The shuttle sire phenomenon transformed the global bloodstock and racing industry but there is one aspect of it that has made minimal impact until recent years. That is the part known as reverse-shuttling, where southern hemisphere-bred stallions travel north.
Relative newcomers to the industry will know about the considerable success that stallions such as Exceed And Excel (by Danehill), Choisir (by Danehill Dancer) and Fastnet Rock (by Danehill) have had in Europe, but there were others before them who came and went quietly.
It is too early yet to know what sort of long-term impact Sepoy (by Elusive Quality) may have, because his eldest progeny are only three-year-olds, but the European half of his global first crop contains several individuals who have caught the eye in blacktype company. The Darley team member is at Dalham Hall Stud.
He had a listed sprint winner in Ireland recently, his Unforgettable Filly was runner-up to Daban (by Acclamation) in the Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket, and his exciting daughter Dabyah won the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes (registered as the Fred Darling Stakes) at Newbury last week.
The John Gosden-trained bay beat Urban Fox by one and a quarter lengths in that seven-furlong classic trial and she may now bid for glory in next month's Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) at Deauville.
That will not be her first visit to France as she finished a one-length third to Wuheida in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac over a mile at Chantilly in October, and that good performance is her only defeat among four starts. Timeform rated her 110p at two.
She was a half-length winner of a seven-furlong Newmarket maiden on her debut in July and followed that with an impressive nine-length victory against three rivals at Newbury two months later, that time on soft ground.
Her sire was a top Australian sprinter, her siblings include a multiple 14-furlong scorer, and the family from which she comes is a famous one, all of which makes her an intriguing prospect.
We know that she stays a mile, her pedigree makes it likely that she will handle 10 furlongs, but whether or not she can follow in the hoofprints of some of her star relations by staying 12 furlongs will probably depend on what she has inherited from her sire.
Dabyah was bred by Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd and this 100,000gns graduate of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale is the fifth foal of a one-time scorer named Samdaniya (by Machiavellian). The mare is a half-sister to the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes winner Queen's Best (by King's Best) – dam of last year's Timeform 122-rated Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf heroine Queen's Trust (by Dansili) – and also to Reverie Solitaire (by Nashwan), the pattern-placed stakes-winning dam of Group 2 Badener Meile heroine Royal Solitaire (by Shamardal).
Cloud Castle (by In The Wings) is the grandam of Dabyah. That Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes winner was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille over a mile and a half at Longchamp and she is one of four top-level performers for her dam, the Listed Sweet Solera Stakes winner and Listed Cheshire Oaks third Lucayan Princess (by High Line).
Luso (by Salse), a joint-champion older horse in both Italy and Germany, notched up 10 wins on the track including the Group 1 Deutschlandpreis, the Group 1 Derby Italiano, and two editions of the Group 1 Aral-Pokal. He also won a pair of Group 2 Hong Kong International Vases, and two runnings of the Group 2 Premio Ellington, before going on to a somewhat successful career as a National Hunt sire.
His top-class half-brother Warrsan (by Caerleon) would have been a popular addition to the stallion ranks but died before getting his chance. His nine wins included two editions of each of the Group 1 Coronation Cup and Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden.
Needle Gun (by Sure Blade) is the other notable sibling, a Group 2 Gallinule Stakes and Group 3 Meld Stakes winner whose string of pattern placings included the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes, Group 1 Derby Italiano, Group 1 Premio Roma, and three editions of the Group 1 Premio Presidente della Republica.
These high-class horses also have a blacktype half-sister in Luana (by Shaadi) and although her only piece of it came when finishing third in the Listed Bentinck Stakes, she is the dam of the Group 1-placed triple pattern scorer Hattan (by Halling) and his Group 3-winning stayer half-brother Tastahil (by Singspiel).
A total of six of Lucayan Princess's progeny were winners but three of her lesser daughters have made their names at stud. Maskunah (by Sadler's Wells) is the dam of dual middle-distance pattern winner Laaheb (by Cape Cross), Mantesera (by In The Wings) is the dam of Group 3 Winter Derby scorer Nideeb (by Exceed And Excel), and the third one is Lunda (by Soviet Star).
Ten of Lunda's 15 foals are winners and the most high-profile of those is her gelded son Blue Monday (by Darshaan). He won the Group 3 La Coupe at Longchamp, the Listed Festival Stakes at Goodwood, and two runnings of the Group 3 Arc Trial at Newbury, and the races in which he was placed include the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes and Group 1 Eclipse Stakes.
His full-brother Lundy's Lane was runner-up in the Group 3 Craven Stakes and third in the Group 1 Derby Italiano, and his half-brother Rugged Cross (by Cape Cross) is a Group 3-placed listed race winner in Australia.
Their half-sister Jakarta (by Machiavellian), who won just once, is the dam of Group 2 Rockfel Stakes third Puggy (by Mark of Esteem) and it is that filly who went on to become the dam of dual French classic heroine Avenir Certain (by Le Havre).
Lucina (by Machiavellian) was the only one of Lunda's offspring who never raced, but as her progeny include Mehmas (by Acclamation), she has compensated for that and made a notable contribution to the family.
He was a notable juvenile of 2016, when he won the Group 2 July Stakes and Group 2 Richmond Stakes and was placed in each of the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes, Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, Group 2 Coventry Stakes, and Listed National Stakes. Timeform rated him 115, but rather than stay in training to try for the top three-year-old sprints, he retired to Tally-Ho Stud where he commands a first season fee of €12,500.
Avenir Certain and Mehmas are distantly connected to Dabyah but she is clearly not short on notable relations closer up on the page. It would be still be an eye-catching family double if she can take either, or both, of the French fillies' classics and it will be interesting to see how far in the rankings this first-crop Sepoy filly can climb.
Acclamation (by Royal Applause) is a veteran of the stallion ranks, a well-established source of speed and of precocity. His son Dark Angel is among the leading sires in Europe, last year his top-class son Equiano made a breakthrough at stud when getting his first Group 1 winner, and it was also in 2016 that Marsha gave her Rathbarry Stud-based sire his third winner at the highest level.
Now, in 2017, Acclamation has a potential classic contender as his John Gosden-trained daughter Daban won the Group 3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket.
Her only other start was in a seven-furlong maiden on the polytrack at Kempton in early November and, despite her sire's speed, she looks likely to stay the extra furlong of the Group 1 Qipco 1000 Guineas.
Daban's pattern success was achieved by three-quarters of a length from Unforgettable Filly, with another length and a quarter back to Poet's Vanity in third and a slightly larger gap back to the Andre Fabre-trained Pampelmousse in fourth.
