Coolmore Australia have announced that champion stallion Encosta De Lago has been retired from stud duties due to fertility issues.
Encosta De Lago took out the Group 1 MRC VIC Health Cup (now known as the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes), the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1200m) and Group 2 Ascot Vale Stakes (now known as the Coolmore Stud Stakes) during the 1996 Spring Racing Carnival, but he was retired from racing at the end of the year due to injury problems.
The Fairy King entire made his debut as a stallion at Blue Gum Farm at Euroa for a breeding fee of $8500, but that fee was quickly increased and he was purchased by Coolmore in 2004 and became the highest-priced stallion in Australia.
Encosta De Lago’s fee continued to rise in the late 2000s after he produced the likes of four-time Group 1 winner Alinghi, World Champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom, John O’Shea-trained Racing To Win, future star stallion Northern Meteor and Australian Cup winner Sirmione and he was the leading sire in Australia from 2007 to 2009.
His fee rose to a peak of $302,500 in 2008 and he became locked in a battle for Fastnet Rock for the title of the most popular stallion in Australia before he started to drop down the stallions list slightly.
Encosta De Lago struggled with a drop in fertility in recent years and despite producing the likes of Puccini, Chautauqua and Rubick in the past few years, Coolmore confirmed overnight that the 21-year-old had been retired from active stud duty.
Coolmore Australia boss Tom Magnier was quick to pay credit to Encosta De Lago and he is confident that the likes of Rubick will be able to make sure that the star stallion is not forgotten over the coming years.
‘It’s a pleasure to be associated with a horse of this caliber,” Magnier said.
“He has done it all as a stallion and we are looking forward to further quality performers emerging over the coming seasons from his final crops.
“We are lucky to have an interest in Rubick who looks to have the potential to represent Encosta with distinction, not only on the racecourse over the coming months, but as a top-class young sire prospect for the future.”
Coolmore Australian General Manager Michael Kirwan did not hold back the plaudits for Encosta De Lago and he said that there is no doubt that the entire deserves to be considered one of the greatest stallions in the history of Australian racing and he is confident that his legacy will live on through the deeds of the deceased Northern Meteor and his talented sons like Deep Field, Shooting To Win and Zoustar.
“His stud career has been nothing short of phenomenal,” Kirwan said.
“His progeny have earned just short of $140m in prizemoney around the world and to that end, he is entitled to be regarded as the most successful Australian bred sire of all time.
“He has been an incredibly versatile stallion, capable of siring top class performers in all age groups, over any distance, in any jurisdiction with the hallmarks of his progeny being their soundness and great appetite for racing.
“While he was a classy racehorse in his own right, the manner in which he rose from relative obscurity as a sire has been something of a fairy-tale.
“His figures to date are astonishing and the success of Northern Meteor has served to demonstrate his prowess as a sire of sires, while his daughters have firmly established him as a wonderful broodmare sire.”
Encosta De Lago sired an incredible 105 winners at Stakes level and had 23 of his progeny win at the highest level of racing.