In mid-September of last year, Melesina finished only sixth in a one-mile nursery at Ayr, a race for which she had been a 20/1 longshot. It was her seventh start, she had been unplaced at 50/1 and 100/1 in blacktype events at Naas and Royal Ascot respectively, and her sole success came in a seven and a half-furlong Beverley maiden on her sixth start.
She was now rated 80, seemingly well-exposed and with no realistic hope of achieving prominence on the track. She was beaten by 31 lengths in a mile listed contest at Meydan on her seasonal debut last month, and yet few can have been surprised by her victory in the Listed Prix La Camargo over the same trip at Saint-Cloud on Sunday.
That's because of what she achieved in both her eighth start of 2016 and in her second one of 2017. She sprang a 14/1 surprise in the former, beating Turf Laurel by one and a quarter lengths in the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs over a mile on good ground at Deauville, and was a staying-on three-length fourth to Nomorerichblondes in the latter, the Group 3 UAE Oaks over nine and a half furlongs on the dirt at Meydan.
With 11 runs behind her now, including three this year, it is reasonable to suggest that Melesina is unlikely to improve much on the 102-rating she brought with her to France. If we ignore her first five starts and take a view that perhaps she just needed more time than expected to work it all out, then she would be sitting on a record of three wins from six starts, which would make the prospect of further progress sound more plausible.
It will be interesting to see how her season turns out, but regardless of whether she has already peaked or has more to give, this Richard Fahey-trained daughter of Yeomanstown Stud's star stallion Dark Angel (by Acclamation) will go to the paddocks with both Group 3 and listed success to her name, and that is more than most can do.
Melesina was bred by Duggan Bloodstock, she made just 22,000gns from Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket and she is a half-sister to the seven-furlong winner Lastmanlastround (by Azamour).
That she is one of her sire's milers, rather than a sprinter, was to be expected given that her dam, Lastroseofsummer (by Haafhd), was a capable stayer who won over 13, 15 and 17 furlongs on the flat and at up to two miles, three and a half furlongs over hurdles. Indeed, given how she finished in the UAE Oaks, it is possible that Melesina will handle 10 furlongs in Europe.
The mare's half-brother Romantic Affair (by Persian Bold) won the Listed Stubbs Stakes over two miles and was placed in the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil, Group 3 Henry II Stakes and Group 3 Sagaro Stakes, and each of her other three blacktype siblings stayed at least 12 furlongs.
Broken Romance (by Ela-Mana-Mou), the unraced grandam of Melesina, was a half-sister to the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby winner Foscarini (by Rusticaro), to Group 2 Dante Stakes runner-up Guns Of Navarone (by Bold Lad IRE) and to Group 2 National Stakes second Cobblers Cove (by Realm), and there is a plethora of stakes winners under the fourth generation of the family.
Those include Pelerin (by Sir Gaylord), the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden winner who finished fourth to Henbit in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom, and also Gwen (by Abernant), the speedy multiple stakes winner who, in 1964, chased home Pourparler in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Her siblings included Broken Flush (by Busted), the winning third dam of Melesina.
The Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Matiya (by Alzao) also appears under a branch of the fourth generation of the pedigree but she and Melesina only share their fourth dam, Donna (by Donore), a four-time scorer whose multiple blacktype placings included the Fred Darling Stakes.
Musselburgh is not a venue at which you would expect to see a future pattern race winner and leading juvenile in action but the Scottish track was the location for the racecourse debut of Syphax, a colt trained by Kevin Ryan.
He beat five rivals that day in early July and has been seen in action just once since, when springing a 16/1 surprise in the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York the following month. He beat Best Of Days by a head there, with Lockheed three-parts of a length back in third, and this performance earned him an end-of-year rating of 110.
Such a light first season, one that ended so early, may make this colt something of a forgotten horse for many, but this now Godolphin-owned bay, who was bred by Pin Oak Stud, could become a leading performer in 2017, most likely at around the seven to 10-furlong range.
He is by the late Claiborne Farm stallion Arch (by Kris S), who died last year and was responsible for US standouts such as Blame, Pine Island, Archarcharch, and Arravale, although perhaps best known to many here as being the sire of the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes and Group 1 July Cup winner Les Arcs.
It is not impossible that Syphax could be effective over that shorter trip too, but the strong trend in the distaff side of his family is for talent at around a mile so it is reasonable to presume that this colt will follow their lead.
