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SirePersian Bold
GrandsireBold Lad (IRE)
Foaled12 May 1988
BreederOvidstown Stud Stud
OwnerMitsuo Haga
TrainerMichael Kauntze
Record18: 9-4-1
Major wins
Leopardstown Stakes (1990)
Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial (1991)
Irish 1000 Guineas (1991)
Coronation Stakes (1991)
Matron Stakes (1991)
Eclipse Stakes (1992)
Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (1992)
European Champion Three-Year-Old Filly (1991)
Last updated on August 25, 2007

Kooyonga was an Irish champion Thoroughbred racehorse who raced from 1990 to 1992. After showing good form as a juvenile, she had a highly successful three-year-old campaign, winning the Group One Irish 1000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes and being named European Champion Three-Year-Old Filly at the Cartier Racing Awards. She stayed in training as a four-year-old and became the second filly (after Pebbles) to win the Eclipse Stakes.


Kooyonga was bred in Ireland by Sean Collins[1] at the Ovidstown Stud, near Maynooth, County Kildare. Her sire, Persian Bold was a successful racehorse who won the Richmond Stakes in 1977. He went on to be a “good” stallion, getting important winners such as Falcon Flight (Prix Hocquart), Persian Heights (St. James's Palace Stakes) and Bold Russian (Celebration Mile).[2] Kooyonga’s dam, Anjuli, was an unraced half sister of the 2000 Guineas winner Roland Gardens.[3]

Kooyonga was trained throughout her career by Michael Kauntze at Ashbourne, County Meath and ridden in all but three of her races by Warren O'Connor. Her name was derived from that of a Golf Club in South Australia.[4]

Racing career[edit]

1990: two-year-old season[edit]

Kooyonga first appeared on a racecourse in August when she won a maiden race at Gowran Park by three lengths.[5] Four weeks later she was moved up to Listed class and won the Silver Flash Stakes at Phoenix Park by a head from the odds-on favourite African Dance.[6] In October, she returned to Phoenix Park for the Cartier Million, a valuable sales race, in which she finished second to Rinka Das. On her final start she successfully moved to Group Three class to record a four length win in the Leopardstown Stakes.[7]

1991: three-year-old season[edit]

Kooyonga began her three-year-old season with a win in the Listed Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial and was then sent to England for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Ridden by the veteran Lester Piggott, the filly was held up in the early stages, before finishing strongly to finish second, two lengths behind the odds-on favourite Shadayid.

The Vincent O'Brien trained Rua d'Oro was made favourite for the Irish 1000 Guineas with Kooyonga starting at 4/1. Kooyonga proved much too good for the opposition, winning by three lengths under Warren O'Connor to record her first Group One win.[8] Following the race she was bought as prospective broodmare by the Japanese businessman Mitsuo Haga for a fee of $1,200,000.[9] The Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot featured a rematch between Kooyonga and Shadayid, who, since her Newmarket win, had finished third in the Oaks. O'Connor tracked the leaders on his filly before moving her past Gussy Marlowe to take the lead in the straight. Shadayid emerged to make a challenge, but Kooyonga ran on strongly to reverse the Newmarket form and win by three quarters of a length.[10]

In September, Kooyonga was prepared for an Autumn campaign with a run in the Matron Stakes, then a Group Three race, which she won by a length from Blue Daisy. She was then sent back to Ascot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which attracted a strong field including Shadayid, Hector Protector, Selkirk and Second Set, who was made favourite after his win in the Sussex Stakes. Kooyonga moved into second place behind Shadayid in the straight and ran on strongly to overtake the English filly but was herself passed in the final furlong and beaten one and a half lengths by Selkirk.

