Heavy ground can distort the margins of actual superiority on the track, but when a maiden is won by a dozen lengths or more, it often happens that the winner is quite a good horse.
In late March, a 10-furlong Cork maiden saw the 4/9 favourite trounce a 6/1 chance by 16 lengths. The winner then took a Group 3 contest at Leopardstown before confirming himself as being one of the brightest stars in Europe; Harzand is now a dual Derby hero.
Usually one would not expect the recipient of such a drubbing in maiden company to do more than, perhaps, become a useful handicapper, but the runner-up that day went on to thrash four rivals by 14 lengths and farther in a similar contest at Sligo just over a month later, again on heavy ground.
He followed that with a third place finish behind Ebediyin in a four-runner event over 12 furlongs at Naas 10 days later, and then went to Royal Ascot where he sprang a 33/1 surprise in the Listed Queen's Vase over two miles.
The horse that Harzand beat so easily at Cork in March is Sword Fighter, and now that the latter has added a two-length win in the Group 2 coral.ie Curragh Cup, there is the chance that two of the year's English classic stars could come from that same maiden. And if you fancy the chances of that Aidan O'Brien-trained colt at Doncaster in September, you can currently get odds of between 8/1 to 12/1, depending on where you look.
Sword Fighter, a son of Coolmore Stud's prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells), was bred by Ciaran 'Flash' Conroy's famous Glenvale Stud. He holds entries in the Group 2 Qatar Goodwood Cup, the Group 2 Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, and it could be that the Ballydoyle team have another potential staying star in their string.
The first striking thing about the colt's pedigree, when you look at the distaff side of his family, is the amount of speed it contains, and not just milers but those who excelled as sprinters. When matched with Galileo, that is usually a recipe for a mile to 10 furlong horse that just might get 12, but not for a stayer.
Galileo clearly passed on a stamina influence to his son, and it is likely that the colt's broodmare sire is responsible for the rest as, though a miler, Grand Lodge (by Chief's Crown) got middle-distance horses. There is a Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes winner under the fifth generation, but she was by runaway Derby hero Shergar (by Great Nephew) and too remote from Sword Fighter to have any bearing on his aptitude or prospects.
Tarbela, the dam of Sword Fighter, was trained by John Oxx but did not show much aptitude for racing, finishing unplaced in five of her six starts, from six furlongs to a mile, and beaten by a total of 13 lengths when third in a seven-furlong Limerick maiden on her only start at two. She was sold for €40,000 at Goffs, as a broodmare prospect, and on the most recent of three subsequent appearances in the auction ring, she made €160,000 at that same venue nearly four and a half years ago.
By that point she had produced the seven and eight furlong listed scorer Big Audio (by Oratorio), a gelding who, despite being by a top-class 10-furlong horse, was beaten by a long way on his only attempt at that distance. The foal she was carrying at the time of that sale is a gelding named Anachronism (by Arcano), Sword Fighter arrived the following year, and she has a two-year-old full-brother to that rising star, named North Carolina.
Tarbela is a half-sister to Tarwila (by In The Wings), a 12-furlong Curragh winner who got her blacktype when finishing third behind Jammaal in the Listed Trigo Stakes over a quarter-mile less at Leopardstown, and she is also a half-sister to dual mile scorer Teen Ager (by Invincible Spirit), a gelding who got six of his nine wins over seven furlongs.
It is already clear that a pattern is beginning to emerge. The sire appears to determine the effective distance range for many in this family.
Tarbela's half-sister Tahara (by Caerleon), therefore, could have been turned out to be a middle-distance horse, but her career was restricted to just two outings, both as a three-year-old, and both unplaced efforts, one over six furlongs at Newmarket and the other over seven at Sandown.
Of course, some of the Caerleons (by Nijinsky) were highly effective at a mile and under, and so it was reasonable to presume that a daughter of his, out of Tarwiya (by Dominion) could show speed in that range too. And speed is what she is associated with at stud, as she is the dam of the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp heroine Gilt Edge Girl (by Monsieur Bond) and of Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes winner Godfrey Street (by Compton Place).
Tariysha (by Daylami) could also have been expected to stay a mile, or more, but she did not race, and when she was bred to the sprint star Oasis Dream (by Green Desert), the result was Group 1 Prix Morny winner Arcano. He also won the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket, ran just twice at three, and after five seasons at Derrinstown Stud he moved to Allevamento di Besnate, in Italy, in 2016.
Tarwiya's tendency to swish her tail in races helped in making her memorable, but so too did her high-class racing record. The Aga Khan homebred, whom John Oxx trained, won the Group 3 C L Weld Park Stakes and Listed Rochestown Stakes over seven furlongs as a juvenile, and the best of her blacktype placings were her half-length defeat by Twafeaj in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, then over six furlongs, and her third place finish to the outstanding pair Marling and Market Booster in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas.
The best of her siblings were the ill-fated pair Namaya and Blue Dakota, sons of the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp winner Namid (by Indian Ridge). The former was third to George Washington in the Group 2 Railway Stakes as a juvenile and later won a mile premier handicap at the Curragh.
Blue Dakota also died at the age of five, having first sired a handful of progeny at Hedgeholme Stud. As a juvenile he won his first three starts by an aggregate of 13 and a half lengths before scoring a narrow win in the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. Those few offspring of his include the five-times sprint winning mare Ingenti.
These are the highlights of the first four generations of Sword Fighter's pedigree. In winning good races over 14 furlongs and over two miles, this three-year-old has proved that he stays much farther than might have been expected given the distaff family he represents. Further improvement is required if he is to win at the highest level, but he is a well-bred son of Galileo and clearly on the upgrade, so anything is possible.
We have reached that point of the season where many of the major classics have been run and the various divisions are sorting themselves out as the big summer festivals approach. There is a long way to go yet before the year's champions can be confirmed, but there are two individuals who are leading the race to be crowned European champion three-year-old filly: Quiet Reflection and Minding.
Both were on a Timeform rating of 122 after Royal Ascot, but as one is a sprinter and the other a classic filly, it is safe to say that they will never meet on the track. That organisation has So Mi Dar next on 120p in the post-Ascot standings, followed by dual French classic heroine La Cressonniere on 118p and Qemah on 118.
Minding, who has never finished worse than second in nine starts, and was an easy winner of the Group 1 Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at the Curragh yesterday, kicked off her season with an impressive three and a half length defeat of her stable companion Ballydoyle in the Group 1 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. The pair had met twice as juveniles, with the score one apiece, and it remains to be seen if they will be asked to take each other again.
