If asked, in mid-August, to name the colt likely to end up champion two-year-old, many shortlists would have included Expert Eye, Unfortunately, or Sioux Nation. We're almost at that point now, but the one who may top the rankings would surely not have been on anyone's list.
By that time, U S Navy Flag had run seven times, beaten in his first four starts, then a Curragh maiden winner in first-time blinkers before chasing home Cardsharp in the Group 2 Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket and then taking fourth to Sioux Nation, Beckford, and Actress in the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes.
Since then, however, the Aidan O'Brien-trained son of War Front (by Danzig) has run three times and won all three, and he is due to round off his year with a try on dirt in tomorrow's Grade 1 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile over a eight and a half furlongs at Del Mar.
Just a fortnight after his Phoenix Stakes run, he put up a surprisingly good performance to win the Group 3 Plusvital Round Tower Stakes by six lengths from Landshark, on ground described as yielding. It is fair to say that it was not a particularly strong race for the grade, but he could hardly have been more impressive.
Even so, he was not the stable's first string in the following month's Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes. But Sioux Nation disappointed in sixth there, just ahead of another Ballydoyle runner, Declarationofpeace, while U S Navy Flag stayed on well to beat the other Aidan O'Brien-trained runner Fleet Review by half a length.
It gave the trainer and the sire a one-two in England's top juvenile six-furlong contest, and the pair finished two and a quarter lengths clear of the third, Cardsharp.
This was still not enough to put the colt at the top of the rankings, but then he beat his stable companions Mendelssohn, Seahenge and Threeandfourpence – by two and a half lengths, two and a half lengths, and a head – in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, with old rival Cardsharp another length and a half back in fifth.
Timeform raised his rating to 123, the highest figure awarded to any juvenile this year. The runner-up advertised the form with victory in tonight's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile at Del Mar, and both colts look like leading classic contenders for 2018.
With 10 races already behind him – and his 11th start of the year due tomorrow – there may not be much improvement still to come from U S Navy Flag, but that does not mean that he cannot win a Guineas.
If, however, you look at the amount of improvement he has made since mid-August, factor in that his best performance came when stepping up to seven furlongs and that, on pedigree, he's bred to be a miler who could stay 10 furlongs, then there is a chance that we have not yet seen the best that he can do.
Regardless of how he fares as a three-year-old, however, U S Navy Flag will likely be a popular addition to the Coolmore stallion team whenever his racing days come to an end and not just because he's a multiple top-level juvenile winner by Claiborne Farm's excellent sire War Front (by Danzig).
For starters, he is the third foal of Coolmore's top-class runner Misty For Me (by Galileo), the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine who trounced Midday by six lengths in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at the Curragh, and he was bred by the syndicate that bears her name.
That makes him a half-brother to the US mile Grade 3 winner Cover Song (by Fastnet Rock) and a full-brother to his Timeform 120-rated fellow Ballydoyle resident Roly Poly, whose most recent of three Group 1 wins came in last month's Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes, in which she beat subsequent Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes heroine Persuasive by a length and a quarter.
She ran eight times at two – winning the Group 3 Grangecon Stakes and Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and being short-headed by Brave Anna in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes – and when she lines up for tomorrow night's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar, it will be for her ninth start of the year.
In addition to the aforementioned Newmarket feature, her Group 1 wins have come in the Falmouth Stakes on the July Course at Newmarket, in which she beat Wuheida by one and a quarter lengths, and in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville, where she beat the sadly ill-fated Via Ravenna by a short-neck.
She has been unplaced three times this year, but chased home Timeform 124-rated grey Winter – another Aidan O'Brien trainee – in both the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Coronation Stakes.
Just these credentials would be more than enough to make the case that U S Navy Flag could be a high-class miler or 10-furlong horse in the making, but these star relations are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
Misty For Me is a full-sister to the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Ballydoyle, who chased home Minding in both the Group 1 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas last year, and she is out of Butterfly Cove (by Storm Cat), who is an unraced half-sister to the unbeaten juvenile Group 1 sprint star Fasliyev (by Nureyev).
He compiled a respectable record at stud, getting stakes and pattern winners among a long list of successful runners, and the same can be said of his dam's half-brothers Desert Wine (by Damascus) and Menifee (by Harlan).
How U S Navy Flag performs in tomorrow's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile may give us a hint as to the future direction of his racing career. If he handles the dirt and can make the frame then perhaps a Grade 1 Kentucky Derby bid might be on the cards, rather than the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
It is rare that two-year-old fillies will take on the colts in a Group 1 contest, especially when there's a fillies-only equivalent of the race, but the Aidan O'Brien-trained Happily bucked the trend when beating Olmedo and Masar in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) over a mile on soft ground at Chantilly recently.
She stayed on well, hit the front inside the final half-furlong, and landed the spoils by one and quarter lengths and a short-neck. It was her second top-level win in the space of a three weeks, having short-headed her stable companion Magical in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh.
Three weeks before that again, she had finished a one and quarter-length runner-up to Magical in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes, also at the Curragh, and that came a similar amount of time after she had trounced her rivals by five lengths and more in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown.
In all, Happily has a record of four wins and one second from six starts, with her only time out of the frame being when well-beaten behind her stable companion September on their debut in early June.
She was due to run in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket – a race in which Laurens pipped September by a nose – but missed the engagement due to a temperature. Her final outing of the season could come at Del Mar as she is engaged in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, also over a mile.
Happily was bred by Orpendale and Chelston Ireland, she is a daughter of Coolmore Stud's great stallion Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and she is the fifth foal out of the Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes winner You'resothrilling (by Storm Cat).
That mare is only 12 but already she established herself as one of the world's elite broodmares. She is a full-sister to the famously tough six-time Group 1 star and multiple US champion sire Giant's Causeway – which always gave her the potential to make an impact – and her juvenile star is her third Group 1 winner.
Indeed, all five of her foals of racing age have been Group 1 performers, which is remarkable, and they are all by Galileo.
Marvellous won the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas; popular young Coolmore stallion Gleneagles took the Group 1 National Stakes, Group 1 2000 Guineas, Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas and Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes; Coolmore won the Group 3 C L & M F Weld Park Stakes and finished third in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational; and Taj Majal, who is awaiting his first blacktype success, was runner-up in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in August.
In addition to Giant's Causeway, the mare's siblings also include Group 2 Cork and Orrery Stakes third and leading New York-based stallion Freud (by Storm Cat), several other blacktype performers and sires, and two fillies who have each made a notable contribution at stud.
Love Me Only (by Sadler's Wells) is the dam of Storm The Stars (by Sea The Stars), the dual Derby-placed Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes winner who also made the frame in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris.
Pearling, on the other hand, is a full-sister to You'resothrilling and her star son is the Timeform 126-rated Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and Group 1 Jebel Hatta hero Decorated Knight (by Galileo).
They are all out of the Grade 1-placed dual Grade 2 winner Mariah's Storm (by Rahy) – a daughter of Grade 3 scorer Immense (by Roberto) – and the half-sister to Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt winner and Grade 1 Rothman's International Stakes runner-up Panoramic (by Rainbow Quest) can rightfully be considered to be one of the most influential mares of the modern era.
Happily is one of the best of her age group – rated 116p by Timeform – and there is every reason to hope that she can continue at the top in 2018. The Guineas races look like obvious targets. Whether or not she will stay 12 furlongs remains to be seen – it is entirely possible – but 10 furlongs looks all but guaranteed given her family connections.
Late Ashford Stud stallion Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg) has been all the rage with European buyers these past few years and the Coolmore team have bought several of his high-priced yearlings.
These include Seahenge, an Aidan O'Brien-trained juvenile currently rated 112 and who could develop into a classic prospect in 2018. The bay was bred by K & G Stables in Kentucky and he is a $750,000 graduate of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
He made a narrow winning debut over six furlongs at Naas in early July and was then pitched straight into pattern company. His first attempt was disappointing – he was beaten by a total of eight lengths when finishing fifth behind the exciting Expert Eye in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes over seven at Goodwood – but then put up two better performances.
