Highgrove Stud’s Ron Gilbert celebrated his third career Group 1 – and sire on fire Snitzel his 21st Stakes winner of the season – when 2YO Summer Passage won Thursday’s Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie.

A son of Snitzel and Subsequent, Summer Passage proved himself New Zealand’s best juvenile with the win, and a trip to Sydney for next month’s Group 1 Inglis Sires is now firmly on the radar.

Gilbert was ecstatic after today’s race, describing Summer Passage as “that colt who was the best sort imaginable’’.

“He was a very good sort,’’ Gilbert said of Summer Passage, who has raced just three times for two wins (a Group 1 and a Listed success) and a second-placing.

“The good yearlings tend to pick themselves and this bloke certainly did that.

“They’re standouts from day one, there’s never an issue with them, they’re very popular with potential buyers and they never turn a hair.

“They’re always out of their box during the inspection days and this fellow was like that at the Easter Sale, but he was as strong on his last inspection as he was on his first, and only the good ones are like that.’’ 

Gilbert’s Highgrove Stud offered Summer Passage at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, and trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott paid $800,000 for the handsome colt.

Gilbert also bred Summer Passage’s dam Subsequent on his Queensland property.

He passed her in at the 2010 Easter Yearling Sale and raced her, but retired her after just five starts for broodmare duties.

Subsequent has four foals on the ground – Summer Passage, a full sister, a Sepoy colt and a Sebring colt.

Gilbert’s other Group 1 winners are Wanted (2010 Newmarket Hcp) and Porto Roca (2001 Coolmore Classic).

Summer Passage’s victory was the first Group 1 of the season for Arrowfield’s Snitzel – and seventh of his career – and continued his amazing overall season, which has seen his progeny claim 21 Stakes winners and six individual 2YO Stakes winners.

There are 44 sons and daughters of Snitzel being offered at next month’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Arrowfield’s John Messara admitted he couldn’t wait for the Inglis Easter Sale (April 4-6) to arrive.

“If buyers and other vendors selling Snitzels are as excited about the quality of his Inglis Easter consignment as we are, it’s going to be a very busy week,’’ Messara said.

“We knew he was sensational, but he’s gone to a whole new level this season and there’s still so much ahead of him.’’

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