The Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes has been won by some outstanding fillies in the past and although this year’s winner was impressive she has a considerable task ahead of her if she is to reach the heights of the one who won it 12 months before.
In 2016, the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia put up one of the most impressive performances of the year when running away with the five-furlong juvenile feature, taking the prize by seven lengths. She then added the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville and returned to Ascot yesterday for a dominant win in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes.
Today it was the turn of Heartache and she showed plenty of potential when beating Happy Like A Fool by two and a half lengths. She is trained by Clive Cox, she was bred by Whitsbury Manor Stud, and she is a daughter of the sprint star and notably successful Cheveley Park Stud stallion Kyllachy (by Pivotal).
His 29 stakes winners include the Group 1 sprint stars Krypton Factor, Sole Power, and Twilight Son – the latter a popular new addition to the Cheveley Park stallion team this year. They also include the Group 1-placed Group 2 winner and promising young sire Dragon Pulse, the Group 2-winning miler Penitent, and the talented Stepper Point.
That gelding has won both the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes and Group 3 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, plus listed races at Beverley, Lingfield, and Longchamp, and he has been runner-up to the aforementioned Sole Power in both the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes. His highest end-of-year Timeform rating has been 123, earned in 2014.
What makes him particularly interesting here is that his winning dam, Sacre Coeur (by Compton Place), could be described as being a three-parts sister to Place In My Heart (by Compton Place), the pattern-placed and stakes-winning dam of Heartache.
A half-sister to the Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes winner and Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas fourth Leitrim House (by Cadeaux Genereux), Place In My Heart – who won the Listed Lansdown Stakes and finished third in the Group 3 Prix de Saint-Georges – is out of Lonely Heart (by Midyan), who is a stakes-placed half-sister to Sacre Coeur.
Stepper Point is now eight years old, the most recent of his 10 wins came over the minimum trip at Chelmsford at the start of this month, and his siblings include Gulland Rock (by Exceed And Excel), a six-year-old whose victories have come from five to seven furlongs, the most recent one coming at Kempton in March.
Lonely Heart and Sacre Coeur are half-sisters to the 10-time scorer Ace Of Hearts (by Magic Ring). Place In My Heart’s siblings include Indian Trail (by Indian Ridge), whose nine wins feature two heritage handicaps – one of which was the Investec Dash at Epsom – and also Golden Heart (by Salse), a one-time scorer whose daughter Bella De Zio (by One Cool Cat) was a stakes-placed six-time winner in Italy.
These are the highlights of the first three generations of the pedigree, and it is worth mentioning that Take Heart (by Electric) – the third dam of Heartache – is a four-time winning half-sister to a pair that won 13 races between them, because this is a female line that throws up a lot of prolific winners, in addition to its blacktype horses.
Heartache’s only race prior to Ascot was in a novice event at Bath in late May, which she won by six lengths, and there is every reason to hope that she can add plenty more to her record – wins and blacktype – before she eventually goes to the paddocks.
There is also more than enough in her pedigree to suggest that six furlongs will be within her compass and that could make her a candidate for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at next year’s Royal Ascot festival.