Heavenly Mare Ethereal Retires To Stud

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Champion racehorse Ethereal has officially been retired from racing.

Her owners Peter and Philip Vela made the decision today to retire their 4 times Group One winning mare to the breeding paddock.

“Ethereal has provided us with so much excitement and joy, quite beyond anything we could ever have imagined.

“She has achieved so much already and after Saturday's great win in The BMW Stakes there is nothing left which could enhance the regard in which she is held,” said Peter Vela today.

Ethereal burst onto the big time Australasian racing scene less than a year ago, when she produced one of the most phenomenal finishes in memory to take out the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.

Ethereal went on to be the queen of the 2001 Victorian Spring Carnival when she became only the third mare in history to capture the elusive Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup double.

At Rosehill last Saturday Ethereal again showed the incredible courage and withering turn of foot that became her trademark, to mow down a top field including Universal Prince and Tie The Knot, at WFA level in the Group 1 BMW Stakes (2400m).

Saturday's victory capped off a dream career for Ethereal, her trainer Sheila Laxon, jockey Scott Seamer and her breeders and owners Peter and Philip Vela, which includes the following highlights:

ETHEREAL (1997 Bay mare by Rhythm (USA) x Romanee Conti)

Won – Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m)
Won – Group 1 VATC Caulfield Cup (2400m)
Won – Group 1 VRC Tooheys Melbourne Cup (3200m)
Won – Group 1 STC BMW Stakes (2400m WFA).
Won – Listed BTC Doomben Roses (2020m)
Third – Group 1 VATC Yalumba Stakes (2000m WFA).

Career Record: 21 starts; 8 wins; 1 second; 3 thirds.
Career Earnings: NZ$5,757,985.

While a trip to Europe for a crack at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was considered, Peter and Philip Vela have decided that Ethereal has well and truly earned her retirement without risking the perils of such a long trip on their now invaluable broodmare.

Ethereal will share the breeding paddocks of Pencarrow Stud with her Hong Kong International Cup winning mother, Romanee Conti (Sir Tristram x Richebourg), her granddam Richebourg (Vice Regal x Mary Mead) and her Group 1 Australasian Oaks winning close relation, Grand Echezeaux (Zabeel x Richebourg).

“Philip and I now look forward to what for us, is the even more exciting prospect of having Ethereal grace our broodmare paddocks at Pencarrow Stud for many years to come,” concluded Peter Vela.