There has been an increasing tendency to view pattern-winning juvenile colts as prospective stallions and many of them have plenty of positives about their pedigree that could be used to promote their claims. But every now and then you get one who is less fashionably bred and whose speed and precocity come as something of a surprise.
This year's Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes winner Sands Of Mali is a half-brother to last year's Timeform 112-rated Shergar Cup Sprint winner Kadrizzi (by Hurricane Cat), and his multiple stakes-placed grandam won a dozen times.
That might sound promising, but before he came along the only stakes winner in the first four generations of his family was one remotely connected to him both in genetics and aptitude – a winner of the Lonsdale Stakes descended from his fourth dam.
The Richard Fahey-trained juvenile was bred in France by Simon Urizzi and his Kheleyf (by Green Desert) half-sister is catalogued as Lot 15 in next Wednesday's opening session of the Osarus September Yearling Sale, the event at which Sands Of Mali made €20,000 last year.
He was bought that day by Con Marnane who sold him on for £75,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot Breeze-Up Sale in early April. He was unplaced on his debut at York three months later and trounced subsequent listed scorer Eirene by three and three-quarter lengths on soft ground at Nottingham nearly three weeks after that.
The Gimcrack was his third start and he made all to beat Invincible Army by two and three-quarter lengths, with the dead-heaters Cardsharp (gave 3lbs) and Headway another length back in third.
This makes the humbly bred bay a leading contender for next month's Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket and, potentially, for next year's Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.
His unraced dam Kadiania (by Indian Rocket) is out of the aforementioned Kapi Creek (by Sicyos), which makes her a half-sister to the multiple winners Majik Charly (by Soave) and Such A Maj (by Soave).
Kirigane (by Vitiges), his third dam, won once and finished third in a listed contest, and that half-sister to Mexican blacktype earner Ladakh (by Sir Gaylord) was also a half-sister to Kumari (by Luthier), the one-time winning dam of Listed Lonsdale Stakes winner and Group 3 Prix de Lutece third Angel City (by Carwhite).
The fifth dam is the listed race winner and 1967 Cheshire Oaks fourth All Hail (by Alcide), who has had some notable descendants in South America, but there is nothing in the first few generations of the family to suggest why Sands Of Mali could have become a Group 2-winner with the potential to perform well at the highest level.
His sire has, obviously, played an important part and that horse is the dual pattern-winning miler Panis (by Miswaki), an Haras des Faunes stallion with just a handful of stakes winners to his name – two of whom are the Group 3-winning sprinters Myasun and Out Of Time – plus the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) runner-up Veneto (renamed Californiavitality in Hong Kong).
This not the sort of pedigree background that one expects to find on a talented juvenile sprinter with Group 1 potential, but should he go on to merit a place at stud some day then he could be an interesting addition to the ranks.
That's because Sands Of Mali shows no inbreeding within the first five generations of his pedigree, has no Danzig or Sadler's Wells anywhere on his page, and so he would represent an outcross to many of the increasing number of sprint mares who are descended from or inbred to one or more representatives of those two dynasty-making sires.