Few mares have made an impact on the breed quite like what Urban Sea (by Miswaki) has done and it is not just through her Derby heroes and outstanding sire-sons Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) that her name will live on in pedigrees for a long time to come.
That pair were the best of her four top-level winners on the track – the other two are Black Sam Bellamy (by Sadler's Wells) and My Typhoon (by Giant's Causeway) – and while Galileo has forged a mighty dynasty, and Sea The Stars is a leading classic sire with a few sons at early stages of their stud careers, descendants of her daughters have excelled in Group/Grade 1 races on three continents.
Just Wonderful has not yet won at the highest level, but the Aidan O'Brien-trained juvenile – yet another good horse bred by Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt – won the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket this afternoon, adding to her earlier success in the Group 3 Flame Of Tara Stakes a furlong farther at the Curragh four weeks before.
She has won three of her six starts, was a beaten favourite when third to Marie's Diamond in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh in July, and her debut success over six furlongs at the Curragh in late May came at the expense of recent listed scorer Lethal Promise.
Her half-brother Lost Treasure (by War Front) took his record to three wins from five starts when scoring a narrow victory over six furlongs at Dundalk tonight, and although he has not yet tried blacktype company, he holds entries in the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Home of Champions Concorde Stakes at Tipperary and Group 2 Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.
His sister, on the other hand, is engaged in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket and looks a likely candidate to challenge for the classics in 2019.
Their dam, Wading (by Montjeu), won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes in 2011 and is both a full-sister to Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine Bracelet and three-parts sister to this year's Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes scorer Athena (by Camelot).
Their dam, Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes runner-up Cherry Hinton (by Green Desert), is a daughter of Urban Sea.
Urban Sea's eldest daughter, Melikah (by Lammtarra), won the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes, was third in the Group 1 Oaks and then runner-up in the Group 1 Irish Oaks before going on to a notable career at stud.
Her Arc-placed, Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville-winning son Masterstroke (by Monsun) is at stud aty Haras du Logis in France, whereas Moonlight Magic (by Cape Cross) has won the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and Group 3 Meld Stakes and been runner-up in the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes. Their half-sister Hidden Gold (by Shamardal) is a Group 2 Lonsdale Cup-placed stakes winner.
Melikah was back in the news earlier this year when her great-grandson Masar (by New Approach) ran away with the Group 3 Craven Stakes before going on to take the Group 1 Derby at Epsom. She is also notable as being the grandam of Vancouverite (by Dansili), a Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano winner who was runner-up in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta in Dubai.
Galileo's full-sister All Too Beautiful won the Group 3 Middleton Stakes, was runner-up in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, is the dam of listed scorer Victory Song (by Dansili) and of dual classic-placed stakes winner Wonder Of Wonders (by Kingmambo), and she is the grandam of Group 1 Oaks-placed listed race winner Alluringly (by Fastnet Rock).
Of course, there is more to the pedigree of all of these horses than just Urban Sea's legacy – and their sires, of course – as the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine was herself out of a mare of considerable influence.
Her dam was the Group 3 Oaks Trial second Allegretta (by Lombard) and so she was a closer than half-sister to Group 1 2000 Guineas star and classic sire King's Best (by Kingmambo), a three-parts sister to multiple pattern scorer Tertullian (by Miswaki) – a champion sire in Germany – and half-sister to Group 3 winner and notable broodmare Allez Les Trois (by Riverman).
The latter is the dam of Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) winner and blacktype sire Anabaa Blue (by Anabaa), of two listed-race winners, and ancestor of several horses of note. They include Group 1 mile star and classic sire Tamayuz (by Nayef), his classic-placed Group 2-winning close relation Mustajeeb (by Nayef), and current high-class French sprinter Tantheem (by Teofilo).
The many blacktype winners who descend from Allegretta also include German Group 1 winner Anzillero (by Law Society), and French Group 2 scorers Terrubi (by Dalakhani) and Armande (by Sea The Stars), and if you go back to those who descend from her siblings then you will also find branches of the family leading to Group 1 Deutsches Derby star and leading sire Adlerflug (by In The Wings), Australian Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine Azzurro (by Bluebird), and this year's Grade 1 Just A Game Stakes winner A Raving Beauty (by Mastercraftsman).
Anatevka's (by Espresso) top descendants, and even some of those who share Allegretta as an ancestor, are remotely connected to Just Wonderful, but they illustrate just how deep and far-reaching this pedigree is.
It will be interesting to see how Just Wonderful does on the track in 2019. For me, her victory at Newmarket was a capable performance rather than an impressive one – the time-based analyses could be quite revealing – and it would be good to get another chance to assess her before the year is out.
There is no doubt that this filly is bred to achieve anything, on the track and at stud, and if she lives up to her pedigree potential then she could be a leading player in the top fillies' races next season.