The Group 1-winning sprinter Invincible Spirit was a promising prospect when he took up stallion duties at the Irish National Stud in 2003, but the extent to which his profile has developed could not have been expected. He is now 19 years old, has long been established as one of the very best sires in Europe, and he is building a growing reputation as a source of successful stallion sons.
His tally of blacktype sire sons increased on Sunday when Sea Of Grace won the Group 3 Flame Of Tara European Breeders Fund Stakes over a mile at the Curragh. This was a second win in three starts for the John Oxx-trained juvenile and she is the first stakes winner for Born To Sea.
A listed scorer over six furlongs at the Curragh on his racecourse debut, Born To Sea never quite reached the heights he promised that day, but he chased home Camelot in the Group 1 Irish Derby, was runner-up to Famous Name in the Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes and runner-up also in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes.
For most similarly talented and well-bred colts you could say that their racing record boosted their prospects of a place awaiting them at stud, but arguably that future was already inevitable for Born To Sea from the moment he was born. All that remained to be discovered, in that regard, was where that home would be and to what degree he would be supported.
Why? Born To Sea is the final foal of the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Urban Sea (by Miswaki) and so he is a half-brother to the multiple Group 1 stars and outstanding stallions Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross).
He is also a half-brother to the Group 1 winner and blacktype sire Black Sam Bellamy (by Sadler's Wells), to US Grade 1 star My Typhoon (by Giant's Causeway), to the classic-placed stakes-winning fillies Melikah (by Lammtarra) and All Too Beautiful (by Sadler's Wells), and to Cherry Hinton (by Green Desert), the pattern-placed dam of Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine Bracelet (by Montjeu).
All Too Beautiful is the dam of the dual Oaks-placed stakes winner Wonder Of Wonders (by Kingmambo), and Melikah's pattern-winning sons Masterstroke (by Monsun) and Moonlight Magic (by Cape Cross) are joined by her Group 2-placed stakes-winning daughter Hidden Gold (by Shamardal) and her Group 2-winning descendants Khawlah (by Cape Cross) and Vancouverite (by Dansili).
Simply put, Born To Sea is one of the best-bred horses at stud.
He is a horse whose juveniles were always likely to be late-summer and autumn types, seen to best effect when racing at seven furlongs and beyond. His once-raced seven-furlong winner Star Of Rory (dam by Sadler's Wells) is entered in a listed race over a mile at Haydock on Saturday, and Sea Of Grace is a candidate for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.
It is much too early to know what sort of overall record Born To Sea might compile as a stallion, but the emergence of a pattern winner at this stage is an encouraging start for him. He spent his first two seasons at Rathasker Stud and then joined the team at Gilltown Stud, which is also home to his Timeform 140-rated sibling Sea The Stars.
Sea Of Grace was bred by Robert Norton, who sold her for €80,000 in Goffs as a foal. She made €260,000 at the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale nine months later and finished third in a seven-furlong Curragh maiden on her debut in June. She then won a maiden over 100 yards farther at Tipperary.
The filly is the third foal and third winner out of Lady Dettoria (by Vettori) and she is the second of them to earn blacktype. Her half-brother Pepparone (by Stormy River) was stakes-placed in Italy as a juvenile and has notched up a double-digit tally of wins. Jumeirah Glory (by Fast Company), in comparison, has 'only' won four times, twice over seven furlongs and twice at around 10 furlongs in Britain.
The mare, who won once in France, does not have a yearling, but she had a Rock of Gibraltar (by Danehill) colt in February. She is a half-sister to Cougar Bay (by Daylami), who was placed in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Handicap, Group 3 International Stakes, Group 3 Solonaway Stakes, Group 3 Kilternan Stakes and Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes, and she is out of the French listed scorer Delimara (by In The Wings).
Mariella (by Sir Gaylord), the third dam of Sea Of Grace, was champion three-year-old filly in Italy in 1980, and this Timeform 123-rated full-sister to Group 1 star and Italian champion colt Scorpio got her top win in the Group 1 Premio Roma. She was also a half-sister to the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, Group 1 Prix du Cadran and triple Group 1 Gold Cup hero Sagaro (by Espresso).
