Promising British sophomore Viren’s Army (by Twirling Candy) is a grandson of Avontuur’s very popular young sire Oratorio.
Viren’s Army, whose dam is the stakes placed Oratorio mare Blue Angel (who was second in the Listed October Stakes and third in the Listed Sceptre Stakes), stamped himself as a three-year-old to watch with a gritty victory in Friday’s Listed Betdaq Dee Stakes at Chester.
The Richard Hannon trained colt, who has now won three of his eight starts, narrowly prevailed in a thrilling three-way finish to land the 2100m contest by a short head from hot favourite Linguistic.
Viren’s Army, a first European stakes winner for his sire, had previously finished third in the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom, and was also third in last year’s G3 Premio Guido Berardelli in Italy.
He is the second major stakes winner produced from an Oratorio mare in recent weeks –promising filly Dolce Strega, who is out of the Oratorio mare New Plays, having won the recent G3 Athasi Stakes at the Curragh. No doubt, plenty more will be heard of the daughters of Oratorio -who is still a very young broodmare sire.
A triple Group One winner, and dual Champion Sire in Italy, Oratorio’s first South African yearlings have been in great demand this year. The former European champion dominated proceedings at the recent Emperors Palace Select Yearling Sale, where two colts by him topped the sale-fetching R3.2 million apiece.
At the select sale, Oratorio ended the session as the second leading sire by aggregate, with his 12 lots grossing R10.05 million and averaging an impressive R837,500.