There are two other aspects of his profile that catch the eye before you get to the details of the high-class performers to whom he is related. One of these is his date of birth. Syphax is a 6th May foal, which means that he will not be celebrating his physical third birthday until the actual day of the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas, a race for which he is currently available at around 33/1.
It also makes his juvenile record more interesting, suggests that he may be capable of considerable improvement on what he showed at two, and that he could be a candidate to do well as a four-year-old, in addition to whatever he might achieve in 2017.
The other aspect that pops on his page is his sales history. His foaling date may have been a contributing factor in his Keeneland September Yearling Sale price but, even so, $25,000 is surprisingly low for a colt with his pedigree. He was sold on for €100,000 at the Arqana May Breeze-Up several months later.
Syphax is the third foal and second winner out of the prolific and talented Much Obliged (by Kingmambo), a $400,000+ earner and six-time scorer who was a Grade 3-placed dual stakes winner in the USA and also Grade 2-placed in Canada, best from eight to nine furlongs. Her good start at stud is no surprise given the notable produce record of both her dam and grandam.
Much Obliged is among six winners out of triple scorer Danka (by Strawberry Road), all six won multiple times and each earned blacktype. Two were listed-placed, one a Grade 3 runner-up, and Free Thinking (by Unbridled) was second in both the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park and Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Their half-sister Bedanken (by Geri), however, takes the honours as most prolific and most talented of the siblings as her 11 wins included Grade 3 victories at Fair Grounds, Arlington International, Keeneland, and Oaklawn Park.
Their dam, who is one of 11 winners from 13 foals out of the unraced Paloma Blanca (by Blushing Groom), also has a multiple Grade 3 -winning daughter with a double-digit tally to her name – the near $600,000 earner Apolda (by Theatrical) – and a sister whose tally of seven includes a couple of listed events in California, but Danka's most notable sibling is her half-brother Ganges (by Riverman) who showed his talent on two continents.
He won the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte as a juvenile, won the Listed Prix Djebel at the same venue shortly before finishing third to Mystiko in the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, and he was also placed in the Group 3 Prix de Meautry before going on to Grade 3 success at Keeneland.
Paloma Blanca's siblings include the Norsk Derby winner Underworld (by Riverman), she was out of the La Prevoyante Stakes winner Satania (by Ruritania), and that mare was, in turn, a half-sister to Group 2 Prix de l'Opera winner and blacktype producer Sea Sands (by Sea Bird II), to Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil winner and Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud runner-up Riboboy (by Ribot), and also to an unraced filly who became the third dam of Group 1-placed sprinter and notable sire Danetime (by Danehill).
These are the highlights of the first few generations of Syphax's pedigree and there is more than enough there to suggest that he has the potential to become a high-class performer as a three-year-old and as an older horse.
The 2017 turf season is just beginning – its first pattern event was held in France this afternoon - and during its early weeks the talk of classics will be mostly focused on the mile events: Derby discussion often does not get much coverage until after the Guineas meeting at Newmarket.
Such has been the emphasis on producing speed that, in recent years, it has often been hard to identify serious Derby candidates among the leading juveniles, colts about whom you could say with confidence 'he will definitely stay the mile and a half.'
Last season's leading two-year-olds did include a horse who looks sure to stay and who has already got a major win to his name. His connections are no stranger to classic success, so could he be the one?
The Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeist made a winning debut over a mile at Chantilly in early September, finished third to Frankuus in the Group 3 Prix de Conde over nine furlongs at the same venue a month later, and then advertised his classic potential with a promising performance in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 10, on soft ground, in which he beat Best Solution by a length.
The chestnut is a son of dual Derby hero and prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells), but what all but guarantees his stamina is the input from the distaff side of his family, a line that has already yielded two Group 1 classic stars, over 12 furlongs and farther, in recent years.
Waldgeist is out of the Group 3 Prix Penelope winner Walderche (by Monsun), that mare is a half-sister to the middle-distance listed race winner Waldnah (by New Approach) and, more notably, also to 2011's Group 1 St Leger hero Masked Marvel (by Montjeu).
Europe's champion three-year-old stayer of that season, he also won the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy and Listed Cocked Hat Stakes, he stands at Haras d'Etreham, in France, and his first crop are now yearlings.
Their dam, Waldmark (by Mark Of Esteem), was runner-up in the Group 2 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and in a 10-furlong listed contest at Newbury, and she is a half-sister to the Group 1 Deutsches Derby star Waldpark (by Dubawi), who stands at Haras du Thenney and also has yearlings now.
