There is still one classic still to go in 2017 (applying the traditional criteria that they are for three-year-olds only) – next month’s Group 1 William Hill St Leger at Doncaster – but attentions have already been drawn towards next year’s series.
Many who feature prominently in the ante-post markets this far in advance of the events have faded from memory or interest by the time those races are ready to run but it seems unlikely that recent Goodwood winner Expert Eye will be among those horses.
He made his debut over an extended six furlongs at Newbury in mid-June, which is earlier than often expected for a Sir Michael Stoute-trained juvenile, and he won that good-ground event by one and a half lengths.
That was a promising start, but when he ran away from nine rivals to take the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood just under seven weeks later, he shot to the head of the rankings – 114p with Timeform – and the market for the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas of 2018.
He beat Zaman and Mildenberger by four and a half lengths and three-parts of a length, the time was decent rather than spectacular, but what really grabbed the attention was the way he quickened clear and had the race won well before the line. He looked every inch a potential future Group 1 star.
If Expert Eye is going to be a classic hero in 2018 then it will be in one or more of the mile events. It remains to be seen if he will have the stamina to stay 10 furlongs, but that is likely to be either too far or at the outer limit of his distance range.
The colt is a son of high-class sprinter and veteran Rathbarry Stud stallion Acclamation (by Royal Applause), the horse who has given us the Group 1-winning sprinters Dark Angel, Equiano and Marsha, among others of note. The first-named pair are, of course, now the sires of Group 1 winning offspring, while Marsha is still in training and has the potential to make an impact as a broodmare.
Exemplify (by Dansili), the dam of Expert Eye, won over a mile in France as a two-year-old, her first foal – Divisionist (by Oasis Dream) – has been placed twice over eight and a half furlongs at Wolverhampton, her yearling is a first-crop daughter of Kingman (by Invincible Spirit), and she had a Dark Angel (by Acclamation) colt in late February.
The mare is out of the unplaced Quest To Peak (by Distant View) and that makes her a half-sister to Special Duty (by Hennessy), a leading two-year-old of 2009 who retired to the paddocks a dual classic heroine despite failing to pass the post in front in any of her six starts at the age of three.
Runner-up in the Listed Prix Yacowlef on her racecourse debut, the Criquette Head-trained chestnut beat Siyouni in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin, failed narrowly against Arcano in the Group 1 Prix Morny and then beat Misheer by two and three-quarter lengths to take the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes in style at Newmarket.
Special Duty was only third to Joanna when odds-on for the Group 3 Prix Imprudence on her reappearance on very soft ground at Maisons-Laffitte and she was then pipped in photo finishes for both the Group 1 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas). However, Jacqueline Quest was dropped to second at Newmarket, Liliside to sixth at Longchamp, and Juddmonte’s filly got both races.
She is not the only horse to pick up two Group 1 races in this way: Vahorimix was awarded both the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) and Prix Jacques le Marois in 2001. In his case, Noverre failed the post-race test at Longchamp and Proudwings was thrown out at Deauville for interference caused.
But back to Expert Eye.
Quest For Peak’s contribution at stud is no surprise as she is out of the pattern-placed dual stakes winner Viviana (by Nureyev) and so is a full-sister to seven-time Grade 1 heroine Sightseek and half-sister to dual Grade 1 scorer Tates Creek (by Rahy), a pair of Bobby Frankel-trained Juddmonte-bred standouts.
Sightseek’s blacktype-placed son Raison D’Etat (by A.P. Indy) stands at Calumet Farm in Kentucky and has his first two-year-olds now.
Viviana’s winning full-sister Willstar has produced two blacktype winners and is the grandam of several blacktype earners – the latter group featuing Group 3 Prix de Fontainbleau winner Glaswegian (by Selkirk) and dual listed scorer Preferential (by Dansili) – but the standout among them all is her excellent daughter Etoile Montante (by Miswaki).
Runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac as a juvenile, she was third in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, took second in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and then won the Group 1 Prix de la Foret before crossing the atlantic where, at the age of four, she added the Grade 2 Palomar Handicap and Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap and finished runner-up in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes.
Etoile Montante, another Juddmonte homebred, died at the age of 15, but her offspring include Starformer (by Dynaformer), who was Group 3-placed at Longchamp before going to the USA where she won the Grade 2 New York Stakes over 10 furlongs at Belmont Park and a trio of Grade 3 contests at 11-12 furlongs.
Viviana and Willstar are half-sisters to Grade 1-placed Grade 2 scorer Revasser (by Riverman) and to Grade 1-placed stakes winner Hometown Queen (by Pleasant Colony), the latter being the dam of Grade 2 winner and successful sire Bowman’s Band (by Dixieland Band).
They are out of Nijinsky Star (by Nijinsky), an unraced daughter of triple Grade 1-winning standout Chris Evert (by Swoons Son) and so related to a host of talented horses, including Grade/Group 1 stars Chief’s Crown (by Danzig), Classic Crown (by Mr Prospector), Excellent Art (by Pivotal) and Winning Colors (by Caro).
With family connections like these, there is every reason to hope that Expert Eye can fulfil his promise and succeed at the highest level. Should he do so then he will also have plenty of appeal as a future stallion, especially as he is by the sire of Dark Angel and Equiano.
There is an odd misconception by many that being a top-notch sprinter somehow means that progeny will be precocious juveniles. Many top sprinters were not early sorts but, instead, horses who progressed throughout their career, hitting their peak at four or older.
Bated Breath (by Dansili) was such a horse, and that makes the string of winners and blacktype horses, from his first two crops, a promising start.
As a racehorse, he won each of his first three starts, all over six furlongs and all in the spring and early summer of his three-year-old sesason. He got his first blacktype success at four – several weeks before being a half-length runner-up to Dream Ahead in the Group 1 July Cup, and his top win came in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at the age of five, a race in which he beat Sole Power and Spirit Quartz.
Bated Breath stands alongside his sire at Banstead Manor Stud, his first crop includes dual Group 2-placed filly Al Johrah, and his second is headed by Beckford, the Gordon Elliott-trained colt who kept his perfect record intact with victory in the Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes over six furlongs at the Curragh last month, beating Verbal Dexterity by a length and earning a Timeform rating of 113p.
He failed to make it three in a row in this afternoon's Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh, but lost nothing in defeat in finishing a close second to Sioux Nation.
This €55,000 Goffs Orby Sale graduate was bred by Joyce Wallsgrove. He also went through the ring as a foal, making 58,000gns in Newmarket, and was sold privately, to Newtown Anner Stud, after his winning debut at the Curragh.
At first glance, the most striking thing about his pedigree is that he is inbred 3x3 to Danehill (by Danzig) and 4x3 to Nashwan (by Blushing Groom), which may be significant or could be irrelevant to his ability and potential.
Then you notice that he is out of a winning half-sister to dual Group 3 scorer Malabar (by Raven’s Pass) and to recent 12-furlong Group 3 scorer Poet’s Word (by Poet’s Voice), and his stakes-placed grandam, Whirly Bird (by Nashwan), is a grand-daughter of the Group 2 Child Stakes winner and Group 1 Coronation Stakes runner-up Inchmurrin (by Lomond).
That small filly was tough, popular and prolific, she is the dam of the dual pattern winner and Group 1 sire Inchinor (by Ahonoora) and of Ingozi (by Warning), the stakes-winning dam of Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes heroine Miss Keller (by Montjeu) and grandam of last year’s Group 1 St Leger star Harbour Law (by Lawman).
Inchmurrin was also the dam of Listed Ballymacoll Stakes winner Incheni (by Nashwan), she is the grandam of juvenile listed scorer Ingeburg (by Hector Protector), and it is her one-time winner Inchyre (by Shirley Heights) who is the third dam of Beckford.
In addition to the aforementioned Whirly Bird, that mare is responsible for the 14-furlong Group 3 scorer Ursa Major (by Galileo) and Listed Galtres Stakes winner Inchiri (by Sadler’s Wells) – dam of South African 10-furlong Grade 3 victor Hawk’s Eye (by Hawk Wing).
There are many other blacktype horses in the family, including Inchmurrin’s Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes-winning half-brother Welney (by Habitat), and also Group 1 Coronation Stakes heroine Balisada (by Kris), a daughter of Inchmurrin’s full-sister Balnaha.
It remains to be seen just how good Beckford will be at his peak, but he has made a promising start to his career, he has obvious Group 1 potential, and as a Danehill-line horse from the family of Inchinor it is easy to imagine that he could be a popular addition to the stallion ranks whenever his racing days come to an end.
Before then, of course, he has more to do on the track. The speed he has shown so far suggests that he could follow in his father’s hoofprints by becoming a notable sprinter, but what is present in the distaff side of his family gives him the potential to stay a mile.
The premature loss of Ashford Stud stallion and outstanding sire Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg) has been a considerable one and it is to be hoped that some of his sons and daughters carry on his name with distinction at stud.
He has got his top-level winners at pretty much every distance from five furlongs to a mile and a half, something that may surprise European fans who associate him only with sprint stars like Acapulco, Caravaggio, Lady Aurelia, and No Nay Never.
His most recent major home win came with Dacita in the Beverly D Stakes over nine and a half furlongs at Arlington Park last night, a fifth Grade 1 score for the Chilean-born six-year-old.
The stallion’s growing number of notable European winners includes Sioux Nation, the Aidan O’Brien-trained and Fethard Bloodstock-bred juvenile who won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot in June and then followed up with victory in this afternoon’s Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes over a furlong farther at the Curragh, chased home by Beckford and Actress.
He made his debut over the minimum trip at Naas in early April, finishing third, then chased home Brother Bear over a few yards short of six and a half furlongs at Leopardstown before winning his maiden, by three and three-quarter lengths, over six at the Curragh.
He was then well-beaten behind Brother Bear in the Listed Marble HIll Stakes over the same course and distance, so has won three of his six starts, showing his best form on good and fast ground and beaten when it was on the easy side.
Sioux Nation is the second foal out of a one-time scorer named Dream The Blues and, like this year’s other juvenile pattern winners Barraquero and Zonza, he is out of a daughter of Banstead Manor Stud stallion Oasis Dream (by Green Desert).
His dam won over six furlongs at Redcar in mid-October of her three-year-old season – her only start – and she is among seven winners out of the talented sprinter Catch The Blues (by Bluebird), the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes heroine who was placed in the Group 1 Sprint Cup, the Group 3 Flying Five, and in two editions of both the Group 3 Greenlands Stakes and Group 3 Cork and Orrery Stakes.
That mare’s offspring include the dual listed-placed filly Colour Blue (by Holy Roman Emperor), she is the grandam of the Group 3 Prix de Cabourg winner My Catch (by Camacho) and of Group 1-placed juvenile listed race scorer Vladimir (by Kheleyf), and her siblings include the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes third Sharp Catch (by Common Grounds).
These are the highlights of the first three generations of Sioux Nation’s pedigree.
If you go back another couple of generations, however, then you find that his fifth dam is Betty Lorraine (by Prince John), and that half-sister to Kentucky Derby hero Majestic Prince (by Raise a Native) was the dam of Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club star Caracolero (by Graustark) and grandam of Secreto (by Northern Dancer) – who won the Group 1 Derby at Epsom in 1984 – and his multiple Grade 1 Champion Hurdle-winning three-parts brother Istabraq (by Sadler’s Wells).
Those stars are remotely connected to Sioux Nation, a promising colt whose early form suggests that sprinting is more likely to be his game than running a mile.
The Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes has been won by some outstanding fillies in the past and although this year’s winner was impressive she has a considerable task ahead of her if she is to reach the heights of the one who won it 12 months before.
In 2016, the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia put up one of the most impressive performances of the year when running away with the five-furlong juvenile feature, taking the prize by seven lengths. She then added the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville and returned to Ascot yesterday for a dominant win in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes.
Today it was the turn of Heartache and she showed plenty of potential when beating Happy Like A Fool by two and a half lengths. She is trained by Clive Cox, she was bred by Whitsbury Manor Stud, and she is a daughter of the sprint star and notably successful Cheveley Park Stud stallion Kyllachy (by Pivotal).
His 29 stakes winners include the Group 1 sprint stars Krypton Factor, Sole Power, and Twilight Son – the latter a popular new addition to the Cheveley Park stallion team this year. They also include the Group 1-placed Group 2 winner and promising young sire Dragon Pulse, the Group 2-winning miler Penitent, and the talented Stepper Point.
That gelding has won both the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes and Group 3 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, plus listed races at Beverley, Lingfield, and Longchamp, and he has been runner-up to the aforementioned Sole Power in both the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes. His highest end-of-year Timeform rating has been 123, earned in 2014.
What makes him particularly interesting here is that his winning dam, Sacre Coeur (by Compton Place), could be described as being a three-parts sister to Place In My Heart (by Compton Place), the pattern-placed and stakes-winning dam of Heartache.
A half-sister to the Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes winner and Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas fourth Leitrim House (by Cadeaux Genereux), Place In My Heart – who won the Listed Lansdown Stakes and finished third in the Group 3 Prix de Saint-Georges – is out of Lonely Heart (by Midyan), who is a stakes-placed half-sister to Sacre Coeur.
Stepper Point is now eight years old, the most recent of his 10 wins came over the minimum trip at Chelmsford at the start of this month, and his siblings include Gulland Rock (by Exceed And Excel), a six-year-old whose victories have come from five to seven furlongs, the most recent one coming at Kempton in March.
Lonely Heart and Sacre Coeur are half-sisters to the 10-time scorer Ace Of Hearts (by Magic Ring). Place In My Heart’s siblings include Indian Trail (by Indian Ridge), whose nine wins feature two heritage handicaps – one of which was the Investec Dash at Epsom – and also Golden Heart (by Salse), a one-time scorer whose daughter Bella De Zio (by One Cool Cat) was a stakes-placed six-time winner in Italy.
These are the highlights of the first three generations of the pedigree, and it is worth mentioning that Take Heart (by Electric) – the third dam of Heartache – is a four-time winning half-sister to a pair that won 13 races between them, because this is a female line that throws up a lot of prolific winners, in addition to its blacktype horses.
Heartache’s only race prior to Ascot was in a novice event at Bath in late May, which she won by six lengths, and there is every reason to hope that she can add plenty more to her record – wins and blacktype – before she eventually goes to the paddocks.
There is also more than enough in her pedigree to suggest that six furlongs will be within her compass and that could make her a candidate for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at next year’s Royal Ascot festival.
The first juvenile pattern race of the season produced a blanket finish, which was a bit disappointing, even though the winner broke the juvenile course record. Colts who take the Group 2 Coventry Stakes typically get immediate ante-post quotes for the following year’s 2000 Guineas - this one was chalked up at 20/1 - but Rajasinghe could be a high-class sprinter instead of a classic prospect.
A first winner at the Royal Ascot festival for trainer Richard Spencer, the late-March foal was bred by James and Geoff Mulcahy. He made €65,000 in Goffs as a foal, was sold-on for £85,000 in Doncaster as a yearling, and his only race before today was on the Tapeta surface at Newcastle a month ago, also over six furlongs.
He beat Indomeneo by four lengths that day, and that colt took the seven-furlong maiden at Wetherby yesterday, but four lengths covered the first nine home at Ascot. Headway, who is a first-crop son of Cheveley Park Stud stallion Lethal Force, was the runner-up, beaten by a head, with Murillo a neck back in third and listed scorer Brother Bear another neck behind in fourth.
Rajasinghe comes from the final Irish crop of international sprint star Choisir (by Danehill Dancer), the Coolmore horse whose Group/Grade 1-winning progeny include Obviously, Olympic Glory, Starspangledbanner, and The Last Lion.
He is the ninth foal out of Bunditten (by Soviet Star), who was third in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown as a juvenile, and his string of winning siblings includes Kurland (by Kheleyf). She earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Roses Stakes over five furlongs at York and she missed out on pattern placing when fourth to Acapulco in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes two months before.
Felicita (by Catrail), the grandam of Rajasinghe, was also a speedy juvenile, her three wins in France at that age included a pair of listed contests, and she was placed in the Group 3 Prix Eclipse. Her siblings include the stakes-placed Anemone Garden (by Dancing Dissident) and also Erreur (by Desert King), the one-time scorer whose progeny includes the six-furlong listed scorer Hillbilly Boy (by Haafhd), a prolific winner from six furlongs to a mile.
The next dam, Abergwrle (by Absalom), was unplaced in two starts, both at two, which was a disappointing for the daughter of a classic star. That was Caergwrle (by Crepello) who won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in 1968.
That chestnut produced only four winners from 11 foals, including the stakes-placed prolific winner St Ninian (by Ardross) and Group 3 Molecomb Stakes runner-up Claerwen (by Habat), and the latter did her part by becoming the dam of the speedy but tragically ill-fated Grade 2-placed dual US Grade 3 scorer Bravely Bold (by Danzig).
