Such is the growing obsession with speed and precocity that a horse such as Permian can be easily overlooked, and that is a shame. With the exception of a couple of hiccups along the way, the colt has steadily worked his way up through the ranks and he deserves to be recognised as being among the leading middle-distance three-year-old colts in Europe.
He is also a horse who has a stallion’s pedigree and it is to be hoped that, should be win at the highest level, then he will be afforded a well-supported position at stud. He won’t sire early sprint types, but he could, given the chance, get milers and middle-distance horses – even classic types – along with some talented autumn juveniles.
The Darley-bred bay is trained by Mark Johnston and yes, he was precocious. Just because he was not asked to race below seven furlongs does not change that reality, especially as he made a winning racecourse debut less than two months after his physical second birthday. That was on the polytrack at Kempton in June.
He was runner-up under a penalty at Ayr a month later, on soft ground, and then took a one-mile Windsor nursery by four lengths, under 9st 7lb, just eight days before scoring over the same trip at Ripon. He was now rated 91, he disappointed when only fifth in a Newcastle nursery – giving 10lbs and more to each of his rivals – before rounding out his first season by finishing a three-quarter length third in what can now be viewed as having been one of the best two-year-old races of 2016.
It did not look in any way remarkable at the time, but the Listed Zetland Stakes, over 10 furlongs on good ground at Newmarket, saw Coronet beat Cunco by a neck, with Permian third and a gap of three and three-quarter lengths back to the fourth, Wings Of Eagles.
Coronet finished third in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary next time out and won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot on Thursday, Cunco won the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown in April, Wings Of Eagles sprang a 40/1 surprise in the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom a few weeks ago, and in addition to his half-length defeat of Khalidi in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot on Friday, Permian has won both the Group 2 Dante Stakes and Listed Newmarket Stakes.
He failed by a head and short-head to give 14lbs and 15lbs to two rivals in an 11 and a half-furlong Bath handicap on his seasonal debut, was short-headed by subsequent Group 1 Investec Derby third Cracksman in the 10-furlong Derby Trial at Epsom 12 days later, and then began his sequence of blacktype wins. He disappointed in the Derby itself, finishing eight and a quarter lengths behind Wings Of Eagles, but that blip on his record is clearly not reflective of his ability.
Benbatl and Crystal Ocean are the pair that chased him home at York. The latter finished third behind him again at Ascot, and the former is the Saeed bin Suroor-trained colt who finished well to take fifth in the Derby before beating Orderofthegarter by half a length in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes over 10 furlongs at Ascot on Thursday.
Permian was rated 113 going to Ascot and so he still has improvement to make if he is going to be capable of winning at the highest level, but with the way his figures have been progressing throughout his career, it would not be any surprise to see him take such a leap forward. And it should not be forgotten – he is a 1st May foal.
Permian is a son of juvenile ace and Kildangan Stud classic sire Teofilo (by Galileo), a stallion whose dozen Group 1 stars include Havana Gold, the Tweenhills Farm & Stud horse who was the first freshman of 2017 to get a stakes winner in Europe. That was the Listed National Stakes winner Havana Grey and he may be joined before long by Headway, the colt who was a head runner-up in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Ascot on Tuesday.
Tessa Reef (by Mark Of Esteem), the dam of Permian, won listed races over eight and nine furlongs in France, her string of multiple-winning offspring includes the blacktype-placed pair Second Wave (by New Approach) and Samana Cay (by Authorized), and she was the best of four winners out of Massaraat (by Nureyev), a stakes-winning full-sister to the great Miesque.
Massaraat is the grandam of Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes winner Silkwood (by Singspiel) and of Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes scorer Silent Honor (by Sunday Silence), and she is the fourth dam of last year’s triple Oaks-placed filly Architecture (by Zoffany), but her record pales in comparison to that of her famous sister.
A Niarchos homebred, Miesque was trained by the late François Boutin and she was a champion in each of her seasons to race. She won both the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre at two, earning a Timeform rating of 124. At three she took the Group 1 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, and was Timeform-rated 131.
At four she added the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and a second edition of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, and earned a Timeform figure of 133. Her only defeats in a 16-race career were in the Group 1 Prix Morny (third), Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks – runner-up to Indian Skimmer), Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (runner-up to Milligram), and when a head second to Soviet Star – the only colt to have beaten her – on soft ground in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin as a four-year-old.
Many champion racemares disappoint at stud, but not Miesque. Her first foal was the triple Group 1-winning miler and leading international classic sire Kingmambo (by Mr Prospector), her second was dual French classic heroine East Of The Moon (by Private Account), and her third was the Group 1-placed and pattern-winning sprinter Miesque’s Son (by Mr Prospector), the sire of Group/Grade 1 stars Miesque’s Approval and Whipper.
Mingun (by A.P. Indy) won the Group 3 Meld Stakes, and Moon Is Up (by Woodman), her fourth foal, is the stakes-winning dam of South African Grade 1 winner Amanee (by Pivotal) and grandam of classic and Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Karakontie (by Bernstein), a Gainesway stallion whose first foals arrived this year.
