The final crop of Ashford Stud's outstanding but now deceased stallion Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg) yielded two juvenile pattern winners last weekend, both of them over six furlongs at the Curragh and both trained by Aidan O'Brien for Coolmore partners.
The filly So Perfect landed the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes on Sunday, and the previous afternoon it was the turn of Van Beethoven, who beat Marie's Diamond by half a length in the Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes.
The mid-February-born colt was bred in Ontario, in Canada, by the Ballycroy Training Centre, and this was his second win from five starts. His maiden success came on his second outing, he then chased home Fairyland in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh before finishing fourth to Soldier's Call in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot.
Van Beethoven is the second foal out of eight-and-a-half-furlong dirt winner My Sister Sandy (by Montbrook), a half-sister to US stakes winner See Tobe (by Concerto), who stays 12 furlongs, and full-sister to Exotic Bloom, a Grade 3-placed mile listed winner who hit the Grade 1 target at stud with her first foal.
That star is Stopchargingmaria (by Tale Of The Cat), a $47,000 Keeneland September Sale yearling who made $220,000 at the OBS March Select breeze-up sale, joined the Todd Pletcher stable, and notched up a seven-figure earnings total.
Her eight graded wins feature a neck defeat of Stellar Wind in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland, a three-quarter-length score in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga, and a five-length drubbing of Unbridled Forever in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at that same venue.
The first and last-named of those events are over nine furlongs, with the Alabama being over 10, the farthest she was asked to try. She was a dual Grade 1-placed, nine-furlong Grade 2 scorer as a juvenile and only finished out of the first three four times in an 18-race career.
Melegant (by Kris S), the grandam of Van Beethoven, won once from a dozen starts and she is a half-sister to listed scorer Lady Tabitha (by Lyphard), the grandam of a Grade 1-placed, Grade 3-winning sprinter in Brazil.
Her dam, Abidjan (by Sir Ivor), a listed-winning daughter of stakes-winning miler Flag Waver (by Hoist The Flag), was a half-sister to the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes third Bunting (by Private Account), the mare who gave us Grade 2 Illinois Derby winner and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes runner-up Vision And Verse (by Storm Cat).
Van Beethoven's pattern success did not give the feel of being potentially top-class form, Timeform raised him to 102 for this performance, and improvement is required if he is to win the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes and/or Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, both of which appear in his list of entries.
But this is an Aidan O'Brien-trained colt who is bred to be a miler next year, so progress is not only possible but likely and it could be that what he has achieved so far is a bonus. Time will tell.
With all that he has achieved, it is almost hard to believe that Ashford Stud's outstanding stallion Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg) was only 11 when he died. His penultimate crop features US Triple Crown hero Justify and the Irish-trained Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and Group 2 UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn, among others of note, and already two of his final crop have a first pattern success to their names.
Both are Aidan O'Brien-trained juveniles, both achieved the feat at the Curragh last weekend, and one of them is Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes winner So Perfect. This half-length defeat Skitter Scatter – who is also by Scat Daddy – came 11 days after her barely three-quarter-length fourth to Signora Cabello in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Remarkably, two others from that race have also performed with note in pattern company already as Little Kim, who was beaten a total of two lengths into eighth in that blanket finish, defeated Chelsea Cloisters by a length in Tuesday's Group 3 Prix du Bois at Deauville. The margin between that pair at Ascot had been three-parts of a length.
So Perfect and Skitter Scatter also met at Naas in May, the pair going past the post together in the listed race won by Servalan. The margin between them was a short-head, with the Paddy Prendergast-trained filly coming out on top that day, taking third. A short-head was also the margin when So Perfect made a winning debut at Navan a month before, that time pipping the Jim Bolger-trained Mater Matuta.
The other juvenile pattern success for Scat Daddy came in Saturday's Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes, which Van Beethoven won by half a length.
So Perfect was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and she cost the Coolmore partners $400,000 from Book 2 of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. She is a full-sister to a stakes-placed winner and she is the third foal out of Hopeoverexperience (by Songandaprayer), a winning half-sister to Grade 2 Illinois Derby and Grade 3 Gotham Stakes scorer Cowtown Cat (by Distorted Humor).
Their dam, Tom's Cat, won once as a four-year-old and, as she is a daughter of Storm Cat (by Storm Bird), that makes the Ballydoyle juvenile inbred 4x3 to that hugely influential stallion. She is also inbred 5x5 to Northern Dancer (by Nearctic) and, like all offspring of Scat Daddy, 5x3 to Mr Prospector (by Raise a Native). We cannot know if any of this has any bearing on her talent or potential.
Third dam Shouldnt Say Never (by Meadowlake) won five times from 21 starts, she got both her listed success and Grade 3 placing as a four-year-old, she is a half-sister to three listed race winners, and her grandsons include blacktype scorer Smart Promotion (by Smart Strike) and triple listed sprint winner Stormation (by Stormy Atlantic).