Caergwrle was also the dam of Cricceith (by Brigadier Gerard), who was placed once as a four-year-old from just a handful of starts, and what makes that filly significant is that she became the dam of the Group 1-placed dual Group 2 winner Batavian (by Straussbrook) and the grandam of listed race winner and Group 1 Auckland Cup third Castle Heights (by Golan), both of which were born in New Zealand.
Rajasinghe is the son of a top-class sprinter who stayed a mile and he is the great-great-grandson of a 1000 Guineas heroine, but the trend in the most recent generations of his family is for sprinting speed and it is that which suggests he may be more of a Commonwealth Cup, Prix Maurice de Gheest and/or Prix de la Foret candidate than a potential Guineas contender in 2018.
Climate, handling, racing and training styles are all factors that contribute to a somewhat different lifestyle for racehorses and breeding stock in the northern and southern hemispheres and there is no guarantee that a stallion will click in both regions, no matter how outstanding he is in one.
Coolmore Stud's Fastnet Rock is one of the success stories, an Australian sprint star and champion sire who, despite an initially slower than expected start in Europe, has seen his profile here soar over the past two years.
Fascinating Rock, Diamondsandrubies and Qualify all won for him at the highest level in 2015 and, in 2016, the juveniles Intricately and Rivet have added their name to his roll of honour.
His overall global tally stands at 25 Group/Grade 1 winners and, as you might expect of a son of Danehill (by Danzig) and grandson of Royal Academy (by Nijinsky), many of his best progeny represent broodmare sires with strong European and North American connections.
Matching up the Danehill and Sadler's Wells lines is a hugely popular strategy that has produced a lot of success and the Group 1-winning Fastnet Rocks who represent that broad cross are Diamondsandrubies, First Seal, Intricately, Magicool, and Qualify, while those whose broodmare sire represents the Nureyev line (Sadler's Wells's three-parts brother) are Fascinating Rock, Mosheen, Nechita and Rock Classic.
Qualify gave him a European classic success when springing a 50/1 shock in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom last year and, like her, his current juvenile stars are out of daughters of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells). Intricately won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes last month and Rivet advertised his classic potential when beating Yucatan by one and three-quarter lengths in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.
The latter, a William Haggas-trained bay, was bred by Des Scott, he carries the colours of The Starship Partnership, and he has won three of his five starts. Runner-up over six furlongs at Ascot in July, he impressed over seven furlongs at York the following month and then narrowly beat Thunder Snow in the Group 2 At The Races Champagne Stakes over the the same trip at Doncaster in September.
He moved up to a rating of 114 after that success, the colt who finished five lengths further back in third – D'bai – has won a listed contest since – but Rivet disappointed next time when only fifth behind Churchill in the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
His Group 1 success at Doncaster was achieved on ground that was at least good, if not a bit faster (according to the time analysts), the strength of the competition was some way below what he faced at Newmarket, but he did it well, and with his pedigree this victory greatly increases the likelihood that he will join the stallion ranks whenever his racing days come to an end.
Not only is he by a leading international classic sire, but Rivet is a half-brother to the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes winner and Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes third Alexander Pope, his dam, Starship (by Galileo), is a winning half-sister to juvenile champion Superstar Leo (by College Chapel), and there are two mile classic heroes in his family, both of whom are blacktype sires.
Superstar Leo won the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes and Group 3 Norfolk Stakes, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, and it was her performance in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp that sealed her championship title. She chased home Namid that day and had the previous month's Group 1 Sprint Cup star Pipalong three lengths behind in third.
Superstar Leo is the dam of the listed scorer and Group 3 Jersey Stakes runner-up Sentaril (by Danehill Dancer) and of the Group 3 King George Stakes and Group 3 Molecomb Stakes heroine Enticing (by Pivotal), and in addition to Starship, her siblings include New York (by Danzero), a non-winner whose son December Draw (by Medecis) won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes over 10 furlongs at Flemington five years ago.
Like that latter relation, Rivet should stay a mile and a quarter next season and given how he won over the mile at two, the record of his half-brother and being a representative of the Fastnet Rock-Galileo cross, one might presume that he will stay the Derby distance too.
But will he?
His triple-winning dam was well-beaten the twice she ran beyond eight and a half furlongs, his sire was a star sprinter, and the best horses in his family were mostly either sprinters or milers, or both.
So what of his other notable relations?
The two classic winners were speed horses, which was not entirely a surprise given the records of their sires, and it should be noted that one of the pair did not run again after his top-level success.
The third dam of Rivet is Dancing Rocks (by Green Dancer), the Group 2 Nassau Stakes heroine who finished third in the Group 2 Coronation Stakes at Ascot and fourth in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks before going on to make an impact at stud and, in addition to the non-winning Council Rock – dam of Superstar Leo and Starship - she is best known as being the dam of Glatisant (by Rainbow Quest).
That filly won the Group 3 Prestige Stakes over seven furlongs at Goodwood as a juvenile, she was runner-up in the Listed Joel Stakes at three, and she is the dam of the lightly-raced and undefeated Group 1 2000 Guineas hero Footstepsinthesand (by Giant's Causeway) and his Group 1 Phoenix Stakes-winning half-brother Pedro The Great (by Henrythenavigator).
The latter is at stud in France and had some of his first yearlings on offer this year, and Footstepsinthesand is the internationally successful Group 1 sire whose progeny include Chachamaidee, Shamalgan, Steinbeck (aka Pure Champion) and 2016 group/graded winners Heshem, Kaspersky, Living The Life, and juvenile colt Larchmont Lad, whose Newmarket Group 3-winning form has been working out quite well.
Glatisant, who is also the dam of the Group 2-placed stakes-winning filly Belle D'Or (by Medaglia d'Oro), is a half-sister to the Listed Cheshire Oaks winner and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks third Rockerlong (by Deploy), to the dual stakes-placed Charlotte Corday (by Kris), and to three others who deserve mention because of what they achieved at stud.
In the case of Pippas Song (by Reference Point), she is the dam of the listed race winners Edinburgh Knight (by Selkirk) and Nightbird (by Night Shift) but it is her grand-daughter who makes her more significant as that talented filly is the US mile Grade 2 scorer Lady Lara (by Excellent Art). Rainbow Goddess, on the other hand, is a full-sister to Glatisant and she is the dam of the Group 3 Queen's Vase scorer Mahler (by Galileo), a horse who is quite closely related to Rivet's dam.
He was runner-up in the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster, finished third in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington, and he is a popular member of the team at Beeches Stud with the Grade 2-winning hurdler Sutton Place among his earliest runners. His profile, however, suggests that he got the stamina of both of his parents, whereas Starship's comparable pace suggests that she did not.
The other notable daughter of Dancing Rocks is Frappe (by Inchinor), a juvenile winner whose string of successful offspring includes three of considerable note.
Thakafaat (by Unfuwain), her first foal, won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and has successful progeny that include a multiple chase scorer, and that mare's one-time winning half-sister Applauded (by Royal Applause) has produced US listed scorers by the outstanding Green Desert (by Danzig) stallions Oasis Dream and Invincible Spirit.
More notable, however, are the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes-winning half-sister and Group 1 Irish Oaks third Curvy (by Galileo) and the young Coolmore Stud stallion Power (by Oasis Dream). He won Listed Marble Hill Stakes, Group 2 Coventry Stakes and Group 1 National Stakes as a juvenile, added the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas at three, and is a leading freshman sire whose first crop contains four European stakes winners.
His Group 1-placed pattern-winning son Peace Envoy was reviewed here earlier in the year and that colt has been joined by the pattern-placed Italian stakes winner Biz Power, Saturday's Newbury listed scorer Cristal Fizz, and the Group 3 Worthington's Horris Hill Stakes scorer Pleaseletmewin, who was sold for 450,000gns during today's session of the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale in Newmarket. The stallion also has a listed scorer in New Zealand and a daughter who has been listed-placed in Italy and in California.
Rivet is the latest Group 1 winner for leading international sire Fastnet Rock and he is the latest in a long line of top-level winners for the distaff side of his family.
His relations include the classic winners and successful stallions Footstepsinthesand and Power, and although further improvement looks necessary if he too is to win a Group 1 classic, he is a talented colt who should stay 10 furlongs and whose ability to get beyond that will depend likely on whether he has got the speed or stamina contributions from his parents' genetic make-up.
Sales reports focus on the most expensive lots of the auction, sometimes including a few whose price rose but failed to beat the reserve, or even the occasional expensive buy-back. They talk about aggregates, averages (which are too easily skewed by outliers) and medians (more useful than the mean), hail records and paint the most favourable image possible of the day's trade.
As a feature I wrote for The Irish Times many years ago highlighted ('The Glorious Uncertainty', 4th October 1993, p.30), and as is well-known within the industry, the horses who make the fancy prices in the ring may not be the ones who eventually make headlines on the track.
Often we see Group 1 and even classic stars come from the mid-range of the market or even from its lower end, but nobody really expects those who are led out of the ring unsold for comparatively tiny figures to be remembered by anyone but their connections.
On occasion a notable performer or even a star will emerge from those apparently most insignificant of auction ring offerings and, in 2016, we have seen one of them.
This year's edition of the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot February Sale was a 109-lot auction whose top price was a £23,000 gelded five-year-old by leading National Hunt sire Oscar, and the Lot 8 in the catalogue was a two-year-old great-granddaughter of Danzig (by Northern Dancer) whose dam's record included defeat in a seller.
She was bought back for £1,000. Nearly eight months later her value has soared, her earnings are just short of £200,000, and she is an undefeated winner of the Group 3 Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes over five furlongs at Newmarket.
Mrs Danvers was bred by Mark Burton and Connie Hopper, the Jonathan Portman-trained grey is another talented runner for the Bucklands Farm & Stud stallion Hellvelyn (by Ishiguru) – also sire of Group 3 winner and Group 1 Commonwealth Cup fourth La Rioja – and her pattern success was achieved in juvenile course record time.
She was 33/1 when winning a Lingfield novice median auction race on her debut in mid-June, and odds-on when following that three and a quarter-length success with a two and a quarter-length one at Windsor 15 days later, both on soft ground. She then beat 22 other rivals to take the richly endowed Weatherbys Super Sprint on fast ground at Newbury and followed that, a month later, with a two-length score in the Listed St Hugh's Fillies' Stakes at the same venue.
The one who chased her home at Newmarket was the Group 2-placed listed scorer Clem Fandango, the Group 3 scorers Afandem and Yalta – both carrying 6lbs more than her - were fourth and sixth, and her official handicap mark was raised to 105.
That leaves her with plenty of improvement to make if she is to reach the frame in next year's Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, but this filly has already surpassed expectations, it's not impossible that she will indeed hit the top of her division at three, and no matter how the rest of her racing career turns out, she has already done enough to ensure that she will get good opportunities at stud.
Mrs Danvers is the second foal out of Rebecca De Winter (by Kyllachy) and that mare was better than the earlier comment might make her sound. Yes, she was beaten in a seller and her final start was an unplaced finish in a claimer, but she won a Chester maiden on her second start at two, was beaten by just under five lengths when unplaced in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and was first past the post in a six-furlong Lingfield claimer that November.
The mare is a half-sister to the prolific gelding Izzthatright (by Moss Vale). His victory in the Listed Champion Two Yrs Trophy over six furlongs at Ripon was his third one that season, he added another over seven furlongs at Doha, in Qatar, that December, and went on to win several more races in that country. He was short-headed in a valuable local Group 3 event over six furlongs and has also been a runner-up over a mile.
Their dam, Miss Adelaide (by Alzao), won twice over five furlongs on the artificial track at Wolverhampton, was placed multiple times over six and seven furlongs and was also runner-up in a six-runner maiden over 10 furlongs at Ayr. She hit a peak rating of 80 and retired on 70.
One of her half-brothers, Micks Delight (by Sir Ivor), won three times from a mile to 12 furlongs on the flat but also won twice over hurdles and even a two and a half-mile chase.
Another is Sweet Trentino (by High Estate), who finished with a 34-rating on the turf, 42 on the all-weather, and 75 over hurdles, but won claimers over a mile at Goodwood and Newmarket, a claimer over two and a half miles at Doncaster and a three-mile selling handicap hurdle at Worcester. He even ran in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, although was 200/1 and beaten by 75 lengths.
It is when you look at the next generations of the pedigree, however, that you will find not just a string of blacktype earners but also a popular and prolific gelding whose double-digit tally included races that today carry Group 1 status.
The third dam of Mrs Danvers is Sweet Adelaide (by The Minstrel), she was third in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh as a juvenile, was later a stakes-placed winner in South Africa, and she was a full-sister both to juvenile listed scorer Solaboy and to the pattern-placed 13-times winner New Constitution.
Her half-sister Soiree (by Sadler's Wells) won the Listed Radley Stakes in England as a juvenile and was placed in both the Group 3 Matron Stakes and Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes at three, and their dam was the listed race winner and Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes fourth Seminar (by Don).
That mare produced an outstanding tally of 11 winners from 16 foals, 13 of whom ran, and she, in turn, was among six winners from the 13 foals of Solar Echo (by Solar Slipper). That unplaced mare was a full-sister to the stakes-placed Easter Slipper but is more notable as being the dam of Beresford Stakes winner Sovereign Slipper (by Fortino) and of Boldboy (by Bold Lad USA).
Lady Beaverbrook's star was trained by Dick Hern, he was gelded after finishing fourth in both his starts at two, and went on to become of one of the most popular horses in training over the next seven years.
He won the Greenham Stakes, Prix de la Porte Maillot, Challenge Stakes and Diadem Stakes at three, earning a Timeform rating of 126. At four he won the Lockinge Stakes (TFR 125), at six he took the Waterford Crystal Mile (now Celebration Mile) (TFR 126), and the age of seven he added the Sprint Cup, Duke of York Stakes, and another renewal of the Challenge Stakes (TFR 126). His winning tally also included four editions of the Abernant Stakes, the last of those coming in 1978, at the age of eight.
Mrs Danvers has raced only at five furlongs but is bred to stay six or even seven, and the fact that she has won on both soft ground and fast ground is another plus in her favour. It will be fascinating to see just how good she really is, and this talented daughter of Hellvelyn could be the best that this family has produced since Boldboy.
Juvenile maidens at the best tracks are contests to which we often look in our search for potential top-class performers, and the seven-furlong fillies' maiden at Newmarket on 26th August has been attracting a lot of attention.
Spatial, who had been runner-up in a similar event on her only previous start, 20 days before, was an odds-on winner, beating the newcomer Unforgetable Filly by two and a half lengths. Sobetsu was a length back in third, also making her debut, and the once-raced Flying North was another neck away in fourth.
Since then, Flying North has won over a mile at Ascot, Unforgetable Filly romped home by seven lengths at Lingfield before being short-headed in a conditions race back at Newmarket, and Sobetsu's 10-length victory over a mile, also at headquarters, was one of the most impressive by any two-year-old of 2016.
As these winners emerged, it was time to look back at Spatial's debut. Who beat her that day?
It was a Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium) debutante, that length-and-a-quarter scorer had not run since, and there would be an understandable temptation to think that this one could be a potential star, given the collateral form that followed.
Often it does not work out that way, but now that chestnut has had her second start, and with the way that Wuheida beat Promise To Be True, Dabyah and Senga in the Group 1 Total Prix Marcel Boussac – Criterium des Pouliches over a mile at Chantilly this afternoon, she could indeed be anything. The margins were three-parts of a length, a short-neck, and another three-parts of a length, and there was an additional two-length gap back to the fifth, Group 3 scorer Cavale Doree.
Wuheida was bred by Darley, she is trained by Charlie Appleby and she carries the famous colours of Godolphin. She is a first European juvenile Group 1 scorer for her outstanding sire Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium), although not his first ever top-level two-year-old winner as was reported in some places. Summerhill Stud's new stallion Willow Magic won the Grade 1 The South African Nursery at Turffontein at that age in 2013.
Her three-year-old half-sister Lacey's Lane (by Street Cry) was a wide-margin winner of a 10 and a half furlong maiden in the French provinces in August, her dam's third foal is a Dubawi filly born in April of this year, and the mare is Hibaayeb (by Singspiel), winner of the Group 1 Fillies' Mile at Ascot and of the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Invitational Stakes over 10 furlongs at Hollywood Park.
A half-sister to the twice-raced stakes-placed Irish sprint winner May Meeting (by Diktat), Hibaayeb is out of Lady Zonda (by Lion Cavern), a dual winning half-sister to two stakes-placed horses and out of the stakes-placed Zonda (by Fabulous Dancer).
One of her winning siblings is the dam of two stakes-placed runners and grandam of the pattern-placed dual stakes winner Pelerin (by Shamardal), and one of her unraced siblings is the dam of the pattern-winning sprinter Arnold Lane (by Footstepsinthesand), but these are the highlights of the first four generations of the pedigree.
That might sound as though Wuheida and her top-class dam are the best that the family has produced but, instead, they are reviving the strength of what was a famous classic family.
