We have seen some outstanding fillies and mares in action in recent decades and the Niarchos family's Miesque (by Nureyev) is among them. A star at two, three and four – with Timeform ratings of 124, 131 and 134 – the François Boutin-trained bay won 10 times at the highest level including the 1000 Guineas, Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), two editions of the Prix Jacques le Marois and back-to-back runnings of the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Many champion racemares have disappointed at stud, but not her. She went on to have a considerable influence on the global racing and bloodstock scene, and that impact is not only still strong but it may be strengthening.
Already in 2018, for example, she is the direct female ancestor of two European Group 1 classic winners and, like her, one of those is a miler who has generated plenty of excitement.
Miesque's grandson Study Of Man (by Deep Impact) won this month's Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly shortly her great-granddaughter Alpha Centauri (by Mastercraftsman) gave trainer Jessica Harrington a first classic success at the Curragh. That Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine then put up one of the most impressive performances of the week at Royal Ascot, smashing the track record while thrashing her rivals by six lengths and more in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes.
Threading was the one who chased her home, the promising Veracious was another length and three-quarters back in third, and it the same margin again back to the fourth, Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook, a filly bred to stay farther.
Timeform rated her 127 for this win, placing her equal with Mendelssohn at the top of the three-year-old division, and it will be fascinating to see if she can increase that figure by the end of the year.
A sound surface suits her well – it was fast at Ascot and had heavy in the description on both occasions that she's been out of the frame – and although her entries include the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks, it would be no surprise to see her stick at a mile to 10 furlongs.
Her Coolmore Stud-based sire excelled at both distances – she is one of nine top-level scorers for him among 50 stakes winners – and her grandam is East Of The Moon (by Private Account), who won the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Group 1 Prix de Diane (by French Oaks).
That dual classic heroine is, of course, a half-sister to triple mile Group 1 star and leading international sire Kingmambo (by Mr Prospector), to pattern scorer and Group 1 sire Miesque's Son (by Mr Prospector), and to broodmares of note, including Second Happiness (by Storm Cat), dam of the aforementioned Study Of Man.
Another is Monevassia (by Mr Prospector), a non-winner on the track. Her daughter Rumplestiltskin (by Danehill) was a champion at two, when she won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and that star's offspring include Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine and Group 1 Irish Oaks runner-up Tapestry (by Galileo).
Monevassia is also the dam of Group 3 Grangecon Stud Balanchine Stakes winner I Am Beautiful (by Rip Van Winkle), and those produced by her other daughters include Japanese ace Real Steel (by Deep Impact), a dual classic-placed winner of the Group 1 Dubai Turf at Meydan.
Miesque's stakes-placed daughter Moon Is Up (by Woodman) is another of note as she is the dam of South African mile Grade 1 winner Amanee (by Pivotal) and grandam of Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile scorer Karakontie (by Bernstein). He stands at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky and will have first-crop yearlings at the sales this summer and autumn.
Massaraat, a stakes-winning full-sister to Miesque, also deserves mention as her descendants include last week's Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes winner Old Persian (by Dubawi), who is out of a full-sister to 2007's Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes heroine Silkwood (by Singspiel).
Alpha Centauri is the sixth foal out of East Of The Moon's unraced daughter Alpha Lupi (by Rahy) and that makes her a half-sister to former Ballydoyle team member Tenth Star (by Dansili) who showed his best form as a two-year-old.
He took the seven-furlong Listed Golden Fleece Stakes by four lengths, was odds-on when only third to Remember Alexander in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes a few weeks later, but then put up a better performance to chase home stablemate Daddy Long Legs in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile at Newmarket.
Alpha Lupi's current two-year-old is a daughter of international Group 1 star So You Think (by High Chaparral) – whose offspring have so far done much better in the southern hemisphere than here – and her yearling is a second-crop daughter of runaway Group 1 Deutsches Derby hero and Lanwades Stud stallion Sea The Moon (by Sea The Stars).
The mare's siblings include Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg scorer Moon Driver (by Mr Prospector), and the stakes-placed trio Helike (by Rahy), Mojave Moon (by Mr Prospector) and Canda (by Storm Cat), with the latter being of particular note because of what she achieved at stud.
The Jonathan Pease-trained bay was runner-up in both the Listed Prix Yacowlef and Listed Criterium de Vitesse at two, and her second foal was blacktype sire Evasive (by Elusive Quality), who won the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at two and finished fourth to Mastercraftsman in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot the following summer.
Last year, Canda's son Autocratic (by Dubawi), a Cheveley Park Stud homebred trained by Sir Michael Stoute, won the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown.
Dual Group 1 star Alpha Centauri was a high-class juvenile who trounced Actress in a listed contest at Naas before failing narrowly against Different League in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Ascot, both over six furlongs, but that pales in comparison to what she has achieved so far in 2018.
It will be disappointing if she fails to win at least once more at the highest level, it would be great to see her in action as a four-year-old, and with her pedigree and connections there is also every reason to hope that she could eventually go on to become a broodmare of influence.