Evergreen Choisir Adds Another Group Three Winner
Tara Madgwick - Friday August 18
Talented three year-old Choisir colt Alexios Komnenos has come back from a serious illness to claim a deserved win in the Group III Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown in Ireland for owners who include Australian bloodstock investor Neil Werrett.

Prepared by Fozzy Stack, Alexios Komnenos was an easy debut winner last year at the Curragh before finishing second beaten a neck to subsequent Group I winner Churchill in the Group III Leopardstown Tyros Stakes.

Sidelined with injury after that run, he returned with a third in a Listed race at the Curragh last month and showed he was right back to his best with this powerful win.

Alexios Komnenos raced up near the pace and surged clear to win the one mile feature by a length and a half.

"He quickened up well. It's amazing, with what he's been through, to even be here today," said Stack.

"A big thanks goes to the staff at home and every vet in O'Byrne and Halleys. It's a wonder he's here at all. They gave him a 10 percent chance of racing again.

"He had an infection in his hind suspensory. They had to split his suspensory to wash it out and get the infection out. They even flew special maggots over from England that fight infection.

"It was just an infection and it must have been something going around his system. There wasn't a cut or a mark or anything.

"It happened just a week or 10 days before the National Stakes last year.

"If he's still in one piece in a few weeks' time, he'll come back for the Group II Boomerang Stakes. We'll leave him at a mile for the minute.

"He was six months doing nothing and it's only his fourth run. He probably doesn't kill himself when he gets to the front. Hopefully he'll improve.

"The dream lives on a bit longer and hopefully he's all right in the morning."

Alexios Komnenos was purchased for just 28,000 euros by De Burgh Equine at the Goffs Orby Sale and runs for an owner partnership headed by Werrett Bloodstock.

He is the first winner for well related Montjeu mare Alexiade, a winning daughter of Group I winner Aptostar from the family of Group I winning stayer Royal Diamond.

Alexios Komnenos is the 84th stakes-winner worldwide for Coolmore's evergreen stalwart Choisir, who was looking buff for another busy breeding season at Coolmore earlier this week.

Paraded for the media, the 18 year-old was declared to be "in his prime" by James Bester, who is likewise in his prime!

In 14 seasons at stud in Australia, Choisir has been one of the most consistently popular sires in the country covering 2386 mares in that period.

While other stallions come and go, Choisir has been priced at around the $30,000 mark in each of his 14 seasons and invariably covers a big book as breeders consider their options and then frequently fall back to the tried and true.

StarspangledbannerChoisir's champion fertility troubled son Starspangledbanner is about to come to a new phase in his career with the first two year-olds stepping out this season conceived after his fertility improved.

This means for the first time in his life, Starspangledbanner is going to have numbers going forward to give him a better shot at commercial success.

His statistics from his early small crops of foals to date are impressive.

44 winners from 62 runners in both hemispheres, eight stakes-winners with five of them being Group winners headed by Group I winner The Wow Signal.

That's 71% winners to runners and 12.9% stakes-winners to runners.

Starspangledbanner has 42 two year-olds to run for him this season and 22 of them were sold as yearlings in 2017 at an average $82,000.

He will have similar numbers to follow next year and the year after, so breeding to him this year at a fee of $16,500 could prove an inspired choice.