That star stayer was Timeform-rated 131 as a three-year-old, 129 at four and five years of age, and 133 as a six-year-old, the season in which he completed that Ascot treble. Scorpio, who also won the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and Group 2 Grand Prix d'Evry, was rated 120 by the same organisation.
In addition to Delimara, Mariella was also the dam of the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale scorer Mackla (by Caerleon), and that filly's blacktype descendants include her Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary and Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio-winning daughter Marotta (by Highest Honor). Also earning blacktype when third in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera and in the Group 3 Prix de la Nonette, Marotta was Italy's champion three-year-old filly of 2002, although only rated 115 by Timeform.
Mariella is also the grandam of the listed scorer and Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club third Sestino (by Shirley Heights), and her descendants include Group 2-winning sprinter and recent Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest runner-up Donjuan Triumphant (by Dream Ahead) and 2009's Group 3 Prix Chloe winner Wilside (by Verglas).
Although Born To Sea's pedigree gives him the chance to sire some speedy types, many are likely to be suited to a mile and upwards. With the sort of talent displayed so often in the filly's family, it appears likely that Sea Of Grace will stay at least 10 furlongs as a three-year-old.
The small number of Frankel (by Galileo) yearlings that turned up at the sales in 2015 met with a mixed response. They did not look how some had expected, prices varied widely, and there were even some mutterings about how he might not make it as a sire.
This was something of a surprise to see and hear. Here was a regally-related supreme athlete whose offspring came from the cream of the broodmare population and who would probably not even have a runner until the following summer.
His racing and pedigree profile suggested that it could be mid-summer or autumn before his early representatives would begin to show their worth, and that any stakes or pattern horses he might get that first season would tend to come from among the seven and eight-furlong events.
What Frankel has actually achieved with his first juveniles has been unexpected. His strike-rate of winners to runners is remarkably high, he already had two pattern scorers on the books before the end of August, and some of those early ones are precocious, and very quick.
Although there is a lot of middle-distance stamina in his family, there has always been the chance that Frankel could get some sprinters, with the right mares. He gave the impression that he could have won over seven or even six furlongs if asked, and both his dam, Kind (by Danehill), and half-sister, Joyeuse (by Oasis Dream), were talented sprinters who stayed seven furlongs.
But getting sprinters and getting early-season juveniles are not the same thing, because many good sprinters are horses who improve with time and maturity.
Frankel was off the mark in mid-May, and it was on 3rd June that his daughter Queen Kindly made her racing debut. The appearance of such a beautifully bred filly that early was eye-catching, and if there was any disappointment that this debut run was only in a five-furlong event at Catterick, that dissipated after she showed a nice turn of foot to score by five lengths.
The Group 3 Albany Stakes was her Royal Ascot target a fortnight later, and third place, beaten by just a short-head and half-length by Brave Anna and Bletchley, confirmed that this was a filly of plentiful potential. The following month she had little more than an exercise gallop to thrash a small field in a novice event back over the minimum trip at Catterick, giving 7lbs to each of her four outclassed rivals.
A return to six furlongs was on the cards and it came in the recent Group 2 Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York. Unbeaten Group 3 scorer Fair Eva, who was Frankel's first pattern winner, was sent off at odds-on but ran as already needing a bit further. Queen Kindly landed the spoils by three-parts of a length from Group 2 scorer Roly Poly (gave 3lbs), with Fair Eva the same margin back in third.
The trio pulled four and a half lengths clear of the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes winner Nations Alexander, with Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes third Clem Fandango finishing sixth. Kilmah, who chased home Fair Eva in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes on her previous start, and who won the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood yesterday, was only seventh on this occasion, with the Group 2-placed Magical Fire disappointing in last.
The form looks solid, the time was fast, Fair Eva will be seen to better effect when she steps up in trip, and Queen Kindly now has a crack at the Group 1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes in her sights.
There is still so much of 2016 to go, but it is hard not to look ahead with these juveniles and wonder about their prospects in 2017. Will Queen Kindly follow in her father's hoof-prints and become a miler and Guineas contender, or will she take after her dam and so become a potential Commonwealth Cup and July Cup runner, or even a Nunthorpe candidate?
Before she ever stepped foot on a racecourse one could even have speculated as to her prospects of staying 10 furlongs at three, because she is, after all, a daughter of Frankel and related to the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Dylan Thomas (by Danehill).
