Ballylinch Stud has announced the acquisition of a new stallion for 2011. Lope De Vega will join Lawman, Intense Focus, Soviet Star and Kings Theatre at the County Kilkenny Stud with Whipper being relocated to France for the coming season. Lope De Vega, a son of leading young atllion Shamardal is a dual Classic winner and was also a top class 2yo, winning at Deauville and Longchamp, before being placed in the Group1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère at Longchamp At three, he completed the same Classic double of the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club as his sire Shamardal had done before him. Three weeks after impressively winning the French Guineas he was arguably even more impressive in winning the French Derby over two and a half furlongs further and on very different ground. The 22-strong field for this Classic included several formidable opponents, namely Behkabad, subsequent winner of the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris and Cape Blanco, who went on to win the Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes.
Lope De Vega is the best horse sired to date by Kildangan Stud resident Shamardal. His dam Lady Vettori (Vettori) was a precocious winner of five races at two, including the Group 3 Prix du Calvados, and was also placed in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac. She is from the immediate family of Lady Blessington and traces in the direct female line to the brilliant Prix Vermeille winner and sire producer La Mirambule. John O’Connor, Manager of Ballylinch Stud, commented: “He is just the kind of horse we like to stand: a very high class two year old who trained on to win Classics at a mile and ten furlongs – just like his sire Shamardal. The syndicate which owns him guarantees Lope de Vega the support of very strong broodmare bands in both hemispheres and he will cover limited books at Ballylinch and Pattinack.” Lope de Vega’s first season fee has been set at €15,000.