Zonda was the only winner among three foals out of Oh So Hot (by Habitat), the unraced fourth dam of Wuheida, but that older mare was a full-sister to Our Home and Roussalka and a half-sister to the outstanding Oh So Sharp (by Kris).
Our Home was not a stakes winner, but she was runner-up to the tragically ill-fated Quick As Lightning in the Group 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and also placed in the Group 2 Coronation Stakes, Group 3 Child Stakes (now Falmouth Stakes), Group 3 Cherry Hinton Stakes and Group 3 Musidora Stakes.
Roussalka's seven wins featured the Group 2 Coronation Stakes, Group 3 Cherry Hinton Stakes and two editions of the Group 2 Nassau Stakes, and her descendants include the Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine Ameerat (by Mark of Esteem) and the gelding Collier Hill (by Dr Devious), winner of the Group 1 Irish St Leger, Grade 1 Canadian International Stakes and Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase.
Oh So Sharp, of course, won the Fillies' Triple Crown in England 1985 – the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and St Leger – a treble that had not been achieved since Meld 30 years before.
She won the Solario Stakes and the Group 3 Fillies' Mile at two, lost her unbeaten record when going down by a neck to Petoski in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, and was also a runner-up to Commanche Run in the Group 1 Benson & Hedges Gold Cup (now Juddmonte International Stakes) at York.
Oh So Sharp, who Timeform rated 131, became the dam of the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary winner Rosefinch (by Blushing Groom) and of Grade 2 Long Island Handicap scorer Shaima (by Shareef Dancer), and the latter is the dam of the Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club e Coppa d'Oro star Shantou (by Alleged).
These celebrities are distantly related to leading Guineas and Oaks contender Wuheida, but this rising star, the daughter of multiple Group 1 winners Dubawi and Hibaayeb, is bred to achieve anything, and it will be disappointing if today's win remains her only one at the highest level.
The distance of the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes was increased from six furlongs to seven furlongs in 1992 and, since then, its roll of honour includes an array of stars.
Leading miler Sayyedati won it that year and Tarascon (1997), Again (2008), Misty For Me (2010), Sky Lantern (2012) and Minding (2015) have joined her on the list of subsequent classic heroines.
Group 1 Coronation Stakes scorer Rizeena won it in 2013, the 1993 winner Lemon Souffle went on to take the Group 2 Falmouth Stakes, a race that carries Group 1 status nowadays, and each of Quarter Moon (2001), Saoirse Abu (2007) and Maybe (2011) went on to be placed in at least one classic after their Curragh juvenile success.
Time will tell if Intricately can add her name to that notable collection of top fillies, or if she will join those for whom the race remained a career highlight, but with her pedigree and connections there is every reason to hope that she can take her place among the best of her class in 2017.
The story of Intricately's big win is one of almost fairytale quality, not that this makes an upward progression by the horse any more or less likely, but it was remarkable family success.
She is a first major winner for the 23-year-old former champion jockey and now rookie trainer Joseph O'Brien, she was ridden by his 18-year-old brother Donnacha, and she was bred by their mother, Annemarie, under the hugely successful name of Whisperview Trading Ltd. And, for good measure, the filly she short-headed was Hydrangea, trained their father, Aidan.
Intricately, who carries the well-known colours of Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez, sprang a 33/1 surprise in a Gowran Park maiden in mid-June, beating Sir Edwin Landseer by one and a quarter lengths on ground described as yielding-to-soft.
A month later she finished third in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes on fast ground at Leopardstown, beaten one and a quarter lengths and a nose by Promise To Be True and Take A Deep Breath, and then finished that same distance behind Hydrangea when the pair were second and third to Rhododendron in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes at the Curragh in August.
All of her races have been over seven furlongs, she is very closely related to a famous miler, but is by Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill) and out of a Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) mare, which would suggest that she may have prospects of staying 10 furlongs, and possibly the Oaks distance.
Fastnet Rock shuttles to Coolmore Stud, his eldest European offspring are five years old, and those northern hemisphere-born runners include the Group 1 stars Diamondsandrubies, Fascinating Rock and Qualify as well as Group 2 scorers Cougar Mountain, One Foot In Heaven, Rivet and Turret Rocks.
His overall career tally of 97 individual stakes winners includes 24 who have won at least once at the highest level, and although he was a champion sprinter, he has sired many who excel at anywhere from a mile to 12 furlongs, including classic stars in England, Australia and in New Zealand.
Intricately is the first foal out of Inner Realm (by Galileo), a mare whose racing career consisted of a pair of unplaced finishes in late-season 10-furlong maidens as a three-year-old, one on heavy ground at the Curragh and the other on soft ground at Navan. She has no yearling, she was bred to Holy Roman Emperor (by Danehill) in 2015, and she is related to two famous individuals.
Inner Realm was the final foal of Offshore Boom (by Be My Guest), produced when the mare was 23 years old and after a gap of three years. She was a June 30th foal, so it's no surprise that her career started much later than that of her daughter.
Her eight successful siblings include the prolific Turkish scorer D'Articleshore (by Definite Article) and the pattern-placed Nell Gwyn (by Danehill), but all of their achievements are dwarfed by those of their star brother, Rock of Gibraltar (by Danehill), who the O'Briens also bred.
A star juvenile who won the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, Group 1 Grand Criterium, Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes and Group 3 Railway Stakes, Rock of Gibraltar extended his run of consecutive Group 1 wins to seven before losing out by three-parts of a length to Domedriver in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile at Arlington on his final start.
He beat Hawk Wing in the 2000 Guineas, added the Irish 2000 Guineas, the St James's Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes, and Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. The one who chased him home at Ascot was the ill-fated classic winner and Grade 1 star Landseer, Noverre was the runner-up at Goodwood, and he beat Banks Hill by half a length in France.
Now aged 17, Rock of Gibraltar is a leading member of the stallion team at Coolmore Stud, he has shuttled to Australia and to Chile, he did one season in Japan, and his tally of 113 stakes winners includes 14 who have won at least once at the highest level.
They include Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Samitar, Coral Eclipse Stakes scorer and successful sire Mount Nelson, star sprinter Society Rock (first yearlings in 2016) and the classic-placed Group/Grade 1 winners Eagle Mountain and Prince Gibraltar.
They also include a trio of Chilean-bred horses who, in the past two months, have won at the highest level in their native land. The most recent is 10-furlong Grade 1 success of Brillo De Sol, whose big win came last Sunday, and the others are Admiral and Cascada Surena, who won their country's equivalent of the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas respectively on 31st July.
No stallion is guaranteed to become a sire of Group 1 winners, but just before Rock of Gibraltar's first foals were due to appear in the sales ring in November 2004 I wrote, in The Irish Field, that “it is hard to envisage him failing to make the grade” and that “he promises to make a considerable impact in his second career.”
The reasoning behind those remarks was that he was by a stallion who already had eight sons with at least one Group 1 winner to their names, his large first book included a string of Group 1-winning mares, Group 1 producers, and those who were related to top horses, and, in addition to all of this, he had the added attraction of being out of a half-sister to the classic and multiple Group 1 star Riverman (by Never Bend), a hugely influential sire.
Riverman won the Prix Yacowlef at two, he added the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), the Prix Jean Prat and the Prix d'Ispahan, finished third in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and then rounded off his career with an honourable second in the Champion Stakes, again beaten by the Timeform 144-rated great Brigadier Gerard.
Timeform rated Riverman 131 and had Rock of Gibraltar on 133. In terms of stallion figures, Riverman still leads his younger relation, and although his career total of 22 Group/Grade 1 winners will take a bit of catching, it seems likely that Coolmore's horse will beat Riverman's tally of 125 individual stakes winners before too long.
So, how far beyond a mile might Intricately stay in 2017?
Riverman was Group 1-placed at the trip, Rock of Gibraltar was never asked to go beyond a mile, and both have sired sprinters, milers, middle-distance horses and some who stay farther. Offshore Boom got her blacktype at two and the mare's unbeaten and stakes-winning half-sister Outside Pressure (by Shernazar) got both her wins over 10 furlongs.
Offenbach (by Danehill), out of a Shirley Heights (by Mill Reef) half-sister to Offshore Boom, got his Australian Group 3 success over 10 and a half furlongs, and Deploy Venture (by Deploy) – out of another of her siblings, Tasseled (by Tate Gallery) – won a 12-furlong handicap and finished fifth in the Ebor (14 furlongs) before becoming a Grade 1-placed Grade 3 scorer in the United States.
If Intricately has inherited something of the speed of her sire and dam's pedigrees then she may find 10 furlongs to be at or beyond the boundary of her ideal range. But if she has got the middle-distance factor from either side of the family, then her prospects of getting the Oaks trip are promising.
Her official handicap mark rose from 104 to 110 after her Group 1 success, and although that is some way short of what would be required to win at the highest level next year, hers is a pedigree that suggests improvement from two to three is likely.
It will be fascinating to see how her racing career turns out, and with her relationship to Rock of Gibraltar and Riverman, she could have a very bright future ahead of her at stud in the 2020s.
Heavy-ground juvenile maidens in the French provinces in April are not the source from which you would expect to find a potential Group 1 contender, but Spain Burg made a winning debut at Bordeaux Le Bouscat, springing a 9/1 surprise to score by a short-neck over five furlongs.
A month later she ran over the same course and distance, but this time was beaten by one and a half lengths on soft ground. She then went to Toulouse in mid-June, winning over six furlongs, but still she was not on the radar as a potential star in the making.
Her trainer, Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte, clearly thought of her as a bright prospect as her next start was in listed company, but the mild surprise of her three-quarter-length victory in the Criterium du Bequet, over six furlongs on good ground at La Teste de Buch, was still some way short of what would be expected of a filly on the verge of Group 2 success.
It was no surprise, therefore, to see her sent off at 14/1 for the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket on Friday. Only two others started at longer odds, and although the odds-on favourite Fair Eva clearly failed to run up to her best, there was a lot to like about the way Spain Burg ran past her rivals to score by one and a quarter lengths.
The favourite was second, pattern-placed stakes winner Miss Infinity was a neck further back in third, ahead of Glitter Girl and the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes winner Nations Alexander. The time was faster than that of the two juvenile maidens on the card, as you would expect, and it will be interesting to see what the sectional times analysts have to say about the race.
Spain Burg was bred, in France, by Pedro Perez Fernandez de la Puente, and she is a daughter of the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan scorer Sageburg (by Johannesburg). He didn't run at two, he was a listed scorer over 10 furlongs at three and hit his peak at four, so, like his dam, grandam and 'uncle' was not precocious.
He is out of the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret winner Sage Et Jolie (by Linamix) and that full-sister to Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Sagamix is out of the Group 1-placed Group 2 Prix de Royallieu scorer Saganeca (by Sagace). If he has passed on any speed to his young daughter, then it comes from his sire and not his distaff side.
Sageburg began his stallion career at Haras de la Gatine but moved to Garryrichard Stud, in Co Wexford, in 2015. Spain Burg is his third stakes winner, he has six others who have been blacktype placed on the flat, and his older star pair are the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes winner Si Sage and the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham scorer Peace Burg. Both also won at Group/Grade 3 level, and Peace Burg was third to Integral in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket two years ago.
Spain Burg is the second foal out of Spain Blues (by Anabaa Blue) and her half-brother Spain Bowl (by Turtle Bowl), who won over a mile at Bordeaux Le Bouscat in May, was beaten by less than five lengths when out of the frame in a listed contest over that same trip at Toulouse two and a half weeks ago.
The mare won thrice and was placed 14 times from two to five years of age, she is out of the one-time scorer Strike Alight (by Gulch), and that mare, dam of the stakes-placed prolific winner Cyber World (by Robin des Pins), is a full-sister to Flame Valley.
She won the Listed John Musker Stakes in England, she was runner-up in the Grade 2 E P Taylor Stakes in Canada, and she is a half-sister to the Grade 2 All Along Stakes winner Beyrouth (by Alleged). Their dam, Lightning Fire (by Kris), won the Listed Prix Imprudence and earned placings in each of the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux, Group 3 Prix du Calvados and Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg, and it is at this point in the family that the first of the Group 1 stars appear.
That is because Lightning Fire was a full-sister to the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre scorer Common Grounds, one of the few sons of Kris (by Sharpen Up) who did well as a stallion. His best progeny included the Group/Grade 1 winners Bad As I Wanna Be and Earl Of Barking, and those produced from his daughters include the Group 1-winning G Force (by Tamayuz) and multiple Group 1 star and leading German sire Soldier Hollow (by In The Wings).
Their half-sister Angel In My Heart (by Rainbow Quest), who won the Group 3 Prix de Psyche, was runner-up in each of the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes, Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Invitational Handicap and Grade 1 Santa Ana Handicap, and she became the dam of Kris Kin (by Kris S).
He won the Group 1 Derby at Epsom in 2003, a month after beating Big Bad Bob in the Group 3 Dee Stakes at Chester, he was third to Alamshar in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and to Dalakhani in the Group 2 Prix Niel.
He spent the early years of his stallion career in Ireland, then moved to Italy where he was in his second year at the time of his death, aged just 12. He failed to make an impact, but it catches the eye that one of his few blacktype horses was Altair Star, the pattern-placed stakes-winning grandson of the aforementioned Flame Valley.
There is more than enough in these first few generations of the pedigree to suggest that Spain Burg is a filly with the potential to be a high-class performer at around a mile, and that the distance of the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) may also be within her compass. The amount of speed she has shown, however, makes it less likely that she will show the 12-furlong stamina of her classic-winning distant relation.
Those recent generations are the ones that are making the greatest contribution to her genetics and potential, but given what appears in the branches of the next one it would be remiss to move on without comment.
The fourth dam of Spain Burg, the triple US winner Sweetly (by Lyphard), was a full-sister to the French listed scorer Leaf Fall, but her siblings also included the listed race winners Sabbathien (by Val De Loir) and Super Dan (by Dapper Dan), stakes-placed Savora (by Hard Sauce), plus the notable broodmares Swanilda (by Habitat) and Gay France (by Sir Gaylord).
Savora was the dam of the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay winner Solaro (by Dike), Swanilda gave us the talented sprinter Midhish (by Green Desert) and Group 3 scorer and Brazilian champion sire Ghadeer (by Lyphard), and Gay France's major contribution is her daughter Lucayan Princess (by High Line).
That filly won the Listed Sweet Solera Stakes in 1985, she was third in the Listed Cheshire Oaks the following year, and then went on to become broodmare of rare value, dam of the multiple Group 1 stars Luso (by Salse) and Warrsan (by Caerleon), Group 2 scorer Needle Gun (by Sure Blade), and the Group 1-placed pattern winner Cloud Castle (by in The Wings).
The string of pattern-winning descendants of Lucayan Princess include the dual classic star Avenir Certain (by Le Havre) and the just-retired Group 1-placed dual Group 2 scorer Mehmas (by Acclamation), who is to join the stallion team at Tally-Ho Stud in 2017.
These horses are remotely connected to Spain Burg, but they show that hers is a family that has a long-established association with producing top-class racehorses. It remains to be seen just how good she is, but all of the indications, so far, are that she could a serious contender for the mile fillies' classics of 2017, and possibly also the Group 1 Prix de Diane.
Azamour (by Night Shift) was a top-class racehorse and his premature death, at the age of 13, has been a loss. Timeform-rated 108p at the age of two, 128 at three and 130 as a four-year-old, he stood at his owner-breeder's Gilltown Stud in Co Kildare and his roll of honour is headed by the Group 1 stars Covert Love, Dolniya, and Valyra.
His representatives in 2016 include the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas winner and Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary third Hawksmoor, Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes winner Thikriyaat, Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes winner and Group 2 Park Hill Stakes third California, recent French listed scorer Minotaur, and last year's classic-placed filly Irish Rookie, who has been Group 2-placed this season and short-headed in a listed contest at Ascot in July.
He has not yet had a son win at the highest level, but that may change. There are only 11 members of his final crop, now yearlings, but his penultimate one includes Best Of Days, winner of the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile at Newmarket on Saturday.
The victory was narrower than expected – a neck defeat of the fast-finishing The Anvil – but it was compensation for his head loss in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes the previous month. He had been odds-on for that seven-furlong contest, having run out a six-length winner over that trip on his debut at Sandown in July, and he holds an entry in next month's Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
Best Of Days, who was bought privately by Godolphin after his first run, was bred by Gerhard Schöningh and he is trained by Hugo Palmer. He is the first foal out of the mile listed scorer Baisse (by High Chaparral) and the inbreeding in his five-generation chart reads as 3x4 to Northern Dancer, 4x4 to Darshaan, and 5x5x4 to Shirley Heights.
Whether or not any of this inbreeding is contributing anything to his talent cannot be known, but, on the surface, this sounds like a profile of a potential middle-distance horse.