The combination of the optics of her success and the lack of an apparent standout among the potential Derby colts led to speculation that she might pass up the easier option of the Oaks in favour of tackling the Blue Riband. Of course, she has not yet taken on the colts – Harzand has emerged to lead their pack - and despite stamina doubts suggested by her pedigree, she did take the fillies' classic.
It was a near two-length win against a runner previously rated just 97, and who flopped at Ascot next time, with the rest of the field beaten out of sight – all of which casts doubt over the quality of the form – but the way that she overcame all sorts of trouble in running spoke volumes about her character; she appears to be as tough as she is talented. She also showed her toughness at the Curragh the time before when narrowly beaten by Jet Setting in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas despite suffering a minor facial injury leaving the stalls.
She certainly looked as though she stayed the distance on 3rd June, and having weak opposition will have helped her, but the fact that she won the Oaks does not change the prior readings of her pedigree.
When I analysed her family for The Irish Field last September I noted that: “She should have no problem with the Guineas trip, but examination of her pedigree raises doubt about her potential to stay beyond 10 furlongs. ...although the full Oaks distance may not be beyond her reach, it would be no surprise if she proves to be more of a Guineas and Prix de Diane (French Oaks) contender than an Epsom or Irish Oaks one.”
Not every son or daughter of Coolmore Stud's phenomenal stallion Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) stays 12 furlongs and it is the amount of speed in the distaff side of the family that can be the deciding factor.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Minding, one among an increasing number of top horses bred by the partnership of Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt, is the second foal out of Lillie Langtry (by Danehill Dancer), a mare who was never asked to try beyond a mile. She won a six-furlong Group 3 contest at Naas on 1st June of her juvenile year, was runner-up in the Group 3 Albany Stakes, then won the Group 2 Debutante Stakes at Leopardstown before finishing third, in heavy ground, in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.
Lillie Langtry won a valuable seven furlong sales race at Newmarket that October, was unplaced at the Breeders' Cup a month later, and was only beaten by about three-parts of a length on her seasonal reappearance, finishing fifth in a blanket finish for the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas. She won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot, was last of five in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, and then narrowly beat Spacious in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown two months later.
Galileo was an obvious choice for her at stud and their first result was the lightly-raced filly Kissed By Angels. She did not run at two, she was runner-up in a mile maiden at Limerick on her debut at three, beat Devonshire by three and a half lengths in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial on heavy ground, and then finished well-beaten in both the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Irish Oaks.
Lillie Langtry's third foal is the juvenile How, who has yet to win in three starts. That said, she has been out surprisingly early for a daughter of Galileo, and there could be plenty of improvement to come from her when she tries seven furlongs and a mile. Her unplaced debut effort was over five furlongs in late April, she then finished third behind Brave Anna in a six-furlong Curragh maiden, and was odds-on when beaten by a head in a similar contest at Naas recently.
By that same date in Minding's two-year-old career, the star had run just once, finishing second in a seven furlong maiden at Leopardstown. Also noteworthy is that Minding is a 10th February foal, but How was not born until 17th May, which is another reason why the younger sibling should not be written off just yet. Their yearling full-sister is also a mid-May arrival.
Minding's grandam and third dam were unraced and her fourth dam unplaced, which is an unusual pattern in a top-class flat horse. Had the first pair raced then might an assessment of her potential stamina range been a little different? Perhaps, but not necessarily.
In addition to Lillie Langtry, Hoity Toity (by Darshaan) has given us Count Of Limonade and a once-raced filly who has a pattern-winning son to her name.
With what we now know of his sire, we might expect that a son of Duke Of Marmalade (by Danehill) out of a Darshaan (by Shirley Heights) mare would be a 12-furlong horse, but the farthest that Count Of Limonade tried in Europe was 11 furlongs. That was when he was runner-up in a listed contest at Leopardstown and this effort, which was preceded by third place in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes over 10, was followed by a half-length victory in a one mile listed event at the Curragh.
His half-sister Lady Hawkfield (by Hawk Wing) was beaten by a long way in a nine and a half furlong Gowran Park maiden, but her first foal is the Grangemore Stud-bred Master Apprentice (by Mastercraftsman), whose second win from five starts for Andrew Balding was a half-length defeat of Cape Clear Island in the Group 3 Classic Trial over 10 furlongs at Sandown last year.
The Darshaans who did not stay middle-distances were comparatively few in number to those who did – brilliant miler Mark Of Esteem is a shining example – and Hoity Toity's siblings include a full-brother won won three times over 12 furlongs and was placed over further. She might have stayed, but that could have depended on how much of the speed aspects of her dam's genetics that she inherited.
She was out of Hiwaayati (by Shadeed), daughter of a 2000 Guineas winner and out of the mare who gave us the notably speedy duo Great Commotion (by Nureyev) and Lead On Time (by Nureyev).
Hiwaayati's daughter Sweet Emotion (by Bering) was a listed-placed winner over a mile, but tailed off on a single attempt at 10 furlongs, before going on to produce the ill-fated Winged Cupid (by In The Wings), a Group 1 Racing Post Trophy runner-up who was a four-length mile listed scorer before being beaten by half a length when runner-up in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes over 10 furlongs.
Lead On Time won the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte and the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Gheest, and Great Commotion, who was the top-rated older sprinter in Europe in 1990, won the Group 2 Cork and Orrery Stakes and Group 3 Beeswing Stakes and was runner-up in both the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas and Group 1 July Cup, among other good events from six furlongs to a mile.
Given the lack of strength of the opposition she faced at Epsom, it remains to be seen if Minding would truly stay the distance in a strongly run race against established 12-furlong stars and in all-aged field, but the dual classic heroine is unquestionably a top-class performer and we may not yet have seen the best of her.
She holds entries in pretty much every major event at eight, 10 and 12 furlongs over the next few months so it is to be hoped that we get plenty more opportunities to assess her before she goes on to what could be a very notable career at stud.
Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) was one of the most brilliant racehorses of recent years, a Timeform 140-rated champion who began his career with an eye-catching fourth-place debut effort at the Curragh as juvenile and then swept through a sequence of eight races that culminated with a two-length score in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
He won a maiden and the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his other outings as a juvenile, kicked off the new campaign with victory in the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, followed that with a one and three-quarter length defeat of Fame And Glory in the Derby at Epsom, and then beat Rip Van Winkle by a length in the Group 1 Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. He beat Mastercraftsman by the same margin in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York and, on his penultimate start, extended his margin of superiority over old rival Fame And Glory to two and a half lengths in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
With his rating and race record he was always going to be a hugely popular new addition to the stallion ranks, but as he could also boast being a half-brother to the dual Derby hero and phenomenal sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells), Sea The Stars went to Gilltown Stud as one of the most exciting new stallion prospects for a long time.
