Yearling sales season is under way and the recent victory of Billesdon Brook in the Group 3 Grosvenor Sport Prestige Stakes over seven furlongs at Goodwood provided two timely advertisements.
One is for her sire, a multiple Group 1 star who has proved his ability to get talented performers at all levels on the flat but who has now completed a first season as a dual-purpose stallion at Castle Hyde Stud.
Champs Elysees (by Danehill) is a full-brother to leading international sire Dansili, his offspring include Group 1 Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris and the classic-placed pattern scorers Jack Naylor and Xcellence, among others of note, and he began his career at Banstead Manor Stud.
But as soon a stallion switches to dual-purpose or National Hunt there is often a tendency to forget that he still has several flat-bred crops to run and that there is no reason why more blacktype horses will not emerge from those.
Billesdon Brook is, of course, a two-year-old. She could be an Oaks candidate in 2018 and, despite being from the family of a Champion Hurdle star, she is flat-bred.
Her success is also timely because it came just days after her half-sister Billesdon Bess (by Dick Turpin) got her first blacktype success, and these two fillies are the first two foals out of their dam, a mare whose Showcasing (by Oasis Dream) filly is catalogued as Lot 1136 in Book 2 of next month's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
The talented sisters are trained by Richard Hannon and they were bred by the Stowell HIll Partners. The elder one has won four of her eight starts, including her juvenile debut in October 2016, and her big win came in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Fillies' Stakes over 10 furlongs on fast ground at Salisbury.
Billesdon Brook, on the other hand, has now won three from seven and she was only beaten by a nose and a neck when third to Tajaanus and Capomento in the Listed Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Stallions Star Stakes over seven furlongs at Sandown in late July. The winner of that race has since gone on to pattern success, and fifth-placed Whitefountainfairy is the one who was the three-quarter-length runner in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes.
Their dam, Coplow (by Manduro), was placed a few times but is a half-sister to four blacktype earners, notably the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale winner and Group 2 Oaks d'Italia runner-up Middle Club (by Fantastic Light) and the unbeaten but tragically ill-fated Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes winner Piping Rock (by Dubawi).
She is out of Anna Oleanda (by Old Vic), a dual German winner whose full-sister Anno Luce is the pattern-winning dam of Grade 1 Champion Hurdle heroine Annie Power (by Shirocco), one of the most brilliant and popular National Hunt mares of recent years.
A half-sister to flat listed scorer Air Trooper (by Monsun), Annie Power is also a half-sister to Angeleno (by Belong To Me), who is the winning dam of US nine-furlong Grade 3 scorer Lady Pimpernel (by Sir Percy).
Anno Luce, meanwhile, is a daughter of the dual German champion Anna Paola (by Prince Ippi), the Group 2 Preis der Diana (German Oaks) heroine whose descendants also include notable performers such as Annus Mirabilis (by Warning), Pozarica (by Rainbow Quest), Annaba (by In The Wings), and Anna Of Saxony (by Ela-Mana-Mou).
The Group/Grade 1 scorers Ave (by Danehill Dancer), Anna Monda (by Monsun), Helmet (by Exceed And Excel), and Epaulette (by Commands) all appear in the family too, although they are more distantly connected to Billesdon Brook.
At this point in her career, Billesdon Brook has not run beyond seven furlongs, but the way that she won at Goodwood suggested that a mile will be within her compass this year. Hers is a pedigree with middle-distance stamina and that suggests that it could be over 10 furlongs and beyond that she will prove most effective in 2018.
Whether or not she has the class to feature prominently in either the Group 1 Investec Oaks or Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks remains to be seen, but she could become a candidate for something like the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes Stakes, over the St Leger course and distance. Her Showcasing half-sister, on the other hand, is more likely to be a miler.