His dam doesn't have a yearling, as she slipped to Champs Elysees (by Danehill), but she had a filly in February from the first crop of runaway classic star Sea The Moon (by Sea The Stars). She is out of Best Side (by King's Best), who was third to Mona Lisa in the Listed Give Thanks Stakes over 12 furlongs at Cork, and that makes her a half-sister to Azmeel.
That son of Azamour could be described as being a three-parts brother to Best Of Days, and he too made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Sandown in July of his juvenile campaign. He then won the Listed Washington Singer Stakes by three and a half lengths but was unplaced in the ultra-valuable Goffs Million Mile on his only other start that year.
He reappeared in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown, which he was later awarded following a post-race test failure by Chabal, and although two and a quarter lengths behind that horse on the day, his nearest pursuer, Simenon, was another five lengths behind.
He followed that performance with victory in the Group 3 Dee Stakes at Chester, but he was well-beaten behind the outstanding Workforce in the Derby at Epsom. That champion finished the year on a 133 rating from Timeform, compared to one of 109 for Azmeel.
Best Side is out of Mood Swings (by Shirley Heights), who is a winning half-sister to the Listed Sweet Solera Stakes scorer Catwalk, and that makes her a half-sister to Grand Ducal (by Danehill Dancer). He was third in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes as a juvenile and won the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at three.
Their unplaced half-sister Etizaan (by Unfuwain) has also done her part for the family as she is the dam of Royal Blue Star (by Dalakhani), a multiple mile scorer in Ireland whose best win came in the Listed Platinum Stakes at Cork three years ago. She was pregnant to Dream Ahead (by Diktat) at the time, and that 2014 colt was followed by Mastercraftsman (by Danehill Dancer) and Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) fillies.
Turret, a full-sister to Mood Swings, was placed a few times at two and three, and her Australian-born stakes-placed daughter Spire (by Danehill) is the dam of the Group 2-placed pattern scorer Under The Eiffel (by Mossman) and Group 3-placed stakes winner Tower Of Lonhro (by Lonhro). The latter's win tally is into double figures and he has earned over Aus$500,000, while Under The Eiffel notched up nine wins and over Aus$600,000 in prize money.
Moogie (by Young Generation), the fourth dam of Best Of Days, won twice as a two-year-old but got all of her blacktype at three. She was runner-up to Inchmurrin in a one-mile listed fillies' event at Kempton, third in the nine-furlong Group 3 Prix Chloe at Evry, and fourth to Magic Of Life in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot.
Her half-sister Tree Of Life (by Shirley Heights), who could be described as being a three-parts sister to Mood Swings, was only beaten by half a length when runner-up to the popular and talented grey Further Flight in the Listed George Stubbs Stakes over two miles at Newmarket on her final start. She later became the dam of the Australian-born Group 3 scorers L'Esperance (by Marscay) and Martree (by Marscay).
Her siblings also included the French listed race winner Dazzling Heights (by Shirley Heights) and there are several notable individuals descended from that four-times scorer.
Kimbridge Knight (by Night Shift) won twice over middle-distances in England before going to the Far East, where he added a further 10 wins to his tally, including the Singapore Derby. His half-sister Mauri Moon (by Green Desert) won the Listed Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood, All Glory (by Alzao) was third in the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux, and Pacific Grove (by Persian Bold) was runner-up in the Listed Radley Stakes as a juvenile.
The latter pair also achieved good results at stud. Pacific Grove is the dam of the six-furlong juvenile Group 2 scorer Mokabra (by Cape Cross), and All Glory is responsible for both the German Group 3 scorer All Shamar (by Shamardal) and for the Group 1-placed Australian Group 2 winning miler Noble Protector (by Haafhd), who won the Listed Aphrodite Stakes over 12 furlongs at Newmarket before going 'down under'.
These are the highlights of the first five generations of the family. Cape Chestnut (by Bustino), the fifth dam, was a half-sister to the Grade 2 Citation Handicap and Grade 3 San Francisco Mile Handicap scorer Colway Rally (by Final Straw) and also to a few dams of stakes winners.
The most notable of those is Fleur Rouge (by Pharly), the one-time scorer whose son Red Carpet (by Pivotal) won the Listed Cammidge Trophy, was runner-up in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, in the Group 3 Craven Stakes and in the Group 3 Leicestershire Stakes, and took third in the Group 3 Greenlands Stakes.
The sixth dam, Boswellia (by Frankincense), won the Listed William Hill Gold Cup at Redcar and finished fourth in the Group 3 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, but she and the other blacktype horses that you will find in this part of the family are remotely connected to Saturday's big winner.
Best Of Days got immediate post-race quotes of around 25/1 for both the 2000 Guineas and the Derby, and it remains to be seen how good he will be when he reaches his peak. There is plenty of miler speed in his family, but also enough evidence to suggest that the mile and a half will be within his compass.
The earliest juvenile contests of the season are not where you expect to see future Group 1 winners showcased, but sometimes they do yield performers of note. There are various examples that could be provided, but here are three, one of whom we saw just this afternoon.
The 2009 edition of the Brocklesby Stakes, the opening turf race for two-year-olds in England, was won easily by the 12/1 colt Hearts Of Fire. By mid-July he had been stakes placed but looked well-exposed. Then he stepped-up to seven furlongs, ran away with a listed contest at Deauville, followed-up in a Group 3 race at Baden-Baden and then beat subsequent Grade 1 scorer Vale Of York by a neck in the Group 1 Gran Criterium over a mile on soft ground at San Siro.
He was well-beaten in the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on his seasonal reappearance, but then finished third to Canford Cliffs and Dick Turpin in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot, beaten by one length and three-parts of a length and with Siyouni a half-length behind in fourth. The rest of his subsequent form failed to match that peak performance.
In 2012, Jim Bolger introduced a first-crop son of juvenile champion and classic star New Approach in the opening two-year-old race of the Irish season. Dawn Approach won that by one and three-quarter lengths, followed-up with a runaway success over six furlongs at Naas and went through the rest of the season undefeated, crowned European champion of his age group.
The Group 1 National Stakes, Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes and Group 2 Coventry Stakes winner extended his unbeaten record to seven with a five-length score in the Group 1 2000 Guineas on his first start at three, and after that inexplicably bad run in the Derby, he bounced back 17 days later to short-head Toronado in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes.
Dawn Approach did not win again after that, but he was runner-up in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, fourth (no blacktype) in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and the Kildangan Stud team member has his first yearlings on offer now. From those sold so far, he has had €300,000 and €255,000 fillies in Deauville and a £110,000 colt at Doncaster.
The third example on which I will comment here occurred at Newmarket this afternoon, when the Mark Johnston-trained colt The Last Lion won the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes.
This was his tenth run of the year, he made a winning debut in the aforementioned Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster, and although he is tough and admirable, there is no reason to get carried away in assessing his future. The horse he beat by four lengths in the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes on the polytrack at Kempton earlier in the month is the same one who, at 66/1, finished exactly four lengths behind him at Newmarket, this time in fifth place.
Today's runner-up, Blue Point, trounced him when they were first and third in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York last month, he won the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown in July, was runner-up in each of the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes, Group 2 Norfolk Stakes and Group 3 Molecomb Stakes, and he was rated just 105.
He is a fast, precocious and tough Danehill-line horse, his relations include a classic-winning miler who was also a leading juvenile, and, further back, there is a juvenile mile Group 1 scorer on the page. This is the sort of profile that will likely guarantee that he gets a busy role at stud somewhere whenever his racing days come to an end.
How highly in the ranks he can rise remains to be seen. Time analysis of today's race will be interesting, and his official handicap mark will surely rise. But that repeated four-length gap to Koropick means that to accept that he suddenly produced a leap forward in form on his tenth start then we also have to accept that the 66/1 long-shot matched his sudden progress. Maybe they did, or maybe the reliability of the form is a little suspect.
For the record, Blue Point was the three-quarter-length runner-up, Mehmas weakened to finish another two and a quarter lengths back in third, Intelligence Cross was another half-length back in fourth, with Koropick and Mokarris another half-length and head behind. The overall time was slower than that of Brave Anna in the Group 1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes 35 minutes earlier.
The Last Lion, who was bred by the partnership of Barronstown Stud and Liz Stack, is the ninth individual Group 1 winner among a career total of 74 blacktype scorers for Coolmore's sprint ace Choisir (by Danehill Dancer).
His last European crop, for now at least, are yearlings, and those who have won at the highest level for him in the northern hemisphere are ace miler Olympic Glory (stands at Haras de Bouquetot; foals in 2016), dual US mile Grade 1 scorer Obviously, and top sprinter/miler Starspangledbanner (sire of Group 1 winner The Wow Signal, etc).
The Last Lion is an €82,000 graduate of the Goffs Orby Sale and his Power (by Oasis Dream) half-brother is catalogued as Lot 142 in Tuesday's opening session of this year's renewal of that famous auction, also consigned by Glenvale Stud.
He is out of Mala Mala (by Brief Truce), who finished third in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes in 2000, all eight of the mare's progeny to race have been winners and half of them are blacktype horses.
In addition to today's big winner, she is the dam of the pattern-placed dual stakes-winning sprinter Contest (by Danehill Dancer), of the dual listed scorer Russian Rock (by Rock Of Gibraltar) and of the stakes-placed colt Horizon Sky (by Duke Of Marmalade). Russian Rock's overall total of 11 wins catches the eye, but it is beaten by that of Contest's full-brother Silvanus.
Now aged 11 and trained by Paul Midgley, the most recent of Silvanus's 15 wins, all of them over the minimum trip, came at Ripon in early August of last year. He was only beaten by four lengths when out of the frame in a handicap at that same venue this afternoon, the 113th outing of his career, and his current handicap mark of 84 is down from a peak of 97.
Mala Mala is one of only four winners, from nine foals, out of the four-times scorer Breyani (by Commanche Run), who stayed two miles, but they include the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano and Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes winner Mister Monet (by Peintre Celebre) and his classic-winning half-sister Tarascon (by Tirol).
The joint-champion juvenile filly in Ireland in 1997, she won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and went on to add the following year's Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas. She is the dam of two blacktype earners and the grandam of another one.
There are several blacktype winners descended from Molokai (by Prince Tenderfoot), the winning third dam of The Last Lion – she is, for example, the fourth dam of 2013's Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas heroine Costa Viva (by Encosta De Lago) - but what catches the eye is that she was was a full-sister to the Group 3 Fillies' Mile scorer Icing, who went on to become the dam of the stakes-winning quintet of Al Hareb, Rising, Snowtop, Cerussite and Dr Somerville.
The latter, a son of Chief's Crown (by Danzig), won the nine-furlong Group 3 Prix de Conde by five lengths as a juvenile and added a narrow defeat of Goofalik in the 10-furlong Group 3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte at three.
Al Hareb was one of the most talked about two-year-olds of 1988. A first-crop son of the brilliant El Gran Senor (by Northern Dancer), he was an eight-length debut winner over seven furlongs at Salisbury in early July, disappointed behind High Estate in the Group 3 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, but then bounced back to take a seven-furlong conditions race at Ascot before beating Zalzal by a length and a half in the Group 1 William Hill Futurity Stakes (now Racing Post Trophy) over a mile at Doncaster.
Sadly, he did not live up to that potential. He was a well-beaten last of five in the Group 3 Craven Stakes, won by the subsequent Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas scorer Shaadi, and was not seen out again. His European progeny included the stakes-winning filly Bearall, but his Australian-born offspring featured the multiple Group 1 sprint star Hareeba.
Rising (by Relkino) won the Listed Mooresbridge Stakes, Listed Ulster Harp Derby and Listed Waterford Crystal Nursery, Group 2 Beresford Stakes runner-up Cerussite (by Malinowski) won a listed contest in California, and Snowtop (by Thatching) won a listed handicap in Ireland before going on to become the ancestor of a plethora of stakes winners around the world.
Those descendants include the Group 1 Prix Morny winner and successful sire Myboycharlie (by Danetime), Australian Group 1 sprint star and blacktype sire Snowland (by Snippets), classic winners in India, the Group 1-placed European blacktype sprint winners Kendam (by Kendargent) and Asset (by Marju), listed scorer and last week's Ayr Silver Cup sixth Ninjago (by Mount Nelson), and various others.
Mahasin (by Danzig), a dual-winning daughter of Icing, did her part for the family by becoming the dam of the US Grade 2 scorer Elhayq (by Nashwan) and Group 3 Minstrel Stakes winner Shibl (by Arazi), and she is the grandam of Group 2 Norfolk Stakes scorer Baitha Alga (by Fast Company).
The Last Lion is now a Group 1-winning juvenile and he is among the ante-post market leaders for next year's Group 1 Commonwealth Cup. He is likely to need to improve further if he is to have a realistic chance of taking that important recent addition to the racing calendar, but should be capable of having a good career as a sprinter.
Looking farther ahead, his two-year-old record will attract plenty of attention from stallion farms and the similarities between his pedigree and that of Myboycharlie won't be missed: they are Danehill-line horses and their respective third dams are full-sisters.
There is one final question to consider with this talented young colt and it is this: might he stay a mile?
It is likely that he won't be asked to try, but his sire was Group 1-placed on his only two tries at that distance and he sires top-class milers, and this colt is not only out of a seven-furlong-placed half-sister to a classic winner, but has the top-class miler Brief Truce (by Irish River) as a broodmare sire and a two-mile winner for a grandam.
He has a Group 1 win to his name, a reputation for being tough and talented, and a pedigree that gives him a chance of staying, so what would there be to lose by giving it a go?
Overbury Stud's Delegator (by Dansili) added himself to the list of freshman sires with a pattern winner to their name when his daughter Delectation won the Group 3 William Hill Firth of Clyde Stakes over six furlongs at Ayr on Saturday.
A six-furlong Thirsk maiden scorer on her only previous start, the Bryan Smart-trained juvenile was bred by Crossfields Bloodstock Ltd and she was bought-back for just 3,000gns when offered from Book 4 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket.
She is the third foal and third dual winner out of Chushka (by Pivotal), a one-time scorer whose Foxwedge (by Fastnet Rock) colt was bought-back for €25,000 during Wednesday's session of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale in Fairyhouse.
Her half-sister Emblaze (by Showcasing) has won seven-furlong handicaps at Southwell and Catterick this year, was runner-up over that trip at Carlisle in August on the most recent of her placed outings, and she is rated 65. Monsieur Glory (by Monsieur Bond), the three-year-old sibling, got his wins in 10-furlong handicaps at Redcar and Beverley, he is rated 71 and he has been declared for a handicap over the extended 13 furlongs at Chester tomorrow.
This is all pretty ordinary stuff and it might make it seem as if Delectation has outrun her pedigree, but that would not be the case.
Her well-bred sire is a classic-placed Group 2-winning sprinter/miler, a horse for whom the ability to sire some stakes and pattern winners, and even Group 1 performers, could be expected. Her dam is a half-sister to the Group 2 July Stakes winner Captain Hurricane (by Desert Style), whose form dropped to a 78-rating by the time of his death as a five-year-old, but her grandam, Ravine (by Indian Ridge), is a dual-winning half-sister to a filly of note.
Niche beat the colts in the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and was a four-length winner of the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York as a juvenile. She kicked off her three-year-old campaign with victory in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket, a performance that suggested the white-faced chestnut would stay the mile. The daughter of Risk Me (by Sharpo) confirmed that potential when getting within half a length of beating Sayyedati in the Group 1 1000 Guineas.
It is true that this turned out to be a weak edition of that classic, once you ignore the first two finishers in it, but its winner was an outstanding filly who had taken both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at two and brought her top-level tally to five by adding the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Group 1 Sussex Stakes.
Niche was Timeform-rated 115, probably good enough to win at the highest level against her own sex, but, other than her classic run, she never got the chance. She was an impressive three and a half-length winner of the Group 2 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on her next start, chased home by Dancing Bloom and the previous year's classic star Culture Vulture, but the following month got loose on the gallops and had a fatal encounter with a van.
Niche's placed half-sister Hidden Meaning (by Cadeaux Genereux) is the dam of the Group 2-placed juvenile stakes winner Senor Mirasol (by Deportivo) and of the stakes-placed prolific winner Becher (by Vettori), and they were out of Cubby Hole (by Town And Country), a mare who had some well-known siblings.
Hiding Place (by Doutelle), the fourth dam of Delectation, won the 1966 edition of the Nell Gwyn Stakes, she was fourth in the Sun Chariot Stakes – fourth counted for blacktype in those days – and her list of nine winners from 13 progeny was headed by the Group 1 Gold Cup hero Little Wolf (by Grundy).
He also won the Group 2 Goodwood Cup, Group 2 Prix Jean de Chaudenay, Group 3 Jockey Club Stakes and Group 3 St Simon Stakes, the races in which he was placed included the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin, Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes and Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, and Timeform rated him 127.
His half-brother Smuggler (by Exbury), whom Timeform rated 123 at three and 121 at four and five years of age, made a winning debut in the Chesham Stakes and went on to add the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, Group 3 Princess of Wales's Stakes and Group 3 Gordon Stakes. He was twice placed in the Group 1 Coronation Cup.
