Overbury Stud's Delegator (by Dansili) added himself to the list of freshman sires with a pattern winner to their name when his daughter Delectation won the Group 3 William Hill Firth of Clyde Stakes over six furlongs at Ayr on Saturday.
A six-furlong Thirsk maiden scorer on her only previous start, the Bryan Smart-trained juvenile was bred by Crossfields Bloodstock Ltd and she was bought-back for just 3,000gns when offered from Book 4 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket.
She is the third foal and third dual winner out of Chushka (by Pivotal), a one-time scorer whose Foxwedge (by Fastnet Rock) colt was bought-back for €25,000 during Wednesday's session of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale in Fairyhouse.
Her half-sister Emblaze (by Showcasing) has won seven-furlong handicaps at Southwell and Catterick this year, was runner-up over that trip at Carlisle in August on the most recent of her placed outings, and she is rated 65. Monsieur Glory (by Monsieur Bond), the three-year-old sibling, got his wins in 10-furlong handicaps at Redcar and Beverley, he is rated 71 and he has been declared for a handicap over the extended 13 furlongs at Chester tomorrow.
This is all pretty ordinary stuff and it might make it seem as if Delectation has outrun her pedigree, but that would not be the case.
Her well-bred sire is a classic-placed Group 2-winning sprinter/miler, a horse for whom the ability to sire some stakes and pattern winners, and even Group 1 performers, could be expected. Her dam is a half-sister to the Group 2 July Stakes winner Captain Hurricane (by Desert Style), whose form dropped to a 78-rating by the time of his death as a five-year-old, but her grandam, Ravine (by Indian Ridge), is a dual-winning half-sister to a filly of note.
Niche beat the colts in the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and was a four-length winner of the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York as a juvenile. She kicked off her three-year-old campaign with victory in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket, a performance that suggested the white-faced chestnut would stay the mile. The daughter of Risk Me (by Sharpo) confirmed that potential when getting within half a length of beating Sayyedati in the Group 1 1000 Guineas.
It is true that this turned out to be a weak edition of that classic, once you ignore the first two finishers in it, but its winner was an outstanding filly who had taken both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at two and brought her top-level tally to five by adding the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Group 1 Sussex Stakes.
Niche was Timeform-rated 115, probably good enough to win at the highest level against her own sex, but, other than her classic run, she never got the chance. She was an impressive three and a half-length winner of the Group 2 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on her next start, chased home by Dancing Bloom and the previous year's classic star Culture Vulture, but the following month got loose on the gallops and had a fatal encounter with a van.
Niche's placed half-sister Hidden Meaning (by Cadeaux Genereux) is the dam of the Group 2-placed juvenile stakes winner Senor Mirasol (by Deportivo) and of the stakes-placed prolific winner Becher (by Vettori), and they were out of Cubby Hole (by Town And Country), a mare who had some well-known siblings.
Hiding Place (by Doutelle), the fourth dam of Delectation, won the 1966 edition of the Nell Gwyn Stakes, she was fourth in the Sun Chariot Stakes – fourth counted for blacktype in those days – and her list of nine winners from 13 progeny was headed by the Group 1 Gold Cup hero Little Wolf (by Grundy).
He also won the Group 2 Goodwood Cup, Group 2 Prix Jean de Chaudenay, Group 3 Jockey Club Stakes and Group 3 St Simon Stakes, the races in which he was placed included the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin, Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes and Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, and Timeform rated him 127.
His half-brother Smuggler (by Exbury), whom Timeform rated 123 at three and 121 at four and five years of age, made a winning debut in the Chesham Stakes and went on to add the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, Group 3 Princess of Wales's Stakes and Group 3 Gordon Stakes. He was twice placed in the Group 1 Coronation Cup.
Disguise (by Klairon) won the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes, Camouflage (by March Past) won the Listed Royal Hunt Cup, Elusive Pimpernel (by Blakeney) won the Listed Hyperion Stakes, and the offspring of Hiding Place also included the unraced filly Sanctuary (by Welsh Pageant).
What makes her significant is that her string of successful progeny was headed by the sprint champion Sheikh Albadou (by Green Desert), the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 Sprint Cup star who surprised the home team by also taking the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint. Timeform rated him 125 at three and 128 at four.
Delectation is unbeaten in two starts over six furlongs, and with the six-to-eight furlong pace of her sire combined the traits shown within the first three generations of the family, there is every reason to hope that she will stay a mile in 2017. Whether or not she will be as good as Niche remains to be seen.