warren Greatrex and Gavin Sheehan. But the victory also further highlighted an emerging powerhouse on the breeding front.
Westerner competed successfully throughout Europe from 2003 to 2005. Trained by Elie Lellouche in France, he won the Ascot Gold Cup in 2005, before going on to finish runner-up to Hurricane Run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe later the same year. His racing career ended with a fifth place finish in the Hong Kong Vase at Shatin Racecourse.
Westerner was retired to the Castle Hyde Stud in Ireland as a National Hunt sire. The stud is a part of the famous Coolmore operation. Other horses standing include Flemensfirth, Gold Well, Milan and Vinnie Roe.
Westerner has a wonderful pedigree. A son of Danehill, he is out of a Troy mare. He excelled at distances from 1m4f upwards. It’s no surprise that many of his progeny are proving to be excellent staying types. Cole Harden is a typical example, and looks set to have a terrific season.
But he is far from alone on the current National Hunt scene. Deputy Dan and Champagne West are both sons of Westerner. They had great success during last season, with the former going close in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Creepy is another from the famous Sire. He started his chasing career in breath-taking fashion at Chepstow in September. Captain Cutter won the Grade 1 Challow Novices' Hurdle back in December for Nicky Henderson, whilst Gilgamboa was impressing punters in Ireland for his trainer Enda Bolger.
The biggest win of last season for the Westerner bloodline came in the Arkle at Cheltenham, when Western Warhorse shocked punters to the delight of the bookies, by getting up late to beat Champagne Fever.
So whilst Presenting, Kings Theatre and Milan lead the way as successful Jump racing sires, Westerner is fast becoming the new kid on the block. With a stunning 33% winner to runner ratio in 2013/14, there is little doubt that the demand for his offspring will continue to grow.
Owners and trainers are sure to be keeping a close watch, hoping to uncover the next Cole Harden or Deputy Dan.