Von Costa De Hero Great Value at Riverbank
Breednet - Thursday October 11
It was a mere half head that denied Von Costa de Hero his place in Golden Slipper history, the David Hayes trained colt letting loose with a late dash in the run home after settling at the rear from the second outside gate in the 2008 edition of the world's richest juvenile contest.

Von Costa De HeroAs Sebring enjoyed a nice run midfield along the rails from a better gate, Von Costa de Hero was spotting his high class rival several lengths coming into the straight - having to swing wide to make his run.

The two went to the line locked together wide apart, the judge calling for the photo. It was Sebring's day but Von Costa de Hero ran the race of his life!

Not that he was any one race wonder, the handsome son of champion stallion Encosta de Lago having won, at just his third start, the Gr.2 Sires's Produce Stakes at Flemington.

Taking a split through the field, Von Costa de Hero put on display his impressive turn of foot to add his name to the honour roll of a race won by the likes of Vain, Dual Choice, Storm Queen, Century, Desirable, Tolerance, Imagele, Grosvenor, Kaapstad and Testa Rossa.

"I've got a very high opinion of him," David Hayes declared after that race, "and I rate him right up there with my Blue Diamond quinella."

Admitting that Von Costa de Hero's "pretty long and arduous autumn as a two-year-old" had long term effects on the horse, Hayes was disappointed did not win another race but the signs were still there with some great runs in high class company.

Such as game thirds in the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude and the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas won by Whobegotyou, a close up fourth in Northern Meteor's Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, a gallant third against the older sprinters in the Gr.2 Norman Carlyon Stakes and a late charging second in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas won by Heart Of Dreams.

Retiring to stud as the winner of over $1.1 million in stakes, Von Costa de Hero has many fans amongst owner/breeders and he has made a great start to this season with his progeny winning 11 races since the start of August.

Of those winners, three are four-year-olds; the rest older - showing that like the Encosta de Lago line in general, the breed just get better and better as they mature. And they have longevity which all owner/breeders aim for!

Von Costa de Hero's first crop of now seven-year-olds produced 33 winners from 54 runners - a 61.1% winners-to-runners strike rate. There have been 21 winners from his 35 second crop runners showing that good things come to those who wait.

Typical of the Encosta de Lago breed in that he has strength and style, Von Costa de Hero was an eye-catcher from the start - connections laying down $1.2 million to secure him at the 2007 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.

A son of the terrific mare Piavonic who is best remembered for upsetting Sunline in the Gr.1 Manikato Stakes, Von Costa de Hero hails from a classy and consistent Victorian family whose members include the stakes winners Doppio, Emlozza, Mio Dio, Bellonic, Bel Thor, Dark Rhythm, Raise A Rhythm, Oamaru Rhythm and Bira.

Described by Riverbank Farm's Russell Osborne as "fantastic to deal with," Von Costa de Hero - one of his now retired sire's 114 stakes winners - stands at a great value fee of $2200.