Royal Aspirations goes four for four with first season crop
By Brian Cross
Paris Prince’s win on Sunday in the Grand Slam Trading Co. Trot gave Royal Aspirations’ stud career a notable record.
From just four foals in his first crop, the stallion can now boast four winners. Paris Prince joins Royal Del, Royal Deirdre and Royal Pride in the winner’s circle, quite a return for their breeders and owners Fay and Fred Fletcher. What’s more, all four have won on the Motukarara grass.
Having his second start after an eye-catching fourth on debut and driven beautifully by Sam Thornley, Paris Prince prevailed narrowly in a race that wasn’t without incident in the straight. Stablemate and favourite The Royal Gamble, also by Royal Aspirations, galloped when trotting boldly to the lead 400 metres out. Then second favourite Rush broke at the line in what would otherwise have been a very tight finish.
The stock of Royal Aspirations are certainly keeping veteran trainer Fred Fletcher busy these days. “I have 12 in the stable altogether, and I haven’t come across a dud one yet. All the young ones are coming along nicely.”
After Royal Aspirations retired from racing in 2016, Fred and Fay gave him the chance at stud with their own mares, and these now four-year-olds are the result. Since then the former age-group champ and open class performer has continued to put his mark on the siring ranks in the face of fierce competition from more high-profile stallions.
To Fred, what stands out among Royal Aspirations’ foals is their intelligence. “He’s a lovely horse and he’s got brains, and he’s passing that on to his stock.”
Fred and Fay have a long association with Banks Peninsula Trotting Club, and Fred recalls being Trainer of the Year at Mot “a long time ago.” Along with close friends Lindsay and Judith Blackmore, they continue to sponsor the club’s Junior Drivers’ competition. Sam Thornley’s driving for the Fletchers certainly isn’t doing his chances in that comp any harm, with one meeting to go this season.
Fred still does some equine physio for which he is well known and regarded, and has a couple of pacers in the stable. But it’s his team of Royal Aspirations horses that are really keeping him busy these days.
As for the sire, his successes don’t stop at his Fletcher four-year-olds. He has some promising younger horses coming along from small commercial crops, including winners KD Royalty and Sunny Louis. With his emerging record, Royal Aspirations’ stocks can only rise.
Royal Aspirations stands at Grant and Di Beckett’s Phoebe Stud in Canterbury, alongside Imperial Count and Locharburn.