Disguise (by Klairon) won the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes, Camouflage (by March Past) won the Listed Royal Hunt Cup, Elusive Pimpernel (by Blakeney) won the Listed Hyperion Stakes, and the offspring of Hiding Place also included the unraced filly Sanctuary (by Welsh Pageant).
What makes her significant is that her string of successful progeny was headed by the sprint champion Sheikh Albadou (by Green Desert), the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 Sprint Cup star who surprised the home team by also taking the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint. Timeform rated him 125 at three and 128 at four.
Delectation is unbeaten in two starts over six furlongs, and with the six-to-eight furlong pace of her sire combined the traits shown within the first three generations of the family, there is every reason to hope that she will stay a mile in 2017. Whether or not she will be as good as Niche remains to be seen.
A string of maiden, conditions and nursery winners is a promising start for a freshman sire but it is still a long way short of being awesome, spectacular or any of those other often misused superlatives. It's just something that various stallions achieve each year - nothing out of the ordinary - so hardly enough to get the pulse racing. It is, after all, what many of them are supposed to be doing.
A string of stakes winners in the major racing countries? Well, now that is a different matter entirely. That is the point at which we can start to get excited.
It is still too early to heap on the superlatives and make bold predictions of greatness, but it is the early sign that a young stallion may be on the verge of establishing himself as a future industry leader, and that maybe, just maybe, he might be on his way to stardom.
Frankel (by Galileo) has reached that point.
Banstead Manor Stud's Timeform 147-rated superstar has notched-up a double-digit tally of first-crop juvenile winners, which is noteworthy, but it is the three pattern winners and one listed scorer among them that are seeing him begin to pull away from his cohorts.
Fair Eva started the ball rolling when impressive in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot in July and her third-place finish in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York, which was won by the Frankel filly Queen Kindly, gave the impression that she already wants a bit farther.
Frankuus created that impression when finishing third and fourth in seven-furlong listed contests at Ascot and Newbury and confirmed it when taking the one-mile Listed 32Red Casino Stakes (registered as the Ascendant Stakes) on soft ground at Haydock on Saturday. Cunco, who gave their sire his first-ever winner, finished third there.
The outstanding French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget introduced an exciting filly in early July and, still undefeated, she is the fourth stakes winner for her sire.
She beat nine rivals in that seven-furlong debut outing at Clairefontaine, followed-up with an odds-on success over a half-furlong farther on the all-weather track at Deauville last month, and then showed her appreciation for a step up to the mile when beating Normandel and Asidious Alexander to take the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale at Chantilly this afternoon.
Toulifaut was bred in Ireland by the famous Barronstown Stud and her pattern success completed an international double for that team as the Ralph Beckett-trained Simple Verse (by Duke Of Marmalade) won the Group 2 DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster about 75 minutes later.
That older filly, who made €240,000 in Goffs as a yearling, won the Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Qipco British Champions Filly & Mare Stakes in 2015, and is a half-sister to Even Song (by Mastercraftsman), who won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Toulifaut was Lot 113 at last year's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket, but she was led out unsold at 285,000gns. Her full-sister is catalogued as Lot 522 in next month's edition of that famous auction and likely to attract a lot of attention.
The Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac looks like an obvious end-of-year target for this promising filly and, next year, if she's still a classic prospect, either the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) or Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary before the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks). It remains to be seen if she is good enough for those top events, but right now there is every reason to hope that she will be up to competing at that level.
It will be interesting to see just how far she stays. Handling a mile at this point of a juvenile's season often indicates middle-distance potential.
Frankel was never asked to go beyond the extended 10 furlongs of the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York, and there was neither reason to do so nor to think that 12 furlongs would have been beyond him. He is, after all, a son of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and his full-brother Noble Mission won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud over the distance.
Cassydora (by Darshaan), the dam of Toulifaut, was well-beaten behind Eswarah in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, her only attempt at 12, but she ran away with the Listed Oaks Trial over a half-furlong less at Lingfield on her previous start.
Her subsequent form included chasing home Alexander Goldrun in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes over 10 furlongs at Goodwood and, at the age of five, she gave My Typhoon 6lbs and a one and three-quarter-length beating in the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes over nine furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs.
Her second foal, Ernest Hemingway (by Galileo), could be described as being a three-parts brother to Toulifaut. He did not run at two but was sent off favourite for the Group 2 Dante Stakes – in which he finished last – following a 10-length winning debut at Dundalk a month before.
He was also tailed off on his third start – when 150/1 for the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe – but came back at four to take both the Group 3 Curragh Cup and Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes, and he notched-up a repeat success in the former on the second of his two starts as a five-year-old.
Cassydora is a half-sister to four blacktype horses, including the 10-furlong listed scorer Classic Remark (by Dr Fong) and the potential Betfred Cesarewitch candidate Yorkidding (by Dalakhani). That Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old has won six times to date, she picked up some valuable blacktype when third in a 14-furlong listed contest at Baden-Baden on Saturday, and her entries include this Saturday's Listed Betway Stand Cup over an extended 12 furlongs at Chester.
Claxon, the grandam of Toulifaut, got her best win in the 10-furlong Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio, she was also a dual listed scorer over that trip, and won a listed contest over a mile. Despite being a daughter of Caerleon (by Nijinsky) and out of a Bustino (by Busted) mare, she appeared to run out of stamina when fading to fifth behind Ramruma in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom.
Her half-brother Bulwark (by Montjeu) certainly had no such stamina doubts as he was runner-up in the Group 3 Jockey Club Cup and third in both the Group 2 Henry II Stakes and Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.
But the family is not all about stamina, and the sire can be influential in determining how much speed is evident.
Injaad (by Machiavellian), for example, is a half-sister to Claxon but is the dam of the stakes-winning sprinter Mutamarres (by Green Desert). Their dam, Bulaxie, won the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes over seven furlongs but stayed 10, and that mare has two half-sisters by the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe star Suave Dancer (by Green Dancer) who have some interesting descendants.
Dust Flicker is one of pair, and although her daughter Sweepstake (by Acclamation) stayed a mile at three, her listed success came in the five-furlong National Stakes as a two-year-old. The other one is Dust Dancer, who won the Group 3 Prix de la Nonette over 10 furlongs and stayed 12.
Her daughter Spotlight (by Dr Fong) was a Grade 2 scorer over nine furlongs but narrowly beaten in a similar contest over a mile and a half, and her grand-daughter Counterclaim (by Pivotal) was runner-up in the Group 2 Oaks d'Italia. But she is also the grandam of Zoffany (by Dansili) and Wilshire Boulevard (by Holy Roman Emperor).
The latter won the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes and was runner-up in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes, and the former is, of course, the juvenile six-furlong Group 1 star who was runner-up to Frankel in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at three before going on to become a leading young stallion for the Coolmore team.
Toulifaut, however, has already won over a mile and the indications are that she will stay middle-distances as a three-year-old. There are no guarantees, of course, and right now she is just a thrice-raced Group 3-winning juvenile, but if she does reach the top and become a leading French classic filly in 2017 then, given the distance ranges shown by some of her relations, the Prix Vermeille and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe could be targets.
As for Frankel, it looks long odds-on that he will have at least one Group 1 winner to his name by the time his first three-year-olds are finished their 2017 campaigns, and increasingly likely that the initial one could happen within the next few months.
As one expects at this time of the year, several freshman sires are starting to make their presence felt in blacktype events, taking the early steps that could see them establish themselves as leading young stallions. Those who have caught the eye include Sepoy (by Elusive Quality), the Australian juvenile champion and four-times Group 1-winning sprint star who shuttles to Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.
The southern hemisphere half of his global first crop turned three last month and, so far, he has had three stakes-placed horses from among those progeny. His profile is currently higher in Europe than in his native land, which is a little unusual – it tends to go the other way – but it is much too soon to start drawing any conclusions about that or about his long-term prospects.
Right now he can be counted among the promising European freshmen and his eight local winners include Kilmah and Baileys Showgirl. The latter, who is out of a daughter of War Chant (by Danzig), won the Listed Prix Roland de Chambure at Chantilly in July, was a two-length third to Cavale Doree in the Group 3 Prix du Calvados at Deauville last month and then finished third to Kontrastat in the Group 3 Prix la Rochette at Saint-Cloud on Sunday.
She holds an entry in the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket in 16 days time and she is trained by Mark Johnston, as is Kilmah, although it must be somewhat unlikely that the stable companions will meet in that prestigious seven-furlong contest.
Kilmah, who won the recent Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, is one of the favourites for tomorrow's Group 2 Clugston Construction May Hill Stakes and she also holds an entry in the Group 1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes, which is on the day after the Rockfel. On pedigree, she should stay the mile.
A 32,000gns graduate of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, she was bred by Mildmay Bloodstock Ltd and her Helmet (by Exceed And Excel) half-brother is catalogued as Lot 248 at the 2016 edition of that prestigious auction. She is the fourth foal of her dam, a second blacktype horse for the mare, and each of her first three dams were also blacktype earners.
That is something that will catch the attention if any of her future progeny are catalogued for sale, as will the presence of at least one stakes winner out of each of her first five dams. Four of the family members who have Group/Grade 1 form will have been knocked off the page by that time, but that is unlikely to matter.
Kilmah, who was runner-up to Fair Eva in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot in July and just missed out narrowly on blacktype when a close fourth to Roly Poly in the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes two weeks before that, is a half-sister to the five-times scorer Tears Of The Sun (by Mastercraftsman).
That 97-rated mare is trained by Clive Cox, she has won and been placed over 12 furlongs but seems best over a quarter-mile less and she was only beaten a head by Elbereth when runner-up in the Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks over 10 furlongs in early June.
Their dam, Perfect Star, was also trained by Cox and her five wins featured the Listed Rosemary Stakes over a mile at Ascot as a three-year-old. The following year she won another handicap over that course and distance, the Shergar Cup Mile, she was listed-placed at Bath eight days later and then returned at five to pick up another listed placing, this time in the Snowdrop Fillies' Stakes over a mile on the polytrack at Kempton.
Perfect Star, a daughter of the classic-placed Group 1 scorer Act One (by In The Wings), is a half-sister to the Listed Festival Stakes winner and Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes third Rewarded (by Motivator) and she is out of Granted (by Cadeaux Genereux), a multiple stakes-placed triple mile winner.
Germane (by Distant Relative), the third dam of Kilmah, won the Group 3 Rockfel Stakes and was placed in both the Listed Oh So Sharp Stakes and Listed Firth of Clyde Stakes, and in addition to Granted she came up with the talented Lucky Chappy (by High Chaparral).
His listed race success was a three-length score over seven and a half furlongs at San Siro in July of his juvenile season, three months before he took third in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes over eight and a half furlongs on turf at Keeneland. He then finished fourth to Wrote in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs.
Lucky Chappy came within a nose of taking the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby over nine furlongs on the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields in February of his three-year-old season, he was also runner-up in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby over 10 furlongs and later took third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He eventually went to Australia, but did not recapture his form there.
These are the generations of the family that will appear on the catalogue page of Kilmah's future progeny that might grace the sales ring and what won't be visible includes that Germane has nine winning siblings, one of which is the pattern-placed stakes winner Fabriano (by Shardari) and two of whom became the dams of pattern winners.
Firedance (by Lomitas), who won once, is the dam of Fearless Hunter (by Alhaarth), a German-bred gelding who is trained in Norway by Rune Haugen and won both the Listed Polar Mile Cup and nine-furlong Group 3 Marit Sveaas Minnelop at Ovrevoll last year. He was only sixth last month in the 2016 edition of that latter event.
Four Roses (by Darshaan) is the other successful broodmare and, although she did not race, she is the dam of the Group 2 Blandford Stakes and Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes heroine Four Sins (by Sinndar).
The fourth dam of Kilmah is the one-time scorer Fraulein Tobin (by J O Tobin) and as she was out of the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) runner-up Fruhlingstag (by Orsini), that made her a half-sister to three horses of note.
Blackwater (by Irish River) won a listed contest in France, plus seven other races, and he finished third in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly, and the best of the other siblings was his half-brother Running Stag (by Cozzene), a millionaire who clocked up a lot of air miles!
The Philip Mitchell-trained horse began his career with a seven-length debut score over 10 furlongs on the all-weather track at Lingfield, was stakes-placed three months later, and won the Group 3 Prix Gontaut-Biron over 10 furlongs at Deauville as a four-year-old. A month after that win he took third behind the outstanding Skip Away in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park.
He was not disgraced when seventh behind Awesome Again in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, he finished a close fourth to Silver Charm in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap three weeks later, and then made his five-year-old debut in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba, where he was unplaced.
A brief return home saw him take second place in a conditions race at Goodwood and then he was off again, getting within a neck of beating Behrens (gave 5lbs) in the Grade 2 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs, with the previous year's classic star Real Quiet (gave 8lbs) only third.
Then he ran away with the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap, finished fifth in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, won a Grade 2 at Saratoga and then ran at Belmont Park and at Lingfield before chasing home Jim And Tonic in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin. After a winter break, he headed back to Dubai and so kicked off another new season of travel that saw him add a pair of US wins to his tally.
Fruhlingshochzeit (by Blushing Groom), a stakes-placed half-sister to Running Stag, Blackwater and Fraulein Tobin, also did her bit for the family as she is the grandam of the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap and Grade 1 Triple Bend Invitational Handicap star Street Boss (by Street Cry).
A popular member of the Darley stallion team in Kentucky, that leading sprinter is the sire of this year's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks heroine Cathryn Sophia. In March his Australian-bred son The Quarterback took the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, and on Sunday his Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks runner-up Decked Out won the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes over nine furlongs at Santa Anita.
Street Boss is also the sire of Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes winner Capo Bastone and of last year's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner and Grade 1 Kentucky Derby third Danza.
Kilmah's connection to Street Boss and Running Stag is remote, but there is more than enough of note within the first few generations of her pedigree to show why she had the potential to become a blacktype filly and why staying a mile looks likely.
She has only won two of her six starts and so seems quite well exposed, but the step up to seven furlongs appeared to suit her and it is possible that she may be capable of further improvement.
It is still too early to know for sure, but there are encouraging signs that Invincible Spirit and Galileo may forge their own branches of the Green Desert (by Danzig) and Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) lines. An important part of the feat is having their influence carry on through their sons and grandsons.
On Thursday, the Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg at Chantilly was won by a colt who represents a blending of those two lines. The Hugo Palmer-trained Afandem is a son of the juvenile Grade 1 scorer Vale Of York (by Invincible Spirit) and he is the first foal out of Al Mahmeyah (by Teofilo).
This was his seventh start, he kicked off his career with a three and a quarter-length debut success over five furlongs on soft ground at Doncaster in late April, and the French pattern contest was his second blacktype win in that country. In late July he took the Listed Prix Reves d'Or – Jacques Bouchara at Vichy.
Two starts before that he was an odds-on winner over six furlongs at Brighton, his only time out of the frame is his fifth-place finish in an Ascot nursery that was sandwiched between those two wins. Between the listed contest and his Group 3 success, the colt failed by just a head to beat Big Time Baby in the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes at York, the pair of them four lengths clear of the third and in a race that was run in a new juvenile course record time.
Afandem is clearly a highly talented young sprinter, and given how the market seems to crave juvenile speed and precocity, it is possible that he could have a stallion career in his future, especially if he can pick up a Group 2 contest, or better.
Vale Of York, who created something of a minor shock when pipping subsequent classic star Lookin At Lucky in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile on the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita in 2009, never tried shorter than seven furlongs. His winning debut came that July, he won a seven-furlong contest at Goodwood shortly before taking third behind Joshua Tree in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, and was only beaten a neck by Hearts Of Fire in the Group 1 Gran Criterium at San Siro several weeks before his Californian success.
His only start at three was a disappointing one in a nine and a half furlong listed contest at Meydan in early March, he stood his first five seasons as a member of the team at Kildangan Stud, and this year he completed his first one at Haras Des Faunes in France. Afandem is his second stakes winner, the previous one being the dual listed and dual Group 3 scorer Fontanelice.
Afandem is yet another high-class horse bred by Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd. His dam, a 46,000gns Tattersalls October Yearling Sale graduate, was trained by Richard Hannon and won a six-furlong maiden on the polytrack at Kempton on the last of four starts as a juvenile. She had been runner-up on the previous two occasions, once at Nottingham and the other at Kempton, and she was out of the frame in two starts at around a mile at three.
Al Mahmeyah is a half-sister to several multiple winners, two of whom were prolific. Annes Rocket (by Fasliyev) notched-up eight wins from five and a half furlongs to a mile, with most of them coming over seven, and he won on turf and on polytrack. Saint Thomas (by Alhaarth), who is trained by John Mackie, is up to an overall career total of 10 wins, the most recent of which came over a mile and a half at Leicester in mid-July. That gelding has been successful from 10 to 12 furlongs on the flat - turf and polytrack - and he also has a pair of hurdle race wins to his name.
