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.