The aforementioned East Of The Moon is the dam of Group 3 scorer Moon Driver (by Mr Prospector) and grandam of both Group 3 winner and blacktype sire Evasive (by Elusive Quality) and this year’s Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes scorer Autocratic (by Dubawi).
Monevassia, on the other hand, is a non-winning full-sister to Kingmambo who has produced juvenile champion and dual Group 1 star Rumplestiltskin (by Danehill) – dam of classic-placed Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine Tapestry (by Galileo). She is also responsible for the Group 3 Balanchine Stakes winner I Am Beautiful (by Rip Van Winkle) and she is the grandam of the dual classic-placed Group 1 Dubai Turf hero Real Steel (by Deep Impact).
This is quite a legacy, and should Karakontie have the expected success in the sales ring and on the track over the next few years then that should also strengthen the appeal of Permian as a prospective stallion. Again, getting a good Group 1 win to his name will be important if he is to earn the chance.
Miesque’s stakes-winning dam Pasadoble (by Prove Out) has two other daughters who must be mentioned in any discussion of this famous family, even though neither of them raced. One Life (by L’Emigrant) is the third dam of 2012’s Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) scorer Lucayan (by Turtle Bowl), and Yogya (by Riverman) is the dam of the excellent Six Perfections (by Celtic Swing).
She was Timeform-rated 120p at two, 124 at three, and 120 at four, her wins included the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and the races in which she was placed included the Group 1 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan, and other editions both of the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Her son Yucatan (by Galileo) was runner-up in both the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy (to Rivet) and Group 2 Beresford Stakes (to Capri) last year, finished a one-length third to Rekindling in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes on his seasonal reappearance in April, and lost out by a head to Douglas Macarthur in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes on his only subsequent outing. He is currently available at around 16/1 for Saturday’s Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
The same price is also available about Permian’s prospects in next month’s Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, and his big race entries also include the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, both over 10 furlongs.
The Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket is not a contest that we typically consider to be a source of potentially high-class racehorses. It is over 10 furlongs, a marathon trip for juveniles, and so generally not on the radar of the potential classic or middle-distance stars, who go for the top six to eight-furlong pattern events instead.
The 2016 edition of the race, however, now looks like having been one of the better two-year-old races of the season because each of the first four home that day is a pattern winner already in 2017, three of them being horses of particular note.
The race went to the 3/1 favourite who won by a neck from an 11/1 shot, who was half a length ahead of a 20/1 outsider, and the fourth-placed runner, at 10/1, was another three and three-quarter lengths behind. Their names were largely unknown on the day, but look how it reads now when we can say that Coronet, Cunco, Permian, and Wings Of Eagles were those four horses, in that order.
Coronet won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot on Thursday, Cunco won the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown in April, Permian has won both the Group 2 Dante Stakes and Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, and Wings Of Eagles sprang a 40/1 shock in the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom.
Coronet had won her only previous start – a mile maiden at Leicester – so finished her first season with an unbeaten record and a Timeform rating of 102p. She finished third to Sobetsu in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary on her first start of this year, disappointed when finishing a well-beaten fifth to Enable in the Group 1 Investec Oaks at Epsom, but then bounced back to beat Mori by a neck at Ascot.
She holds an entry in the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks and, given what one of her siblings achieved, and the famous family that she represents, it would be no surprise to see her line up at Doncaster in September for the final classic of the year – the Group 1 St Leger.
Coronet is owned and bred by Denford Stud, she is trained by John Gosden, and she is a daughter of Dalham Hall Stud’s outstanding stallion Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium).
Her half-brother Streetcar To Stars (by Sea The Stars) was short-headed in a 12-furlong listed contest at Leopardstown, finished third in a Group 3 over the same course and distance and then a one and a half length fourth to Leading Light in the 14-furlong Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh, all from just five starts, but it is another of her siblings who is the really notable one.
Midas Touch (by Galileo) won the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, was a half-length runner-up to Cape Blanco in the Group 1 Irish Derby, and also runner-up in the Group 1 St Leger and Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes before moving to Australia where, in a campaign that included unplaced runs in sprints, he finished third in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes over nine furlongs.
Coronet is out of Approach (by Darshaan) who won the Listed Ballymacoll Stakes at Newbury, was Grade 2-placed at Keeneland and finished third in the Group 3 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster. The mare’s stakes-placed full-sister Intrigued is the dam of Listed Cocked Hat Stakes winner and Group 1 St Leger third Michelangelo (by Galileo), and Aussie Rules (by Danehill) was the best of her male siblings.
He won the Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket as a juvenile, added both the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) and Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at three, he began his stallion career at Coolmore and then moved to Lanwades Stud. His progeny include Group 1 Matron Stakes heroine Fiesolana and New Zealand Group 1 scorer Willie Cazals, but, sadly, he died last year at the age of 13.
Approach and Aussie Rules were the best of 10 winners among 14 foals out of Last Second (by Alzao), one of the notable daughters of the influential mare Alruccaba (by Crystal Palace). She was also one of the most talented of them as she won the Group 2 Nassau Stakes, Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes and Group 3 C L Weld Park Stakes, and was runner-up in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes.