Waldmark's siblings also include the pattern-placed middle-distance pair Waldvogel (by Polish Precedent) and Waldjagd (by Observatory) and her dam is the twice joint-champion German runner Wurfaube (by Acatenango). Her string of blacktype successes featured the Group 2 Gerling Preis over 12 furlongs and the 14-furlong Group 2 Deutsches St Leger, in which she beat Night Petticoat by 11 lengths.
In addition to being a half-sister to the dual Group 3 scorer Wurfscheibe (by Tiger Hill), Wurftaube is also a half-sister to Wurfspiel (by Lomitas), who is the stakes-placed dam of Wake Forest (by Sir Percy).
That now seven-year-old entire was a multiple Group 3 scorer in Germany before crossing the Atlantic, he won the Grade 1 Man O'War Stakes over 11 furlongs at Belmont Park last May, was only beaten a neck when runner-up to The Pizza Man in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes over 12 furlongs at Woodbine in September, and is already off the mark in 2017 with victory in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes over 11 on firm turf at Gulfstream Park two weeks ago.
It remains to be seen just how good Waldgeist will be at his peak, but so far everything points towards him being a top-class middle-distance horse in the making and it is possible that this 114-rated chestnut could become one of the brightest stars of 2017.
Classic star and Ballylinch Stud resident Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) has made a good start to his stallion career with a string of stakes winners that includes dual Group 1 ace Belardo.
That miler and new Kildangan Stud sire represents his first crop, while classic prospect South Seas comes from his third. Qatar Racing Ltd's chestnut was bred by Stonepark Farms, he is trained by Andrew Balding, and he achieved a juvenile rating of 110.
He was favourite on each of his first three starts, winning a six-furlong maiden on soft ground at Windsor in June, following that with victory over the same trip at Haydock in July, and then beating Salouen by two and a quarter lengths to take the Group 3 Solario Stakes over seven furlongs at Sandown in August.
He lost his unbeaten record when only sixth to Churchill in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes seven weeks later, but bounced back to chase home Thunder Snow in the Group 1 Criterium International over the same trip at Saint-Cloud later that month.
A €170,000 Goffs foal who made 145,000gns from the Tattersalls Book 1 catalogue at Newmarket as a yearling, South Seas is the first produce of Let It Be Me (by Mizzen Mast). The mare had a Lawman (by Invincible Spirit) filly last year, was then covered by classic star Make Believe (by Makfi) but did not go in foal.
She was unplaced but is a half-sister to Zaidan (by Street Cry), a Listed Chesham Stakes winner who went on to become a Grade 2-placed listed scorer in Hong Kong and who was runner-up to Chinchon in the Grade 1 International Cup over 10 furlongs at Kranji.
Element Of Truth (by Atticus), the grandam of South Seas, earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Eternal Stakes over seven furlongs at Warwick, her half-sister My Hansel (by Hansel) was third in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile at Ascot, and her four other successful siblings feature the prolific Ramooz (by Rambo Dancer).
He won 10 times from two to six years of age, including the Group 3 Van Geest Criterion Stakes, Group 3 Aon MacDonagh Boland Stakes, and two editions of the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes. He also won two listed races and was placed in a long list of blacktype events from six to eight and a half furlongs.
Their dam, My Shafy (by Rousillon), won two of her four starts and she was among five winners for Lys River (by Lyphard), a Deauville and Longchamp listed scorer who was runner-up to Reine De Saba in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary.
South Seas holds entries in both the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh and it will be fascinating to find out just how good he is. He has made a promising start to his career.
Not many horses who begin their career with an unplaced run on the all-weather and at double-digit odds go on to become a pattern winner at any stage, let alone within less than three months' time, but Making Light did just that and she is an interesting prospect for the coming turf season.
Moyglare Stud's homebred does not hold any classic engagements and she needs to improve considerably on her 101-rating to be up to competing well at the highest level, but with her pedigree and connections there is reason to hope that she can go on to further blacktype success. She also has the potential to become another notable broodmare for both her owners and her family.
The Dermot Weld-trained bay finished only fifth of 12 in a seven-furlong Dundalk maiden in mid-August. She was a 14/1 longshot that day but a 3/1 favourite at Limerick when she reappeared less than two months later, this time storming home by eight lengths on soft ground.