Pattern winners Sea Of Grace and Kilmah came next, although the performances of Roly Poly (seventh) and Brave Anna (tenth) – two of last year's leading juvenile fillies – are best ignored as they were well below what we know that pair can do.
Daban was bred by Kildaragh Stud, she is a 260,000gns graduate of Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale and, in addition to being a half-sister to the pattern-winning miler Thikriyaat (by Azamour), she could be described as being a three-parts sister to the similarly talented Johnny Barnes (by Acclamation).
His wins include the Group 3 Prix Quincey, his places feature second in the Group 1 Criterium International, and he is out of Listed Prix Imprudence scorer Mahalia (by Danehill), the grandam of Daban.
Mahalia is the dam of the Group 3 Prix de Flore winner and Group 2 Prix de Sandringham third Albisola (by Montjeu) and, in addition to Daban's dam Malaspina (by Whipper), she has two other offspring who also require mention.
Bufera (by King's Best) was placed in both the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs and Listed Criterium de Lyon as a juvenile and is the dam of Chartreuse (by Lawman), who was also third in that same Deauville pattern event but won the Listed Prix La Sorellina and took the runners-up spot in both the Group 3 Prix Chloe at Chantilly and the Group 3 Prix de Lieurey at Deauville.
More notable, however, are the achievements of the two blacktype sons of Mahalia's unplaced daughter Tonnara (by Linamix). Ectot (by Hurricane Run) has won the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes over 12 furlongs at Belmont Park and the Group 1 Criterium International over a mile at Saint-Cloud, while Most Improved (by Lawman) won the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes before joining the Coolmore stallion team. His first two-year-olds will be in action this year.
Mahalia's success and influence at stud is no surprise. She is by one of the great sires and broodmare sires, she is a half-sister to the Group 3 winner Muroto (by Busted) and to two listed scorers, and her siblings also include the stakes-placed four-time winner and excellent producer Zivania (by Shernazar).
That mare's sons Ivan Luis (by Lycius), Stagelight (by Montjeu) and Zero Problemo (by Priolo) were Group 2, Group 3, and listed race winners respectively, but three of her daughters have also made contributions to the family's honour.
Stakes-placed Viscaria (by Barathea) is the grandam of the high-class Irish gelding Onenightidreamed (by Footstepsinthesand) whose wins include the Group 3 Gladness Stakes and Group 3 Amethyst Stakes.
Hathrah (by Linamix) won the Listed Masaka Stakes by nine lengths at Kempton and finished third to Attraction in the Group 1 1000 Guineas at Newmarket before becoming the dam of Hadaatha (by Sea The Stars), a listed scorer who got her Group 1 placing when third in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp, beaten just a neck and a neck by We Are and Ribbons.
Amathia (by Darshaan), who is inbred 3x3 to Mill Reef (by Never Bend), got her listed race win at that same Paris venue. She is the dam of the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes scorer Distant Memories (by Falbrav) and also of Mutatis Mutandis (by Mastercraftsman), the Listed Nottingham Oaks winner who went on to take third in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park.
In addition to being descendants of a once-placed mare called Maresca (by Mill Reef), what all of the talented horses noted above have in common is that they have shown talent over at least a mile.
That tilts the odds in favour of Daban staying that trip, one over which her three-parts brother has done well, and that makes her both a classic candidate and a potentially prominent performer in some of the other top fillies' mile prizes of the year.
Early season classic trials are all about potential and although time analysis has cast doubt over the reliability of the form, the recent Group 3 Prix de la Grotte – Etalon Kengardent may have identified a trio of fillies who will do well at higher levels in France this year.
The one-mile Chantilly contest was won by the favourite, Senga. The 31/1 longshot La Sardane was a length second, and in addition to the winner, both the third and fourth look highly promising.
The previously once-raced Lady Frankel was a half-length behind La Sardane and this half-sister to Lope De Vega was, in turn, a short-neck in front of last season's pattern scorer Toulifaut, with these four finishing seven lengths clear of the fifth.
Senga is trained by Pascal Bary for the Niarchoses' Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd and the mid-March born homebred is one of nine stakes winner for Blame (by Arch), the distant relation of Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) who pipped Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic. He stands at Claiborne Farm.
The filly got off the mark at the second attempt, scoring by two lengths over a mile at Saint-Cloud in early September, and her only subsequent start at two was when finishing a one and three-quarter length fourth to Wuheida in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac over the same trip at Chantilly a month later.
With just four runs to her name so far, Senga should be capable of improvement and she could figure prominently in both the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) and Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks).
She is a half-sister to the seven-furlong stakes winner Bolting (by War Front) and is out of Beta Leo (by A.P. Indy), a winning daughter of Denebola (by Storm Cat).
France's juvenile filly champion of 2003, when taking both the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and Group 3 Prix de Cabourg, as well as third place in the Group 1 Prix Morny, Denebola represents a famous and influential family and it would be no surprise if any of her descendants were to succeed at the highest level.
The third dam of Senga is 1993's French juvenile filly champion Coup De Genie (by Mr Prospector), a Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre and Group 1 Prix Morny heroine who went on to finish third to Las Meninas and Balanchine in the Group 1 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, beaten by just a short-head and a neck.
Only five of her 13 offspring made it to the track but four were stakes winners, and in addition to Denebola, they were US Grade 3 scorer Snake Mountain (by A.P. Indy), Group 1-placed juvenile Group 3 winner Loving Kindness (by Seattle Slew), and Glia (by A.P. Indy) who won the Listed Prix Imprudence in France before going on to be Grade 2-placed in Kentucky.
Loving Kindness is the dam of a listed race winner, but Glia is the grandam of the top-class Emollient (by Empire Maker) whose wins include the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes, Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes, Grade 1 Ashland Stakes and Grade 1 American Oaks.
Coup De Genie's unraced daughter Moonlight Box (by Nureyev), however, can beat that as her progeny feature the multiple Group 1 stars Bago (by Nashwan) and Maxios (by Monsun).
The former was European champion at two and three and top-class again at four, he was rated 121p, 130 and 127 by Timeform in those three seasons, and he won the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, Group 1 Prix Ganay, Group 1 Prix Jean Prat, and Group 1 Criterium International. Sadly, despite being the grandson of a full-sister to a hugely influential stallion, Bago has disappointed at stud.
His half-brother Maxios represents a completely different sire line, being by the horse responsible for the Group 1-siring stallions Manduro and Shirocco, and he got his top-level wins in the Prix d'Ispahan and Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. He stands at Gestut Fahrhof, his first yearlings made up to €240,000 in 2016, and he has the potential to do well in his new career.