He came from last to first to wear down Hey Gaman in the Group 2 Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes over the same trip at Doncaster, getting to the front near the line to score by a neck. Then he finished a five-length third to his stable companions U S Navy Flag and Mendelssohn in yesterday afternoon's Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
The best-known of Scat Daddy's offspring in this part of the world include the sprint stars Acapulco, Caravaggio, Lady Aurelia and No Nay Never, and his current two-year-old crop features Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes scorer Sioux Nation and the aforementioned Mendelssohn.
Their records may lead some to presume that Seahenge might also be a sprinter in the making, but across the Atlantic the late stallion is most usually associated with those who excel in the seven to 10-furlong range in the USA and with classic horses in South America.
We already know that the colt stays seven furlongs and, given that his dam Fools In Love (by Not For Love) – who was a listed scorer over that trip – won at up to eight and a half furlongs, suggests that he will stay the Guineas distance. Whether or not he will be good enough to make the frame in a Group 1 classic, of course, is another matter, but it would be no surprise to see him make the necessary improvement.
His dam has made a promising start to her stud career as each of her first three foals is a blacktype horse, with the elder pair – Urban Bourbon (by City Zip) and Frank's Folly (by Mineshaft) – both placed at that level. Her fourth foal is an Exchange Rate (by Danzig) colt who made $150,000 in Keeneland last month.
The mare is among six winners out of triple scorer Parlez (by French Deputy), which makes her a full-sister to a high-earning listed race winner and half-sister to Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes winner International Star (by Fusaichi Pegasus), and she is out of Speak Halory (by Verbatim), a stakes-placed half-sister to several horses of note.
Halory Hunter (by Jade Hunter) won the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes, finished third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and fourth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, while $6.4 million yearling and former Ballydoyle trainee Van Nistelrooy (by Storm Cat) took the Group 2 Futurity Stakes, was runner-up in the Group 1 National Stakes and third in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes.
Their siblings Brushed Halory, Key Lory and Prory all won at Grade 3 level, and their one-time successful half-sister Miss Halory did her part for the family by coming up with the ill-fated eight and a half-furlong Grade 3 scorer Stormalory (by Storm Cat).
As a Group 1-placed Group 2 winner from his first four starts, Seahenge has shown ability and potential. He is inbred 5x3x3 to Mr Prospector (by Raise a Native) and bred to be a high-class miler so it will be interesting to see how he gets on next year.
Yeomanstown Stud stallion Dark Angel (by Acclamation) wasted little time in establishing himself as one of Europe's leading sires and he has another high-class representative in Juliet Capulet, the John Gosden-trained juvenile who narrowly won the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes last Friday.
The stud also bred this March-foaled bay, they sold her for €235,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale and she races in the colours of another famous stallion base and elite breeding operation: Cheveley Park Stud.
She just held on from the staying-on Nyaleti to land the spoils at Newmarket, this was only her second win from six starts, she was a longshot when runner-up to Tajaanus in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes on her previous outing, and Timeform has rated her 105.
Five of her runs have been over seven furlongs, and it will be interesting to see how she gets on if stepping up to a mile, but with the amount of speed in her family it would be no surprise to see her prove best over six furlongs next year.
Dark Angel is often immediately associated with sprinters, but he has also proved his ability to get milers and it would be no surprise to see him get at least one classic or other Group 1 winner over that trip.
But Juliet Capulet is a full-sister to the stakes-placed Irish sprinter Juliette Fair, she is out of six-furlong winner Capulet Monteque (by Camacho) and her dam is a half-sister to the stakes-winning sprinters Ascot Family (by Desert Style) and Flanders (by Common Grounds).
The former is the dam of Group 2 Prix Robert Papin winner and Group 1 Prix Morny runner-up Family One (by Dubai Destination), while Flanders, who was runner-up in the Group 2 King's Stand Stakes, is a broodmare of considerable note.
Her star son G Force (by Tamayuz) won the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock, earning a Timeform rating of 126, but sadly proved sterile at stud, was gelded, and returned to training. Her star daughter, on the other hand, was not only a Grade 3 scorer on the track but she, Louvain (by Sinndar), has produced the champion Flotilla (by Mizzen Mast).
Her title came as a juvenile, when she was the joint top-rated filly in France and won the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf at Santa Anita. The following spring she added the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) at Longchamp.
Capulet Monteque's siblings also include an unplaced filly who has made a significant contribution to the distaff line's reputation as she, Ascot Family's full-sister Land Army, is the dam of Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Group 1 July Cup hero Lethal Force (by Dark Angel).
That Timeform 128-rated grey stands at Cheveley Park Stud and has made a promising start with his first crop of juveniles, especially considering that his racing profile would suggest that the best of them may show their full talent at three and four years of age rather than demonstrate precocity.
Juliet Capulet is closely related to Lethal Force and that makes what she has achieved so far eye-catching. It's not impossible, on pedigree, that she could stay a mile at three, or prove best at the seven furlongs over which she has competed so far, but, as noted above, it would be interesting to see how she might get on if dropping back in trip in 2018.
Godolphin's homebred juvenile Sound And Silence (by Exceed And Excel) showed plenty of talent in his first six starts, winning the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Ascot in June and the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes at York before failing by half a length to beat Rimini in the Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg at Chantilly.
All of these performances were over five furlongs, but the one that marked him down as a potential major league player came when he stepped up in trip, handling both six furlongs and heavy ground to take the Group 3 Prix Eclipse by three lengths.
Part of what makes his record particularly eye-catching is that he is bred to be a miler and that will make him an interesting prospect in 2018. Will he go to the likes of the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup and Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes next season, or might he step up to a mile at some point, or even try both paths?
He is a son of the Australian sprint star and outstanding shuttle stallion Exceed And Excel (by Danehill), a horse whose European stars, among a global tally of 10 Group 1 winners, include the brilliant miler Excelebration, and he is out of an unraced mare called Veil Of Silence (by Elusive Quality).
She is by a record-breaking sprinter and US champion sire and classic sire whose best winners have come over a variety of distances, and she is out of Gossamer (by Sadler's Wells), the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas-winning full-sister to Barathea.
He showed a lot of pace when finishing a close fourth to Owington in the Group 1 July Cup but, of course, was best known for being a classic star who crowned his racing career with victory in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile.
Barathea then went on to be a successful stallion – getting high-class sprinters, milers and middle-distance horses – and his achievements augur well for the future prospects of Sound And Silence, should that young colt earn a berth at stud whenever his days on the track come to an end.
Gossamer is also a half-sister to the pattern-winning miler Zabar (by Dancing Brave) and to the notably successful broodmare Free At Last (by Shirley Heights), she is the dam of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy scorer Ibn Khaldun (by Dubai Destination), and she is a daughter of the Group 1 Prix de la Foret heroine Brocade (by Habitat).
That notable sister – Free At Last – won the Listed Somerville Tattersall Stakes at two, finished fourth behind Salsabil in the Group 1 1000 Guineas, and then went on to be a dual Grade 1-placed pattern scorer before going to stud.
Her Grade 1-placed daughter Coretta (by Caerleon) won the Grade 2 Long Island Handicap, Grade 2 Orchid Handicap and Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap, and her best son, Mikado (by Sadler's Wells), was a dual listed scorer and finished fifth in the Group 1 St Leger when trained by Aidan O'Brien.
So far, Sound And Silence has shown a lot of speed and precocity, but with such apparent improvement coming when he stepped up to six furlongs, his potential options look wider now than they did before.
Leading international sire Exceed And Excel (by Danehill) is one of the best of the reverse shuttle stallions and Darley's Kildangan Stud team member has another promising prospect in James Garfield, the George Scott-trained colt who won the recent Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.
He took that six-furlong contest by three-parts of a length from Invincible Army, with Nebo another half-length back in third, and this trio finished three and half lengths clear of the fourth, which is a good sign.