Such was the impression she created that afternoon that she was sent off a joint-favourite for the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown 20 days later and, on ground described as yielding, she stayed on to beat Spirit Of Valor by a length, with Taj Mahal a neck farther back in third.
Making Light is a daughter of the regally-related mile Group 1 star Tamayuz (by Nayef), the Derrinstown Stud stallion whose double-digit tally of stakes winners includes Group 1 sprint ace G Force and Group 2 scorers Blond Me and Sir Prancealot, the latter a prolific freshman sire in 2016.
She is the third foal out of the 12-furlong winner Instant Sparkle (by Danehill), a mare who has two siblings of particular note: full-sister Irresistible Jewel and half-sister Diamond Trim (by Highest Honor).
The latter won the Listed Finale Stakes at the Curragh and the best of her offspring is the prolific Profound Beauty (by Danehill), whose nine wins include the Group 3 Curragh Cup, Listed Saval Beg Stakes, two editions of the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes and three of the Listed Challenge Stakes.
Profound Beauty's daughter Rose De Pierre (by Dubawi) won the Listed Platinum Stakes over a mile last year, and her siblings include Majestic Silver (by Linamix), the unraced dam of last year's mile-placed, seven-furlong listed scorer Joailliere (by Dubawi) and of the high-class Carla Bianca (by Dansili).
That grey has wins in the Group 3 Meld Stakes, Group 3 Dance Design Stakes, Listed Hurry Harriet Stakes and Listed Naas Oaks Trial on her record, she is to visit Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium) in 2017, and is an exciting young broodmare.
Diamond Trim's contribution to the family is admirable and yet that of Irresistible Jewel is more impressive. She won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 3 Blandford Stakes, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera, and has three Group 1 offspring, so far.
Royal Diamond (by King's Best) won the Group 1 Irish St Leger, Group 3 British Champions Long Distance Cup and Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial, among other performances of note.
Mad About You (by Indian Ridge) won the Group 3 Gladness Stakes and Listed Garnet Stakes, she was runner-up to Halfway To Heaven in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and to Promising Lead in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes, and her string of other blacktype placings include third in both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac as a juvenile.
Mad About You's first foal, a filly named Malinka (by Pivotal), won at over middle-distances at Limerick and Roscommon last year, and her second, a four-year-old named Heartful (by Shamardal), won a mile maiden at Dundalk last month.
Princess Highway (by Street Cry) is the third of Irresistible Jewel's stars and she was a joint-champion three-year-old filly in Ireland and England in 2012 when she won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes and finished third to Great Heavens in the Group 1 Irish Oaks.
Aptostar (by Fappiano), the third dam of Making Light, won the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes in 1988, was second in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and third in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes that same year, and was a multiple Grade 1-placed Grade 3 winner at the age of four, before going to Ireland to join the Moyglare Stud broodmare band.
Whether Making Light is going to be a mile to 10-furlong filly or one who may stay farther will depend on the amount of speed or stamina she has got from Tamayuz.
There is no doubt, however, that she is bred to achieve anything, both on the track and, eventually, at stud, and this, combined with her promising juvenile season, makes her an interesting prospect for 2017, and possibly also for 2018.
The great champion Frankel (by Galileo) made an exciting start to his stallion career in 2016 by coming up with six pattern-winning juveniles in his first crop, headed by the undefeated Group 1 star and Japanese filly champion Soul Stirring.
The sextet also includes Frankuus, and although he may not have as much potential for improvement as do some others among their sire's initial runners, this 106-rated grey could be a high-class middle-distance colt in 2017 and 2018.
Like so many of his sire's earliest runners, this Mark Johnston-trained colt made a winning debut, in his case over seven furlongs at Haydock in June. He finished fifth to Churchill in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, then third and fourth in listed contests at Ascot and Newbury before stepping up to a mile and beyond.
That move saw him win the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock in early September and the Group 3 Prix de Conde over nine furlongs at Chantilly a month later, his rivals in the latter including the subsequent Group 1 star Waldgeist, who finished third.
The degree of improvement that rival found in the following weeks was evident in the way he won the 10-furlong Criterium de Saint-Cloud next time, a race in which Frankuus disappointed in eighth place.
Frankuus was bred by Ballylinch Stud, he is a half-brother to the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon winner and Group 1 Criterium International third US Law (by Lawman), and he is out of Dookus (by Linamix), a half-sister to the speedy juvenile stakes winner Pharmacist (by Machiavellian).