Nothing is ever guaranteed in this business, but with everything he had going for him it was going to be a considerable shock if this grandson of Green Desert (by Danzig) failed to get Group 1 winners. He has not disappointed. Indeed, he is living up to everything for which we could have hoped, and earlier this month, from his third crop, he got his first winner of the Group 1 Investec Derby.
Already by this point he had been represented by runaway Group 1 Deutsches Derby star Sea The Moon and the Group 1 Oaks and Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes heroine Taghrooda, both of whom came from his first crop, along with additional Group 1 scorer Vazira. The dual Derby-placed Group 2 winner Storm The Stars features in his second one, and his current tally stands at 28 stakes winners. Seven of those have achieved the feat in 2016, and six of them at pattern level.
Harzand heads that shorter roll of honour and the Aga Khan's homebred colt, who is trained by Dermot Weld, may bid for a Derby double at the Curragh on Saturday. Cloth Of Stars and Mekhtaal won Group 2 classic trials in France and, hopefully, will bounce back from their disappointing classic runs, Mutakayyef won a listed contest at York, while Astronereus and Zelzal are Group 3 scorers, the latter a colt with the potential to move up a lot in the rankings.
The septet is completed by Across The Stars, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained three-year-old who finished down the field behind Harzand at Epsom (didn't handle the track) but bounced back at Ascot last week to beat Beacon Rock by one and a quarter lengths in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes.
This was a second win from six starts for the colt, he finished third behind subsequent Derby fifth Humphrey Bogart in the Listed Derby Trial at Lingfield in May, and it will be interesting to see where he goes next. His trainer said, in post race interviews, that he does not think of the colt as being a St Leger horse, and there is evidence in the pedigree both to support and refute a position that 12 furlongs might be as far as he'd really like to go.
Sea The Stars was never asked to try that longer distance, and neither have most of his most talented progeny, but his son Astronereus is interesting in this debate. A half-brother to Le Havre (by Noverre), who did not run again after his victory in the 10 and a half furlong Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby), and out of a half-sister to high-class sprinter/miler Polar Falcon (by Nureyev), this is a horse whose stamina beyond 12 furlongs might have been in doubt.
The Amanda Perrett-trained five-year-old won the Group 3 Al Rayyan Aston Park Stakes over that trip at Newbury last month, but last season won a listed handicap over 14 furlongs at York shortly before finishing a half-length third in a valuable handicap over that same distance at Goodwood, and he holds an entry in the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, also over 14 furlongs, at the Curragh in September.
His ability to perform well at just over half a furlong shorter than the St Leger distance, albeit in lesser company than would be faced in a Group 1 contest, suggests that at least some of the leading progeny of Sea The Stars will stay. And why not? Most 12-furlong racehorses sire some who stay farther than they did.
Despite what we see in the case of Astronereus, the distaff side of the pedigree is likely to be important in this regard, and with Across The Stars one of the first things to stand out about his family's record is that his grandam, Glowing With Pride (by Ile De Bourbon), was runner-up in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes over the St Leger course and distance.
That mare's son Pridwell (by Sadler's Wells) won the Group 1 Aintree Hurdle and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle, among various other top performances, and his half-brother Inchcailloch (by Lomond) stayed beyond three miles over fences, despite being the son of a 2000 Guineas winner. Surely this would suggest that the recent Ascot star would stay the trip at Doncaster.
Maybe, but not necessarily. It may come down to what he has inherited from his dam and from her sire.
Across The Stars is out of Victoria Cross, a stakes-placed miler who was lightly-raced and and a beaten favourite on her only attempt at 10 furlongs. She was bred by Hascombe and Valiant Studs, as is her talented son, and she has three other progeny who have earned blacktype.
Valiant Girl (by Lemon Drop Kid), a nine-furlong Goodwood winner, was narrowly beaten over 10 furlongs at Newbury before crossing the atlantic. There she won again over nine furlongs, was well-beaten when stepped up in grade and again at 12 furlongs, and then she dropped back to nine to take a Grade 3 handicap at Gulfstream Park West.
Her sire won the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, the son of Kingmambo (by Mr Prospector) stands at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky, and his progeny include two other notable individuals that the Oppenheimers bred. Cannock Chase (out of Lynnwood Chase, by Horse Chestnut) won the Grade 1 International Stakes over 12 furlongs at Woodbine, while 2009's Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes winner Bronze Canyon is a half-brother to Across The Stars.
In addition to the aforementioned jumpers, Victoria Cross is a half-sister to the speedy eight-times scorer Everglades (by Green Desert), to the dual Group 2-classic placed miler Much Commended (by Most Welcome) and also to Prize Giving (by Most Welcome), a Listed Dee Stakes winner in England who went on to become a Grade 1-placed Grade 2 scorer in California.
Much Commended went on to become a successful broodmare. Her prolific stakes-winning daughter Magic Eye (by Nayef) was a miler, and her 12-times winning son Dabbers Ridge (by Indian Ridge) was best from seven to eight furlongs. She is also responsible for Much Acclaimed (by Sulamani), a mile winner who was well beaten when initially trying farther on the flat. But after he made a winning debut over hurdles, he won a 12-furlong handicap at Galway, a premier handicap over 14 furlongs at the Curragh and then a blacktype handicap hurdle over two miles at Listowel.
Clearly there is a strong case to be made for the potential ability of Across The Stars to stay the St Leger distance, but if this 600,000gns Tattersalls October Yearling Sale graduate has got a genetic tendency towards speed from his dam and broodmare sire, both of whom were milers, then this will limit his range and so it is entirely possible the mile and a half, or even 13 furlongs, would be as far as he wants to go.
Retired classic sire Danehill Dancer (by Danehill) was in the news recently as his daughter Qemah, who represents his penultimate crop, won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, but another who drew attention to his record as a stallion was Even Song, the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes winner.
She is not daughter but is, instead, his granddaughter as she is by the juvenile star and classic-winning multiple Group 1 ace Mastercraftsman. That grey stands at Coolmore Stud, his oldest progeny are only five and his tally of 33 stakes winners, around the world, features four who have won at the highest level, two of them achieving that feat in classics.