Bago's poor record could, in part, be an artefact of the generally disappointing stud performances of Nashwan's (by Blushing Groom) sons and daughters. If that is the case, then the Monsun (by Konigsstuhl) factor could work in Maxios's favour. After all, his grandam's full-brother was the classic-placed juvenile champion Machiavellian (by Mr Prospector) so you would expect him to sire stakes and pattern winners.
Machiavellian's 13 Group 1 stars include leading international classic sire Street Cry, plus Almuwakel, Medicean, Storming Home and Vettori, each of whom have enjoyed success at stud, and the string of Group 1 stars produced from his daughters includes Goldream (by Oasis Dream), Territories (by Invincible Spirit), Gallante (by Montjeu), Move In Time (by Monsieur Bond), Red Rocks (by Galileo), Verxina (by Deep Impact), Victoire Pisa (by Neo Universe) and Group 1 sires Dark Angel (by Acclamation), Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) and Zoffany (by Dansili).
Senga needs to improve if she is going to win at the highest level, but there is no doubt that she is bred to do so.
As one would expect when the first crop of a racing superstar reach the track, there has been a considerable amount of coverage and attention given to the early sons and daughters of Frankel (by Galileo). He has not disappointed.
When the Martyn Meade-trained Eminent won the Group 3 bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket recently, he became the seventh individual pattern winner for his young sire, joining an early role of honour that is headed by the classic-placed Japanese champion Soul Stirring.
Frankel's fee has been £125,000 since he began his breeding career at Banstead Manor Stud, so it is no surprise that so many of his talented offspring represent distaff families with a strong tradition of producing Group 1 horses, and Eminent is related to several classic stars and and Group 1 aces.
His only start at two was in a mile maiden on fast ground at Newmarket in late September and he went into a lot of notebooks as one to follow when taking that contest by two and three-quarter lengths from Vantage Point.
The form of that has not amounted to much, with only the second, fourth, seventh and tenth, successful since all the all-weather tracks, with the seventh being the pattern-placed Taj Mahal. That full-brother to two classic stars won just once from eight starts at two but has been highly tried and, on his seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown recently, he chased home Orderofthegarter in a mile listed contest.
The Craven Stakes was just Eminent's second race and last year's Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Rivet is the colt who chased him home, beaten by one and three-quarter lengths. Benbatl was a neck back in third and the time for the race was good.
Eminent is now a leading contender for next week's Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas. His entries also include the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes at York and the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom, and his pedigree gives him every chance of being effective at anywhere from a mile to 12 furlongs.
He was bred by Premier Bloodstock, he made 150,000gns from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, he is a half-brother to the Richard Fahey-trained dual six-furlong scorer As Good As Gold (by Oasis Dream), and he is out of the Group 1 Fillies' Mile third You'll Be Mine (by Kingmambo).
The mare is a half-sister to three blacktype earners, of whom Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Diamondsandrubies (by Fastnet Rock) is easily most notable, and she is out of Quarter Moon (by Sadler's Wells), the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner who was runner-up in each of the Group 1 Oaks, Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas.
Quarter Moon's full-sister Yesterday got her top-level win in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and the races in which that classic star was placed featured the Group 1 Oaks, Group 1 Prix de l'Opera, Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Stakes.
Four of their other siblings are blacktype horses, although just placed rather than being stakes winners. That said, Betterbetterbetter (by Galileo) was runner-up in the Group 3 Noblesse Stakes, Hold Me Love Me (by Sadler's Wells) was third in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes before becoming the dam of the Group 2-placed stakes winner Renew (by Dansili), and the other pair include All My Loving.
That full-sister to Quarter Moon and Yesterday was runner-up in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 2 Park Hill Stakes, she was third in both the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom and Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh, and her offspring feature Thomas Chippendale (by Dansili), the tragically ill-fated Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes winner.
Having just these stars among his close relations would be more than enough to advertise Eminent's Group 1 potential, but they only tell part of the story of this remarkable family. This branch, all descendants of the placed mare Jude (by Darshaan), is one strongly associated with the Coolmore team, but the next dam is Alruccaba (by Crystal Palace), ancestor of so many stars for the Lanwades Stud team.
Jude's eight winning siblings include her Group 1-placed, stakes-winning full-sisters Arrikala and Alouette, the Group 3 Doncaster Cup scorer Alleluia (by Caerleon), and Last Second (by Alzao) who won both the Group 2 Nassau Stakes and Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes.
The latter is the dam of Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) scorer and successful sire Aussie Rules (by Danehill), Alleluia is the dam of the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak star Allegretto (by Galileo), and Alouette is the mare who gave us the multiple Group 1 stars Albanova (by Alzao) and Alborada (by Alzao).
Albanova won the Group 1 Preis von Europa, Group 1 Rheinland Pokal, and Group 1 Deutschlandpreis – all over 12 furlongs – and she is the dam of triple stakes winner All At Sea (by Sea The Stars) who is best at around 10 furlongs, of 11-furlong Group 3 scorer Algometer (by Archipenko), and of Alwilda (by Hernando) who got her blacktype success over two miles, three furlongs in Germany.
Dual Group 1 Champion Stakes heroine Alborada chased home Swain in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes and her quartet of blacktype progeny include the eight and a half-furlong listed scorer Nordico Hero (by Archipenko), and the lightly-raced Alvarita (by Selkirk).
That 10 and a half-furlong listed race winner has done her part for the family at stud by coming up with the 10-furlong Leopardstown Group 3 scorer Alla Speranza (by Sir Percy) and also Altesse (by Hernando), a 12-furlong listed winner at the same venue and whose seven other pieces of blacktype include her head second in the Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes at Cork.
Brametot showed plenty of potential as a juvenile, winning three of his four starts, from six furlongs to a mile, and culminating with listed success at Bordeaux Le Bouscat in October. His only defeat was a three-length second to High Alpha in a similar contest at Deauville, a race for which he was 30/100 favourite.
The first-crop son of Haras de la Cauviniere sire Rajsaman (by Linamix) took a big step forward at Chantilly on Sunday when, on what was his seasonal reappearance, he beat Stunning Spirit by two and a half lengths in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau over a mile.
Spotify was a head back in third, there was a gap of three lengths between that colt and recent listed scorer Markazi, and Brametot, who missed the break yet won comfortably, is clearly a leading candidate for next month's Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas).
Should he go on to succeed at the highest level then this Jean-Claude Rouget-trained bay would have considerable appeal as a prospective stallion because he is out of a half-sister to one of the most famous and influential European sires of recent years.
Brametot is a half-brother to the Group 3-placed Mulan (by Marju) and he is out of Morning Light (by Law Society), a dual three-year-old winner in Germany whose five successful siblings feature Monsun (by Konigsstuhl), the triple middle-distance Group 1 star who won 12 times over four seasons on the track before going on to fame at what became his lifelong home, Gestüt Schlenderhan.