That sort of trip seems unlikely given the speed and precocity she has shown so far, and a mile still remains possible, but those two five-furlong wins may turn out to be the most important clue.
Queen Kindly is trained by Richard Fahey, she was bred by Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd, and she is the first foal out of their excellent sprinter Lady Of The Desert (by Rahy). That mare could have been expected to be a miler, and it is true that she was only beaten by about a length when fifth in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), but it was over five and six furlongs that she excelled.
Her winning debut over the minimum trip at Leicester in late May was followed by a sixth-place finish in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, but she bounced back to take the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes and Group 2 Lowther Stakes before finishing third behind Special Duty in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. That filly is the incredibly lucky one who got not one but two classics in the stewards' room as a three-year-old.
Lady Of The Desert was placed over seven furlongs first time out at three, but after disappointing in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot, dropped back to six for the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock. Having chased home Markab there, she went on to score a two and a quarter-length success in the Group 2 Diadem Stakes at Ascot before chasing home one-length scorer Gilt Edge Girl in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp on her final start.
Lady Of The Desert is the best of the progeny of 2001's juvenile filly champion Queen's Logic (by Grand Lodge) and that star is one of three Group 1 winners out of a placed mare called Lagrion (by Diesis).
Her debut was on soft ground at Newbury in mid May, when she beat the subsequent pattern-winning sprinter Lady Dominatrix by three-parts of a length and the pair finished 10 lengths clear of their closest pursuer.
She then beat Sophisticat three times, first by half a length in the Group 3 Queen Mary Stakes, then by one and a quarter lengths in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes and finally by seven lengths on soft ground in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes. Although that rival went on to take the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot the following summer, Queen's Logic's career had already come to an end by that point.
Her sole outing at three was an odds-on success in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes over seven furlongs on fast ground at Newbury.
Queen's Logic has four blacktype siblings and the best of her sisters is the runaway Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine Homecoming Queen (by Holy Roman Emperor), whose first foal is the unbeaten French juvenile First Of Spring (by Galileo). Her sisters also include Group 2 Blandford Stakes third Love To Dance (by Sadler's Wells) and Group 1 Oaks runner-up Remember When (by Danehill Dancer), neither of whom actually won a race.
Remember When, who was beaten just a neck by Snow Fairy at Epsom and by a total of half a length when fourth to Bethrah in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, has made an outstanding start to her broodmare career as her first two progeny are Wedding Vow (by Galileo) and Beacon Rock (by Galileo).
The former won last year's Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes shortly before chasing home Legatissimo in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, and the latter won the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes in May before chasing home Across The Stars in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
The best of Queen's Logic's brothers is the aforementioned Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Dylan Thomas. His 10 wins from 20 starts netted him over £3.3 million in prize money and his Group 1 tally also included the Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Prix Ganay, and two editions of the Irish Champion Stakes.
Dylan Thomas is a Coolmore stallion, and although he is standing as a dual-purpose sire, his progeny include the Group/Grade 1 scorers Pether's Moon, Dylan Mouth, Nymphea, Tannery and Blazing Speed, the latter a Hong Kong star whose earnings surpass those of his sire.
It is these first two generations of the pedigree that are making the greatest contribution to the talent and potential of Queen Kindly, and although there is talent in the third and fourth too, it is not in the same league.
Lagrion, her third dam, is a full-sister to the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes runner-up Pure Genius (by Diesis), and fourth dam Wrap It Up (by Mount Hagen), a daughter of the blacktype-placed 10-times scorer Doc Nan (by Francis S.), was responsible for the Group 3 Oaks Trial Stakes winner Gift Wrapped (by Wolver Hollow).
That filly became the dam of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes winner Reach (by Kris) and of Wrapping (by Kris), the Group 1 Oaks d'Italia runner-up who gave us the Group 1-placed middle-distance Group 2 scorer Papering (by Shaadi).
Amatrice (by Appiani), a half-sister to Gift Wrapped, did her part for the family by coming up with Soluce (by Junius), the Group 3 scorer from whom Scandinavian champion Entangle (by Pivotal) and notable speedsters such as Splice (by Sharpo), Soar (by Danzero), and Feet So Fast (by Pivotal) descend, among others of note.