That smart filly became a notable success at stud, she has four blacktype-winning offpsring to her name, and one of those is the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf and Grade 1 Man O'War Stakes hero Red Rocks (by Galileo).
He was also a talented performer in Europe where he was placed in both the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp and Group 1 St Leger at York, he began his stallion career at Centro Equino Arcadia in Italy, spent two seasons at Calumet Farm in Kentucky, and is now back at his prior home.
Pharmacist's quartet also includes the Group 2-placed, stakes-winning middle-distance horses Medicinal (by Linamix) and Galvaun (by Galileo), while her stakes-placed half-sister Phariseek (by Rainbow Quest) has chipped in with the Punchestown Grade 1 Champion 4YO Hurdle scorer Hisaabaat (by Dubawi).
She is also a half-sister to the unraced dam of Green Rock (by Green Tune), a juvenile listed race winner who was third in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe, and all of this stamina at eight to 14 furlongs is striking given that their dam is the high-class sprinter Pharaoh's Delight (by Fairy King).
She won the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and was runner-up to Chimes Of Freedom in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, when it was run over six furlongs, and she was later third to the brilliant Dayjur in each of the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, Group 1 Sprint Cup and Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.
Her half-brother Kateb (by Pennine Walk), on the other hand, was a star middle-distance runner in Scandinavia, a dual winner of both the Listed Dansk Eclipse Stakes and Listed Oslo Cup.
Frankuus clearly has plenty of ability, he holds entries in both the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, and it would be no surprise to see him become a smart middle-distance performer in 2017 and 2018.
Frankel was one of the greatest racehorses of all times and when his daughter Soul Stirring won the Group 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies over a mile in Japan in December, the Timeform 147-rated superstar and Banstead Manor Stud stallion became yet another son of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) to sire a top-level winner on the flat.
A total of nine Galileo sons are on that list, so far, and there is a high degree of probability that, in 2017, Frankel will join New Approach and Teofilo on the more select list of Galileo stallions who have been represented by at least one northern hemisphere Group 1 classic star.
He had six pattern-winning juveniles in his first crop - the others were Fair Eva, Frankuus, Mi Suerte, Queen Kindly, and Toulifaut - a string of promising maiden winners and, no doubt, plenty more high-class prospects still to emerge from that initial batch.
Some have looked like being sprinters, others like milers and/or middle-distance horses, and the latter include the aforementioned Soul Stirring. She extended her unbeaten record to four with an odds-on success in the Group 3 Tulip Sho over a mile at Hanshin today and so she remains the top candidate for the Group 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) over the same course and distance next month.
Her sire was never tried beyond 10 and a half furlongs, her dam's string of top wins includes the Prix Vermeille over 12 at Longchamp, and this also makes the Kazuo Fujisawa-trained star a prime prospect for the Group 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) over a mile and a half at Tokyo in May.
Soul Stirring is a daughter of the French champion Stacelita (by Monsun) who, in addition to the Vermeille, won the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet, Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes, and Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes.
Her pattern-placed, juvenile stakes-winning dam Soignee (by Dashing Blade) is one of four blacktype scorers out of Suivez, who was a dual stakes-placed German winner from the tiny sole crop of Fioravanti (by Northern Dancer), a $2.3 million yearling and juvenile Phoenix Park listed scorer that Timeform rated 115p at two.
Soignee's half-brother Simoun (by Monsun) won the Group 2 Hansa-Preis and Group 2 Grosser Mercedes-Benz Preis, and he could be described as being a three-parts brother to Stacelita. Their half-brother Shining (by Sutumu) won 10 times, including a listed contest in Germany, and the fourth of the high-class siblings is Soudaine (by Monsun), a German listed scorer who has become a notable broodmare.
Her dual stakes-winning son Sussudio (by Nayef) has won seven times in France and Savoir Vivre (by Adlerflug) was among the leading classic-age colts of 2016 when he won the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville and took the runners-up spot to Isfahan in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby at Hamburg in July, beaten by just a head in heavy ground.
Several of Suivez's daughters have also been blacktype producers at stud, notably the unraced Suisun (by Monsun). She is the dam of Secessio (by Konigstiger), who has won listed races in Germany and Australia, and of Silvaner (by Lomitas), the dual Group 3 scorer who finished third to Earl Of Tinsdal in the Group 1 Rheinland-Pokal six years ago.