If you go back another step then you will find that Keys Special (by Chieftain), the fourth dam of So Perfect, was a winning half-sister to dual graded scorer Dewan Keys (by Dewan), to Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes winner Eleven Pleasures (by What A Pleasure), and to dual listed winner Over Arranged (by Staunchness), who equalled a seven-furlong track record, and that they are all out of Spinster Stakes runner-up Eleven Keys (by Royal Union).
This is a family that is no stranger to blacktype success, which augurs well for So Perfect's eventual future as a broodmare. Before then, of course, there is potentially plenty more for her to achieve on the track, and it catches the eye that her entries include both the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes and Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.
The latter is, of course, over seven furlongs these days and should she run there then it may give us an idea as to her potential to stay a mile next year, something that her relationship to Cowtown Cat suggests may be possible.
Cheveley Park Stud's homebred Garswood (by Dutch Art) won the Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes at two, the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at three and the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at four before taking up stallion duties alongside his sire and grandsire at the famous Newmarket farm.
His initial yearlings made up to 140,000gns, he already has several winners to his name, and one of them is Little Kim, the Karl Burke-trained filly who landed the Group 3 Prix du Bois over five furlongs at Deauville on Tuesday.
This was a third start for the mid-February-born bay, all of which have come in the past month. She made a winning debut at Carlisle and was only beaten by two lengths when eighth to Signora Cabello in a blanket finish to the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The fourth that day, So Perfect, has also won a pattern race since, and Chelsea Cloisters, who finished three-parts of a length behind Little Kim, was the one-length runner-up at Deauville.
Little Kim was bred by Gary Hodson and Peter Moule, and well done to them as the most striking thing about the catalogue page of this filly is how the first four generations fit in easily, with room to spare. Aside from her dam and half-sister, there is no blacktype to be seen until a minor stakes-placed US winner under a branch of the fourth dam.
She is the second foal out of Primo Lady (by Lucky Story), who won the Listed Marygate Stakes at York as an early-season juvenile, and that makes her a half-sister to Out Of The Flames (by Showcasing), who finished third in last year's Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.
Little Kim's grandam, Lady Natilda (by First Trump), won once as a juvenile and has produced several winners, third dam Ramajana (by Shadeed) won at two and four years of age in Germany and came up with a strike-rate of four winners from five foals, while fourth dam Reyah (by Young Generation) is the dual winning dam of seven winners.
If you go back to the sixth dam, Balista (by Baldric), then you will find a branch of the family that leads to the Group 1 Prix Morny heroine Silca's Sister (by Inchinor) and her classic-placed, dual Group 2-winning full-sister Golden Silca, but those stars are so far removed from the recent Deauville scorer to have any relevance to her ability or potential.
It remains to be seen just how good Little Kim is, and being a daughter of Garswood you would expect her to show some improvement as she ages. She is a capable young sprinter and it would be no surprise to see her pick up some more blacktype.
Yeomanstown Stud stallion Camacho (by Danehill) is having what appears to be a breakthrough year, with classic success in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) for Teppal in May followed by victory in June for Signora Cabello in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot.
The latter, a John Quinn-trained juvenile, took the Listed Marygate Stakes at York on her previous start, she was fourth on her debut at Beverley in April and between those two performances won a novice event at Bath. She holds an entry in the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, and it will be interesting to see how high in the rankings this now Timeform 100-rated filly can go.
Although her big win came in a blanket finish, in which she beat Gossamer Wings and Shades Of Blue by a short-head and the same, both fourth-placed So Perfect and eighth-placed Little Kim have won pattern races since, which offers encouragement that the form may be better than it seemed on the day.
Signora Cabello, who was bred by Damian and Ronan Burns of Diomed Bloodstock Ltd, is another bargain basement purchase who has gone on to pattern success and she cost just 20,000gns from Book 3 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
She is a half-sister to the blacktype-placed trio La Presse (by Gone West), Emirates Girl (by Unbridled's Song) and Plagiarism (by Lonhro), and she is out of Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes runner-up Journalist (by Night Shift), whose star sibling is half-brother Sheer Viking (by Danehill).
That close relation to the recent Queen Mary heroine was runner-up in the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes on his visit to Royal Ascot but later gained compensation with victory in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster.
Their dam, Schlefalora (by Mas Media), won six times in Sweden from three to six years of age and, in addition to being a half-sister to Dansk St Leger winner Spanish Run (by Commanche Run), her siblings features Las Meninas (by Glenstal), the Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine of 1994.