This was his second win from six starts, he was still a maiden when taking third of 22 in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in June – which was won by Sound And Silence – he was not disgraced when fourth to the exciting Expert Eye in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, and then failed by the narrowest of margins to beat Wells Farhh Go in the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York.
The latter two events are over seven furlongs and, although he is the son of a sprint star, that stallion has got his top winners over a range of distances and the colt comes from a distaff line that features an eye-catching mix of speed and stamina.
Homebred by owner Bill Gredley's Stetchworth & Middle Park Studs, James Garfield is the best of several winners out of Listed Chesham Stakes scorer Whazzat (by Daylami). Those include the stakes-placed miler The Shrew (by Dansili), but his siblings also include Unaided (by Dansili), an unplaced filly who has a notable daughter running in the USA this year.
That filly is the Chad Brown-trained three-year-old Uni (by More Than Ready) and she was a nine-furlong listed scorer in France before crossing the Atlantic where her three runs have showed an upward progression.
She was third to New Money Honey in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes over 10 furlongs in early July, then runner-up in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes over nine at Saratoga before, just a week before her young relation's Newbury success, she beat La Coronel by a neck in the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes back at Belmont, again over nine furlongs.
Whazzat is a half-sister to the Italian Group 3 scorer Whazzis (by Desert Prince) but her dam, Wosaita (by Generous) is a daughter of Eljazzi (by Artaius) and that makes James Garfield another talented relation of a famous and stallion-producing family.
Eljazzi is the dam of the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) heroine Rafha (by Kris) and so is the grandam of Group 1 star Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert), of his blacktype-placed half-brother Kodiac (by Danehill), and of Group 2-placed stakes winner and notable broodmare Massarra (by Danehill).
The first-named pair are important European sires and, indeed, Invincible Spirit is showing signs of having a lasting impact on the breed as a growing number of his sons and daughters are doing well at stud.
Massarra, on the other hand, is the dam of Group 1 Gran Criterium winner Nayarra (by Cape Cross), of additional juvenile blacktype scorers Cuff (by Galileo) and Wonderfully (by Galileo), and of that pair's full-brother Gustav Klimt who won the Group 2 bet365 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, beating the aforementioned Nebo by a head.
Eljazzi is also responsible for Chiang Mai (by Sadler's Wells), the Group 2 Blandford Stakes-winning dam of Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes star Chinese White (by Dalakhani), and for Al Anood (by Danehill), the Australian-born dam of juvenile Group 1 star and young Coolmore reverse shuttle stallion Pride Of Dubai (by Street Cry).
It is no surprise that Eljazzi proved to be such a good broodmare as this daughter of Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Border Bounty (by Bounteous) was a half-sister to the Petingo-sired (by Petition) trio of Group 1-placed Group 2 Blandford Stakes winner Valley Forge, classic-placed pattern scorer and leading sire Pitcairn, and Dingle Bay, the mare who gave us the Group 1-winning stayer and successful National Hunt sire Assessor (by Niniski).
James Garfield earned a Timeform rating of 111 for his Group 2 success, which puts him some way short of the best of his age group, but he is clearly a talented colt and, with his family connections, it is possible that he can progress further and prove effective at a mile next year.
Juvenile champion and classic star New Approach (by Galileo) made a lightning-quick start to his stallion career and, in addition to Royal Ascot two-year-olds, his first crop included champion and 2000 Guineas ace Dawn Approach and Oaks heroine Talent.
His current Group 1 tally stands at six and this is a list to which Masar could add his name at some point. Godolphin's homebred has won two of his four starts, including a two-length defeat of Romanised in last month's Group 3 BetBright Solario Stakes at Sandown, and he finished third to Happily and Olmedo in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) over a mile at Chantilly yesterday.
The ground was fast when he finished third to September in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Ascot in June, good when he won at Sandown, and soft in France, and his ability to perform on a variety of surfaces should stand him in good stead.
Masar is the second foal out of Group 2 UAE Derby heroine Khawlah (by Cape Cross), and that half-sister to Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano winner and Group 1 Jebel Hatta runner-up Vancouverite (by Dansili) is out of Villarrica (by Selkirk), a mare who is related to some of the most famous throughbreds of the modern era.
Her immediate relations are her pattern-winning half-brothers Masterstroke (by Monsun) and Moonlight Magic (by Cape Cross) and her Group 2-placed, stakes-winning half-sister Hidden Gold (by Shamardal), and they are all out of Melikah (by Lammtarra), the dual Oaks-placed daughter of Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine and phenomenal broodmare Urban Sea (by Miswaki).
This makes Masar inbred 3x4 to one of the greatest broodmares of all time, the matriarch who gave us Galileo (by Sadler's Wells), Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) and their Group/Grade 1-winning siblings Black Sam Bellamy (by Sadler's Wells) and My Typhoon (by Giant's Causeway), and whose many notable descendants include her Group 1 Irish Oaks-winning granddaughter Bracelet (by Montjeu).
Urban Sea's half-brother King's Best (by Kingmambo) won the Group 1 2000 Guineas before going on to become a classic sire, her three-parts brother Tertullian (by Miswaki) has sired a Group 1 winner, and the stallions who also descend from her dam, Allegretta (by Lombard), include the Group 1 winners and Group 1 sires Anabaa Blue (by Anabaa) and Tamayuz (by Nayef).
If you go back another generation then you find a branch that leads to Group 1 Deutsches Derby star and leading German sire Adlerflug (by In The Wings), among others of note, and the record of stallions from this distaff line will make Masar a promising prospect should he prove worthy of a berth at stud some day.
The plethora of talented horses in the family also include this year's Group 2-winning fillies Tusked Wings (by Adlerflug) and Armande (by Sea The Stars), both of whom also show inbreeding to mares from this female line.
Right now, Masar is just a Group 1-placed, pattern-winning juvenile whom Timeform rated 110p after Sandown. As you would expect, he holds classic entries and, with his pedigree, he promises to become a leading contender for the best eight to 12-furlong contests of 2018.
Godolphin's homebred Wild Illusion gave her sire a second consecutive winner of the Group 1 Total Prix Marcel Boussac - Criterium des Pouliches when beating Polydream and Mission Impassible by one and a half lengths and a head over a mile at Chantilly this afternoon.
Twelve months ago, the same connections struck with the subsequently classic-placed chestnut Wuheida and, along with South African colt Willow Magic, these three are the only juveniles among the 33 top-level winners sired by Dalham Hall Stud's outstanding stallion Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium).
She made a winning debut over a mile at Yarmouth in August, which she won by two and a half lengths, and then finished third to Soustraction and Efaadah in the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale at Chantilly.
The ground was soft that day, as it was this afternoon, but good-to-firm on her debut, and an eye-catching aspect of her defeat was that there was an eight-length gap back to the fourth.
Wild Illusion is a half-sister to Really Special (by Shamardal) who won the Listed Montrose Fillies' Stakes over a mile at Newmarket last year, finished third in a seven-furlong listed contest at Meydan in February, but was tailed off in the Listed Sandringham Handicap at Ascot on her only subsequent start.
They are the first two foals out of the Listed Ballymacoll Stud Stakes winner Rumh (by Monsun), and with the way she won at Chantilly, it can be expected that Wild Illusion will, like her dam, stay 10 furlongs.
Her grandam, Royal Dubai (by Dashing Blade), won the Group 3 Preis der Winterkonigin and was the joint-champion German juvenile filly of 2002, and she is a half-sister to Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes heroine Royal Highness (by Monsun), who could be described as being a three-parts sister to Rumh.
That German-bred star began her career in Europe, where she won the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret and was placed in both the Group 1 Prix Ganay and two editions of the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and her successful offspring include Free Port Lux (by Oasis Dream), the Group 2 Prix Dollar and Group 2 Prix Hocquart scorer who took up stallion duties this year at Haras de Cercy.