His tally of 112 stakes winners includes 22 who won at least once at the highest level, with standouts such as Manduro (sire of Group 1 winners), Shirocco (sire of Group 1 winners), Novellist, Protectionist, Stacelita (dam of classic-placed Group 1 winner Soul Stirring), Getaway (successful young National Hunt sire), Maxios, Salve Regina, Royal Highness, Fiorente, and Vadamos among them.
In addition to the growing list of high-class offspring his sons and daughters are providing for the flat, Monsun is also exerting a powerful force on the National Hunt sector where stars such as Sprinter Sacre (by Network) and Annie Power (by Shirocco), and recent Grade 1 Manifesto Novices' Chase winner Flying Angel (by Arcadio) are just three shining lights.
Morning Queen, who is a winning full-sister to Monsun, is the grandam of Group 1 Prix du Cadran heroine Molly Malone (by Lomitas) and of Wekeela (by Hurricane Run), a Group 3 Prix Chloe scorer who has been runner-up in each of the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, Grade 1 Gamely Stakes, and Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes.
The grandam of Brametot is, therefore, the listed scorer Mosella (by Surumu), a half-sister to stakes winner Mora (by Rocket) and to the prolific Moltaire (by Kaldoun), a blacktype scorer and 10-time winner who finished third in the Group 2 Deutsches St Leger.
Rajsaman was a high-class miler who was pattern-placed over 10 furlongs, and with the amount of stamina in the distaff side of his star son's pedigree, it seems like that the colt will have no trouble with the Prix du Jockey Club distance. Indeed, depending on whether it was the speed or stamina gene he received from his sire, Brametot may also stay 12 furlongs.
It is still too early to know how good this colt may be at his peak, but the combination of his pedigree and promising early record offer hope that he could take high rank among the best of his age group, and that there may also be a stallion career in his future.
Haras de Colleville stallion Kendargent (by Kendor) has been an unexpected hit at stud, and although none of his 16 stakes winners has won at the highest level, it seems likely that it is just a matter of time before his first Group 1 star is crowned.
He already has two pattern winners in 2017 and it is possible that either, or both, could fill that gap on his record. One is the dual Group 3 scorer Jimmy Two Times, who finished third in last year's Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, and the other is Soleil Marin.
Godolphin's colt was bred by Ecurie Peregrine SAS, he is trained by Andre Fabre, and he was winning for the fourth time from five starts when beating his odds-on stable companion Akihiro by a head in the Group 3 Prix Noailles over 10 and a half furlongs on good ground at Chantilly on Sunday.
Soleil Marin was fourth in a seven-furlong Clairefontaine maiden on his debut in August, two months before a narrow success over nine and a half furlongs on the polytrack at Deauville.
His final start at two was an odds-on seven-length score over 10 furlongs on heavy ground at Saint-Cloud in November and his return to action last month was in a listed contest over a half-furlong farther at the same venue, which he won by one and three-quarter lengths.
The colt is a half-brother to a winner and his thrice-successful dam, Sousmarine (by Montjeu), is a half-sister to Group 3 Prix de Lutece third Investissement (by Singspiel). Their dam, Underwater (by Theatrical), was runner-up in the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret, another edition of which was among the three races won by her half-sister Legerete (by Rahy).
Those wins also included the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont, she was third in both the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and her progeny include Pilote (by Pivotal), a listed scorer whose pattern placings include the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano and Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam.
Underwater and Legerete are among eight winners from 10 foals out of a one-time scorer called Sea Hill (by Sea Hill) and the octet also includes Icelips (by Unbridled), a filly who made her name at stud.
Her son Numb Lips (by Olmodavor) was a stakes winner in California, daughter Iron Lips (by Iron Mask) won the Group 3 Prix Eclipse and finished third in the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte, but the best of her offspring is Falco (by Pivotal), the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) scorer who has sired blacktype winners on the flat and over obstacles.
Sea Hill was a half-sister to Group 1 Prix Lupin winner and classic sire Groom Dancer (by Blushing Groom) and her siblings also include Featherquest (by Rainbow Quest). That filly was only a minor winner but she became the dam of classic-placed Group 1 star Plumania (by Anabaa) and of Group 2 Prix de Royallieu scorer Balladeuse, whose daughter Left Hand (by Dubawi) won the Group 1 Prix Vermeille and was runner-up in Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) last year.
The fifth dam of Soleil Marin is, therefore, Lady Berry (by Violon d'Ingres), the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak heroine who became one of those special mares that produce at least three individual Group 1-winning progeny.
Le Nain Jeune (by Pharly) won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, Indian Rose (by General Holme) won the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and Vert Amande (by Kenmare) won the Group 1 Prix Ganay.
Soleil Marin's record to date suggests that he is a high-class middle-distance colt in the making, although that of his sire raises a question as to how far he might stay: his progeny tend to be sprinters and milers. It is possible, therefore, that Sunday's trip may be as far as he wants to go.
A potential sprint star emerged in France recently when the Pia Brandt-trained three-year-old Fas came home and impressive three and a half-length winner of the Group 3 Prix Sigy over six furlongs on good ground at Chantilly.
Bred by his part-owner Zalim Bifov, and a half-length listed scorer over the same course and distance, but on soft ground, on his seasonal reappearance a few weeks before that fine effort, the colt showed useful form at two.
He beat Dolokhov by two lengths on his debut at Deauville in August, was third to Dame Du Roi in a listed contest at Maisons-Laffitte the following month, and then took third and fourth respectively in pattern events that were won by Sans Equivoque.
The first was the Group 3 Prix Eclipse in which he finished only half a length behind that filly, in third place, and then the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte where he was a two and a half length fourth.
Fas is a son of the Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill) whose handful of shuttle-seasons at Coolmore have thus far yielded the European Group 1 stars Qualify, Diamondsandrubies, Fascinating Rock, and potential 2017 classic contenders Intricately and Rivet. His many talented northern hemisphere runners also include the recent Group 3 Gladness Stakes heroine Diamond Fields.
Sotka (by Dutch Art), the dam of Fas, was a listed-placed winner at two in France and, in addition to being a half-sister to Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes runner-up and 15-time scorer Cornus (by Inchinor), she is a half-sister to a recently retired sprint champion who was among the most popular Irish-trained flat horses of recent years.
The Eddie Lynam-trained multimillionaire Sole Power (by Kyllachy) notched-up 12 wins in a 65-race career from two to 10 years of age, with the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint and two editions of both the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 King's Stand Stakes highlights on his resume.