Fioravanti's single-digit foal count also included the speedy Group 3 and dual listed-winning filly Wixon, but it is Suivez's descendants who represent his legacy.
If you go farther back into the family then you will find Group/Grade 1 standouts such as Steinlen (by Habitat), Zagreb (by Theatrical), and Sagace (by Luthier) in its branches, although their connection to Japan's leading three-year-old filly is remote.
As for Soul Stirring, this dark bay filly has the potential to win two classics in 2017, and if she does fulfil that promise then it would be exciting to see Shadai Farm's homebred daughter of Frankel have a go at one or more of the best races in Europe and/or the USA.
Tally-Ho Stud stallion Kodiac (by Danehill) has established himself as a popular and prolific source of high-class juveniles, sprinters, and milers. It is entirely possible that the pattern-placed half-brother to leading international sire Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert) may even get a mile Group 1 classic horse before long.
If he does achieve that feat then it won't be with Ardad, a talented colt that the stud bred out of a mare called Good Clodora (by Red Clubs). That's because this 108-rated bay appears, on his juvenile form, to be a sprinter, and possibly a five-furlong specialist.
The John Gosden-trained three-year-old ran six times in 2016, winning three and finishing unplaced in the others. Two of those defeats came on his only attempts at six furlongs and the third one was his ninth of 17 in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, run at Chantilly last October. He was only four lengths behind the winner, Marsha.
Ardad made his debut over the minimum trip on fast ground at Yarmouth and just six days before an impressive three and a quarter-length score in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes on soft at Royal Ascot. Three months later, he added the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, beating Legendary Lunch by three-parts of a length.
He is a £170,000 graduate of the Goffs UK Breeze-Up Sale at Doncaster, he is the first foal of his dam, and his half-sister by freshman sire Society Rock (by Rock of Gibraltar) is catalogued as Lot 20 for the 2017 edition of the same sale, scheduled for 12th April: she made 25,000gns as a yearling in Newmarket.
Good Clodora ran from six furlongs to a mile at two but was never placed, which made her the only one of her dam's 10 runners not to win. Indeed, four of those siblings are blacktype horses, with one of the quartet also making an impact at stud.
That one is Ruby Rocket (by Indian Rocket), the pattern-placed dual sprint stakes winner whose star son is the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp hero Maarek (by Pivotal).
His 13 wins also include the Goup 2 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes, Group 2 Duke of York Stakes, Group 3 Chipchase Stakes, Group 3 Renaissance Stakes, and Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy, and he has achieved a peak rating of 123 from Timeform.
Maarek is a gelding so it will instead fall to Ardad to become the family's next new stallion recruit.
Ruby Rocket's pattern-placed, stakes-winning half-brother Inzar's Best (by Inzar) got some minor winners, as did Kier Park (by Foxhound), who appears farther back on the page, but the fourth generation features a moderately successful blacktype sire and a branch that leads to one of the bright prospects among the freshman sire class of 2017.
The third of Good Clodora's stakes-winning siblings is juvenile listed scorer Alexander Alliance (by Danetime) and she is also a half-sister to the stakes-placed gelding Cool Panic (by Brave Act).
Geht Schnell (by Fairy King), the grandam of Ardad, is a half-sister to one winner out of Anita's Princess (by Miami Springs), who was an unraced half-sister to Anita's Prince (by Stradavinsky). That Group 1-placed Group 3 scorer was the top-rated three-year-old sprinter in Europe in 1984 and his string of successful offspring include the multiple stakes winner and prolific sprinter Carranita.
His half-brother Ready (by Digamist) won the Centurion Cup at Sha Tin, and placed half-sister Merlannah (by Shy Groom) was the dam of the aforementioned Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes winner and Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest third Kier Park.
The most notable of these other progeny of one-time juvenile scorer Get Ready (by On Your Mark), however, is Bo' Babbity (by Strong Gale). She was an early two-year-old winner and it is her stakes-placed prolific sprint winner Blue Iris (by Petong) from whom Swiss Lake (by Indian Ridge), Swiss Diva (by Pivotal), Swiss Dream (by Oasis Dream) and Swiss Spirit (by Invincible Spirit) descend.
The last-named was a dual Group 2-placed pattern winner on the track, his yearlings made up to 130,000gns in 2016, and this Whitsbury Manor Stud stallion looks a likely candidate to feature in the top 10 in the 2017 freshman sires' title race.