Reem Dubai (by Nashwan), the third dam of Wild Illusion, was only placed but is a half-sister to Elbaaha (by Arazi), the mare who gave us the pattern-placed stakes winner Grigorieva (by Woodman) and the top-class but tragically ill-fated Electrocutionist (by Red Ransom).
He won the Group 1 Dubai World Cup, Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes and Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano, he was runner-up in each of the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes and Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club, and he took third place in the Grade 1 Canadian International Stakes, but died of a heart attack in early September of his five-year-old season.
Electrocutionist was rated 125 by Timeform at the age of three and 127 at both four and five, but he is not the most highly rated member of the family.
Reem Dubai was out of Group 3 Prix de Flore scorer Gesedeh (by Ela-Mana-Mou) and that chestnut was, in turn, out of Le Melody (by Arctic Slave), which made her a half-sister to the great Arc-placed dual Group 1 Gold Cup star Ardross (by Run The Gantlet), one of the greatest stayers of all time. Timeform rated him 134.
There are many other notable horses in this famous family, including all of those descended from Le Melody's Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas-winning half-sister Arctique Royale (by Royal And Regal), but their connection to Wild Illusion is remote.
Godolphin's newest rising star could be an Oaks or Prix de Diane (French Oaks) filly in 2018 and, with her pedigree, there is every reason to hope that she could also make an impact at stud, whenever her racing days come to an end.
Fifteen years ago, the Henry Candy-trained filly Airwave sprang a minor surprise when beating subsequent classic star Russian Rhythm by a length and a half in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.
She had won two of her previous four starts, including a listed contest at Ayr, and she went on to become a high-class sprinter, beating Repertory by three lengths in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Sandown the following May, failing by just a half-length when runner-up to Choisir in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Ascot, and then taking third in both the Group 1 July Cup and Group 1 Sprint Cup.
Her four-year-old campaign yielded a five-furlong listed success at Ayr and a Group 2 second at Ascot, but rather than be retired to stud, which could have been expected, she crossed the Irish Sea to join the Aidan O'Brien stable and returned to action for a three-race campaign at five.
The best of those performances was her victory the Group 2 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes over a mile at the Curragh and that success, combined with being the daughter of a Group 1-winning miler (Air Express, by Salse), always made it odds on that, depending on their sire, her future progeny would be suited by that trip too.
Airwave, who is a half-sister to the ill-fated Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Jwala (by Oasis Dream), was the first notable horse in the most recent generations of her pedigree, but she and her descendants have elevated the family's standing to elite status, and her granddaughter Clemmie (by Galileo) is a leading classic candidate for 2018 following a trio of major wins at two.
The filly was a half-length third in a Curragh maiden over six furlongs on her debut in late May, was then pitched straight into pattern company for a crack at the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, and her seventh-place finish there behind Different League was promising.
Nine days later she opened her winning account with a two-and-three-quarter-length defeat of Butterscotch in the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes at the Curragh, and it was just 12 days after that when she beat Nyaleti by one and three-quarter lengths in the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.
She missed an intended outing in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes due to the very soft underfoot conditions and so was not seen out again until this afternoon's Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Her old rival Different League briefly looked like posing a serious threat, but Clemmie pulled away in the final furlong, passing the post one and three-quarter lengths clear, with the French filly finishing a length and a half in front of third-placed Madeline.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Clemmie, who was bred by Liberty Bloodstock, is the third foal of Meow (by Storm Cat), a mare who showed some of her dam's speed and precocity.
She ran only at two and only over the minimum trip, she won her maiden by seven lengths, was a neck runner-up to Maqaasid in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, narrowly won a listed contest at the Curragh, and then finished a well-beaten last behind Zebedee in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes.
Her first foal is the twice-placed seven-furlong filly Curlylocks (by Galileo) and her second is Churchill (by Galileo), last year's juvenile champion, Group 1 National Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes hero who added both the Group 1 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas in the spring.
He was runner-up to Ulysses in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York last month and holds an entry in both the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes in three weeks' time.
Clemmie and Churchill are very closely related to Meow's talented siblings Aloof (by Galileo) and Orator (by Galileo), both of whom stay 10 furlongs – the former won the Group 3 Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies' Stakes over nine and a half at Gowran Park, and 10-furlong scorer Orator got his listed race success over a mile in France.
Their ability to handle that trip is likely due to Galileo's influence, with the amount of speed on their distaff side probably keeping that outer stamina limit at 10 and a half furlongs – not that they have been asked to try farther.
She has only run over six furlongs so far, but Clemmie is all but guaranteed to stay a mile and she is clearly a major candidate for next year's classics at that trip. It is likely, but not certain, that she will also get another quarter-mile on top of that, which would give her a wider range of potential Group 1 targets in 2018, and so races such as the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Nassau Stakes could be on her radar too.
Nelson did not get off the mark until his third start, when taking a mile maiden at Leopardstown by three lengths, but he advertised his Group 1 potential on his next outing, with an impressive three-length defeat of Kew Gardens in the Group 3 Willis Towers Watson Champions Juvenile Stakes over the same course and distance.
In doing so he became the second pattern winner from Frankel's (by Galileo) second crop and a fifth blacktype scorer from his dam's first six foals.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained bay was bred by Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt, he is out of the Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine Moonstone (by Dalakhani) and so is a half-brother to listed race winners Nevis (by Dansili) and Stubbs (by Danehill Dancer), to thrice-raced Group 3 Munster Oaks scorer Words (by Dansili), and to US Army Ranger (by Galileo), the Group 3 Chester Vase winner who chased home Harzand in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom last year.
Nelson was sent off an odds-on favourite for the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket this afternoon, and although he briefly looked like landing the prize, he was caught close to the line by the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion, who was extending his unbeaten record to three.
The Curragh classic was the only race that Timeform 119-rated Moonstone won. Her string of blacktype siblings include Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary scorer Cerulean Sky (by Darshaan) – rated 114 by Timeform – and also L'Ancresse (by Darshaan), a filly whose only wins were a maiden and a listed contest but who was runner-up to Vintage Tipple in the Group 1 Irish Oaks and earned her 123 rating from Timeform for her final start, when runner-up to Islington in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Cerulean Sky is the dam of Group 2 Doncaster Cup winner and Group 1 St Leger third Honolulu (by Montjeu), L'Ancresse is the dam of the dual 12-furlong listed scorer Chamonix (by Galileo), and they are all out of the stakes-placed Solo De Lune (by Law Society), as are several other mares of note.
Listed-placed maiden Bywayofthestars (by Danehill) is the dam of Group 3 Chester Vase winner and Group 1 Irish Derby third Orchestra (by Galileo), Hi Ho The Moon (by Be My Guest) is the dam of Grade 2-placed dual listed scorer Latin Love (by Danehill Dancer), and Bright Halo (by Bigstone) is responsible for Group 2-placed stakes winner Nantyglo (by Mark Of Esteem).
Solo De Lune's half-brother Wareed (by Sadler's Wells) won the Group 2 Prix Hubert de Chaudenay, her half-sister Truly A Dream (by Darshaan) won the Grade 2 E.P. Taylor Stakes before going on to become the dam of multiple Grade 1-placed, Group 2 Prix de la Nonette heroine Dream Peace (by Dansili), and they were all out of Truly Special (by Caerleon).
She won the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont, her dam was the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 2 Moyglare Stud Stakes star Arctique Royale (by Royal And Regal), and her siblings featured the middle-distance Group 1-placed Group 2 scorers Russian Snows (by Sadler's Wells) and Modhish (by Sadler's Wells).
They also include one-time scorer Banquise (by Last Tycoon) who made her name at stud, producing the stakes winner Cold Cold Woman (by Machiavellian) and Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup third Robin Hood (by Galileo) and becoming the grandam of the multiple Group 1-placed Group 2 Summer Mile Stakes winner Aljamaaheer (by Dubawi), whose planned stud career was aborted due to infertility.
