It is still too early to know for sure, but there are encouraging signs that Invincible Spirit and Galileo may forge their own branches of the Green Desert (by Danzig) and Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) lines. An important part of the feat is having their influence carry on through their sons and grandsons.
On Thursday, the Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg at Chantilly was won by a colt who represents a blending of those two lines. The Hugo Palmer-trained Afandem is a son of the juvenile Grade 1 scorer Vale Of York (by Invincible Spirit) and he is the first foal out of Al Mahmeyah (by Teofilo).
This was his seventh start, he kicked off his career with a three and a quarter-length debut success over five furlongs on soft ground at Doncaster in late April, and the French pattern contest was his second blacktype win in that country. In late July he took the Listed Prix Reves d'Or – Jacques Bouchara at Vichy.
Two starts before that he was an odds-on winner over six furlongs at Brighton, his only time out of the frame is his fifth-place finish in an Ascot nursery that was sandwiched between those two wins. Between the listed contest and his Group 3 success, the colt failed by just a head to beat Big Time Baby in the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes at York, the pair of them four lengths clear of the third and in a race that was run in a new juvenile course record time.
Afandem is clearly a highly talented young sprinter, and given how the market seems to crave juvenile speed and precocity, it is possible that he could have a stallion career in his future, especially if he can pick up a Group 2 contest, or better.
Vale Of York, who created something of a minor shock when pipping subsequent classic star Lookin At Lucky in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile on the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita in 2009, never tried shorter than seven furlongs. His winning debut came that July, he won a seven-furlong contest at Goodwood shortly before taking third behind Joshua Tree in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, and was only beaten a neck by Hearts Of Fire in the Group 1 Gran Criterium at San Siro several weeks before his Californian success.
His only start at three was a disappointing one in a nine and a half furlong listed contest at Meydan in early March, he stood his first five seasons as a member of the team at Kildangan Stud, and this year he completed his first one at Haras Des Faunes in France. Afandem is his second stakes winner, the previous one being the dual listed and dual Group 3 scorer Fontanelice.
Afandem is yet another high-class horse bred by Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd. His dam, a 46,000gns Tattersalls October Yearling Sale graduate, was trained by Richard Hannon and won a six-furlong maiden on the polytrack at Kempton on the last of four starts as a juvenile. She had been runner-up on the previous two occasions, once at Nottingham and the other at Kempton, and she was out of the frame in two starts at around a mile at three.
Al Mahmeyah is a half-sister to several multiple winners, two of whom were prolific. Annes Rocket (by Fasliyev) notched-up eight wins from five and a half furlongs to a mile, with most of them coming over seven, and he won on turf and on polytrack. Saint Thomas (by Alhaarth), who is trained by John Mackie, is up to an overall career total of 10 wins, the most recent of which came over a mile and a half at Leicester in mid-July. That gelding has been successful from 10 to 12 furlongs on the flat - turf and polytrack - and he also has a pair of hurdle race wins to his name.
The siblings also include Spirit Of Pearl (by Invincible Spirit). She was a wide-margin winner of sprints at Tipperary and Sligo before failing by just a head to take a five-furlong listed at the former venue. Her early progeny include the stakes-placed juvenile six-furlong scorer Elusive Pearl (by Elusive City).
Their dam, Aguilas Perla (by Indian Ridge), was unraced but is a full-sister to Listed Athasi Stakes scorer Cool Clarity and a half-sister to two other stakes winners. Artistic Blue (by Diesis) won the Listed Tyros Stakes at two, was runner-up in the Group 3 Aon MacDonagh Boland Stakes and third in a listed 1000 Guineas trial. Queen Of Palms (by Desert Prince), on the other hand, took the Listed Fairy Bridge Stakes before going on to become the dam of stakes-placed Dokker (by Dylan Thomas), whose tally of races won is into double figures.
Afandem's third dam is Tapolite (by Tap On Wood), who also won the Listed Tyros Stakes as a juvenile, and in addition to being a daughter of the listed scorer Pendulina (by Prince Tenderfoot), she has the distinction to being a full-sister to Sedulous.
That filly won the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes over a mile at Leopardstown shortly before finishing third in the Group 3 C L Weld Park Stakes over a furlong less at Phoenix Park in 1988, but it is her descendants that have kept her name in mind in more recent times.
Sedulous is a half-sister to the dam of the multiple pattern-winning sprinter Miss Emma (by Key of Luck), and she is the grandam of the top-class Indian filly Fairy Winter (by Foyer) but, more notably, she is the grandam of Shirocco (by Monsun).
Out of dual winner So Sedulous (by The Minstrel), his string of big wins included the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf, Group 1 Coronation Cup, Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club and Group 1 Deutsches Derby, he spent one year at Kildangan Stud, six years at Dalham Hall Stud, and has now completed three seasons at Glenview Stud.
His 26 flat stakes winners include the tragically ill-fated Group 1 Irish St Leger hero Brown Panther and also three Brazilian-bred horses who have won at the highest level in their native land, and his growing list of National Hunt blacktype scorers is headed by the brilliant and prolific Grade 1 star Annie Power.
Shirocco is a full-brother to the classic-placed Group 2 winner Subiaco, to classic-placed listed scorer Storm Trooper, and to listed race winner September Storm, the latter a successful National Hunt sire at Ballyash Stud. Their siblings also include a stakes-winning half-brother and there are three sisters who have produced blacktype horses at stud. The best of those offspring is the Group 2-placed multiple stakes winner Swacadelic (by Adlerflug), who has been successful in both Germany and Australia.
Afandem was rated 103 before yesterday's Group 3 success, up 12lbs from where he was two months before. There may still be more improvement to come from him, and that would bring him into the reckoning for some of the better juvenile sprinters in the closing months of the season.