His dam, Demerger (by Distant View), is an unraced half-sister to five winners, including Como (by Cozzene), the dam of Listed Marble Hill Stakes winner Pencil Hill (by Acclamation), and his grandam is a dual winning half-sister to three horses of note.
That mare is Merida (by Warning), she is the third dam of Fas, and the best of her talented trio is Tychonic (by Last Tycoon). The top performances among his 13 wins came in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap and Grade 2 El Rincon Handicap, both at Santa Anita.
She was also the dam of Group 2 William Hill Sprint Championship (previously and now the Nunthorpe Stakes) runner-up Fine Edge (by Sharpen Up) and of Meteoric (by High Line), the Group 3 Waterford Candelabra Stakes (now Prestige Stakes) runner-up whose descendants include the Group 1-placed juvenile Group 2 scorer Auction House (by Exbourne).
There is no doubt that Fas is bred to achieve anything, and if he fulfils the potential suggested by his eye-catching Group 3 success then he is likely to be a major contender for all of the top six-furlong races of the year, starting with the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June.
Some of the star three-year-olds every season are horses who were largely unknown before the campaign began, usually horses who were either unraced at two or whose first term was confined to one or a few outings in maiden, conditions or nursery class.
It is too early to know if Graphite is going to carve out a Group 1 career for himself, but the thrice-raced grey made a winning 2017 debut in the Group 3 Prix La Force over nine furlongs at Chantilly recently, thereby raising awareness of his potential classic candidacy.
Godolphin's son of outstanding Kildangan Stud stallion Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) is trained by Andre Fabre, he was bred by Haras de Saint Pair, and this was his second win from just three starts.
Graphite was only beaten by a length when fourth in a mile maiden at Maisons-Laffitte in late September, a month before a narrow success over a furlong farther on soft ground at the same venue. The going on 9th April was described as good, he beat Phelps Win by a neck with favourite Franz Schubert a head back in third and Kensai another three-parts of a length away in fourth.
Graphite is a half-brother to the listed race winner Fairly Fair (by Sinndar) and he is a half-brother to Fairly Ransom (by Red Ransom), who was a Group 2-placed stakes winner in France before going on to win the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby and take the runners-up spot in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in California.
Their dam, Fairly Grey (by Linamix), was placed in both the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale and Group 3 Prix de Meautry and she is a full-sister to Group 1 star and successful National Hunt sire Fair Mix, the Shade Oak Stud stallion whose offspring feature the tragically ill-fated Grade 1 star Simonsig.
Fair Mix's top-level score came in the Prix Ganay, his eight wins also included the Group 3 Dubai City of Gold, Listed Prix de Reux, and two editions of the Group 3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte, and the races in which he was placed featured the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly, Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt, Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville, and the Group 1 Prix Ganay.
Triple stakes winner Fairlee Wild (by Wild Again) is the grandam of Graphite, both her dam and a variety of her closest relations were blacktype placed, and one of her siblings was the dam of two stakes winners and grandam of a US Grade 3 handicap scorer.
More eye-catching, however, is that the fifth dam, Raise The Levee (by Raise a Native), was an unraced daughter of Coaching Club American Oaks, Beldame Stakes, and Monmouth Oaks heroine Levee (by Hill Prince) and that made her a half-sister to US Hall Of Fame member Shuvee (by Nashua).
That outstanding filly, a multiple US champion, won 16 times including those same three top events taken by her dam plus the Frizette Stakes, Mother Goose Stakes, Acorn Stakes, Alabama Stakes, and two editions of each of the Top Flight Handicap, Diana Handicap, and Jockey Club Gold Cup, among other races of note.
There are many other top horses to be found in those more distant branches of the family, other descendants of Graphite's sixth dam Levee – including Breeders' Cup stars Sacahuista (by Raja Baba) and Spain (by Thunder Gulch), Group 1 Irish St Leger winner Meneval (by Le Fabuleux), Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine Pleascach (by Teofilo), and Timeform 126-rated Group 1 scorer Ekraar (by Red Ransom) – but their presence on the extended page is of no more than academic interest.
Graphite looks likely to stay the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club distance, and possibly a bit farther, and it will be interesting to see how far up he can climb in the ratings.
Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic hero Raven's Pass (by Elusive Quality) was an outstanding miler on turf in Europe. The Kildangan Stud resident has not yet sired as many stakes winners as would have been hoped for, and he is awaiting his first winner at the highest level, but the latter is likely just a matter of time, and his overall number of blacktype scorers is increasing.
The grandson of Gone West (by Mr Prospector) has been attracting increased attention in the past couple of years, on the track and in the sales ring, and the latter results include a Kilcarn Stud-bred €2 million Goffs Orby Sale topper who looked every inch a potential Group 1 star when making a six-length winning debut over 10 furlongs at Naas on Sunday.
Her name is Tocco D'Amore, she is trained by Dermot Weld, carries the famous Moyglare Stud colours, and is out of Spirit Of Tara (by Sadler's Wells), a full-sister to Irish Derby heroine and prolific Group 1 standout Salsabil and half-sister to Derby-placed Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes winner and notable sire Marju (by Last Tycoon).
The top Raven's Pass runner in 2016 was his third-crop son Richard Pankhurst, a lightly-raced and John Gosden-trained chestnut who won the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury. The five-year-old entire holds an entry in next month's Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes over a furlong farther at the same venue.
The stallion's 17 stakes winners also include the Darren Weir-trained five-year-old Big Duke who completed a pattern-race hat-trick when taking the Group 2 Schweppes Chairman's Handicap over 13 furlongs on soft ground at Randwick two weeks ago, winning by two lengths. When based in England, the gelding was known as Swashbuckling.
The 2017 European pattern race programme is rapidly waking up and, in addition to the aforementioned runaway maiden winner, there is another Raven's Pass filly who could be on her way to the top.
Via Ravenna made a winning debut over a mile at Chantilly early last month and followed-up with a one-length defeat of the front-running Thais in Monday's Group 3 Prix Imprudence over seven furlongs on good ground at Maisons-Laffitte. The Andre Fabre-trained bay is a mid-April foal and Haras de Saint Pair's homebred looks like a leading contender for next month's Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas).
Will she stay the extra 500 metres (two and a half furlongs) of the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks)? It is certainly possible – after all, her sire stayed 10 furlongs – although it may depend on what she has inherited from her dam.
Via Milano is a daughter of the top-class international performer Singspiel (by In The Wings), a classic sire whose pattern race stars have come at virtually every distance from five furlongs (e.g. Take Cover) to two and a half miles (e.g. Papineau). And one would usually expect a Raven's Pass – Singspiel cross to produce a 10-furlong horse.