On her final start of the season she was sent to Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup Mile, but failed to reproduce her best form, finishing thirteenth of the fourteen runners behind Opening Verse

1992: four-year-old season[edit]

Kooyonga stayed in training as a four-year-old, but did not run until June when she finished unplaced as odds-on favourite in a Listed race at Leopardstown. Kooyonga was then moved up in distance to ten furlongs and sent to Royal Ascot where she showed much improved form to finish first in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (then a Group Two race). She had hung to the right in the closing stages however, and was disqualified for causing interference to Young Buster who finished third, with the race being awarded to the Henry Cecil-trained Perpendicular.[11] Kauntze accepted that his filly had impeded Young Buster but added that "she was a bit unlucky... she was clearly the best horse on the day."[12]

Despite unsuitably soft ground, Kooyonga started 7/2 favourite for the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown against a strong field which included notable winners such as Opera House (horse), Arcangues (horse), Zoman and Terimon. Kooyonga was held up at the back of the field until the straight, but then quickened past the field to take the lead a furlong out. She was ridden out by O'Connor to win "as she liked" by one and a half lengths.[13] O'Connor, who had been criticised for his riding at Ascot and had been practising his skills on a wooden horse, said that he "had them beaten two out and she still had a bit in hand at the finish."[14] As of 2011, she remains one of only two fillies to have won the Eclipse, the other being Pebbles in 1985.

Kooyonga was sent to Germany for her next start, in which she was matched against Perpendicular again in the Bayerisches Zuchtrennen at Munich in August. Kooyonga quickened into a clear lead a furlong out before being eased down in the closing stages to win "comfortably"[15] by three quarters of a length from Zaahi, with Perpendicular third.[16] Kooyonga was made favourite for the International Stakes at York but ran very poorly, struggling to go the pace from the start and being "virtually pulled up" by O'Connor in the straight.[17] It was subsequently revealed that Kooyonga had been in season at the time of the race.[18]

Hopes that Kooyonga would run in the Japan Cup[15] were abandoned after the filly failed to recover her form in her last two races. She finished a distant fourth behind Dr Devious and St Jovite in the Irish Champion Stakes, and was then well beaten when starting odds-on favourite for a minor stakes race at Leopardstown in October.[19]


At the inaugural Cartier Racing Awards in 1991, Kooyonga was named European Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.[20] As a four year old she was described as one of "Ireland's two best horses for almost a decade" (the other being St Jovite).[18]

In the official International Classification, Kooyonga was rated 123 in 1991 when she was the highest rated horse of either sex trained in Ireland. She was rated 122 in 1992 in which she was the highest rated Irish-trained filly.[21]

Stud career[edit]

After being retired to stud Kooyonga produced at least four winners including Gaily The Pride (by Seeking The Gold) and Philomatheia (by Danzig). Her last known foal was born in 2000.[22]


Pedigree of Kooyonga (IRE), chestnut mare, 1988[23]
Persian Bold (IRE)
Bold Lad (IRE)
Bold Ruler Nasrullah
Miss Disco
Barn Pride Democratic
Fair Alycia
Relko Tanerko
Running Blue Blue Peter
Run Honey
Anjuli (IRE)
Northern Dancer Nearctic
Little Hut Occupy
Savage Beauty
Skymaster Golden Cloud
Anxious Call Whistler
Julie (Family: 19)[24]


  1. ^ Brian Fleming (2011-03-08). "Major breeding figure Sean Collins dies". Bloodstock.racingpost.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  2. ^ "Persian Bold Stud Record". Bloodstock.racingpost.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  3. ^ "Kooyonga pedigree". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  4. ^ "Kooyonga Golf Club". Kooyongagolf.com.au. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  5. ^ "Gowran Maiden result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  6. ^ "Silver Flash Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  7. ^ "Leopardstown Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  8. ^ "Irish 1000 Guineas result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  9. ^ "Kooyonga queen for a day". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  10. ^ "Coronation Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  11. ^ "Prince of Wales's Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  12. ^ "Kooyonga to follow the path of Pebbles". The Independent. 1992-07-04. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  13. ^ "Eclipse Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  14. ^ "Racing: Compensation for Kooyonga in Eclipse - Sport". The Independent. 1992-07-05. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  15. ^ a b "Ruby on a fling at age of five". The Independent. 1992-08-03. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  16. ^ "Bayerisches Zuchtrennen result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  17. ^ "International Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  18. ^ a b "Kooyonga to take on elite". The Independent. 1992-09-04. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  19. ^ "Conduitions Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  20. ^ "Racenews Newslink Archive". Racenewsonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  21. ^ http://www.turfclub.ie/site/Irish_Classification_2009.pdf
  22. ^ "Kooyonga Offspring". Pedigreequery.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  23. ^ "Kooonga pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  24. ^ "Davill's Old Woodcock Mare - Family 19". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2012-06-30.