The fifth dam of Nelson is the Athasi Stakes and Musidora Stakes winner Arctic Melody (by Arctic Slave), which means that Arctique Royale was a half-sister to Le Melody (by Levmoss), dam of the great stayer Ardross (by Run The Gantlet) and of Group 3 scorer and influential broodmare Gesedeh (by Ela-Mana-Mou).
The latter's descendants include the Group/Grade 1 stars Electrocutionist (by Red Ransom), Robertico (by Robellino), and Royal Highness (by Monsun), whereas Ardross became a leading National Hunt stallion whose early flat-bred crops yielded Filia Ardross and Alderbrook, among others of note.
With all of this on the page, Nelson is clearly among the best bred horses in training, and if live up to his potential then he could be a top-class middle-distance horse in the making.
By late 2002, Vindication (by Seattle Slew) looked to have the world at his feet. The $2.15m Fasig-Tipton purchase swept through four juvenile starts unbeaten, culminating in a two and three-quarter-length victory the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which earned him the Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old.
But he never ran again, he took up stallion duties at Hill 'N Dale Farms in Kentucky, and died due to complications from colic after just five seasons. Those he left behind included Grade 2 scorer and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint second Dust And Diamonds, Grade 3 winner and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Broadway's Alibi, Grade 3 winner and Grade 1 Ashland Stakes second Wyomia, and a couple of colts who did well in Ireland.
Free Judgement won the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at two, added the Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes at three, and chased home Canford Cliffs in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas. That €50,000 Goffs Million graduate was trained by Jim Bolger, as was $560,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase Vocalised.
He finished fourth in the maiden won by Sea The Stars at Leopardstown on his debut, won a similar contest over the same course and distance on his only other start that year, and started off his three-year-old campaign in style, winning the Listed Loughbrown Stakes, Group 3 Greenham Stakes and Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes.
He was out of the frame in five subsequent starts, including the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), and he took up stallion duties at Redmondstown Stud the following spring.
Vocalised's fee has been listed as private every year except 2015, when it was said to be €12,500, and his first crop featured the talented filly Steip Amach, who was bred by Jim Bolger and trained by him to win the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes and Group 3 Amethyst Stakes.
She joined the David Smaga team shortly after the latter success and picked up third place in both the Group 1 Prix Rothschild and Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet.
His third crop includes the Bolger-bred and trained Vociferous Marina, who won the Listed Salsabil Stakes over 10 furlongs at Navan in April, and his fourth crop, which contained 55 foals, is headed by Verbal Dexterity.
He too is trained by Bolger, who bred him in partnership with John Corcoran, and he gave his sire a first winner at the highest level when beating Beckford by three and a half lengths in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh on Sunday.
The ground was on the heavy side of soft, there was another two and three-quarter lengths back to third-placed Rostropovich, and an additional four and a half-length gap back to Coat Of Arms in fourth.
Just over two months previously the first two had met in the Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes over a furlong shorter at the same venue – on ground that was the easy side of good – and that day Beckford came out on top by a length. Timeform rated the pair 113p and 109p respectively.
This came three weeks after Verbal Dexterity made his debut, putting up one of the most visually impressive performances by any Irish juvenile in 2017 when storming home by nine and a half lengths over seven furlongs, on soft ground, also at the Curragh.
Verbal Dexterity is the second foal out of Lonrach (by Holy Roman Emperor), who was placed several times, and his grandam is Luminous One (by Galileo), who won once as a three-year-old and earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Eyrefield Stakes over nine furlongs at two.
This might not sound especially promising as a source of a Group 1 star and potential classic contender, but the sires of those mares give a clue that this is a branch of a prolific blacktype family.
The third dam of this rising star is the pattern-placed dual middle-distance stakes winner Smaoineamh (by Tap On Wood), a half-sister to Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and Group 1 King's Stand Stakes star Double Form (by Habitat). The pair were out of Fanghorn (by Crocket), a mare from whom many notable performers descend.
Smaoineamh is the dam of the Listed Silver Flash Stakes winner Luminata (by Indian Ridge), who was placed in both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and that half-sister to Luminous One is also a half-sister to Dathuil (by Royal Academy) and Scribonia (by Danehill).
The former is the Grade 3-placed grandam of Group 3 Brownstown Stakes heroine Tobann (by Teofilo), while the latter is the unraced dam of the pattern-winning fillies Cuis Ghaire and Scintillula and of their Group 1 Coronation Stakes-placed full-sister Gile Na Greine (by Galileo).
Scribonia is also the dam of the pattern-placed stakes winner The Major General (by Galileo), and her unraced full-sister Luminaria has chipped in with dual Listed Carlingford Stakes winner Paene Magnus (by Teofilo).
One of most notable branches of the Fanghorn family is that descended from her triple-winning daughter Gradiva (by Lorenzaccio), the grandam of speedy pattern-placed stakes winner and influential broodmare La Meilleure (by Lord Gayle), who is the dam of classic-placed Group 1 scorer and successful sire Sholokhov (by Sadler's Wells), and of stakes winners Affianced (by Erins Isle), Napper Tandy (by Spectrum), and Zavaleta (by Kahyasi).
La Meilleure's descendants, therefore, include runaway Group 1 Irish Derby hero Soldier Of Fortune (by Galileo) – who, like his pattern-winning full-brother Heliostatic, has sired winners at the highest level – juvenile Group 1 scorer and blacktype sire Intense Focus (by Giant's Causeway), and this season's Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes winner Flight Risk (by Teofilo), among others of note.
Other notable descendants of Fanghorn include juvenile Group 1 stars Eva Luna (by Double Schwartz) and Loch Garman (by Teofilo), Group 3 scorer and blacktype sire Captain Gerrard (by Oasis Dream), classic-placed pattern winner Rehn's Nest (by Authorized), and US Grade 1 heroine Kitten's Dumplings (by Kitten's Joy).
Those horses are remotely connected to Verbal Dexterity, but the ones who appear within the first three generations of his pedigree, combined with what we know about his sire, suggest that he could be a high-class miler in 2017, with the possibility of getting 10 furlongs.
Gustav Klimt missed his intended start in the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, due to a stone bruise, and so we can only speculate as to how he may have fared against the impressive winner of that race, Verbal Dexterity.
He would have been sent off a warm favourite for the seven-furlong contest on the strength of his promising performance at Newmarket two months before, when he overcame trouble in running to get up on the line for a head victory from Nebo in the Group 2 bet365 Superlative Stakes.
Great Prospector was a half-length back in third, with Zaman another three-parts of a length behind in fourth, but Timeform were impressed and rated the Aidan O'Brien-trained juvenile 112p. It was his third start and came 13 days after a maiden victory over the same trip at the Curragh.
Gustav Klimt holds a string of big-race entries so hopefully there will be another chance to assess his potential and to get an idea of how good he might be. What is not in doubt, however, is that he is bred to achieve anything, both on the track and, if he earns the chance, at stud.
The son of prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) was, like many good horses, bred by the partnership of Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt. He is one of five blacktype performers out of Massarra (by Danehill), and she is a stakes-winning half-sister to Group 1 winner and influential stallion Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert).
Indeed, the mare could be described as being a three-parts sister to the Irish National Stud's flag bearer as both Danehill and Green Desert are sons of the phenomenal stallion Danzig (by Northern Dancer).
Massarra won the Listed Empress Stakes at Newmarket and was runner-up in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte so it is no surprise that all four of her stakes winners also achieved the feat at the age of two.
Nayarra (by Cape Cross), an Italian champion at that age, took the Group 1 Gran Criterium, Wonderfully (by Galileo) won the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes, and Cuff (by Galileo) won the Listed Naas Juvenile Sprint Stakes.
Her other blacktype earner is the ill-fated Mars (by Galileo), who finished sixth in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom, third to Dawn Approach in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes, fourth to Al Kazeem in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse, and runner-up in a Group 3 contest at Leopardstown.