She pipped subsequent Oaks and Irish Derby champion Balanchine that day, she beat subsequent Grade 1 scorer Danish by a length on her debut in the Listed Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown as a two-year-old, and was runner-up in both the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, beaten by Turtle Island in the former and by Mehthaaf in the latter. Sadly, she has not produced any stakes winners at stud.
Neither did her once-placed half-sister La Pellegrina (by Be My Guest), but that one's daughter Native Force (by Indian Ridge) became the dam of Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes hero Kingsgate Native (by Mujadil).
He proved sterile when sent to stud but returned to the track to become a regular and popular competitor in blacktype sprints. His final win came in a six furlong conditions race at Nottingham in 2016, at the age of 11, when still holding a triple-digit handicap mark.
Signora Cabello has a long way to go yet if she is to become as accomplished as her most famous relations, but she has made a promising start to her career, and although only tried over five furlongs so far, her pedigree suggests that six will be no problem in time. Perhaps she will be back at Ascot next year for a crack at the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
Brilliant miler Kingman (by Invincible Spirit), whose only defeat in an eight-race career came when a half-length runner-up to Night Of Thunder in a vintage edition of the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, has an impeccable stallion's pedigree and he has made an eye-catching start to that second career.
The four-time Group 1 star, whom Timeform rated 134, stands alongside established leading sires Dansili (by Danehill), Frankel (by Galileo) and Oasis Dream (by Green Desert) at Banstead Manor Stud, his classic-winning dam Zenda (by Zamindar) is a half-sister to the latter of that trio, and his sire's other stallion sons include Group 1 sires Lawman and I Am Invincible.
His early runners have already yielded several winners, with Calyx being not just the best of them so far but also having the distinction of being Timeform's current top-rated juvenile of the year, on a mark of 118p.
The John Gosden-trained colt, a Juddmonte homebred, looked an exciting prospect when taking a six-furlong novice event at Newmarket by five lengths and six lengths on his debut in early June, and further advertised that promise when taking the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot 10 days later.
The field split into two in that six-furlong contest, and although he beat Advertise and Sergei Prokofiev by a length and a neck at the line, they were in the far side group and he finished six and a half lengths clear of his closest stands' side pursuer, Blown By Wind.
Calyx's performances have understandably generated plenty of talk of next year's classics. Those are, of course, a long way off yet and all sorts of stars could emerge from the current juvenile crop, but it is hard not to imagine that this colt will take high rank among his peers at the end of the year.
He is the fourth foal out of the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale winner and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac runner-up Helleborine (by Observatory), a full-sister to Group 1 Sprint Cup heroine and Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest second African Rose. The latter has since boosted her profile by producing the first-crop Frankel (by Galileo) filly Fair Eva, the dual Group 2-placed Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes winner who last ran when fifth to Winter in the Group 1 1000 Guineas.
Their dam, New Orchid (by Quest For Fame), was third in the Group 3 Lancashire Oaks and has two siblings of note. Distant Music (by Distant View) won the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, Group 2 Goffs International Stakes and Group 2 Champagne Stakes and he was third in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket.
His full-sister Allegro Viva was unraced but has achieved a perfect strike-rate of winners to runners with Group 2 Prix Chaudenay scorer Canticum (by Cacique) and prolific middle-distance winner Uphold (by Oasis Dream) among them.
Musicanti (by Nijinsky), the third dam of Calyx, won once in France and she is not only a half-sister to a US champion and multiple Grade 1 star but can also boast of being out of a half-sister to a similarly credentialled horse.
Her star half-brother is Vanlandingham (by Cox's Ridge), who won 10 of his 19 starts including the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Grade 1 Washington DC International Stakes, Grade 1 Suburban Handicap, and Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap en route to being crowned US Champion Older Male of 1985.
Those descended from their siblings include Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Termagant (by Powerscourt), Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks heroine Funny Moon (by Malibu Moon), and Group/Grade 2 scorers Kirkwall (by Selkirk) and Second Summer (by Summer Bird), but their achievements are dwarfed by those of their dam's half-brother Temperence Hill (by Stop The Music).
He won 11 of his 31 starts, took the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, Grade 1 Travers Stakes, Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Grade 2 Arkansas Derby on his way to a championship title at three, and came back the following year to add the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap and Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.
With the market showing an obsession with early two-year-old speed, there are likely to be some already viewing Calyx as a potential future stallion. Should he fulfil his considerable potential then, no doubt, there will be a busy breeding career ahead of him, and although Distant Music, Vanlandingham and Temperence Hill (sire of Grade 1 scorer Temperence Sil) got blacktype winners without making a real impact, it can be argued that Calyx represents a male line that's more strongly associated with producing good stallions than they were, which could aid his cause.
Before any chance of a lucrative stallion career, of course, this colt has plenty more racing to do. He has shown speed and precocity but has the pedigree of a horse who could become a top-notch sprinter or miler as a three-year-old.