Via Milano, however, is the daughter of a six-furlong listed-placed mare – Salvinaxia (by Linamix) – she was Group 3-placed over six furlongs at two, won the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs over a mile the same year, was fourth in the following spring's Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, and then finished well-beaten on her only attempt at farther.
Her daughter Via Medici (by Medicean) got her best wins in the Group 3 Prix de Lieurey and Listed Prix de Lilas, both over a mile, and that filly became the dam of Via Pisa (by Pivotal), a mile listed scorer who rounded off her career with a half-length third to Odeliz in the Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio over 10 furlongs on soft ground at Capannelle.
The other blacktype horses within the first three generations of the family are mostly listed-placed ones, with the exception of Chantilly Creme (by Johannesburg), a daughter of Via Milano's half-sister Creme De La Creme (by Vettori) and who won a six-furlong juvenile listed contest a month after being runner-up in the Group 3 Prix du Bois over five at Longchamp.
The style of racing in France may help Via Ravenna perform with credit in top middle-distance company but, as noted, there is also the chance, on pedigree, that the step up in trip will suit this potential Group 1 filly just fine.
Not all early season classic trials generate as much excitement after the event as they may have done before the off. Bubbles may be burst, bunch finishes, slow times and unexpected results may suggest a lack of reliability in the form, or perhaps the line-up did not look particularly strong anyway.
This could not be said about Monday's edition of the Group 3 Prix Djebel, which was run over seven furlongs on good ground at Maisons-Laffitte.
The seven runners featured last year's Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) star National Defense and also an Andre Fabre-trained colt whose reputation had been enhanced the previous day when Gold Luck won the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux.
On the second of his two juvenile starts, he beat that filly by one and three-quarter lengths in the Listed Prix Isonomy over a mile at Deauville, and that was just three weeks after a successful debut over seven fulongs at Saint-Cloud.
His name is Al Wukair and Al Shaqab Racing's mid-February born colt could be on the verge of a significant career.
The bare form says that he beat National Defense by a length, with recent listed scorer African Ride another two and a half lengths back in third, but it caught the eye that he came from last to first..
The runner-up was always prominent, led by halfway, and kept on well to the line, but Al Wukair, who was almost 10 lengths behind the leader around the halfway mark, made his move a furlong and a half out and went to the front with just over a half-furlong to go.
Al Wukair was bred by Ballylinch Stud at a time when his sire, Dream Ahead (by Diktat), stood at the Co Kilkenny base. He is now at Haras de Grandcamp in France and the best of seven stakes winners from his first two crops, aged three and up, is the Group 2-winning sprinter Donjuan Triumphant who was runner-up to Signs Of Blessing in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest last August.
Although a brilliant six-furlong performer by a Group 1-winning sprinter, it was always on the cards that this grandson of the outstanding miler Warning (by Known Fact) could get some high-class milers, and as Macheera (by Machiavellian) comes from a notable family of milers and middle-distance horses, that made her an ideal candidate to produce such a horse.
The stallion's other notable performers at a mile include the pattern-placed dual listed scorer Basileus and also the 102-rated Silent Attack who was narrowly beaten by Blond Me in the Group 2 Longines International Topkapi Trophy over that same trip at Veliefendi, Turkey, in September, a race for which he was odds-on favourite.
Al Wukair has already won over a mile and he is clearly a serious candidate for next month's Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
He is a half-brother to a stakes-placed seven to eight furlong filly – Witches Brew (by Duke Of Marmalade) - and his winning dam is a half-sister to La Nuit Rose (by Rainbow Quest) who was third in both the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas in 1998.
That classic performer became the dam of one-mile Grade 2 Kelso Handicap winner Tam Lin (by Selkirk), who also won a listed contest over 11 furlongs at Hamilton, and of French 12-furlong listed scorer Blue Rambler (by Monsun), a gelding who has been placed in a three-mile novice hurdle in England.
Star Mie (by A.P. Indy), a winning half-sister to Macheera and La Nuit Rose, is the dam of Curren Mirotic (by Heart's Cry), who won the 10-furlong Group 2 Kinko Sho and has been Group 1-placed over two miles, and also of the Group 1-placed Japanese mile Group 3 scorer Hikaru Amaranthus (by Agnes Tachyon).
Might Al Wukair stay 10 and a half furlongs?
If he has inherited the stamina gene from his dam then it is possible. After all, his grandam Caerlina won the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) over that trip and, as noted above, some of his other relations have stayed that far and more.
Yes, Caerlina is by the then 12-furlong Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) winner Caerleon (by Nijinsky) and out of a juvenile scorer - Dinalina (by Top Ville) – whose dam, Shahinaaz (by Venture), was runner-up in the Prix de Royallieu, but her sire managed to get some five- and six-furlong horses and her other Group 1 placings were in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Prix Marcel Boussac, both over a mile.
Caerlina's full-sister Leonila, on the other hand, got a bit more stamina than speed and she was runner-up in the 12-furlong Group 2 Prix de Mallaret.
Time will tell just how good Al Wukair will be at his peak and how far he will stay. Right now he is an unbeaten thrice-raced Group 3 winner, but this as yet undefeated colt is one of the most exciting members of the three-year-old crop of 2017 seen out so far this year.
One of the best bred horses in training became a pattern winner this afternoon as Gold Luck got her nose in front on the line to beat Monroe Bay and Hebah in a three-way photo for the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux over nine furlongs at Chantilly.
This was a promising effort from the previously twice-raced stakes-placed winner and the Wertheimer brothers' homebred, who is trained by Freddy Head, is now one of the leading candidates for potential classic honours in France this year.
Clearly plenty of improvement is needed, but this daughter of Australian champion sire Redoute's Choice (by Danehill), who shuttled from Arrowfields Stud in New South Wales to Haras de Bonneval in both 2013 and 2014, is out of Born Gold (by Blushing Groom) and that makes her a half-sister to one of the great fillies of the turf.
Her dam is a full-sister to Gold Splash and although that sibling won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and finished third in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Born Gold won just once and that was as a four-year-old. Their respective race records would have suggested that the more talented of the pair had the greater potential as a broodmare but things have turned out the other way around.
Gold Splash is the dam of a listed winner – Royal God (by Royal Academy) - and she is the grandam of the Grade 3-placed stakes winning miler Sweet Acclaim (by Acclamation), but Born Gold has given us Gold Sound (by Green Tune), Gold Round (by Caerleon), Anodin (by Anabaa), Galikova (by Galileo) and, of course, the great Goldikova (by Anabaa).
Gold Sound won the Group 3 Prix de Guiche whereas Gold Round won the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre and is the dam of the Group 3 scorers Goldwaki (by Dalakhani) and Golden Valentine (by Dalakhani). Galikova won the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), and her first foal is the three-year-old Galikeo (by Dansili), who has been runner-up in both his starts to date.
