Stable favourite Holler retires
Even before he began to reveal his undoubted galloping ability, Holler displayed qualities that made him a special horse among the hundreds that enter Godolphin’s Australian stable.
“Right from the beginning he showed us that he wanted to be a racehorse. Everything we asked him to do, he did it and came back for more,” said his trainer John O’Shea.
“He was very dear to us from before he raced and that feeling just grew and grew.”
Holler, whose retirement to Godolphin’s Northwood Park Stud in Victoria was announced this week, vindicated his trainer’s faith at the first opportunity, winning on debut a Randwick in near course-record time for 1100m.After one more run in that initial two-year-old campaign he went for a break, returning at three to finish a fine third to his outstanding stablemate Exosphere in the G2 Run To The Rose.
It was as a Spring three-year-old in 2015 that Holler established what was to become an enduring attachment to Moonee Valley, winning the G3 Red Anchor Stakes at the Melbourne track by four lengths.
“That was a totally dominant performance that gave him his first stakes win and set the scene for some of his best performances,” O’Shea said.
Holler returned to Moonee Valley for the G2 Australia Stakes at his next start the following Summer and confirmed his liking for the track with an all-the-way win in which the three-year-old had four, older G1 winners behind him.
After an unplaced run that confirmed 1200m was his ideal trip, Holler stepped out next in the G1 Canterbury Stakes at Randwick in early March, producing a performance that ranks as his best, leading from the start and defying all challenges to win by more than a length.
Among those behind him were the outstanding G1-winning filly First Seal, and Kermadec, a multiple G1 winner who is now on the Darley stallion roster.
“I knew that if he could get to the front it was going to take something very special to run him down, but they couldn’t,” O’Shea.
It was then back to Moonee Valley for the G1 William Reid Stakes where Holler again used his abundant speed to get to the front only to find himself on the worst part of the track.
“When he tried to kick at the top of the straight his wheels were spinning, he just couldn’t use his acceleration,” his trainer said.
“But he was still only beaten in the last stride.
“It was a typically brave effort from a horse who throughout his career was tough, sound and who had an amazing turn of foot.”
In mid-2016 Holler took on some of the world’s best sprinters in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing seventh. He followed that with two unplaced runs in Sydney last Spring .
Said O’Shea: “He goes to stud sound and in great order, and as one of the most genuine horses we’ve had in my time with Godolphin.”