Kingston Hill, who won the Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Racing Post Trophy, was runner-up in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom, is also a member of the Coolmore stallion roster, and his first foals will arrive next year. Sir Robert Ogden's homebred mare Amazing Maria was not beaten by far when sixth behind Tepin in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes last week, and she was third behind Usherette in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes the time before, but her prior record includes victories in last summer's Group 1 Falmouth Stakes and Group 1 Prix Rothschild.
The Grey Gatsby finished fourth to My Dream Boat in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes on his seasonal reappearance last week, but this multimillionaire won the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes in 2014, was short-headed by Free Eagle in last year's Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes, and has a string of other Group 1 and blacktype placings to his name.
In February the New Zealand-bred three-year-old Valley Girl gave her sire a fourth winner at the highest level when taking the 10 furlong Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa and she was only beaten by three-parts of a length when runner-up in the Group 1 Vinery Stakes over the same trip at Rosehill the following month.
Other notable results for him in 2016 include Spring Master's win in the Group 3 Prix du Lys Longines at Chantilly on Sunday, a listed win and Group 3 placing for four-year-old filly Carnachy, and a fine performance by five-year-old Curbyourenthusiasm on his seasonal reappearance last month, failing by half a length to take the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.
But back to Even Song.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained three-year-old is yet another major winner bred by the famous Barronstown Stud and she is a €170,000 graduate of the foals section of the Goffs November Sale. She was only beaten by half a length when third in a seven-furlong Dundalk maiden on her debut in October, was an odds-on three and a half length winner over a mile at Leopardstown eight days later, and finished third in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on her only other start before Ascot.
Even Song is the fifth foal out of an unraced mare called Guantanamera (by Sadler's Wells), and although her three winning siblings include the Group 2 Superlative Stakes third Maxentius (by Holy Roman Emperor), considerably more notable is her year-older half-sister, last year's Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes heroine Simple Verse (by Duke Of Marmalade).
That Ralph Beckett-trained star, whom Barronstown sold for €240,000 as a yearling at the Goffs Orby Sale, was runner-up to Exosphere in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes on her seasonal reappearance. She disappointed when only fourth behind Postponed in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom and when unplaced behind Dartmouth in Saturday's Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (sponsored by Qipco) at Ascot, but holds entries in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, so hopefully she can bounce back to her best before going on to what promises to be a notable career at stud.
Guantanamera was not covered in 2013, so has no two-year-old, and she had a first-crop son of Declaration Of War (by War Front) in 2015. She is a half-sister to the listed-placed Limerick 12-furlongs scorer Really (by Entrepreneur) and out of Bluffing (by Darshaan), a juvenile winner who earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Eyrefield Race at the Curragh and in the Listed Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran Park.
In addition to being the daughter of an influential stallion, Bluffing was one of seven winners out the one-time scorer Instinctive Move (by Nijinsky) and that made her a half-sister to Feminine Wiles (by Ahonoora). That Listed Ballymacoll Stud Stakes winner was runner-up in both the Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes and Group 3 May Hill Stakes, and although she has a trio of stakes-placed horses among her descendants, it is another two of her sisters that came up with the blacktype winners at stud.
Sharnazad (by Track Barron) won just once but is the dam of the Italian listed scorer Splendida Idea (by Kenmare) and of stakes-placed prolific winner Sensum (by Kendor), and her unraced daughter Siraka (by Grand Lodge) is the dam of Strait Of Mewsina (by Spartacus). That grandson of Danehill won five of his 35 starts, including the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby over nine furlongs on turf, and retired to stud in Indiana where his first crop are two years old.
Shigeki, on the other hand, raced in Australia, and although unsuccessful on the track, she is the dam of the Group 2-winning filly Keiki (by Falvelon).
The fourth dam of Even Song is the Grade 3 Jersey Belle Handicap winner Bold Bikini (by Boldnesian), a half-sister to 1968's US juvenile champion Top Knight (by Vertex). He won the Champagne Stakes, Hopeful Stakes and Futurity Stakes that year, added the Flamingo Stakes and Florida Derby at three, but proved sterile when tried at stud.
His talented sister, however, had a long and successful stud career, producing 20 foals of whom 14 ran and a dozen won, several of them in blacktype company and one a classic star.
The best of Instinctive Move's siblings was, therefore, 1985's Group 1 Irish Derby winner Law Society (by Alleged). He began his stallion career at Coolmore Stud, later moved to Gestut Isarland in Germany, and the best of his progeny include the Group/Grade 1 winners Anzillero, Approach The Bench, Court Of Honour, Homme De Loi and Right Win. He died five years ago, at the age of 29.
Their half-brother Strike Your Colors (by Hoist The Flag) won the Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park, Legal Bid (by Spectacular Bid) won the Group 3 Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield, while both Alfarazdq (by Exclusive Native) and Cerada Ridge (by Riva Ridge) were Grade/Group 2-placed stakes winners. Various other blacktype horses descend from Bold Bikini, including her Group 1 Oaks d'Italia-winning great-granddaughter Nicole Pharly (by Pharly), but the relationship of those horses to Even Song is remote.
Even Song's entries include the Group 1 Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at the Curragh on Sunday and, as you might expect, next month's Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks over a quarter-mile farther at the same venue. Her length and a half defeat of 33/1 Ajman Princess was a promising effort, and while improvement on that would be required to win at the highest level, she is certainly bred for the job. Looking farther ahead, this is a filly whose pedigree also gives her every chance of making an impact at stud.
Danehill Dancer (by Danehill) was one of the top two-year-olds in Europe in 1995 when he won his first three starts, including the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and Group 1 National Stakes, and then chased home that year's champion Alhaarth in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
He kicked off his three-year-old campaign with victory in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury, but was only sixth in the 2000 Guineas, ninth in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) and fifth in the July Cup before taking third behind Anabaa in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, his best Group 1 form since his juvenile days.
The grandson of Danzig (by Northern Dancer) spent his entire stallion career as part of the Coolmore Stud team, he is now 23 years old, retired from active service in 2013, and has a tiny final crop of juveniles. His penultimate crop features Qemah, the filly who won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes (British Champions Series) over a mile at Ascot yesterday.
She was bred by Ecurie Cadran Bissons Sas Iei, she was sold for €200,000 at the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale, and the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained bay carries the well-known colours of Al Shaqab Racing. She was runner-up in a newcomers race at Deauville a year later, won over an extended mile at Longchamp a month after that, and then finished third behind Ballydoyle in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac – Criterium des Pouliches on her final juvenile outing.