Goldikova, a Timeform 133-rated triple French champion, won 17 times in a glittering international career that included four wins in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild, three editions of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile, two runnings of the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan, and one each of the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, Group 1 Prix de la Foret, Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, and Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois.
Her lightly-raced four-year-old Goldikovic (by Galileo) finished third in a seven and a half furlong Chantilly maiden in February and her second produce is the Freddy Head-trained three-year-old Terrakova (by Galileo) whose only start to date resulted in a three and a half-length victory over nine furlongs on the polytrack at Chantilly in November.
Anodin, a full-brother to Goldikova, achieved a Timeform rating of 124, he won the Group 3 Prix Paul de Moussac, was placed in each of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan, Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, and Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, and he covered 138 mares in his first season at Haras du Quesnay, some of the results from which will be at the yearling sales this summer and autumn.
Born Gold and Gold Splash were among three winners from eight foals out of the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary winner and Group 1 Prix de Diane runner-up Riviere d'Or (by Lyphard) and their winning sibling could be described as being their three-parts sister because Gold Bust is a daughter of Nashwan (by Blushing Groom).
She has produced only four winners from 11 foals of racing age but one of her unsuccessful daughters is Beyond Compare (by Galileo) who is compensating for her lack of racing talent by excelling at stud. Three of her first four foals are winners and they include Australian Group 3 scorer Beyond Thankful (by Whipper) and his younger half-sister Turret Rocks (by Fastnet Rock).
Jim Bolger bred and trains that four-year-old, who won the Group 2 May Hill Stakes and was runner-up to Ballydoyle in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp as a juvenile. Fourth behind Seventh Heaven in the Group 1 Irish Oaks was the closest she got to being in the frame in four starts at three, but she holds a string of big-race entries over the next two months, including the Group 2 Camelot Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes, Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes, and Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, so is clearly still held in high regard.
The third dam of Gold Luck is Gold River (by Riverman) and that Timeform 132-rated champion won the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak, and Group 1 Prix du Cadran.
There are plenty of other talented horses in the family but the stars noted above are more than enough to show why this young filly has the potential to become one of the leaders of her generation and, later, to excel at stud.
Usually I review only pattern winners here, but it is early in the season and so few such contests have yet been held. And with the way he has won both of his starts in 2017, Orderofthegarter looks odds-on to pick up a first group success before long.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained son of prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) was runner-up in a pair of Leopardstown seven-furlong maidens on his only outings at two and he stormed home an 11-length winner over a mile at Naas last month when ridden by leading apprentice Ana O'Brien.
Seamie Heffernan was in the saddle for the one-mile Listed Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial Stakes yesterday afternoon and the pair made all to beat Taj Mahal by three and three-quarter lengths.
The bay was bred by Barronstown Stud and, as you would expect, he comes from a Group 1-producing family.
Orderofthegarter is out of Kitty Kiernan (by Pivotal), a speedy dual winner who was runner-up in the Group 3 Naas Juvenile Sprint Stakes and third in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes. That record makes her the best offspring of Alstemeria (by Danehill), a full-sister to three pattern winners and half-sister to two broodmares of note.
Spartacus won both the six-furlong Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and one-mile Group 1 Gran Criterium as a juvenile but disappointed at stud, the prolific Meteor Shower won at up to Group 3 level in South Africa, but the most accomplished of Alstemeria's brothers was Johan Cruyff.
He began his career in Ireland where he won the Group 2 Gallinule Stakes and Group 3 Beresford Stakes before going on to become a high-class performer in Hong Kong. There his wins included the Listed (local Group 1) Hong Kong Derby, and he earned over £1 million in prize money during his career.
His half-sister Mantles Princess (by Rock City) is the dam of the New Zealand-bred Hong Kong Derby winner Super Satin (by Danehill Dancer), and another half-sister, Leukippids (by Sadler's Wells), is the dam of dual Hong Kong Group 1 star and multimillionaire Blazing Speed (by Dylan Thomas). His top-level wins have been in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Champions and Chater Cup.
Lady Bones (by Royal Applause), an unraced half-sister to Blazing Speed, has done her part for the family by producing Laganore (by Fastnet Rock), last year's 10-furlong Listed Pride Stakes winner, short-head Group 3 Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes runner-up, and Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio third.
Orderofthegarter's two wins have come in the style of a potentially top-class miler. He is bred to be a Group 1 horse, his entries include next month's Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, and his pedigree gives him a strong chance of being equally well-suited to 10 furlongs.
The Group 3 P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown has a striking recent history of being won by subsequent Group 1 stars and the 2017 edition of the 10-furlong contest was won yesterday by Rekindling (by High Chaparral).
It was a fairly close finish as he only won by half a length from Douglas Macarthur and with Yucatan another half-length back in third, but this trio finished three and a quarter lengths clear of the fourth, Capri, this was just the fourth race of his life and his first since joining the Joseph O'Brien team. There is likely to be more improvement to come from him.
He was trained last year by the now retired David Wachman and he chased home Capri in an eight and a half-furlong Galway maiden before taking a similar contest over a mile on soft ground at Gowran Park in September.
His only other outing was in the 10-furlong Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud, won by Waldgeist, and as one might expect, he holds entried in the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes at York and Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom.
Rekindling was bred by the Pocock Family, he is out of the one-time winner Sitara (by Salse) and so is a full-brother to Golden Sword, the Group 3 Chester Vase scorer who was runner-up to Fame And Glory in the Group 1 Irish Derby and then third in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold Stakes at Meydan before taking up stallion duties in South Africa.
His unraced half-sister Skimmia (by Mark Of Esteem) is the dam of the dual listed-placed Julissima (by Beat Hollow) and of Julie's Love (by Ad Valorem), a Saratoga lised race winner who was runner-up in the Group 2 Diana Trial in Germany.
The brightest stars, however, shine from among the descendants of two of Sitara's 10 winning siblings and they too suggest that Rekindling will have no problem with 12 furlongs, and maybe even a bit farther.
Puce (by Darshaan) was the more talented of the pair, winning three times including the Listed Harvest Stakes over a mile and a half at Ascot and finishing a one-length third to Book At Bedtime in the Group 3 Park Hill Stakes over the St Leger course and distance. She was also a half-length third to Far Ahead in the prestigious Ebor Handicap over 14 furlongs at York.
Her best son, Lion Sands (by Montjeu), won the Listed Fred Archer Stakes and Listed Noel Murless Stakes, both at Newmarket, and Pongee (by Barathea) is her star daughter having won the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks and been runner-up to Quiff in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks.