Those horses are remotely connected to Queen Kindly and it is her immediate genetic history that will determine her ultimate distance range. Whether that will be in sprints or over a mile, or a combination of both, remains to be seen, but whichever way she goes there is every reason to hope that this first-crop daughter of Frankel could be a Group 1 filly in the making.
As for Frankel, there remains the very real prospect that he can become an important sire of milers and middle-distance horses, a potential classic sire who could become a leading international stallion.
The analyst in me tempers snap judgements on horses, preferring to wait until additional data are in before deciding that yes, this was a performance about which we can get excited.
On rare occasions, however, there have been winning displays that sent a chill down the spine, a visceral sense that we might just have seen something very special. This happened on the afternoon of 28th September 2010 when Frankel won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and it did not happen again until 15th June 2016 when Lady Aurelia ran away with the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.
That is not to say that Lady Aurelia is going to reach the dizzy heights achieved by the great Frankel. The clearly talented filly she beat by seven lengths that day has been beaten on both her starts since, and she herself was somewhat disappointing when only taking the Group 1 Darley Prix Morny by three-parts of a length at Deauville a week ago.
She made all, but only held on to beat the promising Alrahma, with the seemingly well-exposed Peace Envoy running on for third, just a head behind, and Al Johrah, whom she had beaten by seven lengths at Ascot, another head back in fourth.
It may seem strange to say that a Group 1-winning effort was disappointing, but when the expected result is another display of clear superiority and the actual result is more hard fought, it leaves a sense of slight dismay. Have we overestimated the ability of this star? Are there excuses?
Frankel too had a disappointing Group 1 win, the day he only beat Zoffany by only three-parts of a length in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot, but he overcame that to take the final seven races of his career by an aggregate of almost 40 lengths.
Again, there is no reason to suppose that thrice-raced juvenile filly Lady Aurelia is another Frankel. She is, however, clearly one with a huge amount of talent and potential, and as she reportedly had some trouble with the underfoot conditions at Deauville, there is every reason to hope that she can resume her more impressive winning ways before long.
The initial impression that she created in France was that she did not stay the sixth furlong. If that is the case, it would be disappointing as it would rule her out of races such as the Commonwealth Cup, July Cup and Sprint Cup in 2017, and make her vulnerable against a good field in the Group 1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes later this year.
But the way she won at Ascot in June, combined with her pedigree, make it doubtful that stamina was the issue.
Yes, the late Ashford Stud stallion Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg) has got some sprinters – Acapulco, No Nay Never and current juvenile star Caravaggio will immediately come to mind for most UK and Irish race fans – but this is a stallion who has dominated the classics scene in Chile, getting multiple Derby and Oaks winners in that country, along with plenty of top-class runners over eight, nine and 10 furlongs in the USA.
He was also a top-class racehorse at two and three years of age, crowning his first season with victory in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes over a mile at Belmont Park and his short second one with victories in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and Grade 1 Florida Derby, both over nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
So what of the distaff side of her family? This will surely be important in determining whether this young star will be purely a sprinter or a filly who could stay the mile at three.
Lady Aurelia is out of D'Wildcat Speed (by Forest Wildcat), which makes her inbred 4x3 to Storm Cat (by Storm Bird), something that could make a tendency towards speed more likely in her. But, then again, it might be doing nothing at all for her racing aptitude: we can but guess.
Her dam was a stakes-winning sprinter when she first arrived in the USA, but before that she was a prolific local Grade 1 star (counts only as listed as per the International Cataloguing Standards) at around nine furlongs in Puerto Rico and, at five, she won the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap over nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park, scoring by six lengths.
D'Wildcat Speed's career tally was 16 wins, but that champion was out of Velvet Panther (by Pentaquod), a 31-time times scorer and dual Puerto Rican champion who, like her brilliant daughter, was a multiple top-level (local) winner at beyond a mile.
Blue Eyed Cat (by Great Above), the nine-times winning third dam of Lady Aurelia, was out of the high-class Puerto Rican filly Another Cat (by Catullus) and she, in turn was, was a full-sister to the 27-times scorer One Cat, a multiple blacktype star who was inbred 3x3 to the Kentucky Derby runner-up and multiple blacktype US sprint winner Spy Song (by Balladier), a track record setter over four-and-a-half and six-and-a-half furlongs.
Lady Aurelia was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, she made $350,000 when offered as Lot 1253 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, and she is trained by Wesley Ward.