The siblings also include Spirit Of Pearl (by Invincible Spirit). She was a wide-margin winner of sprints at Tipperary and Sligo before failing by just a head to take a five-furlong listed at the former venue. Her early progeny include the stakes-placed juvenile six-furlong scorer Elusive Pearl (by Elusive City).
Their dam, Aguilas Perla (by Indian Ridge), was unraced but is a full-sister to Listed Athasi Stakes scorer Cool Clarity and a half-sister to two other stakes winners. Artistic Blue (by Diesis) won the Listed Tyros Stakes at two, was runner-up in the Group 3 Aon MacDonagh Boland Stakes and third in a listed 1000 Guineas trial. Queen Of Palms (by Desert Prince), on the other hand, took the Listed Fairy Bridge Stakes before going on to become the dam of stakes-placed Dokker (by Dylan Thomas), whose tally of races won is into double figures.
Afandem's third dam is Tapolite (by Tap On Wood), who also won the Listed Tyros Stakes as a juvenile, and in addition to being a daughter of the listed scorer Pendulina (by Prince Tenderfoot), she has the distinction to being a full-sister to Sedulous.
That filly won the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes over a mile at Leopardstown shortly before finishing third in the Group 3 C L Weld Park Stakes over a furlong less at Phoenix Park in 1988, but it is her descendants that have kept her name in mind in more recent times.
Sedulous is a half-sister to the dam of the multiple pattern-winning sprinter Miss Emma (by Key of Luck), and she is the grandam of the top-class Indian filly Fairy Winter (by Foyer) but, more notably, she is the grandam of Shirocco (by Monsun).
Out of dual winner So Sedulous (by The Minstrel), his string of big wins included the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf, Group 1 Coronation Cup, Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club and Group 1 Deutsches Derby, he spent one year at Kildangan Stud, six years at Dalham Hall Stud, and has now completed three seasons at Glenview Stud.
His 26 flat stakes winners include the tragically ill-fated Group 1 Irish St Leger hero Brown Panther and also three Brazilian-bred horses who have won at the highest level in their native land, and his growing list of National Hunt blacktype scorers is headed by the brilliant and prolific Grade 1 star Annie Power.
Shirocco is a full-brother to the classic-placed Group 2 winner Subiaco, to classic-placed listed scorer Storm Trooper, and to listed race winner September Storm, the latter a successful National Hunt sire at Ballyash Stud. Their siblings also include a stakes-winning half-brother and there are three sisters who have produced blacktype horses at stud. The best of those offspring is the Group 2-placed multiple stakes winner Swacadelic (by Adlerflug), who has been successful in both Germany and Australia.
Afandem was rated 103 before yesterday's Group 3 success, up 12lbs from where he was two months before. There may still be more improvement to come from him, and that would bring him into the reckoning for some of the better juvenile sprinters in the closing months of the season.
The Group 1-winning sprinter Invincible Spirit was a promising prospect when he took up stallion duties at the Irish National Stud in 2003, but the extent to which his profile has developed could not have been expected. He is now 19 years old, has long been established as one of the very best sires in Europe, and he is building a growing reputation as a source of successful stallion sons.
His tally of blacktype sire sons increased on Sunday when Sea Of Grace won the Group 3 Flame Of Tara European Breeders Fund Stakes over a mile at the Curragh. This was a second win in three starts for the John Oxx-trained juvenile and she is the first stakes winner for Born To Sea.
A listed scorer over six furlongs at the Curragh on his racecourse debut, Born To Sea never quite reached the heights he promised that day, but he chased home Camelot in the Group 1 Irish Derby, was runner-up to Famous Name in the Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes and runner-up also in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes.
For most similarly talented and well-bred colts you could say that their racing record boosted their prospects of a place awaiting them at stud, but arguably that future was already inevitable for Born To Sea from the moment he was born. All that remained to be discovered, in that regard, was where that home would be and to what degree he would be supported.
Why? Born To Sea is the final foal of the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Urban Sea (by Miswaki) and so he is a half-brother to the multiple Group 1 stars and outstanding stallions Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross).
He is also a half-brother to the Group 1 winner and blacktype sire Black Sam Bellamy (by Sadler's Wells), to US Grade 1 star My Typhoon (by Giant's Causeway), to the classic-placed stakes-winning fillies Melikah (by Lammtarra) and All Too Beautiful (by Sadler's Wells), and to Cherry Hinton (by Green Desert), the pattern-placed dam of Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine Bracelet (by Montjeu).
All Too Beautiful is the dam of the dual Oaks-placed stakes winner Wonder Of Wonders (by Kingmambo), and Melikah's pattern-winning sons Masterstroke (by Monsun) and Moonlight Magic (by Cape Cross) are joined by her Group 2-placed stakes-winning daughter Hidden Gold (by Shamardal) and her Group 2-winning descendants Khawlah (by Cape Cross) and Vancouverite (by Dansili).
Simply put, Born To Sea is one of the best-bred horses at stud.
He is a horse whose juveniles were always likely to be late-summer and autumn types, seen to best effect when racing at seven furlongs and beyond. His once-raced seven-furlong winner Star Of Rory (dam by Sadler's Wells) is entered in a listed race over a mile at Haydock on Saturday, and Sea Of Grace is a candidate for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.
It is much too early to know what sort of overall record Born To Sea might compile as a stallion, but the emergence of a pattern winner at this stage is an encouraging start for him. He spent his first two seasons at Rathasker Stud and then joined the team at Gilltown Stud, which is also home to his Timeform 140-rated sibling Sea The Stars.
Sea Of Grace was bred by Robert Norton, who sold her for €80,000 in Goffs as a foal. She made €260,000 at the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale nine months later and finished third in a seven-furlong Curragh maiden on her debut in June. She then won a maiden over 100 yards farther at Tipperary.
The filly is the third foal and third winner out of Lady Dettoria (by Vettori) and she is the second of them to earn blacktype. Her half-brother Pepparone (by Stormy River) was stakes-placed in Italy as a juvenile and has notched up a double-digit tally of wins. Jumeirah Glory (by Fast Company), in comparison, has 'only' won four times, twice over seven furlongs and twice at around 10 furlongs in Britain.
The mare, who won once in France, does not have a yearling, but she had a Rock of Gibraltar (by Danehill) colt in February. She is a half-sister to Cougar Bay (by Daylami), who was placed in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Handicap, Group 3 International Stakes, Group 3 Solonaway Stakes, Group 3 Kilternan Stakes and Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes, and she is out of the French listed scorer Delimara (by In The Wings).
Mariella (by Sir Gaylord), the third dam of Sea Of Grace, was champion three-year-old filly in Italy in 1980, and this Timeform 123-rated full-sister to Group 1 star and Italian champion colt Scorpio got her top win in the Group 1 Premio Roma. She was also a half-sister to the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, Group 1 Prix du Cadran and triple Group 1 Gold Cup hero Sagaro (by Espresso).
That star stayer was Timeform-rated 131 as a three-year-old, 129 at four and five years of age, and 133 as a six-year-old, the season in which he completed that Ascot treble. Scorpio, who also won the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and Group 2 Grand Prix d'Evry, was rated 120 by the same organisation.
In addition to Delimara, Mariella was also the dam of the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale scorer Mackla (by Caerleon), and that filly's blacktype descendants include her Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary and Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio-winning daughter Marotta (by Highest Honor). Also earning blacktype when third in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera and in the Group 3 Prix de la Nonette, Marotta was Italy's champion three-year-old filly of 2002, although only rated 115 by Timeform.
Mariella is also the grandam of the listed scorer and Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club third Sestino (by Shirley Heights), and her descendants include Group 2-winning sprinter and recent Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest runner-up Donjuan Triumphant (by Dream Ahead) and 2009's Group 3 Prix Chloe winner Wilside (by Verglas).
Although Born To Sea's pedigree gives him the chance to sire some speedy types, many are likely to be suited to a mile and upwards. With the sort of talent displayed so often in the filly's family, it appears likely that Sea Of Grace will stay at least 10 furlongs as a three-year-old.
The small number of Frankel (by Galileo) yearlings that turned up at the sales in 2015 met with a mixed response. They did not look how some had expected, prices varied widely, and there were even some mutterings about how he might not make it as a sire.
This was something of a surprise to see and hear. Here was a regally-related supreme athlete whose offspring came from the cream of the broodmare population and who would probably not even have a runner until the following summer.
His racing and pedigree profile suggested that it could be mid-summer or autumn before his early representatives would begin to show their worth, and that any stakes or pattern horses he might get that first season would tend to come from among the seven and eight-furlong events.
What Frankel has actually achieved with his first juveniles has been unexpected. His strike-rate of winners to runners is remarkably high, he already had two pattern scorers on the books before the end of August, and some of those early ones are precocious, and very quick.
Although there is a lot of middle-distance stamina in his family, there has always been the chance that Frankel could get some sprinters, with the right mares. He gave the impression that he could have won over seven or even six furlongs if asked, and both his dam, Kind (by Danehill), and half-sister, Joyeuse (by Oasis Dream), were talented sprinters who stayed seven furlongs.
But getting sprinters and getting early-season juveniles are not the same thing, because many good sprinters are horses who improve with time and maturity.
Frankel was off the mark in mid-May, and it was on 3rd June that his daughter Queen Kindly made her racing debut. The appearance of such a beautifully bred filly that early was eye-catching, and if there was any disappointment that this debut run was only in a five-furlong event at Catterick, that dissipated after she showed a nice turn of foot to score by five lengths.
The Group 3 Albany Stakes was her Royal Ascot target a fortnight later, and third place, beaten by just a short-head and half-length by Brave Anna and Bletchley, confirmed that this was a filly of plentiful potential. The following month she had little more than an exercise gallop to thrash a small field in a novice event back over the minimum trip at Catterick, giving 7lbs to each of her four outclassed rivals.
A return to six furlongs was on the cards and it came in the recent Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York. Unbeaten Group 3 scorer Fair Eva, who was Frankel's first pattern winner, was sent off at odds-on but ran as already needing a bit further. Queen Kindly landed the spoils by three-parts of a length from Group 2 scorer Roly Poly (gave 3lbs), with Fair Eva the same margin back in third.
The trio pulled four and a half lengths clear of the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes winner Nations Alexander, with Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes third Clem Fandango finishing sixth. Kilmah, who chased home Fair Eva in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes on her previous start, and who won the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood yesterday, was only seventh on this occasion, with the Group 2-placed Magical Fire disappointing in last.
The form looks solid, the time was fast, Fair Eva will be seen to better effect when she steps up in trip, and Queen Kindly now has a crack at the Group 1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes in her sights.
There is still so much of 2016 to go, but it is hard not to look ahead with these juveniles and wonder about their prospects in 2017. Will Queen Kindly follow in her father's hoof-prints and become a miler and Guineas contender, or will she take after her dam and so become a potential Commonwealth Cup and July Cup runner, or even a Nunthorpe candidate?
Before she ever stepped foot on a racecourse one could even have speculated as to her prospects of staying 10 furlongs at three, because she is, after all, a daughter of Frankel and related to the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Dylan Thomas (by Danehill).
That sort of trip seems unlikely given the speed and precocity she has shown so far, and a mile still remains possible, but those two five-furlong wins may turn out to be the most important clue.
Queen Kindly is trained by Richard Fahey, she was bred by Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd, and she is the first foal out of their excellent sprinter Lady Of The Desert (by Rahy). That mare could have been expected to be a miler, and it is true that she was only beaten by about a length when fifth in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), but it was over five and six furlongs that she excelled.
Her winning debut over the minimum trip at Leicester in late May was followed by a sixth-place finish in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, but she bounced back to take the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes and Group 2 Lowther Stakes before finishing third behind Special Duty in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. That filly is the incredibly lucky one who got not one but two classics in the stewards' room as a three-year-old.
Lady Of The Desert was placed over seven furlongs first time out at three, but after disappointing in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot, dropped back to six for the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock. Having chased home Markab there, she went on to score a two and a quarter-length success in the Group 2 Diadem Stakes at Ascot before chasing home one-length scorer Gilt Edge Girl in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp on her final start.
Lady Of The Desert is the best of the progeny of 2001's juvenile filly champion Queen's Logic (by Grand Lodge) and that star is one of three Group 1 winners out of a placed mare called Lagrion (by Diesis).
Her debut was on soft ground at Newbury in mid May, when she beat the subsequent pattern-winning sprinter Lady Dominatrix by three-parts of a length and the pair finished 10 lengths clear of their closest pursuer.
She then beat Sophisticat three times, first by half a length in the Group 3 Queen Mary Stakes, then by one and a quarter lengths in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes and finally by seven lengths on soft ground in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. Although that rival went on to take the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot the following summer, Queen's Logic's career had already come to an end by that point.
Her sole outing at three was an odds-on success in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes over seven furlongs on fast ground at Newbury.
Queen's Logic has four blacktype siblings and the best of her sisters is the runaway Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine Homecoming Queen (by Holy Roman Emperor), whose first foal is the unbeaten French juvenile First Of Spring (by Galileo). Her sisters also include Group 2 Blandford Stakes third Love To Dance (by Sadler's Wells) and Group 1 Oaks runner-up Remember When (by Danehill Dancer), neither of whom actually won a race.
Remember When, who was beaten just a neck by Snow Fairy at Epsom and by a total of half a length when fourth to Bethrah in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, has made an outstanding start to her broodmare career as her first two progeny are Wedding Vow (by Galileo) and Beacon Rock (by Galileo).
The former won last year's Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes shortly before chasing home Legatissimo in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, and the latter won the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes in May before chasing home Across The Stars in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
The best of Queen's Logic's brothers is the aforementioned Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Dylan Thomas. His 10 wins from 20 starts netted him over £3.3 million in prize money and his Group 1 tally also included the Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Prix Ganay, and two editions of the Irish Champion Stakes.
Dylan Thomas is a Coolmore stallion, and although he is standing as a dual-purpose sire, his progeny include the Group/Grade 1 scorers Pether's Moon, Dylan Mouth, Nymphea, Tannery and Blazing Speed, the latter a Hong Kong star whose earnings surpass those of his sire.
It is these first two generations of the pedigree that are making the greatest contribution to the talent and potential of Queen Kindly, and although there is talent in the third and fourth too, it is not in the same league.
Lagrion, her third dam, is a full-sister to the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes runner-up Pure Genius (by Diesis), and fourth dam Wrap It Up (by Mount Hagen), a daughter of the blacktype-placed 10-times scorer Doc Nan (by Francis S.), was responsible for the Group 3 Oaks Trial Stakes winner Gift Wrapped (by Wolver Hollow).
That filly became the dam of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes winner Reach (by Kris) and of Wrapping (by Kris), the Group 1 Oaks d'Italia runner-up who gave us the Group 1-placed middle-distance Group 2 scorer Papering (by Shaadi).
Amatrice (by Appiani), a half-sister to Gift Wrapped, did her part for the family by coming up with Soluce (by Junius), the Group 3 scorer from whom Scandinavian champion Entangle (by Pivotal) and notable speedsters such as Splice (by Sharpo), Soar (by Danzero), and Feet So Fast (by Pivotal) descend, among others of note.
Those horses are remotely connected to Queen Kindly and it is her immediate genetic history that will determine her ultimate distance range. Whether that will be in sprints or over a mile, or a combination of both, remains to be seen, but whichever way she goes there is every reason to hope that this first-crop daughter of Frankel could be a Group 1 filly in the making.
As for Frankel, there remains the very real prospect that he can become an important sire of milers and middle-distance horses, a potential classic sire who could become a leading international stallion.
The analyst in me tempers snap judgements on horses, preferring to wait until additional data are in before deciding that yes, this was a performance about which we can get excited.
On rare occasions, however, there have been winning displays that sent a chill down the spine, a visceral sense that we might just have seen something very special. This happened on the afternoon of 28th September 2010 when Frankel won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and it did not happen again until 15th June 2016 when Lady Aurelia ran away with the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.
That is not to say that Lady Aurelia is going to reach the dizzy heights achieved by the great Frankel. The clearly talented filly she beat by seven lengths that day has been beaten on both her starts since, and she herself was somewhat disappointing when only taking the Group 1 Darley Prix Morny by three-parts of a length at Deauville a week ago.
She made all, but only held on to beat the promising Alrahma, with the seemingly well-exposed Peace Envoy running on for third, just a head behind, and Al Johrah, whom she had beaten by seven lengths at Ascot, another head back in fourth.
It may seem strange to say that a Group 1-winning effort was disappointing, but when the expected result is another display of clear superiority and the actual result is more hard fought, it leaves a sense of slight dismay. Have we overestimated the ability of this star? Are there excuses?
Frankel too had a disappointing Group 1 win, the day he only beat Zoffany by only three-parts of a length in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot, but he overcame that to take the final seven races of his career by an aggregate of almost 40 lengths.