In addition to being a sibling of Invincible Spirit, Massarra is a half-sister to the dual middle-distance Group 3 scorer Sadian (by Shirley Heights), to Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes heroine Acts Of Grace (by Bahri), and to the Group 3-placed sprinter Kodiac (by Danehill), a Tally-Ho Stud stallion who has soared through the rankings in recent years.
Her dam, Rafha (by Kris), won the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and is a half-sister to several blacktype-producing mares, most notably Chiang Mai (by Sadler's Wells), the Group 3 Blandford Stakes winner who gave us the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Chinese White (by Dalakhani).
Rafha's stakes-placed daughter Al Anood (by Danehill) is a three-parts sister to Massarra and Kodiac and, in addition to South African Grade 2 scorer and champion stayer Enaad (by High Chaparral), that mare has also given us dual Australian Group 1 star Pride Of Dubai (by Street Cry), a Coolmore shuttle sire whose first European foals will arrive in 2018.
Eljazzi (by Artaius), the winning third dam of Gustav Klimt, was out of Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Border Bounty (by Bounteous) and that made her a half-sister to the pattern scorers Valley Force (by Petingo) and Pitcairn (by Petingo) – the latter a champion sire whose offspring featured the Group 1 stars Cairn Rouge and Ela-Mana-Mou.
Dingle Bay, a full-sister to Pitcairn, did her part for the family by coming up with the dual Group 1-winning stayer and successful National Hunt sire Assessor (by Niniski), and she is the third dam of the pattern-winning middle-distance filly Bible Belt (by Big Bad Bob).
Gustav Klimt's more precocious siblings did not make an impact as three-year-olds, but that does not mean that he will fail to progress. If he lives up to his potential then he may win at the highest level, and if he earns the chance for a stallion career then, with his pedigree, you would expect that he will sire at least a few stakes winners.
The first crop by Banstead Manor Stud's Timeform 147-rated superstar Frankel (by Galileo) had already yielded a double-digit tally of stakes winners by the time his second crop got off the mark in blacktype company, and the juvenile who did the honours for him was the Aidan O'Brien-trained Rostropovich.
Unplaced over seven furlongs at Leopardstown on his racecourse debut in late May, he opened his winning account at Gowran Park a month later but then disappointed when last of three in a slowly-run contest at Naas.
Both that race and his debut were won by the Ger Lyons-trained Camelback, but the Ballydoyle colt got his revenge when the pair met for a third time. Rostropovich was all out to short-head Coat Of Arms in the Group 2 Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh, with another stable companion, Berkeley Square, one and three-quarter lengths back in third, a head in front of Camelback.
Rostropovich, who was bred by Epona Bloodstock Ltd, is a 1,100,000gns graduate of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and he holds a string of big-race entries, including next year's Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Investec Derby.
He is out of the dual seven-furlong winner Tyranny (by Machiavellian) and that makes him a half-brother both to Group 2-placed pattern winner Wilshire Boulevard (by Holy Roman Emperor), who is at stud in Denmark, and to Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner and Coolmore Stud stallion Zoffany (by Dansili).
Zoffany's eldest progeny are four-year-olds and his tally of 13 stakes winners includes classic-placed Group 1 scorer Ventura Storm, juvenile Group 2 winners Foundation, Illuminate, and Waterloo Bridge, Group 2 Mehl-Mulhens Rennen (German 2000 Guineas) victor Knife Edge, and the multiple Group 1-placed, pattern-winning sprinter Washington DC.
Tyranny is a half-sister to Grade 2 Lake Placid Handicap heroine Spotlight (by Dr Fong) and also to Dusty Answer (by Zafonic), the stakes-placed dam of Group 2 Oaks d'Italia runner-up Counterclaim (by Pivotal).
She is out of the Group 3 Prix de la Nonette scorer Dust Dancer (by Suave Dancer) – who is, in turn, out of a one-time juvenile winner named Galaxie Dust (by Blushing Groom) – and Dust Dancer's full-sister Dust Flicker is the dam of Listed National Stakes winner Sweepstake (by Acclamation), a precocious and speedy filly who was later a Grade 3-placed stakes winner over eight and a half furlongs in the USA.
But Dust Dancer also has two half-siblings of note. One is the Group 1-placed middle-distance stakes winner Zimzalabim (by Damister) and the other is Bulaxie (by Bustino), the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes winner and Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio runner-up who went on to become a successful broodmare.
Her daughter Injaad (by Machiavellian), who is somewhat closely related to Tyranny, is the dam of the stakes-winning sprinter Mutamarres (by Green Desert), but the most notable of Bulaxie's offspring is Claxon (by Caerleon).
She won the Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio, she is the dam of Group 1-placed Grade 3 scorer Cassydora (by Darshaan) and of listed race winner Classic Remark (by Dr Fong), and she is the grandam of the pattern winners Ernest Hemingway (by Galileo) and Toulifaut (by Frankel). The first of that latter pair was best at 12-14 furlongs, and the other one won last year's Group 3 Prix d'Aumale over a mile.
All of Rostropovich's races have been over seven furlongs, but with the way he won at the Curragh, combined with his pedigree, there is every reason to hope that he could be effective at a mile to 10 furlongs next season, possibly also staying the mile and a half.
It remains to be seen just how good he is, but if he goes on to win at the highest level then one would expect that he would find a good place at stud, especially if Zoffany continues to produce stakes and pattern winners.
Those who have come into the industry in the past quarter of a century may be so used to seeing large books of mares and resulting foal-crop sizes that they could be forgiven for thinking this is how it always was.
But before numbers exploded to these somewhat recent levels, the norm was that a popular flat stallion covered 40 mares in a season, and maybe a few more. There was even some consternation in the 1980s when one high-profile new recruit was to get a book of 50 – hard to believe now.
Times have changed, of course, and so although his first crop of 38 foals would have been normal in the past, it is a number that placed Dalham Hall Stud's Group 1 star Farhh (by Pivotal) at somewhat of a disadvantage in challenging for prominence among the freshman sires of 2017.
He won one of two starts as a juvenile, one from three as a three-year-old, was multiple Group 1-placed at four and only hit his peak at the age of five when he took both the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and Group 1 Champion Stakes.
That is the racing profile of a stallion of whom you'd expect no more than a handful of late-season two-year-old winners, one whose stakes and pattern winners would start to emerge over a mile and upwards at three and beyond.
And yet Farhh's handful of first-crop runners has so far yielded two blacktype horses, one a stakes-placed runner in Italy and the other one being Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes scorer Wells Farhh Go. The colt's only prior outing was in a novice auction event over the same course and distance a month before, a race he won by two and a quarter lengths.
It remains to be seen just what he achieved in getting up on the line to pip James Garfield by a nose, although it is encouraging that the pair finished three and three-quarter lengths clear of third-placed Lansky, a colt who had won a Windsor maiden on his only previous start.
Wells Farhh Go was bred by Maria Marron, he made just €16,000 when sold in Goffs as a foal, and he is trained by Tim Easterby, who picked him up for 16,000gns from Book 3 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
Given that he cost so little yet is by a top-class son of the sire of leading stallions Siyouni and Kyllachy, you might expect that the distaff side of his family is weak, and despite the high-profile horses that appear on the lower half of the page, it is a fair comment.
His third dam is Rosia Bay (by High Top), the dam of Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine Roseate Tern (by Blakeney) and of Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up and four-time European Group 1 star Ibn Bey (by Mill Reef), and so the many smart horses who appear in the branches of that generation of the family include Group 1 Fillies' Mile heroine Red Bloom (by Selkirk) and classic-placed pattern scorer Red Camellia (by Polar Falcon).
The fourth dam is Ouija (by Silly Season), which means that Rosia Bay was a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Teleprompter (by Welsh Pageant) and to Selection Board (by Welsh Pageant) – the mare who gave us the brilliant Ouija Board (by Cape Cross) and her Derby-winning son Australia (by Galileo).