Qemah started her current campaign with a two and a half length victory in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte over a mile at Chantilly, and on her only start between then and Ascot, she was third to La Cressonniere and Nathra in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), a classic for which she was sent off favourite.
Qemah is the first foal out of Kartica (by Rainbow Quest), a one-time scorer who was placed in the Group 3 Prix Fille de l'Air and in two listed races in France, and her second is a Henrythenavigator (by Kingmambo) filly who was led out unsold at the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale of 2015. That filly has been named Niedziela, and she is followed by a Lawman (by Invincible Spirit) colt born to her dam 15 months ago.
To get a Group 1 winner with her first foal is an exciting start at stud for any broodmare, but what is particularly striking when you look at the pedigree is that Kartica's daughter is easily the best runner within the first four generations of the family.
Cayman Sunset (by Night Shift), the grandam of yesterday's Ascot star, won the Listed Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket and was later Grade 2 and Grade 3 placed when she crossed the atlantic, but other than Kartica her only blacktype earner is Lady Gorgeous (by Compton Place), a one-time winner who finished third in the Listed Surrey Stakes at Epsom.
Group 3 Beresford Stakes third Tarfaa (by Night Shift) and the talented dual-purpose gelding I'm Supposin (by Posen), a pattern-placed five-times flat scorer who also won the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle and took third behind Istabraq in a Grade 1 Champion Hurdle, are the best of Cayman Sunset's siblings, and they were out of Robinia (by Roberto), a mare whose sole success came in England as a two-year-old.
The fourth dam is the Florida-bred Royal Graustark (by Graustark) who won seven times in North America, was runner-up in the Listed Florida Oaks, and had five other winning progeny of whom Seal Ring (by Known Fact) was best. He was placed in a string of pattern events in South Africa, including two Group 1 contests.
Each ancestor in the fifth generation of a pedigree is contributing only 3.25% of the horse's genetic make-up, which makes their relationship distant at best, but the fifth dam of Qemah is of interest as she, Princess Roycraft (by Royal Note), won the prestigious Test Stakes in 1970 and later became the dam of the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes winner and successful stallion Royal Roberto (by Roberto), who was closely related to Robinia.
And if you want to go back even further, you will find that the seventh dam of Qemah, who is contributing marginally over 0.8% of her genetic make-up, was a mare called Adjournment (by Court Martial), a winner in England who was runner-up in the 1952 edition of the Coronation Stakes. She produced the Louisiana Derby winner Master Palynch (by Crafty Admiral) and the high-class seven to nine furlong filly Frimanaha (by Crafty Admiral), a prolific runner whose 11 wins included the Diana Handicap and Vineland Handicap.
Qemah is a classic-placed Group 1 winner by a leading sire whose daughters are responsible for the 2016 classic winners Minding (by Galileo), The Gurkha (by Galileo) and Hawksmoor (by Azamour), and that boosts her prospects of becoming a successful broodmare in the years to come. Right now, however, there are plenty of other good prizes to be won with her and it is possible that another trip to England may be on the cards as she holds an entry in next month's Group 1 Tattersalls 250th Year Falmouth Stakes (British Champions Series) at Newmarket.
Ballylinch Stud stallion Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) has made a fine start to the season. His oldest progeny are four years old and just two days after his first-crop sons Belardo and Endless Drama finished first and third in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, his second-crop daughter Jemayel won the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville.
His representatives in 2016 also include the pattern-placed stakes-winning sprinter Fort Del Oro, listed scorer Steel Of Madrid, several who have been placed in listed or pattern company and, of course, Blue De Vega, last year's Leopardstown Group 3 scorer who finished third behind Awtaad in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas last month.
Jemayel, his first daughter to win at the highest level, was bred by S.F. Bloodstock Llc and she is trained in France by Jean-Claude Rouget. She carries the well-known colours of Al Shaqab Racing and she was a €100,000 purchase at the Arqana Deauville October Yearling Sale.
She was a narrow winner over a mile at Longchamp on her second start as a juvenile, chased home Trixia in the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs over that trip at Deauville late the following month, but was a disappointing favourite at Chantilly on her return to action in April.
After that outing it was not really a surprise to see her go off at 14/1 for the Group 1 Pour Moi Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary, and the form of her narrow win there, where she defeated Camprock by a head, got a boost when third-placed Hawksmoor won the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas shortly afterwards.
It remains to be seen just how good she is, but this win put her dam's name on the list of those mares who have produced at least two individual top-level winners at stud. Nawal (by Homme De Loi), who was third in the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale as a two-year-old, is previously the dam of Mast Track (by Mizzen Mast) who won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup Stakes over 10 furlongs in California. His progeny include the six-figured earner Shez A Masterpiece who was placed in the Coronation Futurity Stakes – Canada's equivalent of the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes – as a juvenile in 2014.
Nawal is also responsible for the French listed scorer Redbrook (by Raven's Pass) and for Grade 2-placed filly Sagitta Ra (by Run Softly), and another of her daughters is a winning racehorse who is also off the mark as a blacktype producer.
That mare is called Always Auditioning, she is a full-sister to Mast Track, and her first foal is the seven-furlong Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes heroine Ready To Act (by More Than Ready). Her current two-year-old is a colt named Play The Part (by Scat Daddy), she had a full-brother to her star filly in 2015, and her unraced daughter Sifter (by Henrythenavigator) was a €15,000 buy-back at the Goffs February Sale.
Nawal, on the other hand, has a two-year-old filly named Lipstick Rose (by Dream Ahead) who made €80,000 at the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale.
The grandam of Jemayel is Lute String (by No Lute), and although she was unsuccessful on the track, eight of her 15 foals became winners. She, in turn, was a half-sister to eight winners out of a placed mare called Tarlace (by Targowice) and the octet featured the notably talented Kenbu (by Kenmare).
The grey won the Group 3 Prix de Cabourg, the Listed Prix du Pin and the Listed Prix Imprudence, she chased home Arazi in the Group 1 Prix Morny, was third behind Wolfhound and Silicon Bavaria in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret, and was only beaten by a total of a length when third to excellent duo Hatoof and Marling in the Group 1 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Kenbu's best daughter Sweet Orchid (by Gone West) was a blacktype winner over six furlongs in Japan, and her top son, Symboli Sword (by Green Desert), was a multiple stakes winner from five to seven furlongs in that country.
After her Group 1 success it was said that Jemayel would be seen next in the Group 1 Prix de Diane Longines over 10 and a half furlongs at Chantilly. That race is on Sunday. She may need to improve again to win the classic, but the distance, a half-furlong farther than last month's Prix Saint-Alary, should suit her well.