She is a half-sister to a six-furlong stakes-placed winner in the US (Titletown Five, by Tiznow) and to the dual sprint winner Distorsionada (by Distorted Humor), and the speed she showed at Ascot in June was remarkable for such a young an inexperienced horse.
The racing records of her sire, dam and grandam give her every chance of staying a mile next year, and although it is possible that it is only the family's speed that she has inherited, rather than its nine-furlong stamina, judgement should be reserved at least until we have had the chance to see her compete again over a strongly run and contested six furlongs.
More Than Ready (by Southern Halo) may not be as familiar a name here as he is in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, but with 19 Group/Grade 1 stars among a career tally of 162 stakes winners, this WinStar Farm team member is one of the world's leading sires.
Progeny of the grandson of Halo (by Hail To Reason) include multimillionaire and eight-times Group 1 heroine More Joyous, 2016's Group 1 Queensland Derby winner Eagle Way, and US Grade 1 star and Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes runner-up Verrazano – to name just three on that roll of honour – and the latter is one of his growing number of sons of stud.
Sebring, who won the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and Group 1 Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes as a juvenile, is his best sire son, so far, and that horse's prolific Group 1 scorers and seven-figured earners Criterion and Dissident are now in the early stages of their own stud careers.
More Than Ready's stallion sons also include Gimmethegreenlight, a South African Grade 1 scorer and champion who stands at Varsfontein Stud and whose first crop includes last month's Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes-winning juvenile Gunner.
And if his latest young rising star fulfills his potential, then a stallion career may also be in the future of the More Than Ready colt Boynton. The chestnut made his first public appearance at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale of 2015, consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency and bought, for $750,000, by John Ferguson.
The Godolphin-owned colt was bred by Twin Creeks Farm, he made a winning debut over six furlongs at Goodwood in early June, and then beat War Decree by three-parts of a length in the Group 2 bet365 Superlative Stakes over a further farther at Newmarket.
That win meant that he had to carry a 3lb penalty when he renewed rivalry with War Decree in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes, and on that occasion the placings were reversed. The Ballydoyle colt won by one and three-quarter lengths from Thunder Snow, with Boynton a length back third. The proximity of the nursery-winning gelding Pleaseletmewin in fourth may case some doubt over the reliability of the form and it will be interesting to see how the first three get on if they meet again.
Boynton is the fifth foal out of Group 3 Albany Stakes third Baffled (by Distorted Humor), he is inbred 4x4 to Mr Prospector (by Raise A Native), and he has two siblings of note. His half-sister Jacaranda (by Congrats) won the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes over a mile at Aqueduct as a juvenile, and his half-brother Constitution (by Tapit), who has completed his first season at WinStar Farm at a $25,000 fee, won the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 1 Donn Handicap.
This is an outstanding start to Baffled's broodmare career and it puts her marginally ahead of her own dam, Surf Club (by Ocean Crest), who has a Grade 1 winner, Group 2 scorer and listed race winner to her name.
Emcee (by Unbridled's Song) was third in the Grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap and then won the Grade 1 Forego Stakes before finishing out of the frame behind Tapizar in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita four years ago. He is now a Darley sire who stands at Sequel Stallions in New York and whose first crop are yearlings.
His gelded half-brother Surfer won the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1, was runner-up in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 and third to Prince Bishop in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3. Their half-sister Spring Party (by Smart Strike) has won a listed contest.
Notching up a high total of wins is something else that this family does well. Surf Club won six times from two to four years of age, her three blacktype-winning progeny accumulated 15 wins between them, her stakes-winning dam Horns Gray (by Pass the Tab) won a dozen times, and that mare's best pair, Awesome Humor and Dignified Donovan, won six and 13 races respectively.
Awesome Humor (by Distorted Humor), whose $45,000 yearling price pales in comparison to that of her young relation, won the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes and Grade 3 Debutante Stakes as a juvenile, and to those she added the following year's Grade 2 Indiana Oaks. Two of her progeny have won six times apiece, including the stakes-placed $320,000+ earner Keep Me Informed (by A.P. Indy).
Dignified Donovan (by Regal Classic) won a listed handicap at the age of seven, accumulated career earnings in excess of $450,000, and notched-up a total of 13 wins from three to 11 years of age.