But despite all of this, Wells Farhh Go represents a branch of the family that has been largely unremarkable.
His grandam, Taqreem (by Nashwan), failed to win and although she has produced seven winners from 13 foals – one of whom is his dam Mowazana (by Galileo) – her only blacktype horse is the listed-placed Ma-Arif (by Alzao), a one-time winner whose grandson, Rangali (by Namid), was the only stakes winner in the first two generations of the pedigree until York.
That colt beat Catcall by two lengths in the Group 2 Prix du Gros-Chene in 2014, was a head runner-up to Move In Time in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp later that year, and was beaten a short-neck by Goldream in the same race 12 months later. Now aged six, he has been below par in a trio of stakes races in 2017.
Wells Farhh Go is the sixth foal of his dam, he is a half-brother to several winners, and he holds an entry in the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes later this month. It will be interesting to find out just how good he is, and one could reasonably expect that, on pedigree, he will progress at three and perhaps four years of age, likely proving best at around eight to 10 furlongs.
Yearling sales season is under way and the recent victory of Billesdon Brook in the Group 3 Grosvenor Sport Prestige Stakes over seven furlongs at Goodwood provided two timely advertisements.
One is for her sire, a multiple Group 1 star who has proved his ability to get talented performers at all levels on the flat but who has now completed a first season as a dual-purpose stallion at Castle Hyde Stud.
Champs Elysees (by Danehill) is a full-brother to leading international sire Dansili, his offspring include Group 1 Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris and the classic-placed pattern scorers Jack Naylor and Xcellence, among others of note, and he began his career at Banstead Manor Stud.
But as soon a stallion switches to dual-purpose or National Hunt there is often a tendency to forget that he still has several flat-bred crops to run and that there is no reason why more blacktype horses will not emerge from those.
Billesdon Brook is, of course, a two-year-old. She could be an Oaks candidate in 2018 and, despite being from the family of a Champion Hurdle star, she is flat-bred.
Her success is also timely because it came just days after her half-sister Billesdon Bess (by Dick Turpin) got her first blacktype success, and these two fillies are the first two foals out of their dam, a mare whose Showcasing (by Oasis Dream) filly is catalogued as Lot 1136 in Book 2 of next month's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
The talented sisters are trained by Richard Hannon and they were bred by the Stowell HIll Partners. The elder one has won four of her eight starts, including her juvenile debut in October 2016, and her big win came in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Fillies' Stakes over 10 furlongs on fast ground at Salisbury.
Billesdon Brook, on the other hand, has now won three from seven and she was only beaten by a nose and a neck when third to Tajaanus and Capomento in the Listed Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Stallions Star Stakes over seven furlongs at Sandown in late July. The winner of that race has since gone on to pattern success, and fifth-placed Whitefountainfairy is the one who was the three-quarter-length runner in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes.
Their dam, Coplow (by Manduro), was placed a few times but is a half-sister to four blacktype earners, notably the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale winner and Group 2 Oaks d'Italia runner-up Middle Club (by Fantastic Light) and the unbeaten but tragically ill-fated Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes winner Piping Rock (by Dubawi).
She is out of Anna Oleanda (by Old Vic), a dual German winner whose full-sister Anno Luce is the pattern-winning dam of Grade 1 Champion Hurdle heroine Annie Power (by Shirocco), one of the most brilliant and popular National Hunt mares of recent years.
A half-sister to flat listed scorer Air Trooper (by Monsun), Annie Power is also a half-sister to Angeleno (by Belong To Me), who is the winning dam of US nine-furlong Grade 3 scorer Lady Pimpernel (by Sir Percy).
Anno Luce, meanwhile, is a daughter of the dual German champion Anna Paola (by Prince Ippi), the Group 2 Preis der Diana (German Oaks) heroine whose descendants also include notable performers such as Annus Mirabilis (by Warning), Pozarica (by Rainbow Quest), Annaba (by In The Wings), and Anna Of Saxony (by Ela-Mana-Mou).
The Group/Grade 1 scorers Ave (by Danehill Dancer), Anna Monda (by Monsun), Helmet (by Exceed And Excel), and Epaulette (by Commands) all appear in the family too, although they are more distantly connected to Billesdon Brook.
At this point in her career, Billesdon Brook has not run beyond seven furlongs, but the way that she won at Goodwood suggested that a mile will be within her compass this year. Hers is a pedigree with middle-distance stamina and that suggests that it could be over 10 furlongs and beyond that she will prove most effective in 2018.
Whether or not she has the class to feature prominently in either the Group 1 Investec Oaks or Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks remains to be seen, but she could become a candidate for something like the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes Stakes, over the St Leger course and distance. Her Showcasing half-sister, on the other hand, is more likely to be a miler.
Group 1-winning miler Havana Gold (by Teofilo) stands at Tweenhills Farm & Stud and he has made a promising start to his stallion career with several talented early juveniles to his name. These include Qatar Racing Ltd's Treasuring, a 32,000gns graduate of the Tattersalls December Foal Sale.
The Ger Lyons-trained chestnut got off the mark at the second attempt, with a five-furlong success at Navan in early June, was out of the frame behind Heartache in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot 18 days later, but then suffered a surprise defeat at Down Royal a month after that.
She bounced back from that second-place finish to defy 9st 8lbs in a Tipperary nursery and then, just nine days later, added the Group 3 Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Curragh Stakes on soft ground at the Curragh, beating Goodthingstaketime and Sirici by a half-length and the same.
It remains to be seen what she achieved in winning that race, but she has given her future paddocks value a tremendous boost, as well as proving a fine advertisement for her young sire.
She was bred by the Pocock Family, she is the first foal of You Look So Good (by Excellent Art), and she is out of a winning half-sister to the Group 2 Goldene Peitsche scorer Electric Beat (by Shinko Forest).
Her dam is also a full-sister to the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes third Gray Pearl and her third dam, the unraced Grey Patience (by Common Grounds), is a half-sister to four blacktype performers. One of those is the Listed Easter Stakes winner Regiment (by Shaadi) and the other is the classic-placed dual listed scorer Cape Town (by Desert Style), a talented miler.
Those capable siblings also have three half-sisters that produced blacktype scorers at stud but, by a long way, the most notable of them is the top-class son of dual winner Tappen Zee (by Sandhurst Prince) as he is none other than Paco Boy (by Desert Style).
Winner of the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, and Group 1 Prix de la Foret, he has been recently exported to Turkey but began his stallion career at Highclere Stud in England, shuttled to New Zealand, and his early offspring feature Group 1 2000 Guineas and Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes hero Galileo Gold.
Treasuring has a lot of progress to make if she is going to be up to taking on the best of her generation, but she has plenty of ability and may be capable of staying up to a mile next year.
There has been an increasing tendency to view pattern-winning juvenile colts as prospective stallions and many of them have plenty of positives about their pedigree that could be used to promote their claims. But every now and then you get one who is less fashionably bred and whose speed and precocity come as something of a surprise.
This year's Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes winner Sands Of Mali is a half-brother to last year's Timeform 112-rated Shergar Cup Sprint winner Kadrizzi (by Hurricane Cat), and his multiple stakes-placed grandam won a dozen times.
That might sound promising, but before he came along the only stakes winner in the first four generations of his family was one remotely connected to him both in genetics and aptitude – a winner of the Lonsdale Stakes descended from his fourth dam.
The Richard Fahey-trained juvenile was bred in France by Simon Urizzi and his Kheleyf (by Green Desert) half-sister is catalogued as Lot 15 in next Wednesday's opening session of the Osarus September Yearling Sale, the event at which Sands Of Mali made €20,000 last year.
He was bought that day by Con Marnane who sold him on for £75,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot Breeze-Up Sale in early April. He was unplaced on his debut at York three months later and trounced subsequent listed scorer Eirene by three and three-quarter lengths on soft ground at Nottingham nearly three weeks after that.
