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.