With his juvenile form and pedigree credentials, Ardad has no doubt already attracted interest as a prospective stallion. It will be interesting to see if he can stay six furlongs this year, which would bring him into the reckoning for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, but there is, of course, a plethora of opportunities over five, which is where he may prove best suited.
Juvenile champion and dual classic star Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) wasted no time in establishing himself as a top-class international sire and the Kildangan Stud ace gets leading two-year-olds, high-class sprinters, and top-notch milers and middle-distance runners.
His many notable performers in 2016 included Godolphin's good colt Blue Point, and the Charlie Appleby-trained bay ended his season with a third-place finish to Churchill and Lancaster Bomber in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
It is certainly possible that he will prove effective at a mile, but a combination of his overall juvenile record with a reading of the distaff side of his pedigree suggests that his best prospects of success at the highest level may come from six to seven furlongs.
Each of his first five starts was over six furlongs and he won three of them, including a novice event by 11 lengths at Doncaster and, more notably, his three-length defeat of Mokarris in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York, a performance that saw his official rating increase to 115. Timeform have him on 118.
He lost his unbeaten record when a neck runner-up to Mehmas in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood the previous month and lost out again at Newmarket in late September when The Last Lion sprang a 25/1 shock in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, winning by three-parts of a length.
Blue Point, who was raised to a mark of 116 after his Dewhurst performance, was bred by Oak Lodge Bloodstock. He made 110,000gns in Newmarket as a foal and 200,000gns from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale at the same venue, and he is the best of several winners out of Scarlett Rose (by Royal Applause).
Those siblings include a lowly-rated mile winner, but he is also a half-brother to the Group 2 Railway Stakes winner and Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes runner-up Formosina (by Footstepsinthesand). Indeed, he and Formosina could be described as being three-parts brothers as both are by sons of the prolific Group 1 star and multiple US champion sire Giant's Causeway (by Storm Cat).
Their dam was only placed, as was their grandam Billie Blue (by Ballad Rock), but Scarlett Rose is a half-sister to seven winners, two of whom are of particular note.
The track star among them is Tumbleweed Ridge (by Indian Ridge), a prolific seven-furlong specialist whose 10 wins included the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes, the Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot, and three editions of the Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes.
The other sibling one made her name at stud because she, the lightly-raced triple sprint winner Tumbleweed Pearl (by Aragon), is the dam of Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes heroine Gilded (by Redback) and grandam of the pattern-placed multiple sprint stakes winner Fort Del Oro (by Lope De Vega), a grand-daughter of Shamardal.
Blue Nose (by Windjammer), the third dam of Blue Point, won a listed nursery and earned three other pieces of blacktype, one of which was her fourth-place finish to Monteverdi in the Group 2 National Stakes at the Curragh in 1979. It is, of course, a very long time now since finishing fourth in a listed or pattern event awarded any blacktype.
Blue Point holds an entry in the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh and he is available at between 16/1 to 33/1 for the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, but it would not be a surprise to see him become a leading candidate for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Ascot the following month.
Heavy ground can make form unreliable but Capri was odds-on when beating Yucatan by three-parts of a length in the Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes on that surface at the Curragh in September, a month before achieving a higher rating in defeat in France.
The latter race was the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 10 furlongs on soft ground and he was only beaten by a length and half a length when third to Waldgeist and Best Solution, with Douglas Macarthur a neck back in fourth.
He ran three times before his pattern success, finishing a half-length second to Arcada on his debut in a seven-furlong Curragh maiden in July, easily winning over a furlong and a half farther at Galway a fortnight later, and then taking a seven and a half furlong listed contest at Tipperary just six days after that.
Capri, an Aidan O'Brien-trained grey who was bred by the partnership of Lynch Bages Ltd and Camas Park Stud, ended his juvenile campaign on a rating of 113 and, as you might expect, he holds entries in the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, Group 1 Investec Derby, and Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
The colt is out of the French winner Dialafara (by Anabaa) and that half-sister to winners is, in turn, a daughter of the talented Diamilina (by Linamix). She won the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret and Group 3 Prix de la Nonette, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and she has quite a few relations of note.
Her half-brother Diamond Green (by Green Desert) won the Group 3 Prix La Rochette as a juvenile and was later runner-up in each of the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes, and Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. His progeny feature the US Grade 1 scorer Watsdachances, which could make Capri an interesting prospect if he goes on to secure a place at stud.