Ruled Off (by Saratoga Six) and Bingo Time (by Green Forest), the blacktype-winning siblings of Horns Gray, won 10 and eight times respectively, and their unraced dam, Cox's Angel (by Cox's Ridge), was out of blacktype scorer Anjelicco (by Angle Light), a five-times winner from whom various other stakes and graded winners have descended.
Being a good-looking son of a major international sire, a half-brother to a dual Grade 1 winner and with a Grade 1 winner also under his second and third dams, it is easy to see why Boynton cost so much as a yearling.
The Charlie Appleby-trained colt holds entries in the Group 2 At The Races Champagne Stakes, Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, and wins in any of those would both enhance his classic prospects for 2017 and his future appeal as a stallion.
He looks likely to be best at around a mile next year, but as his half-brother Constitution was a dual Grade 1 star over nine furlongs, and his dam's half-brother Surfer was Group 1-placed over 10, it is possible that he too may stay the latter distance.
Claiborne Farm's Danzig (by Northern Dancer) was one of the world's greatest sires, a horse who gave us a long list of Group/Grade 1 winners, whose daughters included many notable broodmares, and whose sons featured many that got at least one top-level winner of their own.
Two of those sons – the classic-placed Group 1 sprint stars Danehill and Green Desert – went on to forge their own dynasties, and until quite recently it was beginning to look as though that pair and their descendants would remain the enduring source of his lineage.
When the triple US champion sire was 24 years old, and still commanding a fee far in excess of what most stallions today cost, his book included the Grade 1-placed multiple stakes winner Starry Dreamer (by Rubiano). The resulting colt did not succeed at the highest level on the track, but he is among his sire's 198 stakes winning offspring, and there is a chance that he could join Danehill and Green Desert as one of Danzig's most important sons.
Right now it is just a chance, and it is far too early to do more than speculate as to how history might judge him, but we could have an answer within the next 10 to 15 years. And he is not the only young Danzig stallion with such potential, because Darley's 12-year-old Hard Spun, who was a classic-placed Grade 1 winner, is already the sire of nine Group/Grade 1 winners, and counting.
A half-brother to the graded winners Ecclesiastic (by Pulpit) and Teammate (by A.P. Indy), War Front holds court at Claiborne and his $200,000 fee, still short of his sire's price at the end of his career, makes him one of the most expensive stallions in the world.
He was a Grade 2 winner over six furlongs, Grade 1-placed over six and seven, and that excellent form was all as a four-year-old. He was unplaced in his only start as a juvenile, had an eight and a half furlong listed contest among three wins from five starts at three, and despite this racing profile he has become an outstanding source of two-year-olds, in addition to those who are top-class at three and four years of age.
From seven crops of racing age, he has been represented by 47 stakes winners and the 10 of those who have won at the highest level include the European-trained colts Air Force Blue, Hit It A Bomb, Declaration Of War, and War Command. The latter pair are young Coolmore stallions, his US Grade 1 winners Data Link and The Factor are also in early stages of their stud careers, and it will be how the grandsons of all these horses fare on the track, and at stud, that will give us the best clues as whether War Front will forge a dynasty or be remembered merely as another of the good Danzig stallions.
War Front's seventh-crop progeny are only two years old but already they include the Group 2 winners Roly Poly and War Decree, Group 3 scorer Brave Anna, and dual Group 2-placed Intelligence Cross, each of whom is trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien. Two of those are fillies and the better of the colts is a horse whose pedigree would make him a very interesting addition to the stallion ranks whenever his racing career comes to an end.
War Decree, who was bred by Ar Enterprises Llc, made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Leopardstown in early June, chased home Boynton in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket a month later, and then impressed with a one and three-quarter length defeat of Thunder Snow in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last week. Timeform have him on a rating of 113p.
He is the second foal out of Royal Decree (by Street Cry). She failed to trouble the judge in two starts, was covered as a three-year-old, and then sold for $385,000 in Keeneland that November, in foal to US champion sire Elusive Quality (by Gone West). The resultant colt was sold for $260,000 at the same venue 12 months later, made just $210,000 as a yearling, and is now known as Noble Quality, a dual stakes-placed miler from his first seven starts.