Norman Court Stud stallion Sixties Icon (by Galileo) has had a good run recently with Grade 2 success at Santa Anita for Nancy From Nairobi in early May and then a European blacktype double on a single afternoon this month. Czabo won a listed contest at Deauville just after Epsom Icon took the Group 3 Investec Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom.
The latter, who won the Listed Denford Stud Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury as a juvenile, is one of a career total of six stakes winners for her sire, a figure that looks sure to rise a lot in the coming seasons.
The three-year-old was bred by the stud, as were Nancy From Nairobi, Czabo and Chilworth Icon, she is trained by Mick Channon, and she is entered in both Wednesday's Listed Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot and in next month's Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh.
Epsom Icon was Lot 3 in the 2014 Tattersalls December Sale in Newmarket but failed to meet her reserve and was led out unsold at just 9,500gns. She is the second foal out of the four-times sprint winner Hairspray (by Bahamian Bounty), that mare is a full-sister to a winning plater and a half-sister to several other successful runners. Those include the 81-rated six and eight-furlong scorer Watneya (by Dubawi) and also Medieval (by Kodiac), a Paul Cole-trained colt who made a winning debut at Newbury last month and is available at around 20/1 for Tuesday's Group 2 Coventry Stakes.
They are all out of a one-time scorer called Quickstyx (by Night Shift), who retired rated just 63, and although this family has strong roots, this branch is a weak one, which adds to the amount of credit due to Sixties Icon.
Red Bouquet (by Reference Point), the third dam of Epsom Icon, won three times in Germany before going on to a notably successful career at stud. Seven of her eight foals made it to the racetrack, six of them won, and they included the Grade 1-placed stakes winner Red Fort (by Green Desert) and also Red Carnation (by Polar Falcon), the stakes-winning dam of Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes winner and Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes third Legendary (by Exceed And Excel).
As you might imagine of a mare by the ill-fated Derby and St Leger hero Reference Point (by Mill Reef), she comes from a top family and the best of her siblings is Red Camellia (by Polar Falcon), the Group 3 Prestige Stakes winner who was third in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 1000 Guineas) before becoming the dam of the Group 1-winning miler Red Bloom (by Selkirk). She is also the dam of the listed scorer Red Gala (by Sinndar) and grandam of Thanksfortellingme (by Notnowcato), an unbeaten juvenile mile stakes winner last season for the Ralph Beckett stable.
Red Camellia and Red Bouquet are also half-sisters to Red Azalea (by Shirley Heights), the dual winning grandam of Group 3 Select Stakes scorer Red Badge (by Captain Rio), and they are out of Cerise Bouquet (by Mummy's Bet), a half-sister to the Group 1 stars Ibn Bey (by Mill Reef) and Roseate Tern (by Blakeney).
Ibn Bey notched-up 10 wins that included the Group 1 Irish St Leger, Group 1 Gran Premio d'Italia, Group 1 Preis von Europa and Group 1 Grosse Preis der Berliner Bank. He also won the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville, Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil and Group 2 Geoffrey Freer Stakes, he was runner-up in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic and in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden, and he was third in both the Group 1 Prix Ganay and Group 1 Coronation Cup. He spent his stallion career in Japan, failed to make an impact in that role, retired from service in 2007 and died five years later, at the age of 28.
Roseate Tern won the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, finished third in the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster, and was promoted to the runners-up spot in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom following the eventual disqualification of Aliysa who has passed the post three lengths clear. Snow Bride, who was a short-head in front of Roseate Tern, and who later became the dam of Derby hero Lammtarra, was awarded the race.
Roseate Tern also won the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes and the Group 3 Lancashire Oaks, and the best of her progeny is the Group 1-placed dual 10-furlong stakes winner Esloob (by Diesis). Her daughter Siyadah (by Mr Prospector) also won the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket and that filly is now the grandam of Full Rose (by Aqlaam), the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas heroine of 2015.
If you go back further you find that Rosia Bay (by High Top), the fifth dam of Epsom Icon, was a half-sister to the top-class gelding Teleprompter (by Welsh Pageant), to Group 3 scorer Chatoyant (by Rainbow Quest) and also to Selection Board (by Welsh Pageant), the mare who gave us the prolific Group 1 star Ouija Board (by Cape Cross), a champion also famous as being the dam of Derby hero Australia (by Galileo).
The relationship of Epsom Icon to the Group 1 stars in her family ranges from distant to remote. She was raised to a mark of 105 after her latest success, so still has a long way to go if she is to be up to winning at higher levels, but she is improving and talented and is now very valuable as a potential broodmare.
Azamour (by Night Shift) was a top-class racehorse, placed in both the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh before victory in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in the first half of his three-year-old campaign. At that point he looked like a top-class miler in the making, but instead he stepped up in distance.
He won the Irish Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs at Leopardstown, finished third behind Haafhd in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, and then returned as a four-year-old to add wins in the Prince of Wales' Stakes and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, that year run at York and Newbury respectively. All of those races are, of course, at Group 1 level.
He spent his career at Gilltown Stud, sadly died at the age of just 13, and his loss was advertised last year when Dolniya won the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic and Covert Love took the Group 1 Irish Oaks. His prior runners feature the ill-fated and undefeated Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) heroine Valyra, and his current crop of three-year-olds includes Hawksmoor.
Like Covert Love, she is trained by Hugo Palmer, and although she has not yet won at the highest level she has been placed twice in Group 1 events. She won the Group 3 Prestige Stakes on her third start as a juvenile, finished third in both the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and Group 1 Fillies' Mile, and showed plenty of promise on her seasonal reappearance when, in first-time blinkers, she was third to Jemayel in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary over 10 furlongs at Deauville.
The Tenuta Genzianella-bred filly won the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas over a mile at Dusseldorf on Sunday and she holds an entry in next month's Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes over nine furlongs at the Curragh.
Hawksmoor is an €80,000 graduate of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale in Fairyhouse and her two-year-old half-sister Magical Fire (by Dragon Pulse), who made €50,000 in Goffs as a foal, won a six-furlong maiden at Fairyhouse on Wednesday. That filly is trained by Michael O'Callaghan, she had been fifth behind Cuff in a listed race at Naas 10 days before, and post-race comments suggest that a possible appearance in the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes at the Irish Derby meeting has been pencilled in for her.
Hawksmoor, on the other hand, may try Group 1 company before the year is out and, in post-race comments, Palmer named the Falmouth Stakes as one possible target for her this summer.