Again, there is no reason to suppose that thrice-raced juvenile filly Lady Aurelia is another Frankel. She is, however, clearly one with a huge amount of talent and potential, and as she reportedly had some trouble with the underfoot conditions at Deauville, there is every reason to hope that she can resume her more impressive winning ways before long.
The initial impression that she created in France was that she did not stay the sixth furlong. If that is the case, it would be disappointing as it would rule her out of races such as the Commonwealth Cup, July Cup and Sprint Cup in 2017, and make her vulnerable against a good field in the Group 1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes later this year.
But the way she won at Ascot in June, combined with her pedigree, make it doubtful that stamina was the issue.
Yes, the late Ashford Stud stallion Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg) has got some sprinters – Acapulco, No Nay Never and current juvenile star Caravaggio will immediately come to mind for most UK and Irish race fans – but this is a stallion who has dominated the classics scene in Chile, getting multiple Derby and Oaks winners in that country, along with plenty of top-class runners over eight, nine and 10 furlongs in the USA.
He was also a top-class racehorse at two and three years of age, crowning his first season with victory in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes over a mile at Belmont Park and his short second one with victories in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and Grade 1 Florida Derby, both over nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
So what of the distaff side of her family? This will surely be important in determining whether this young star will be purely a sprinter or a filly who could stay the mile at three.
Lady Aurelia is out of D'Wildcat Speed (by Forest Wildcat), which makes her inbred 4x3 to Storm Cat (by Storm Bird), something that could make a tendency towards speed more likely in her. But, then again, it might be doing nothing at all for her racing aptitude: we can but guess.
Her dam was a stakes-winning sprinter when she first arrived in the USA, but before that she was a prolific local Grade 1 star (counts only as listed as per the International Cataloguing Standards) at around nine furlongs in Puerto Rico and, at five, she won the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap over nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park, scoring by six lengths.
D'Wildcat Speed's career tally was 16 wins, but that champion was out of Velvet Panther (by Pentaquod), a 31-time times scorer and dual Puerto Rican champion who, like her brilliant daughter, was a multiple top-level (local) winner at beyond a mile.
Blue Eyed Cat (by Great Above), the nine-times winning third dam of Lady Aurelia, was out of the high-class Puerto Rican filly Another Cat (by Catullus) and she, in turn was, was a full-sister to the 27-times scorer One Cat, a multiple blacktype star who was inbred 3x3 to the Kentucky Derby runner-up and multiple blacktype US sprint winner Spy Song (by Balladier), a track record setter over four-and-a-half and six-and-a-half furlongs.
Lady Aurelia was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, she made $350,000 when offered as Lot 1253 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, and she is trained by Wesley Ward.
She is a half-sister to a six-furlong stakes-placed winner in the US (Titletown Five, by Tiznow) and to the dual sprint winner Distorsionada (by Distorted Humor), and the speed she showed at Ascot in June was remarkable for such a young an inexperienced horse.
The racing records of her sire, dam and grandam give her every chance of staying a mile next year, and although it is possible that it is only the family's speed that she has inherited, rather than its nine-furlong stamina, judgement should be reserved at least until we have had the chance to see her compete again over a strongly run and contested six furlongs.
More Than Ready (by Southern Halo) may not be as familiar a name here as he is in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, but with 19 Group/Grade 1 stars among a career tally of 162 stakes winners, this WinStar Farm team member is one of the world's leading sires.
Progeny of the grandson of Halo (by Hail To Reason) include multimillionaire and eight-times Group 1 heroine More Joyous, 2016's Group 1 Queensland Derby winner Eagle Way, and US Grade 1 star and Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes runner-up Verrazano – to name just three on that roll of honour – and the latter is one of his growing number of sons of stud.
Sebring, who won the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and Group 1 Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes as a juvenile, is his best sire son, so far, and that horse's prolific Group 1 scorers and seven-figured earners Criterion and Dissident are now in the early stages of their own stud careers.
More Than Ready's stallion sons also include Gimmethegreenlight, a South African Grade 1 scorer and champion who stands at Varsfontein Stud and whose first crop includes last month's Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes-winning juvenile Gunner.
And if his latest young rising star fulfills his potential, then a stallion career may also be in the future of the More Than Ready colt Boynton. The chestnut made his first public appearance at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale of 2015, consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency and bought, for $750,000, by John Ferguson.
The Godolphin-owned colt was bred by Twin Creeks Farm, he made a winning debut over six furlongs at Goodwood in early June, and then beat War Decree by three-parts of a length in the Group 2 bet365 Superlative Stakes over a further farther at Newmarket.
That win meant that he had to carry a 3lb penalty when he renewed rivalry with War Decree in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes, and on that occasion the placings were reversed. The Ballydoyle colt won by one and three-quarter lengths from Thunder Snow, with Boynton a length back third. The proximity of the nursery-winning gelding Pleaseletmewin in fourth may case some doubt over the reliability of the form and it will be interesting to see how the first three get on if they meet again.
Boynton is the fifth foal out of Group 3 Albany Stakes third Baffled (by Distorted Humor), he is inbred 4x4 to Mr Prospector (by Raise A Native), and he has two siblings of note. His half-sister Jacaranda (by Congrats) won the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes over a mile at Aqueduct as a juvenile, and his half-brother Constitution (by Tapit), who has completed his first season at WinStar Farm at a $25,000 fee, won the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 1 Donn Handicap.
This is an outstanding start to Baffled's broodmare career and it puts her marginally ahead of her own dam, Surf Club (by Ocean Crest), who has a Grade 1 winner, Group 2 scorer and listed race winner to her name.
Emcee (by Unbridled's Song) was third in the Grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap and then won the Grade 1 Forego Stakes before finishing out of the frame behind Tapizar in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita four years ago. He is now a Darley sire who stands at Sequel Stallions in New York and whose first crop are yearlings.
His gelded half-brother Surfer won the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1, was runner-up in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 and third to Prince Bishop in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3. Their half-sister Spring Party (by Smart Strike) has won a listed contest.
Notching up a high total of wins is something else that this family does well. Surf Club won six times from two to four years of age, her three blacktype-winning progeny accumulated 15 wins between them, her stakes-winning dam Horns Gray (by Pass the Tab) won a dozen times, and that mare's best pair, Awesome Humor and Dignified Donovan, won six and 13 races respectively.
Awesome Humor (by Distorted Humor), whose $45,000 yearling price pales in comparison to that of her young relation, won the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes and Grade 3 Debutante Stakes as a juvenile, and to those she added the following year's Grade 2 Indiana Oaks. Two of her progeny have won six times apiece, including the stakes-placed $320,000+ earner Keep Me Informed (by A.P. Indy).
Dignified Donovan (by Regal Classic) won a listed handicap at the age of seven, accumulated career earnings in excess of $450,000, and notched-up a total of 13 wins from three to 11 years of age.
Ruled Off (by Saratoga Six) and Bingo Time (by Green Forest), the blacktype-winning siblings of Horns Gray, won 10 and eight times respectively, and their unraced dam, Cox's Angel (by Cox's Ridge), was out of blacktype scorer Anjelicco (by Angle Light), a five-times winner from whom various other stakes and graded winners have descended.
Being a good-looking son of a major international sire, a half-brother to a dual Grade 1 winner and with a Grade 1 winner also under his second and third dams, it is easy to see why Boynton cost so much as a yearling.
The Charlie Appleby-trained colt holds entries in the Group 2 At The Races Champagne Stakes, Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, and wins in any of those would both enhance his classic prospects for 2017 and his future appeal as a stallion.
He looks likely to be best at around a mile next year, but as his half-brother Constitution was a dual Grade 1 star over nine furlongs, and his dam's half-brother Surfer was Group 1-placed over 10, it is possible that he too may stay the latter distance.
Claiborne Farm's Danzig (by Northern Dancer) was one of the world's greatest sires, a horse who gave us a long list of Group/Grade 1 winners, whose daughters included many notable broodmares, and whose sons featured many that got at least one top-level winner of their own.
Two of those sons – the classic-placed Group 1 sprint stars Danehill and Green Desert – went on to forge their own dynasties, and until quite recently it was beginning to look as though that pair and their descendants would remain the enduring source of his lineage.
When the triple US champion sire was 24 years old, and still commanding a fee far in excess of what most stallions today cost, his book included the Grade 1-placed multiple stakes winner Starry Dreamer (by Rubiano). The resulting colt did not succeed at the highest level on the track, but he is among his sire's 198 stakes winning offspring, and there is a chance that he could join Danehill and Green Desert as one of Danzig's most important sons.
Right now it is just a chance, and it is far too early to do more than speculate as to how history might judge him, but we could have an answer within the next 10 to 15 years. And he is not the only young Danzig stallion with such potential, because Darley's 12-year-old Hard Spun, who was a classic-placed Grade 1 winner, is already the sire of nine Group/Grade 1 winners, and counting.
A half-brother to the graded winners Ecclesiastic (by Pulpit) and Teammate (by A.P. Indy), War Front holds court at Claiborne and his $200,000 fee, still short of his sire's price at the end of his career, makes him one of the most expensive stallions in the world.
He was a Grade 2 winner over six furlongs, Grade 1-placed over six and seven, and that excellent form was all as a four-year-old. He was unplaced in his only start as a juvenile, had an eight and a half furlong listed contest among three wins from five starts at three, and despite this racing profile he has become an outstanding source of two-year-olds, in addition to those who are top-class at three and four years of age.
From seven crops of racing age, he has been represented by 47 stakes winners and the 10 of those who have won at the highest level include the European-trained colts Air Force Blue, Hit It A Bomb, Declaration Of War, and War Command. The latter pair are young Coolmore stallions, his US Grade 1 winners Data Link and The Factor are also in early stages of their stud careers, and it will be how the grandsons of all these horses fare on the track, and at stud, that will give us the best clues as whether War Front will forge a dynasty or be remembered merely as another of the good Danzig stallions.
War Front's seventh-crop progeny are only two years old but already they include the Group 2 winners Roly Poly and War Decree, Group 3 scorer Brave Anna, and dual Group 2-placed Intelligence Cross, each of whom is trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien. Two of those are fillies and the better of the colts is a horse whose pedigree would make him a very interesting addition to the stallion ranks whenever his racing career comes to an end.
War Decree, who was bred by Ar Enterprises Llc, made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Leopardstown in early June, chased home Boynton in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket a month later, and then impressed with a one and three-quarter length defeat of Thunder Snow in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last week. Timeform have him on a rating of 113p.
He is the second foal out of Royal Decree (by Street Cry). She failed to trouble the judge in two starts, was covered as a three-year-old, and then sold for $385,000 in Keeneland that November, in foal to US champion sire Elusive Quality (by Gone West). The resultant colt was sold for $260,000 at the same venue 12 months later, made just $210,000 as a yearling, and is now known as Noble Quality, a dual stakes-placed miler from his first seven starts.
Ticker Tape (by Royal Applause), the grandam of War Decree, began her career with the Jamie Osborne stable in England, winning at Warwick and Doncaster and earning her first piece of blacktype when finishing third in the Listed Radley Stakes. She then crossed the Atlantic, was runner-up in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes and continued racing in the USA to the age of five, retiring to stud as a millionaire and dual Grade 1 star.
In addition to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland and the Grade 1 American Oaks Invitational at Hollywood Park, she won a Grade 3 contest at Arlington and several listed races, and her string of notable placings included second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and third in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes.
Royal Decree is her first foal, eight and a half furlong listed scorer Empress Maker (by Empire Maker) is her third, and her fourth, a daughter of Giant's Causeway (by Storm Cat) was born in Japan after the mare's sale for $950,000 at Keeneland the previous November.
Ticker Tape is one of seven winners out of Argent Du Bois (by Silver Hawk) and her siblings include Sant Elena (by Efisio), the stakes-placed dam of Reckless Abandon (by Exchange Rate). That grandson of Danzig was one of the best juveniles in Europe in 2012, when he won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, Group 2 Prix Robert Papin, Group 1 Prix Morny and Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, but unfortunately he proved infertile, was withdrawn from stud and gelded.
The best of Argent Du Bois's siblings was the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Crowded House (by Rainbow Quest), and although neither she nor her dam, Wiener Wald (by Woodman), managed to win, her grandam was the Grade 1-placed dual Grade 2 scorer Chapel Of Dreams (by Northern Dancer). That mare's descendants include the Grade 2 winners Juniper Pass (by Lemon Drop Kid), Tale Of A Champion (by Tale Of The Cat), and Postponed (by Summer Squall), the latter a New Zealand-based stallion whose blacktype progeny include the mile Group 1 scorer Pasta Post.
Of course, as many know, Chapel Of Dreams was out of the multiple Grade 2 winner Terlingua (by Secretariat) and, in addition to being a half-sister to Group 1 star and leading sire Royal Academy (by Nijinsky), that mare is the one who gave us the Grade 1 winner and multiple US champion sire Storm Cat (by Storm Bird).
Royal Academy's 168 stakes winners include European Group 1 stars Sleepytime, Ali-Royal, Carmine Lake, Oscar Schindler, Lavery and Zalaiyka, his international Group/Grade 1 winners include Bullish Luck, Kenwood Melody and Black Caviar's sire Bel Esprit, and the many major winners produced from his daughters include Group 1 star and Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill), European juvenile champion and popular young stallion Dabirsim (by Hat Trick), and dual classic heroine Finsceal Beo (by Mr Greeley), to name just three.
Storm Cat sired 181 stakes winners and founded a dynasty. In addition to being an outstanding broodmare sire - Group/Grade 1 winners include A Shin Hikari, Ballydoyle, Bodemeister, Close Hatches, Folklore, Gleneagles, Kizuna, Lord Kanaloa, Marvellous, Misty For Me, Shared Belief, Speightstown, etc - his many sons who have sired Group/Grade 1 winners of their own include Bernstein, Forest Wildcat, Hennessy, Forestry, Tale Of The Cat, Stormin Fever, Harlan, Stormy Atlantic, Freud and, of course, multiple US champion sire Giant's Causeway.
His many notable male-line descendants include the late Harlan's Holiday (by Harlan) and Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg), both of whom are currently in the top 25 in the 2016 US sires' championship title race. The latter stood at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, was only 11 when he died earlier this year, and this prolific US Grade 1- and South American classic sire has been represented in Europe by No Nay Never, Daddy Long Legs, Acapulco, and current juvenile stars Caravaggio and Lady Aurelia.
Royal Academy and Storm Cat are remotely related to War Decree, but their presence in the family will not be missed whenever the recent Group 2 scorer gets his chance at stud, a prospect that looks likely given the precocity and talent he has shown so far.
He holds entries in the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes, Group 2 Galileo European Breeders Fund Futurity Stakes, Group 2 At The Races Champagne Stakes and Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, and he is available at between 10-1 to 16-1 for next year's Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas, generally third in the betting behind his Ballydoyle team mates Caravaggio and Churchill.
It is a long time until then, of course, and he still has to improve to be up to winning a classic, but War Decree is bred to achieve anything and, given his pedigree and current race record, there is no reason to doubt his ability to stay a mile.
If his career fulfils the promise with which it has started, then future horse racing quizzes may include the question 'who was Frankel's first stakes winner?' The answer is Fair Eva, and she was an impressive winner of the Group 3 Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes over six furlongs at Ascot on Saturday.
His remarkable early strike-rate has been drawing rave reviews, but it is, of course, much too early yet to know if the great horse can become even half the stallion his mighty sire is, or grandsire was. What is exciting, though, is that his racing and pedigree profile would suggest that he would be more likely to notch up a string of juvenile winners in the second half of the season than in the first, and yet we have seen some precocious sorts, and even five-furlong speed.
Fair Eva was the first of the Juddmonte Farm-bred Frankels to reach the track and she made a four-length winning debut over six furlongs at Haydock in early June. The white-faced chestnut is trained by Roger Charlton, her pattern success was achieved by the same margin, and she is already an ante-post market leader for next year's Group 1 1000 Guineas.
Before then, races such as the Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes, the Group 2 Debutante Stakes and/or the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes could be on her agenda – she holds entries in each of those prestigious events – and if she is still a prominent classic prospect by the end of the year, then the issue of her potential stamina limitations is a debate that may play out over the winter.
Frankel (by Galileo) was bred to be effective from a mile to 12 furlongs, his most breathtaking performances came over the shorter distance, and he was never asked to go beyond the extended 10 furlongs of the Juddmonte International Stakes. There was no need to try farther, and his exuberant personality made the Derby distance a potential problem early in his career, but there is no reason to suggest that, as a four-year-old, it would have been beyond him.
The three 12-furlong blacktype wins of his full-brother Noble Mission featured the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, their three-parts brother Bullet Train (by Sadler's Wells) got his sole pattern success in the 11 and a half-furlong Group 3 Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield, and their Group 3 Lancashire Oaks-winning grandam, Rainbow Lake (by Rainbow Quest), produced Powerscourt (by Sadler's Wells), Riposte (by Dansili) and Last Train (by Rail Link), each of whom stayed the distance, or more.
