We saw some impressive performances at the 2016 July Meeting at Newmarket and one of those was the victory of Alice Springs in the Group 1 Tattersalls 250th Year Falmouth Stakes (British Champions Series) over a mile on Friday. The optics of her two and a quarter length defeat of Very Special and Always Smile looked good, and so was the time she clocked, a new course record.
It is true that neither the favourite Usherette nor the multiple Group 1 star Amazing Maria showed anything close to their best that day, which was disappointing, but the winner may be improving, which is not really a surprise for an early May foal.
Bred by the partnership of Lynch-Bages and Longfield Stud, the chestnut daughter of Coolmore Stud's prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) is a 550,000gns graduate of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and she is trained by Aidan O'Brien. She is out of Aleagueoftheirown (by Danehill Dancer), which makes her another Group 1 winner bred on the popular Galileo – Danehill line cross, and her relations include another two other mile Group 1 stars.
The Galileo – Danehill line cross added another top-level winner to its roll of honour on Saturday night when the Aidan O'Brien-trained Deauville won the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park, and its most famous representative is, of course, the undefeated Timeform 147-rated superstar Frankel, whose first eight runners have yielded seven winners (two of them blacktype placed) and one placed horse.
Of course, mares by Danehill Dancer (by Danehill) have also been responsible for this year's Galileo Group 1 classic stars Minding and The Gurkha, and other Danehill stallions who are the broodmare sire of a Galileo-sired Group/Grade 1 winner are Holy Roman Emperor (Johannes Vermeer), Mozart (Magician) and Rock Of Gibraltar (Photo Call).
Alice Springs is the fourth foal of her dam, her three older full-siblings are winners, and the fifth registered foal out Aleagueoftheirown is another Galileo filly, born last year.
Kingston Jamaica was the eldest, he was third in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes as a juvenile and third behind the tragically ill-fated subsequent classic star Trading Leather in the Listed Silver Stakes over 10 furlongs at the Curragh. He was then sold for $305,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July Sale, but met with a fatal accident after just three starts. His gelded full-brother Crocodile Rock won a nine and a half furlong Gowran Park maiden in October.
Criteria is now five years old and Cheveley Park Stud bought her for 535,000gns in Newmarket as a yearling. Her only win came in a 12-furlong maiden at Kempton, but next time out she picked up her first piece of blacktype when a nose runner-up in the Listed Oaks Trial Stakes at Lingfield. She was only beaten by three-parts of a length when third to Bracelet in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot, she was also third in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster and runner-up in a listed contest at Newmarket.
Aleagueoftheirown was trained by David Wachman, and although she showed a lot or promise on her debut, when coming off worst in a four-way photo finish for the Group 2 Debutante Stakes over seven furlongs at Leopardstown, she only made the frame in two of her 11 subsequent starts, both of them short-head verdicts. The first, an eight and a half furlong Cork maiden, went her way, but the other one went to Elletelle, subsequently the dam of Adelaide.
So the two fillies who flashed past the post together at the end of 2008's Listed Sweet Mimosa Stakes over six furlongs at the Curragh both went on to produce a Galileo-sired Group 1 winner at stud.
Aleagueoftheirown is out of Golden Coral (by Slew O' Gold), a filly who was beaten by a total of 43 and a half lengths in three starts for the Aidan O'Brien stable, a lack of talent that is in stark contrast to that possessed by her full-sister Golden Opinion.
One of the early stars for their sire, the Andre Fabre-trained champion Golden Opinion won a listed contest at Maisons-Laffitte shortly before finishing third in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) and she won the Group 3 Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly before justifying favouritism in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot. She then beat all but the narrow winner Cadeaux Genereux in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket before thrashing her opposition by six lengths and more in the Group 3 Prix du Rond Point at Longchamp in October.
It is one of the odd quirks of the business that sometimes it is the lesser sibling who goes on to achieve the more notable success at stud, and although the unplaced Golden Coral is the grandam of Group 1 star Alice Springs, champion Golden Opinion's best descendant is the Group 3 Prix Allez France scorer Daksha (by Authorized), one of her granddaughters.
Tsar Maiden (by Nijinsky), who was placed, is another of Golden Coral's siblings and she earned her spot on catalogue pages by coming up with the Indian classic winner Wild Eagle, a miler by 1987's Group 1 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas star Don't Forget Me (by Ahonoora).
More notable, however, is the record of their winning half-sister Joyful (by Green Desert). The stakes-placed gelding Roker Park (by Choisir) is the best of her progeny on the track, but she is the grandam of four stakes winners, one of whom is a classic star.
The Richard Hannon-trained sprinter Orvar (by Dandy Man) won a valuable listed race in Turkey last year, and Italian second-crop sire Shaweel (by Dansili) won the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes, was third in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes and short-headed by Mastercraftsman in the Group 1 National Stakes. Nijoom Dubai (by Noverre) won the Group 3 Albany Stakes as a two-year-old and it is her half-sister who shares the honours, along with Golden Opinion and Alice Springs, as being one of the best the family has produced.
Samitar (by Rock Of Gibraltar), who was bred by Norman Court Stud, began her career with Mick Channon and also won the Group 3 Albany Stakes. She added a valuable sales race at Newmarket, the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes and a pair of listed contests, and she was only beaten by a head when runner-up to Lyric Of Light in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile. She was also runner-up in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland, was placed in several other pattern and graded events, and her first foal is a 2015 son of the outstanding Japanese stallion Deep Impact (by Sunday Silence).
The third dam of Alice Springs is Optimistic Lass (by Mr Prospector), who won the Group 2 Nassau Stakes and Group 3 Musidora Stakes, was third in the Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes and finished fourth behind Circus Plume in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom. She was out of the pattern-placed Loveliest (by Tibaldo) and was a half-sister to the stakes winners Indian Romance (by Raja Baba) and Dangerous Diva (by Royal Academy), the latter a three-parts sister to the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes and dual Scurry Handicap winner Avorado.
Alice Springs, who was runner-up in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and third in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes last year, finished third in both the Group 1 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Coronation Stakes before winning at Newmarket on Friday.
She holds an entry in the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks, but although her full-sister Criteria stayed that trip well, which offers support for the argument that she too may stay, the amount of speed shown by the chestnut suggests that she may have inherited more of the family's speed than did her older sibling, which would limit her distance range.
Her entries also include the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes, the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes, and the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes, so we are likely to get plenty more opportunities to assess her and to determine whether her latest performance was a one-off or marks the start an exciting new phase of her career.