She is the third foal out of the unplaced Bridal Dance (by Danehill Dancer), a mare whose siblings include the Grade 3 winner and Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap runner-up Millennium Dragon (by Mark Of Esteem) and also Bless The Bride (by Darshaan), a 10-furlong Bath winner who died young but left behind the mile listed scorer Meeriss (by Dubai Destination).
Bridal Dance is out of Feather Bride (by Groom Dancer) and that winning daughter of Group 3 Prix de Sandringham runner-up Bubbling Danseuse (by Arctic Tern) has two siblings who have produced blacktype winners at stud. No Frills (by Darshaan) is the dam of the Grade 2-placed dual Californian stakes winner Singalong (by Singspiel), while Bubbling Heights (by Darshaan) is responsible for J'Ray (by Distant View).
Owned and bred by Lawrence Goichman, that Todd Pletcher-trained chestnut won the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine, the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park, and Grade 3 handicaps at Fair Grounds and Calder – all over nine furlongs – and the races in which she was placed featured the Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap at that latter venue and also the Grade 2 Mrs Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs. Her son General Jack (by Giant's Causeway) won listed contests over seven and a half and eight furlongs before a tendon injury forced him into retirement.
The aforementioned Bubbling Danseuse, third dam of Hawksmoor, was among seven winners out of the pattern-placed French listed scorer Premier Danseuse (by Green Dancer), and although none was a stakes winner, one produced a multiple Grade 1 star at stud. Haute Autorite (by Elocutionist), twice successful on the track, is the dam of 1993 US Horse of the Year and Champion Turf Male Kotashaan (by Darshaan).
He won the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf, Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap, Grade 1 Oak Tree Invitational Stakes, Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, two Grade 2 events and, in Europe, both the Group 3 Prix La Force and Listed Prix de Courcelles. He was runner-up in the Group 1 Japan Cup and retired to stud in that country, but he had limited success there and moved to Ireland.
Hawksmoor may not be in the same league as her most famous relation, but she is one of the most talented horses within the first few generations of her family and it would be no surprise to see her perform with credit whenever she steps back up to Group 1 company.
Monsun (by Konigsstuhl) was one of the greatest German stallions and the late Gestut Schlenderhan standout, who died in 2012, added to his pattern-race tally when The Juliet Rose, a member of his final crop, won the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont over 12 furlongs on soft ground at Chantilly on Sunday.
Like a growing number of stakes and pattern winners, she is out of a daughter of the Group 1-winning miler Dubai Destination (by Kingmambo) and she is the first of that stallion's talented granddaughters to have Monsun as their sire.
She was bred by Guy Heald, she is trained by Nicolas Clement, and she is a €650,000 graduate of the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale. Her two-year-old half-sister Pocketfullofdreams (by Invincible Spirit) made €550,000 at the same venue last summer, also bought by her part-owners Mayfair Speculators.
The Juliet Rose was a three and a half length winner of a newcomers' race over a mile in heavy ground at Saint-Cloud in November, and although runner-up to Camprock in the Group 3 Prix Penelope over two and a half furlongs farther at the same venue in April, she took a listed contest at Chantilly in May and then landed Sunday's prize by one and a half lengths. She is entered in next week's Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot and she looks a likely contender for the Group 1 Prix Vermeille later in the year.
Trade Flow (by Danehill Dancer), a 12-furlong maiden winner at Compiegne in March of last year, was the first foal for their dam and her fourth is a yearling son of Australian champion sire Redoute's Choice (by Danehill). Their dam is Dubai Rose, who won a listed contest in Germany and was listed-placed at Longchamp, and the mare is one of three blacktype winners out of a dual scorer called Russian Rose (by Soviet Lad).
Soho Rose (by Hernando) won a listed race in Germany but best of the mare's trio was that filly's full-sister Hanami who took the Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh and a mile listed contest at Newmarket and who also earned blacktype when third behind Soviet Song in the Group 2 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes. That race is over a mile at the Curragh, two furlongs shorter than the Pretty Polly Stakes.
Hanami has enjoyed some success at stud as her five winning progeny include the Group 2-placed Regent Street (by Galileo), listed-placed multiple winner Holly Polly (by Dylan Thomas) and also Khareef, a multiple stakes-placed four-year-old whose wins include a 12-furlong contest at Nantes in April. Hanami had an Oasis Dream (by Green Desert) colt in 2014 and a Cape Cross (by Green Desert) filly at the start of April 2015.
Russian Rose, the grandam of The Juliet Rose, was one of four winners out of an unraced mare called Thornbeam (by Beldale Flutter) and that made her a half-sister to the classic-placed Belgian stakes winner Cure The Blues (by Phardante), a filly who went on to become the dam of the blacktype-winning hurdlers Change Partner (by Turtle Island) and Georgia On My Mind (by Belmez) and grandam of the dual listed hurdles scorer Jamal Malik (by Lavirco). The next generation of the family features a seven-times winner named Going Going (by Auction Ring), but nothing of the talent of Sunday's new pattern race star.
This is a family that has been on the upgrade, and in The Juliet Rose it may have a representative who is capable of performing with credit in Group 1 company before the end of the year.
Siyouni (by Pivotal), a juvenile Group 1 star who was twice Group 1-placed over a mile at three, has made an exciting start to his stallion career. The oldest progeny of the Haras de Bonneval stallion are four, he has 10 individual stakes winners from his first two crops and they are headed by the triple Group 1-winning classic star Ervedya.
Seven of them have won at pattern level, four of those seven represent mares by Mr Prospector-line (by Raise A Native) stallions, and in addition to Ervedya, that quartet includes Souvenir Delondres, Trixia and Volta.
The latter is a three-year-old who is trained by Francis-Henri Graffard and who was bred by Thierry, Amaury and Mme Danille de la Heronniere. She was fifth and third in a pair of starts as a juvenile, won a mile maiden at Saint-Cloud in March, and then followed-up with listed success over the same trip at Chantilly last month.
On Sunday she impressed with a four-length victory in the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham over that same course and distance. It is fair to say that this did not seem to be a particularly challenging event for the grade, but she is clearly improving and could be able to hold her own in stronger company. She is certainly bred to achieve anything.
Volta is out an unraced mare called Persian Belle (by Machiavellian) and that makes her a half-sister to Calvados Blues (by Lando). That gelding won the Group 3 Prix des Chenes and the Group 3 Prix de Guiche and the races in which he has been placed include the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic and the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold Stakes, both at Meydan.