That star is the dam of the 10-furlong listed scorer Pinzolo (by Monsun), but the produce record of her one-time winning half-sister Platonic (by Zafonic) is considerably more eye-catching. That is because she is the dam of the Group 2-placed, Group 3 Prix de Lutece winner Pacifique (by Montjeu) and also of Prudenzia (by Dansili), who is the stakes-winning dam of Group 1 Irish Oaks winner and Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) runner-up Chicquita (by Montjeu).
The other notable broodmare daughter of Listed Sceptre Stakes third Souk (by Ahonoora) is Shouk (by Shirley Heights), the mare who has given us Alexandrova and Magical Romance.
Alexandrova (by Sadler's Wells) was the joint-champion three-year-old filly in Europe in 2006 when she won both the Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks. Her offspring include Group 2 Prix Kergorlay scorer Alex My Boy (by Dalakhani) and the smart filly Somehow (by Fastnet Rock), who won the Group 3 Dance Design Stakes at the Curragh last year and chased home Czabo in the Group 3 Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes on her seasonal reappearance at Naas last month.
Magical Romance (by Barathea), on the other hand, won the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at two and is the dam of the Group 2-placed dual Australian listed race winner Tall Ship (by Sea The Stars).
Dual Derby and dual Breeders' Cup Turf hero High Chaparral (by Sadler's Wells) was a member of the Coolmore stallion team up to his death in 2014, aged just 15. His Group 1 stars include Toronado, So You Think, Free Eagle, Dundeel, Lucky Lion, and, most recently, yesterday's one-mile Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes winner Charmont, and although Rekindling has a long way to go yet if he is to achieve comparable success, he is bred to be a top-class colt.
Might he be a candidate for the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster in September?
Classic trial season is under way and one of last year's leading juvenile fillies made a winning return to action in the Group 3 Ballylinch Stud 1000 Guineas Trial Stakes over seven furlongs at Leopardstown yesterday afternoon.
Hydrangea (by Galileo) ran seven times at two with only a seven-furlong Curragh maiden to show in the wins column, but she was runner-up in each of the Group 2 Debutante Stakes, Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, and Group 1 Fillies' Mile before coming home in last place behind New Money Honey in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on firm ground at Santa Anita in November.
Rhododendron beat her by a head in the Debutante and by two and a quarter lengths at Newmarket, and the margin was a short-head when pipped by Intricately in the Moyglare. That latter rival was again in opposition yesterday, carrying a 3lb penalty for her Group 1 win, and was not disgraced in finishing fourth.
For a few strides is looked as though Hydrangea was about to end up with another pattern-race second to her name as her stable companion Winter stayed on strongly, but the line came in time for the Aidan O'Brien-trained bay, who won by a head.
Hydrangea was bred by the Beauty Is Truth Syndicate and, as one might expect, she holds an entry in both Group 1 Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh. She is also engaged in the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks and so the question of how far she might stay holds added interest.
Many will remember her dam, Beauty Is Truth (by Pivotal), who was a notable sprinter at both two and three years of age and who won the Listed Prix Yacowlef, Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg, and Group 2 Prix du Gros-Chene.
The mare is out of the Group 2-placed, Group 3-winning sprinter Zelding (by Warning), who is a half-sister to the five-furlong pattern winner Nipping (by Night Shift) and to Zipping (by Zafonic), who was joint-champion three-year-old sprinter in Europe in 2002.
He won the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at two and Group 3 Prix de Ris-Orangis at three, he was runner-up to Johannesburg in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and fourth to Rock Of Gibraltar in the Group 1 2000 Guineas, and his dam, Zelda (by Caerleon), is a winning half-sister to a sprint champion.
At first glance, this might suggest that Hydrangea will be one of those Galileos who excel at a mile, may get 10 furlongs, but would find the Oaks trip a reach too far. That could be exactly how she turns out, and the exploits of her half-sister would support that position, but she also has a notable full-brother and he stays 12 furlongs.
Fire Lily (by Dansili) is her sister, and although she was runner-up in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at two, her best wins came in the Anglesey Stakes, Ballyogan Stakes, and Phoenix Sprint Stakes – all Group 3 and all over six furlongs.
Hydrangea's full-brother is the Australian-based former Ballydoyle entire The United States, who finished fourth to Winx in the Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 10 furlongs at Randwick yesterday. This seven-figure earner's seven wins include the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill, also over 10, and the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup over 12 and a half furlongs in which he beat the subsequent Group 1 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance (gave 3lbs) by half a length.
That horse does, however, stand out alone among the plethora of blacktype winners in the first four generations of the family, one high-class middle-distance winner among a sea of sprinters and milers.
The aforementioned but to now unidentified sprint champion half-brother to Zelda is the influential Last Tycoon (by Try My Best), the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes winner who rounded off that season with victory in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.
He went on to become a leading sire in both hemispheres, some of his progeny were middle-distance stars, and his stallion sons include Derby runner-up Marju and New Zealand's multiple champion sire O'Reilly, a dual Group 1 star who stood at Waikato Stud up to his death in December 2014.
His half-brother Astronef (by Be My Guest) won the Group 2 Premio Melton and two editions of the Group 3 Goldene Peitsche – one of the best sprints in Germany – and Last Tycoon's full-sister The Perfect Life got her best wins in the Group 3 Prix du Bois and Listed Prix Imprudence.
Their half-sister Side Of Paradise (by Sadler's Wells) won a mile listed contest at Saint-Cloud and finished second in the Group 3 Prix Fille de l'Air over 10 and a half furlongs, and she is one of three daughters of one-time scorer Mill Princess (by Mill Reef) to hit the Group 1 jackpot at stud.
She is the dam of 2011 champion Immortal Verse (by Pivotal), a mile star whose wins featured the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Group 1 Coronation Stakes, and who is bred on similar lines to Hydrangea.
Stakes-placed Save Me The Waltz (by Kings Lake) is the dam of both one-mile US Grade 1 Matron Stakes winner Sense Of Style (by Thunder Gulch) and of Valentine Waltz (by Be My Guest), who won the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), and that classic is also on the CV of Tie Black (by Machiavellian), daughter of one-time winner Tender Is Thenight (by Barathea).
There is one other horse who deserves mention and that is Glorious Sight (by Singspiel), a stakes-winning half-sister to Beauty Is Truth. She is by a middle-distance star and classic sire whose best winners came at pretty much every distance from five furlongs (e.g. Take Cover) to two and a half miles (e.g. Papineau), and she was placed in both the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks).
The odds are stacked heavily in favour of Hydrangea being a miler who may stay up to the 10 and a half furlongs of that latter classic, but the record of her full-brother raises the possibility that she might also get a little bit farther.