Ticker Tape (by Royal Applause), the grandam of War Decree, began her career with the Jamie Osborne stable in England, winning at Warwick and Doncaster and earning her first piece of blacktype when finishing third in the Listed Radley Stakes. She then crossed the Atlantic, was runner-up in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes and continued racing in the USA to the age of five, retiring to stud as a millionaire and dual Grade 1 star.
In addition to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland and the Grade 1 American Oaks Invitational at Hollywood Park, she won a Grade 3 contest at Arlington and several listed races, and her string of notable placings included second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and third in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes.
Royal Decree is her first foal, eight and a half furlong listed scorer Empress Maker (by Empire Maker) is her third, and her fourth, a daughter of Giant's Causeway (by Storm Cat) was born in Japan after the mare's sale for $950,000 at Keeneland the previous November.
Ticker Tape is one of seven winners out of Argent Du Bois (by Silver Hawk) and her siblings include Sant Elena (by Efisio), the stakes-placed dam of Reckless Abandon (by Exchange Rate). That grandson of Danzig was one of the best juveniles in Europe in 2012, when he won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, Group 2 Prix Robert Papin, Group 1 Prix Morny and Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, but unfortunately he proved infertile, was withdrawn from stud and gelded.
The best of Argent Du Bois's siblings was the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Crowded House (by Rainbow Quest), and although neither she nor her dam, Wiener Wald (by Woodman), managed to win, her grandam was the Grade 1-placed dual Grade 2 scorer Chapel Of Dreams (by Northern Dancer). That mare's descendants include the Grade 2 winners Juniper Pass (by Lemon Drop Kid), Tale Of A Champion (by Tale Of The Cat), and Postponed (by Summer Squall), the latter a New Zealand-based stallion whose blacktype progeny include the mile Group 1 scorer Pasta Post.
Of course, as many know, Chapel Of Dreams was out of the multiple Grade 2 winner Terlingua (by Secretariat) and, in addition to being a half-sister to Group 1 star and leading sire Royal Academy (by Nijinsky), that mare is the one who gave us the Grade 1 winner and multiple US champion sire Storm Cat (by Storm Bird).
Royal Academy's 168 stakes winners include European Group 1 stars Sleepytime, Ali-Royal, Carmine Lake, Oscar Schindler, Lavery and Zalaiyka, his international Group/Grade 1 winners include Bullish Luck, Kenwood Melody and Black Caviar's sire Bel Esprit, and the many major winners produced from his daughters include Group 1 star and Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill), European juvenile champion and popular young stallion Dabirsim (by Hat Trick), and dual classic heroine Finsceal Beo (by Mr Greeley), to name just three.
Storm Cat sired 181 stakes winners and founded a dynasty. In addition to being an outstanding broodmare sire - Group/Grade 1 winners include A Shin Hikari, Ballydoyle, Bodemeister, Close Hatches, Folklore, Gleneagles, Kizuna, Lord Kanaloa, Marvellous, Misty For Me, Shared Belief, Speightstown, etc - his many sons who have sired Group/Grade 1 winners of their own include Bernstein, Forest Wildcat, Hennessy, Forestry, Tale Of The Cat, Stormin Fever, Harlan, Stormy Atlantic, Freud and, of course, multiple US champion sire Giant's Causeway.
His many notable male-line descendants include the late Harlan's Holiday (by Harlan) and Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg), both of whom are currently in the top 25 in the 2016 US sires' championship title race. The latter stood at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, was only 11 when he died earlier this year, and this prolific US Grade 1- and South American classic sire has been represented in Europe by No Nay Never, Daddy Long Legs, Acapulco, and current juvenile stars Caravaggio and Lady Aurelia.
Royal Academy and Storm Cat are remotely related to War Decree, but their presence in the family will not be missed whenever the recent Group 2 scorer gets his chance at stud, a prospect that looks likely given the precocity and talent he has shown so far.
He holds entries in the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes, Group 2 Galileo European Breeders Fund Futurity Stakes, Group 2 At The Races Champagne Stakes and Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, and he is available at between 10-1 to 16-1 for next year's Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas, generally third in the betting behind his Ballydoyle team mates Caravaggio and Churchill.
It is a long time until then, of course, and he still has to improve to be up to winning a classic, but War Decree is bred to achieve anything and, given his pedigree and current race record, there is no reason to doubt his ability to stay a mile.