The Gimcrack was his third start and he made all to beat Invincible Army by two and three-quarter lengths, with the dead-heaters Cardsharp (gave 3lbs) and Headway another length back in third.
This makes the humbly bred bay a leading contender for next month's Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket and, potentially, for next year's Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.
His unraced dam Kadiania (by Indian Rocket) is out of the aforementioned Kapi Creek (by Sicyos), which makes her a half-sister to the multiple winners Majik Charly (by Soave) and Such A Maj (by Soave).
Kirigane (by Vitiges), his third dam, won once and finished third in a listed contest, and that half-sister to Mexican blacktype earner Ladakh (by Sir Gaylord) was also a half-sister to Kumari (by Luthier), the one-time winning dam of Listed Lonsdale Stakes winner and Group 3 Prix de Lutece third Angel City (by Carwhite).
The fifth dam is the listed race winner and 1967 Cheshire Oaks fourth All Hail (by Alcide), who has had some notable descendants in South America, but there is nothing in the first few generations of the family to suggest why Sands Of Mali could have become a Group 2-winner with the potential to perform well at the highest level.
His sire has, obviously, played an important part and that horse is the dual pattern-winning miler Panis (by Miswaki), an Haras des Faunes stallion with just a handful of stakes winners to his name – two of whom are the Group 3-winning sprinters Myasun and Out Of Time – plus the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) runner-up Veneto (renamed Californiavitality in Hong Kong).
This not the sort of pedigree background that one expects to find on a talented juvenile sprinter with Group 1 potential, but should he go on to merit a place at stud some day then he could be an interesting addition to the ranks.
That's because Sands Of Mali shows no inbreeding within the first five generations of his pedigree, has no Danzig or Sadler's Wells anywhere on his page, and so he would represent an outcross to many of the increasing number of sprint mares who are descended from or inbred to one or more representatives of those two dynasty-making sires.
There has been a growing trend of retiring colts to stud before their third birthday and so before they have had the chance to prove themselves against open competition. These horses include Zebedee whose final of seven starts was on September 10th of his two-year-old season.
He made a winning debut at Windsor in mid-April, followed-up at Ascot two weeks later and then finished only fifth behind Approve in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at that same venue, his only defeat.
Listed success at Sandown followed, then a narrow victory in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes, another one in a valuable sales race at Newmarket, and then a neck defeat of Dinkum Diamond in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster. Both Timeform and the official handicappers rated him 113.
The son of Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert) stands at Tally Ho Stud in Ireland and his first crop features both the Group 2-winning sprinter Magical Memory (Timeform-rated 123) and classic-placed Group 2 scorer Ivawood (Timeform-rated 118), who is a Coolmore stallion.
Zebedee's fourth crop also features a Group 2 winner and that is the Brian Meehan-trained Barraquero who earned a Timeform rating of 110p when taking the Qatar Richmond Stakes over six furlongs at Goodwood recently, beating Nebo and Group 2 July Stakes winner Cardsharp (gave 3lbs) by one and a quarter lengths and two and a quarter lengths on soft ground.
He had been third to subsequent Group 2 star Expert Eye on their debut over a half-furlong farther at Newbury in mid-June, then justified favouritism with a six-length score at Chepstow in early July – both of those races run on good ground.
Barraquero was bred by Helen Smith and Sally Mullen. He holds entries in the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes, Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, and Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
It will be interesting to see how far he stays because his dam, who won over seven furlongs and was placed at a mile, is Chica Whopa (by Oasis Dream), which makes him inbred 3x3 to Green Desert (by Danzig).
Her half-sister Jezebel, who represented the sole crop of sprint star Owington (by Green Desert), was a Group 3-placed and stakes-winning sprinter but has been producing offspring who are effective at a mile. Those include the six-furlong listed scorer Ancient Goddess (by Iffraaj) and also Pearl Ice (by Iffraaj) who won thrice at six furlongs, once at a mile, and earned a peak handicap mark of 98.
Just Ice (by Polar Falcon), the grandam of Barraquero, won a French listed race over six furlongs on soft ground as a juvenile. Although she did not race at three, it is possible that she may have stayed a mile as her siblings included Always On A Sunday (by Star Appeal), who lost out by a short-head and the same to Tessla and Roseate Tern in the Group 3 May Hill Stakes over a mile at two and won the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newmarket the following May.
Their half-brother Palmetto Express (by Glint Of Gold) stayed even farther as that listed scorer was Group 3-placed over two miles in Germany.
It is true that both he and Always On A Sunday were by stallions more associated with stamina than speed whereas Just Ice is by one noted for sprinters and milers. And their siblings also include the multiple blacktype-placed middle-distance Sunday Sport Star – a full-sister to Always On A Sunday.
She became the dam of the five-furlong juvenile stakes winner Signs (by Risk Me), a filly that you might have expected, on breeding, would stay a mile. And when that grand-daughter of Sharpo (by Sharpen Up) went to stud it seems that it was stamina rather than speed that she passed on to her best son as he, Knavesmire Omen (by Robellino) got his listed success over two miles and made all when a five-length winner of a handicap over four and a half furlong farther at Goodwood four weeks later.
There is a chance that six and seven furlongs may prove to be Barraquero's best distances, but there is enough in the distaff side of his family to suggest that will get a mile, in which case it is possible that the early-season European classics may become primary targets on his radar rather than the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
Group 1-winning sprinter Society Rock (by Rock Of Gibraltar) was among the most popular new additions to the stallion ranks in 2014 and the Tally-Ho Stud-based horse sired 111 foals in his first crop. Sadly, he died in May of last year.
Those first progeny are two-year-olds and, although there is still a long way to go yet before the end of their first season, the late stallion already has a likely future stallion son in action. That colt is the Karl Burke-trained Unfortunately, winner of the Group 1 Darley Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday.
This was his third win from six starts, it came a month after his half-length defeat of Frozen Angel in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin over a half-furlong less at Maisons-Laffitte, and his three loses feature a head second to Ardenode in the Prix La Fleche over five at that same venue in June.
His margin of victory on Sunday, over Group 3-winning stable companion Havana Grey, was a length and a quarter, with the previously undefeated pattern-winning fillies Different League and Zonza a short-head and short-neck back in third and fourth.
Unfortunately was bred by Tally-Ho Stud, he is a €24,000 graduate of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale in Fairyhouse, and his entries include the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes and Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.
Timeform now rate him 117, which is a world away from what his dam achieved on the track. She was a plater who won two sellers – one of them at 40/1 – from 22 starts, achieving a peak official handicap mark of 53 and finishing her career with a well-beaten fourth over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton, off a mark of 43.
Despite this limited talent, Unfortunate (by Komaite) has done well as a broodmare and, in addition to her star son, she is the dam of the prolific fillies Red Roar (by Chineur; 5 wins), The City Kid (by Danetime; 8 wins), and Look Busy (by Danetime).
The last-named won a dozen times, including the Group 2 Temple Stakes, Group 3 Flying Five Stakes, and three listed contests, and her two-year-old Looks A Million (by Kyllachy) has been a winner from four starts this year.
Neither Honour And Glory (by Hotfoot) nor Cheb's Honour (by Cheb's Lad) – the second and third dams of Unfortunately – showed much either. Unfortunate is the only winner among seven foals for the former, but Cheb's Honour came up with six winners from 13 foals, one of whom was a talented sprinter.
Singing Steven (by Balliol) won the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes and Listed Harry Rosebery Challenge Trophy as a juvenile, went on to add the Group 3 King George Stakes at Goodwood, and sired some winners from somewhat limited opportunities at stud.
Unfortunately, however, looks likely to receive large books whenever he takes up stallion duties. Before then, of course, it is to be hoped that he can go on to become a high-class sprinter and, at this stage, he would have to be considered as a potential Group 1 Commonwealth Cup contender for 2018.
As for Society Rock, he has three crops to represent him and, although no longer with us, he has gone into the record books as the first freshman sire of 2017 to supply a Group 1 winner.
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.