Noble Mission and Bullet Train, who stand in the US, look likely to specialise in milers and middle-distance horses, but Frankel could get his best over a wider range, from sprinters and upwards, and if they include the plethora of pattern and Group 1 stars that we hope will emerge, then an ability to get everything from precocious juveniles to middle-distance and staying older horses will boost his prospects of taking high rank in the sires' championship title races of the future.
His dam is the stakes-winning sprinter Kind (by Danehill), whose five-furlong ability clearly came from her sire rather than from the distaff side of her family. We cannot know if it was she or Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) who passed on the speed influence to their great son, but if Frankel passes on that pace to his offspring then those who are out of speed-bred mares could include include some sprinters. If it is his stamina influence that is transmitted, however, then those same mares could get mile to 10 furlong horses by him.
This is part of what makes Fair Eva, and Frankel's pattern-placed dual five-furlong scorer Queen Kindly, intriguing; both are out of sprinters yet come from families with a proven history of getting middle-distance horses.
Fair Eva is the fourth foal out the Group 1 Sprint Cup heroine African Rose, a daughter of the excellent miler Observatory (by Distant View). The mare was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, and she finished third in the one-mile Group 3 Prix d'Aumale as a juvenile, the latter a performance that offers hope of her rising star staying that far too.
African Rose's son Hakka (by Dansili) won twice over eight and a half furlongs at Wolverhampton, was placed over 10 furlongs, and rated 94 before his export to Saudi Arabia. Her full-sister Helleborine was also effective at a mile, winning the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale by five lengths and chasing home Misty For Me in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac.
New Orchid, the grandam of Fair Eva, was third in the Group 3 Lancashire Oaks, a distance not unexpected of a daughter of Derby hero Quest For Fame (by Rainbow Quest), and in addition to being a half-sister to the dam of the Group 2 Prix Chaudenay winner Canticum (by Cacique), her siblings include the juvenile star Distant Music (by Distant View).
That horse and African Rose are closely related, and although his wins in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, Group 2 Champagne Stakes and Group 2 International Stakes may be what first come to mind about him, it should not be forgotten that he chased home Kalanisi and Montjeu in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, with Oaks heroine Love Divine the one who followed him across the line in fourth.
His dam, Musicanti (by Nijinsky), is out of the dual US winner Populi (by Star Envoy), and that makes her a half-sister to 1985's US champion older male Vanlandingham (by Cox's Ridge), winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Washington DC International, Suburban Handicap and Stephen Foster Handicap – all Grade 1. Her siblings also include the dam of the Group 1-placed mile and 10-furlong Group/Grade 2 scorer Kirkwall (by Selkirk), and as she was out of the three-times winner Sister Shannon (by Etonian), that made her a half-sister to Temperence Hill.
That son of Stop The Music (by Hail To Reason) won 11 of his 31 starts, earned over $1.5 million, was the US champion three-year-old colt of 1980, and got his Grade 1 wins in the Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Suburban Handicap.
With all of this in mind, there is clearly a high degree of probability that Fair Eva will stay the mile. If she can stay farther and can become an Oaks filly then it is more likely, however, to be Chantilly's 10 and a half furlong Prix de Diane that would be within her range than the full 12 furlongs at Epsom or the Curragh.
Tis Marvellous looked like a colt with a big future when he beat Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes runner-up Al Johrah by two and half lengths in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte this afternoon.
Runner-up over six furlongs at Newbury on his debut just over three weeks ago, he then stormed home by eight lengths over the same trip at Windsor 11 days later. The Group 1 Prix Morny has been named as a potential target for the Clive Cox-trained colt, and he is already the subject of ante-post quotes for next year's Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.
A first-crop son of Tweenhills Farm & Stud stallion Harbour Watch (by Acclamation), Tis Marvellous was bred by Crossfields Bloodstock Ltd and his first public appearance was when making 48,000gns in Newmarket as a foal. Cox secured him for 52,000gns at the Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale, and he races in the colours of Julie Deadman and Stephen Barrow.
The same owner/trainer team won the 2012 edition of the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin with Reckless Abandon, who went on to add the Group 1 Prix Morny and Group 1 Middle Park Stakes.
Tis Marvellous is the fourth foal and fourth winner out of Mythicism (by Oasis Dream) and, although 1974's classic and Champion Stakes-placed Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Northern Gem (by Northern Dancer) appears in a remote branch of the family, it is possible that the colt could become the brightest star this family has produced for a long time.
The best of his siblings is the four-times sprint winner Mythmaker (by Major Cadeaux), his dam got her sole success over six furlongs at Redcar as a two-year-old, but his grandam, Romantic Myth (by Mind Games), won the Group 3 Queen Mary Stakes in 2000. Her ill-fated half-sister Romantic Liason (by Primo Dominie) won that same prestigious event two years later, and their 10 other successful siblings include the pattern-placed gelding Chapter Seven (by Excellent Art).
The third dam of Tis Marvellous is the unplaced My First Romance (by Danehill), whose siblings include the unraced dam of the pattern-placed prolific New Zealand stakes winner Sacha (by Keeper), and his fourth dam is Front Line Romance (by Caerleon).
She won just once, but earned her blacktype when runner-up in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown and when third in the Listed Lupe Stakes at Goodwood, and she is a full-sister to two talented and prolific horses whose distance preferences were quite different from those of their speedier relations.
Courtline Jester was a star in Singapore and Malaysia, and his string of big wins featured two editions of the Singapore Derby. Knight Line Dancer was a stakes-placed winner in England, but he got his best results in Italy where he won the Group 3 Premio Ambrosiano, the Group 3 Premio Carlo Porta, the Group 3 Premio Ellington, and the Group 3 Premio Federico Tesio.
Their half-sister Bayline Beauty (by Soviet Star) has also done her part for the family as she is the dam of the seven-furlong New Zealand Group 3 scorer The Filly (by Ishiguru), a 10-times winner whose blacktype placings include third in a Group 2 sprint at Te Rapa.
These are the highlights of the first five generations of the pedigree – Northern Gem's grandam Claudette (by Chanteur) is the seventh dam of Tis Marvellous - and although there is some middle-distance stamina on the page, this afternoon's big winner represents a speed branch of the line.
Tis Marvellous looked very good at Maisons-Laffitte, he could become a Group 1 winner by the end of the year, and he has the potential to become a leading three-year-old sprinter and Commonwealth Cup contender in 2017.
Mehmas caught the eye when he made a winning debut over five furlongs at Chester in early May. The performance came just a few weeks after he fetched 170,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale, and although by a stallion often associated with speed and precocity, the distaff side of his family paints a very different picture.
With what Al Shaqab Racing's Richard Hannon-trained colt has achieved since, it is clear that he is very much his father's son rather than typical of his dam's relations, and it is going to be very interesting to see how his career turns out.
Just nine days after his debut, he turned up at Newbury where he beat Global Applause by three and a quarter lengths over six furlongs. The pair met again 12 days later, in the Listed National Stakes over five furlongs at Sandown, and this time the placings were reversed.
Mehmas returned to the longer trip at Ascot in June, where he chased home Caravaggio in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, and he confirmed his position as one of the best juveniles seen out so far this year when beating Intelligence Cross by half a length in the Group 2 Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
In post-race interviews, Hannon noted the colt's size and said that unless the bay grows by another couple of inches he would be likely to struggle next year. A busy two-year-old campaign is likely, therefore, and the Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes at Goodwood is due to be his next port of call.
As a Group 2-winning son of Rathbarry Stud stallion Acclamation (by Royal Applause), it is likely that Mehmas has already done enough to start attracting interest in a potential stud career of his own, and not just because of his speed and precocity. He is by the sire of leading sire Dark Angel, who did not race beyond his juvenile season, and of Equiano, the dual Group 1 King's Stand Stakes star who has made a promising start to his stallion career. Acclamation's sons also include Harbour Watch, an unbeaten colt who did not run after winning the Group 2 Richmond Stakes and whose first juveniles are winning this season.
If Mehmas runs or stars only as a two-year-old then that would make him a somewhat unusual member of his family. The best of several winners out of an unraced mare called Lucina (by Machiavellian), he was bred by Epona Bloodstock Ltd and his dam is a half-sister to 10 winners, four of whom deserve mention.
Lundy's Lane (by Darshaan) was runner-up in the Group 3 Craven Stakes and third in the Group 1 Derby Italiano, Rugged Cross (by Cape Cross) is a pattern-placed stakes winner in Australia, and the prolific Blue Monday (by Darshaan), who won two editions of the Group 3 Arc Trial at Newbury, was third in both the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes and Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes.
The fourth notable sibling is Jakarta (by Machiavellian). A full-sister to Lucina, she won just once, the best of her progeny is the Group 2-placed Puggy (by Mark Of Esteem), and that filly is the one who gave us the French champion Avenir Certain (by Le Havre).
Placed in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet and in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes on her final two starts last year, that Jean-Claude Rouget-trained bay was unbeaten at two and extended her winning run to six when taking the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 2 Prix de la Nonette in 2014.
Lunda (by Soviet Star), the grandam of Mehmas, was unplaced in three starts, but six of her siblings were winners and five of those were blacktype horses. Indeed, four members of that quintet were considerably more than just that bare description.
Luana (by Shaadi) won three times, earned her bold type when finishing third in the Listed Bentinck Stakes at Newmarket, and the best of her progeny are the Group 3 Jockey Club Cup scorer Tastahil (by Singspiel) and his half-brother Hattan (by Halling). That colt won the Group 3 Chester Vase, the Group 3 Winter Derby and the Group 3 September Stakes, he was only beaten by a nose by Sudan in the Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano, chased home Cherry Mix in the Group 1 Premio Roma, and was placed in a string of other pattern events.
Her half-sister Cloud Castle (by In The Wings) won the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes, was only beaten by three-parts of a length by Leggera in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and was third to Catchascatchcan in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks. Although neither performance counted for blacktype, it is, nonetheless, worth noting that this Clive Brittain-trained bay finished fourth in both the 1000 Guineas and Oaks.
Cloud Castle went on to produce a string of winners at stud, including the Listed scorers Reverie Solitaire (by Nashwan) and Urban Castle (by Street Cry) and the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes winner Queen's Best (by King's Best).
The three other talented racehorses out of Listed Sweet Solera Stakes winner Lucayan Princess (by High Line) were all well-known colts. Needle Gun (by Sure Blade) won the Group 2 Gallinule Stakes and Group 3 Meld Stakes, he was runner-up in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes, and got some winners as a National Hunt sire, most notably the dual listed-chase scorer Yes Sir.
Luso (by Salse), who won the Group 1 Derby Italiano, Group 1 Deutschlandpreis and two editions of the Group 1 Aral-Pokal, went on to become a good sire of staying chasers with dual Grade A Thyestes Chase winner Preists Leap, Grade 2 winner and Cheltenham Festival scorer Chicago Grey, and the tragically ill-fated Grade A Irish Grand National hero Hear The Echo his standout performers.
Warrsan (by Caerleon) was the most popular member of the family, and arguably the most talented. Saeed Manana's homebred globetrotter was trained by Clive Brittain, he won the Group 1 Coronation Cup as a five-year-old, beat Doyen easily in the same race 12 months later, followed that with victory in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden and, at the age of seven, won a second edition of that 12 furlong prize, this time beating dual Group 1 star Gonbarda by one and a quarter lengths.
He won nine of his 43 starts, was placed in 13, earned over £1.65 million, and he ran in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Dubai, Hong Kong and Japan. He was retired in April 2006, at the age of eight, but before a stud place could be arranged for him he died from what was reported as “complications resulting from a tumour.”
There are also two unraced daughters of Lucayan Princess who have made a contribution to the family's reputation.
Mantesera (by In The Wings), a full-sister to Cloud Castle, is the dam of the Group 3 Winter Derby winner Nideeb (by Exceed And Excel) and of Suegioo (by Manduro), a gelding who was third in the Ebor Handicap and in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup last year year and runner-up in the Group 3 Henry II Stakes in May. He was unplaced behind Pamona in a listed contest over 14 furlongs at York this afternoon.
Maskunah (by Sadler's Wells) is responsible for the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes winner Laaheb (by Cape Cross), for the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes runner-up Ruwaiyan (by Cape Cross) and also for Guarantia (by Selkirk), a stakes-placed seven-furlong winner whose three-year-old daughter Certified (by Raven's Pass) maintained her unbeaten record with a three-length score over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton on Tuesday.
If Mehmas grows and if he has inherited anything of the stamina from the distaff side of his family, then it is possible that he could be potential Guineas colt. But his precocity and demonstrated talent is such that what he may have got from his dam is, instead, some of that speed associated with her sire and broodmare sire – Machiavellian (by Mr Prospector) and Soviet Star (by Nureyev).
If this is the case, and if his trainer's concerns about his potential to grow taller do materialise, then it could be that something like the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes may represent his ultimate peak performance on the track, before what could be a busy career at stud.
Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) was one of the greatest stallions of all time, a prolific champion sire whose influence is carried on, around the world, by his many male and female descendants. A total of 294 of his progeny won at least one blacktype contest, but of them one achieved something unique.
His offspring were milers, middle-distance horses and stayers, some were notable two-year-olds, but among three-year-olds and upwards only one was a sprinter.
The David Wachman-trained filly began her career with three juvenile starts over seven furlongs, was unplaced each time she tried further, and in an 11-race career she made the frame just twice. The first time was her victory in the prestigious Birdcatcher Nursery over six furlongs at Naas and the second was her neck win in the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes over six furlongs at Leopardstown the following summer.
This race record made Evie Stockwell's filly Liscanna a fascinating broodmare prospect.
Such pace was rare in a son or daughter of Sadler's Wells, and those for whom the eight to 10 furlong range was optimal, speed was strongly evident in the distaff side of their pedigree.
The Irish 2000 Guineas and Breeders' Cup Mile hero Barathea, for example, could have won good sprints if asked to try them after his close fourth to Owington in the Group 1 July Cup, but aside from his two winning runs over seven as a two-year-old, it was the only time he raced over less than a mile.
Liscanna is a daughter of Lahinch, an Aidan O'Brien-trained Danehill Dancer (by Danehill) filly who won three of 11 starts. She made her debut in the Group 3 Debutante Stakes over seven furlongs, finishing last, was then fourth in a six-furlong listed contest, and got off the mark at the third attempt, a maiden over five furlongs.
She was a well-beaten fourth behind Queen's Logic in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes the following month, won a listed contest by four lengths over the minimum trip at Tipperary just five days later, and was then beaten by just a head in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket. A listed success over the same trip at Leopardstown the following April was the only time that she made the frame in five starts that season.
Her half-brother Perugino Bay (by Perugino) won twice over the minimum trip as a juvenile, was third to Pipalong in the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy over six furlongs, and then failed by a neck to take the Listed Doncaster Stakes over the same trip on his final start that season. The 107-rated colt was third to Enrique in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs the following spring.
Liscanna's half-brother The Bogberry (by Hawk Wing) stayed further than she did, getting his best win in the Group 3 Kilternan Stakes over 10 furlongs. He was runner-up in the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt over the same trip, third in the Group 2 Prix Dollar over a half-furlong less, and was only beaten by about a length when fourth to Doctor Dino in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase over a mile and a half.
Her half-sister Lahinch Classics is a little more closely related to her than he is, because she is a daughter of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells); they could be described as being three-parts sisters. That filly did not race beyond the 10 and a half furlongs of her maiden success at Dundalk and she earned her blacktype when a neck runner-up to Volume in a 10-furlong listed contest at Newbury, and again when short-headed by Mango Diva in the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes over nine at the Curragh.
Liscanna has five progeny of racing age and her three-year-old, two-year-old and yearling are all by Claiborne Farm's star stallion War Front (by Danzig), which makes them inbred 2x5 to Danzig, 3x3 to Northern Dancer and 4x5 to Forli. The eldest of that trio is the unbeaten Grade 1 winner Hit It A Bomb and his juvenile sister is the recent Group 3 Albany Stakes heroine Brave Anna, both of whom are trained by Aidan O'Brien.
Hit It A Bomb made his debut over seven furlongs at the Curragh in late September, followed-up with an easy listed success over the same trip at Dundalk and then took the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile at Keeneland in late October. He has not been seen in action yet in 2016, but his string of big race entries includes next month's Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, for which he is available at around 12/1. Timeform rate him 119p.
Brave Anna was unplaced in the five furlong maiden won by Roly Poly at Naas in April, but won over six furlongs at the Curragh before her short-head pattern success at Ascot. She is quicker and more precocious than her brother, which raises a question as to how far she will stay. He appears to be a miler who could stay 10 furlongs, but she may be a sprinter, perhaps a potential Group 1 Commonwealth Cup candidate in 2017 rather than a classic one.
Timeform have Brave Anna on 105p, her entries feature the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes and the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, and it is going to be interesting to see how the careers of both siblings turn out.