Her dam is out of the one-time scorer Nicola Bella (by Sadler's Wells) but is a full-sister to the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap winner Beautyandthebeast and a half-sister to Neatico (by Medicean). His list of pattern wins is headed by the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr Bayerisches Zuchtrennen over 10 furlongs at Munich, he stands at Gestut Hof Ittlingen, which is where he was bred, and his first foals arrived this year.
Valley of Hope (by Riverman), who is the third dam of Volta, was unraced but she was out of Virunga (by Sodium), a Group 3 Prix de Mallaret scorer whose placed efforts included second in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary and third to Allez France in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks).
Virunga has many notable descendants, starting with her sons Vin De France (by Foolish Pleasure) and Vacarme (by Lyphard). The former won the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, and the latter was a talented juvenile who won the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes and was third in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes.
Their half-sister Vosges (by Youth) was third in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille before becoming the dam of Group 1 Prix du Cadran heroine Victoire Bleue (by Legend Of France) and grandam of the classic-placed Group 2 Prix Hubert de Chaudenay scorer Vertical Speed (by Bering).
Another of their siblings who deserves a mention is Vahine (by Alysheba), as she is the dam of the middle-distance Group 2 scorer Vendangeur (by Galileo), who is at stud in France, but the most notable of all of them, at stud, is the unraced Venise (by Nureyev).
The best of her sons was Vetheuil (by Riverman), who won the Group 2 Prix du Muguet and earned placings in the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan, but three of her daughters have produced Group 1 winners at stud and one of the trio was herself a high-class racehorse.
That was Verveine (by Lear Fan), the Group 2 Prix de l'Opera winner and Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac third whose offspring include two daughters that have won at the highest level. Volga (by Caerleon) took the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes in Canada, while Vallee Enchantee (by Peintre Celebre) got her top win in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase.
Verveine is also the dam of the Group 3 Grand Prix de Vichy scorer Victory Cry (by Caerleon) and those who have descended from her half-sisters Vallee des Reves (by Kingmambo) and Vanishing Prairie (by Alysheba) include the Group 1 winners Maids Causeway (by Giant's Causeway) and Vespone (by Llandaff) and also recent Group 2 Dahlia Stakes scorer Usherette (by Shamardal).
Those horses are but distantly related to Volta, but there is more than enough in even just the first two generations of her pedigree to show that she is a well-bred filly who has the potential to continue to do well on the track and also to make an impact at stud whenever her racing days come to an end.
The weekend's European racing saw four classics being held in three different countries and one of them produced something of a surprise result.
Almanzor, a first-crop son of Haras d'Etreham stallion Wootton Bassett (by Iffraaj) won his first three starts as a juvenile, including a mile listed contest, but when he stepped up in grade he was found wanting, finishing only seventh of eight in the Group 1 Criterium International over seven furlongs at Saint-Cloud.
The very soft ground that day may have been a factor, although two of his three outings in 2016 have been on ground described as soft, so clearly he handles at least some ease in the ground. He was only beaten by three-parts of a length when third to Dicton in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau over a mile at Chantilly on his return to action in April, he then scored an odds-on success against three rivals in the Group 3 Prix de Guiche over nine furlongs at the same venue, before springing a 20/1 surprise with his length and a half victory in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) on Sunday.
The ground was soft, the trip 10 and a half furlongs, and there did not appear to be any fluke about the colt's performance. As one expects after a middle-distance classic success, he was given immediate post-race quotes for the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but if one of the major contenders from Sunday's race is to feature prominently in that end of season test then it may be the runner-up, Zarak.
As with any unexpectedly good effort, it remains to be seen if Almanzor can duplicate the feat or if this was a performance-of-a-lifetime one. His overall record is five wins and one place from seven starts, he was a Group 3 winner already, and so it seems unlikely that he will fail to add to his pattern race tally. We cannot know how he will get on against stronger opposition until he tries it.
Almanzor was bred by Haras d'Etreham and his trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget, secured him for €100,000 at the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale. He is the only blacktype horse for his sire, who has a double-digit tally of winners from a small number of runners, and yet Wootton Bassett is the first member of the current batch of European second-crop stallions with a winner at the highest level.
Now that he has a classic victory to his name, Almanzor will be on the radar as a potential stallion. In addition to being the son of a Group 1-winning Iffraaj (by Zafonic) horse, he is from a prolific blacktype family, it includes three others who have won French classics, and one of those took the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club when it was still run over 12 furlongs.
He is the first foal out of the unraced Darkova (by Maria's Mon), he has a two-year-old full-sister named Troarn, and the mare had a Falco (by Pivotal) colt last year. His grandam, Harkala (by Halling), won the Listed Prix des Tourelles and her siblings include Darinska (by Zilzal), the stakes-placed dam of star filly Darjina (by Zamindar).
The Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) heroine of 2007, she also won the Group 1 Prix d'Astarte and the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free, Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan, Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes, Group 1 Prix Rothschild and another edition of the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, she was third in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile, and Timeform rated her 128 as a three-year-old. Darjina has been somewhat unfortunate at stud as she has been barren in four of her first six year years. Her only registered foals are the colts Djibi (by Dalakhani), who was born in 2011, and Djidani (by Oasis Dream), born in 2012.
The third dam of Almanzor is Daralbayda (by Doyoun). She earned her blacktype when finishing third in the Group 3 Prix Minerve, a race that her dam Daralinsha (by Empery) won, and all six of her winning siblings were also blacktype horses. Daralimara (by Valanour) and Group 2 Prix de Royallieu runner-up Daraydala (by Royal Academy) won listed contests and the most notable of the others is Darashandeh (by Darshaan).
She won only once, she was runner-up in the Group 3 Prix Penelope, and her son Darsi (by Polish Precedent) won the Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club in 2006. The Beechbrook Stud stallion has sired several multiple winners from his early National Hunt runners.
If you go back another generation of the family then you find that the fifth dam of Almanzor is Darazina (by Labus), the grandam of the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 1 Prix Vermeille heroine Daryaba (by Night Shift). It is that classic star's Group 1-winning daughter Daryakana (by Selkirk) whose son Dariyan (by Shamardal) won the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Saint-Cloud last month. This is a famous Aga Khan family.
Darkova was sold for just €16,000 as a three-year-old at the Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale, which looked like a potential bargain then and a considerable now as she has come up with a classic winner with her first foal. It will be interesting to see how her son's career turns out, both on the track and eventually at stud, and to see if another of her progeny can excel in Group 1 company.