Outstanding juvenile The Last Lion to stand at Kildangan Stud in 2017

G1 Middle Park Stakes winner joins the Darley roster

The Last Lion, the season's toughest top juvenile who recorded a stunning victory in the G1 Middle Park Stakes, has been purchased by Godolphin and will take up stud duties at Kildangan Stud, Ireland in 2017. A fee will be announced at a later date.

An ultra-tough and competitive performer, the son of Choisir improved from race to race in every one of his ten starts this season, never once finishing out of the first three. His victory in the G1 Middle Park Stakes was one of the juvenile performances of the season with The Last Lion making all to defeat a high-class field including the G2 winners Blue Point (Shamardal), Mehmas and Medicine Jack, as well as Stakes winners Intelligence Cross, Mokarris and Peace Envoy.

Trained by Mark Johnston, The Last Lion made a winning debut in the Brocklesby Stakes in the opening week of the turf Flat season. He made a smooth transition to Pattern company when finishing a close second in the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, beaten only half a length. Those in arrears included five Stakes winners. The Last Lion resumed winning ways with a facile victory in the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown.

After placed efforts behind the record-breaking Yalta (Exceed And Excel) in the G3 Molecomb Stakes and Blue Point (Shamardal) in the G2 Gimcrack Stakes, The Last Lion stormed to victory in the G3 Sirenia Stakes over six furlongs at Kempton in early September.

Thriving on his demanding campaign, he returned to action just six days later at Doncaster, dropping back to five furlongs to run the Royal Ascot winner Ardad to half-a-length in the G2 Flying Childers.

His final start of the season saw him at his very best, winning his G1 on good-to-firm ground with an impressive front-running effort, holding off Blue Point with Mehmas fully three lengths away.

After the race, The Last Lion was officially rated the best two-year-old colt in Europe level with Caravaggio and Churchill on Official Ratings. He is also rated higher than Dark Angel, the last Middle Park winner to retire at the end of his juvenile season and now a much-prized stallion.

By the sire of G1 stallion Starspangledbanner, The Last Lion hails from a strong Black Type family. His dam, who has bred two other Stakes winners, was placed in both the G1 Cheveley Park Stakes and G1 Moyglare Stud Stakes as a juvenile. She, in turn, is a half-sister to Champion two-year-old filly and Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Tarascon and the highly-rated G2 winner Mister Monet.

Sam Bullard, Director of Darley stallions, said: “The Last Lion is a good-looking horse who was an extremely tough and precocious performer. He put up a truly outstanding performance to win the G1 Middle Park Stakes from a top field. To get out early and progress all season long as he did shows a real love of the game, and if he transmits that and his durability to his stock, he will be a valuable addition to the stallion ranks.'

For more information, contact the Nominations team on +353 (0)45 527 600 or +44 (0)1638 730070.