Picture: Halfway To Heaven (Pivotal), dam of SA-Based stallion Flying The Flag and of Rhododendron, who is dam of Saturday’s Epsom Derby winner Auguste Rodin (Getty Images). Halfway To Heaven is not to be confused with the SA-bred Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master), dam of Hawwaam, Rainbow Bridge and Golden Ducat.
Aidan O’Brien won his ninth Epsom Derby on Saturday and the winner Auguste Rodin is out a full sister to South African-based sire Flying The Flag.
Auguste Rodin is by the late Japanese super stallion Deep Impact out of Galileo mare Rhododendron, who is out of the Pivotal mare Halfway To Heaven.
Rhododendron was also a high class racehorse, winning the Gr 1 Fillies Mile as a two-year-old, the Gr 1 Prix de l’Opera for fillies and mares over ten furlongs at Longchamp as three-year-old and the Gr 1 Lockinge Stakes over a mile at Newbury against the boys as a four-year-old. She was also second in the Gr 1 1000 Guineas, the Gr 1 Epsom Oaks and the Gr 1 Breeders Cup Fillies And Mares turf, all as a three-year-old, and she also won a Gr 2 as a two-year-old.
Auguste Rodin is Rhododendron’s first foal.
Flying The Flag’s best achievement on the racecourse was winning a Gr 3 over ten furlongs in Ireland as a three-year-old. In South Africa his best run was a third place finish in the Gr 3 London News Stakes over 1800m.
However, he has a magnificent pedigree as he is also a full-brother to the wonderful seven-time Gr 1-winning mare Magical.
Flying The Flag’s mother, Irish 1000 Guineas winner Halfway To Heaven, was a three-time Gr 1 winner.
Flying The Flag has not been given the chances his pedigree deserves in terms of quality mares, but his current three-year-old crop has two decent runners.
His grey Mike Miller-trained son Strawberry Bear downed the champion Cousin Casey as well Gr 1 WSB SA Classic runner up Jimmy Don when winning the Gr 3 Byerley Turk over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Greyville and although he was receiving 6kg from Cousin Casey he was only receiving a half-a-kilogram overweight amount from Jimmy Don.
His son Electric Gold was trained by Sean Tarry when finishing second in the Gr 3 London News Stakes and third in the Gr 2 WSB Gauteng Guineas and he is now back with Tony Peter, whose father Paul trained him to three wins on the trot.
Flying The Flag is now standing at Advocate Altus Joubert’s Riethuiskraal Stud in Stilbaai in the Western Cape.