Counterattack comes out fighting

The beautifully bred Australian sprinter didn’t have the best of starts at stud in Germany, but is rapidly recovering lost ground. Christa Riebel reports.

The Australian sprinter Counterattack stood his first northern hemisphere season at Gestüt Karlshof in 2018. Having been campaigned as a sprinter, and being a son of Danehill’s high-class Australian son Redoute’s Choice, expectations were high that his first crop European 2yos would be both speedy and precocious, However, things didn’t quite go to plan, as his best juvenile performer in what turned out to be a quiet first season was the Group 3 Preis des Winterfavoriten placegetter See Hector.

Things started looking up earlier this year though with a series of three-year old winners, especially over longer distances. At the time of writing (14th August), Counterattack’s record in Europe stands at 13 individual winners from just 22 runners, which represents a highly creditable 59% winners to runners. These are headed by the Group 3 Premio Parioli (Italian 2000 Guineas) victor See Hector; the Listed Premio Emanuele Filiberto scorer Pirouz and the Listed Diana-Trial victrix Peshmerga, plus the game and tough seven-times Istanbul winner Subutai whose exploits include a National Listed victory. 

It should not go unmentioned that Pirouz’s Listed win came over 2000 metres and Peshmerga scored over 2100 metres, while Subutai has won up to 2200 metres. 

So far this season, Counterattack has had three runners from his current crop of two-year-olds headed by the impressive debut auction race winner See Paris, a full-brother to the aforementioned See Hector. 

Counterattack is a classic representative of his sire Redoute’s Choice’s stock, and especially the Australian type of Danehill in general, being a strongly made individual with good bone and feet. He was campaigned from two to four years over sprint distances, racing 26 times, winning four races and placing eleven times. He broke his maiden as a juvenile and landed the Group 3 BRC Fred Best Classic and two Listed events at three. His placings included three at the highest level, most notably a second in the BRC Doomben 10000 and a third in the VRC Ascot Vale Stakes.

Counterattack’s sadly deceased sire Redoute’s Choice should be seen as Danehill’s leading siring son in Australia and one of his best sons worldwide. The winner of four Group 1 races, Redoute’s Choice has 35 top level winners heading his progeny list including Snitzel, himself already a multiple Champion Sire.

On his dam’s side, Couterattack can boast some prominent Australian all-time greats in his pedigree. His Listed placed dam Kisma is a daughter of the Champion Sire Snippets, the leading son of the imported Lunchtime who proved himself an excellent sire and an even better broodmare sire. Kisma is also the dam of the the tough and multiple Group winning Red Tracer (15 wins, including two Group 1 victories) and Shellscrape (Group 1 winner of six races), both by Dane’s Shadow (Danehill).

Kisma is one of two Stakes performers out of Vain Hope whose sire, Vain, is one of the all time leading sire influences in Australia. Counterattack’s third dam, Haylee’s Hope, won eleven races from two to four, including a Group 3 and a Listed race, and also finished third in the Group 1 VATC Eclipse Stakes. She is a daughter of Habitat’s son Habitation and the Sweet Moss mare Celia, this also being the family of the game and genuine Group 1 Sky City Auckland Cup hero Pentaine. 

Counterattack’s sire line has worked very well with German dam lines to date, and his pedigree is packed with class and speed, as well as being notable for producing tough and game performers. This should make a him a very valuable asset for German breeding, especially by providing an outcross on his dam’s side.

About the author

Christa Riebel

Christa Carolin Riebel was born in Germany, but grew up in India where her father was the managing director of Agfa Gevaert Industries. She is bilingual and, after school, studied languages and biology at the University of Mainz where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree.  

Christa worked part-time on a large thoroughbred stud in the United States during her holidays and, in 1990, joined The National Stud’s Student Training Course, finishing second in her class and being awarded a Diploma which included a scholarship to Australia. There, she worked at Segenhoe Stud and in the leading veterinary clinic in Scone. She subsequently returned to Australia in 1991 to work at Emirates Park.

The following year, Christa started conducting pedigree research for Mrs. Alexandra Scrope’s Mercury Thoroughbred Consultants. She then began writing articles on diverse breeding topics for the German racing paper Sport Welt and magazine Vollblut, as well as for international publications like Pacemaker & the Thoroughbred Breeder, Irish Field, Racetrack and Asian Thoroughbred News. She has been responsible for the annual German Stallion Book since its inception in 1995, as well as being the German correspondent and writer of pedigree notes for Thoroughbred Daily News.

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