Diamonixa, a full-sister to Diamilina, looked like a potential Group 1 star in the making when running away with the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre on her second start but, sadly, she met with a fatal accident before getting the chance to run again.
Their full-sister Dali's Grey, who won just once, has done her part for the family as she is the dam of the listed scorer and Group 1 Melbourne Cup runner-up Bauer (by Halling) and grandam of the dual stakes-winning fillies Bezique (by Cape Cross) and Momayyaz (by Elusive Quality).
Diamonaka (by Akarad), the grandam of Capri, was runner-up in both the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret and Group 3 Prix du Royaumont and she was among nine winners out of Phoenix Park listed scorer Diamond Seal (by Persian Bold).
Those siblings include Group 2 Prix Greffulhe winner and Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris third Diamond Mix (by Linamix), Group 3 Prix de Royaumont scorer Diasilixa (by Linamix). and also Diamond Dance (by Dancehall), the Group 3 Prix Penelope-winning dam of Group 2 Prix de Pomone victress Diamond Tango (by Acatenango). The last-named is the dam of three blacktype earners including last year's Group 3 Prix de Lutece runner-up Dounyapour (by Lope De Vega).
It remains to be seen just how good Capri will be at his peak, and how he will fare on good and on fast ground, but he clearly has ability and also the potential to do well over middle-distances.
In the 1980s, Bedtime and Teleprompter proved themselves good enough to compete at the highest level in Europe but were prevented from doing so because of their physical status.
It was only in 1986 when the first Group 1 contests here were opened to geldings, too late to catch Bedtime at his peak. Teleprompter, however, made a bit of history by finishing in third place behind Dancing Brave and Triptych in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
Geldings have won many of the European Group 1 contests open to them in the three decades that have followed, but some races still exclude them, notably the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the classics: for those, geldings remain ineligible to compete.
Some may exclaim, 'oh but what about the Irish St Leger and its French equivalent, the Prix Royal-Oak? Geldings have won those!' Once those two top events were opened to older horses (1983 and 1979 respectively) they lost their true classic status as classics are restricted to three-year-olds only.
Time will tell if Landfall is capable of performing with credit at the top level, but this 110-rated three-year-old, an unbeaten pattern winner, was among the best of his age in Ireland in 2016.
He made his debut over seven furlongs on ground described as yielding-to-soft at the Curragh in August and, three weeks later, beat Firey Speech and Douglas Macarthur by two and a quarter lengths and a head in the Group 3 Willis Towers Watson Champions Juvenile Stakes over a mile on good ground at Leopardstown.
The Ken Condon-trained bay was bred in France by Marie-Claude Biaudis and he is a son of juvenile Group 1 scorer and Haras du Mezeray stallion Myboycharlie (by Danetime). That horse's offspring also feature Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes heroine Euro Charline and star Australian filly Jameka, winner of both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup and Group 1 Crown Oaks.
Landfall is out of an unraced mare called Lana Girl (by Arch) and his grandam is Volga (by Caerleon), who won the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes, Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap and Group 3 Prix de Royaumont.
That star mare is a half-sister to the Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase heroine Vallee Enchantee (by Peintre Celebre) and a full-sister to Group 3 Grand Prix de Vichy scorer Victory Cry, and they are among 11 winners out of the notable performer Verveine (by Lear Fan).
She won the Group 2 Prix de l'Opera and Group 3 Prix du Calvados and the races in which she was placed featured the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac.
The best of Verveine's siblings was the Group 2 Prix du Muguet winner and Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois runner-up Vetheuil (by Riverman), but Vanishing Prairie (by Alysheba) also deserves mention.
She won twice as a three-year-old, her daughter La Sylphide (by Barathea) won the Group 3 Prix Penelope, and that flly became both the dam of Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap scorer Expansion (by Maria's Mon) and grandam of the high-class Usherette (by Shamardal), who won the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes and Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes in 2016.
Vanishing Prairie is also the dam of the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat and Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris star Vespone (by Llandaff), of pattern-placed dual stakes winner Vanishing Cupid (by Galileo), and of Purple Moon (by Galileo), a listed and Ebor Handicap winner who was runner-up in both the Group 1 Melbourne Cup and Group 1 Hong Kong Vase.
Landfall is bred to be a top-class racehorse. It is worth noting that his middle-distance relations tend to be by stallions with a proven track record of getting such horses, so, given Myboycharlie's record in Europe, it is possible that this gelding could be seen to best effect at eight, nine, and 10 furlongs.