Her half-sister Alleluia (by Caerleon) won the Group 3 Doncaster Cup before going on to become the dam of Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak heroine Allegretto (by Galileo), and another half-sister, Arrikala (by Darshaan), won the Listed Curragh Cup and finished third in the Group 1 Irish Oaks. Although that filly did not achieve fame at stud, two of her full-sisters did.
Alouette was the more talented of the pair on the racetrack, winning a listed contest at Galway and finishing third in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, and the grey has several descendants of particular note, two of them top-class daughters: dual Group 1 Champion Stakes heroine Alborada (by Alzao) and dual German Group 1 star Albanova (by Alzao), both bred by Kirsten Rausing.
The latter is the dam of Group 3 scorer and last month’s Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes runner-up Algometer (by Archipenko), of triple listed scorer All At Sea (by Sea The Stars), listed race winner Alwilda (by Hernando) and multiple stakes-placed Albamara (by Galileo).
Alborada’s son Albion (by With Approval) was only beaten by a head when runner-up in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe, the lightly-raced Nordic Hero (by Archipenko) won an eight and a half furlong listed contest at Killarney two years ago, Albaraka (by Selkirk) was stakes-placed, and Alvarita (by Selkirk) won the Listed Prix Petite Etoile over 10 and a half furlongs at Saint-Cloud before becoming the dam of Group 3 scorer Alla Speranza (by Sir Percy) and pattern-placed stakes winner Altesse (by Hernando).
Alakananda (by Hernando), a dual winning half-sister to those two Group 1 stars, has done her part for the family as she is the dam of listed scorer Dragon Dancer (by Sadler’s Wells) who was short-headed by Sir Percy in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom.
Alouette’s other notable full-sister is Jude. She was only placed on the racetrack but has become a broodmare of considerable value as her offspring include Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Yesterday (by Sadler’s Wells), classic-placed Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Quarter Moon (by Sadler’s Wells), and Group 1 Oaks third All My Loving (by Sadler’s Wells).
The last-named of that trio is the dam of the ill-fated Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes winner Thomas Chippendale (by Dansili), whereas Quarter Moon’s four blacktype earners feature Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes scorer Diamondsandrubies (by Fastnet Rock) and Group 1 Fillies’ Mile third You’ll Be Mine (by Kingmambo), dam of this year’s Group 3 Craven Stakes winner and Group 1 Investec Derby fourth Eminent (by Frankel).
In addition to Jude and and her blacktype stars, Alruccaba’s progeny also include Alexandrine (by Nashwan), a four-time winner who has a perfect record at stud, with eight winners from eight foals of racing age including the stakes-placed six-time scorer Alambic (by Cozzene) and South African Group 2 winner Kingston Mines (by Archipenko).
This is one of the most famous families in the stud book and that makes Coronet an exciting prospect, both as a racehorse and, eventually, as a broodmare. It would be no surprise to see her make the necessary improvement to win at the highest level.
Nayef (by Gulch) was a top-class middle-distance racehorse and Shadwell's Nunnery Stud stallion notched up his 25th individual stakes winner when Ice Breeze took a slowly run edition of the Group 2 Prix Hocquart over 12 furlongs at Chantilly this afternoon.
This head defeat of Shakeel came on his fourth start and it followed his two-length second to Called To The Bar in the Group 3 Prix du Lys over the same trip at Saint-Cloud last month. He won a maiden over that same course and distance three weeks before, and was a half-length runner-up to Sand Fox on his debut, over a furlong and a half less, at that same venue in April.
Having won a Group 2 so early in his career, the Pascal Bary-trained bay has earned a step up in class – with the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris an obvious potential target – but it is fair to say that, as yet, the level of form he has achieved is still some way short of what would be required to succeed at the highest level.
He should be capable of further improvement, however, and of staying not only a strongly run mile and a half but, potentially, a bit farther too.
His full-brother Snow Sky won the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup and Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, finished third to Kingston Hill in the Group 1 St Leger, and was not disgraced when finishing a four and three-quarter-length fifth to Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup.
Snow Sky stands at Ballycurragh Stud and some of his first crop are likely to appear at the foal sales later in the year.
Ice Breeze is out of Winter Silence (by Dansili), who was a stakes-placed middle-distance winner in France. The mare's success at stud is no surprise as she is daughter of the excellent producer Hunt The Sun (by Rainbow Quest), a three-time placed runner who became the dam of six blacktype horses, two of which won at the highest level.
Meteor Storm (by Bigstone) took the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park, the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap and Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita, and the Grade 2 W L Knight Handicap at Calder. He was also placed in a string of good races, notably the Grade 1 Canadian International Stakes, Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes and Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup.
Polish Summer (by Polish Precedent) won the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad Al Sheba, the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville and the Group 3 Prix Exbury in France, he was runner-up in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin, and twice second in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
Their half-brother Host Nation (by Grand Lodge) got his best win in the Group 3 Prix de Barbeville at Longchamp, half-sister Morning Eclipse (by Zafonic) won a listed contest at Chantilly, and the remaining blacktype produce of Hunt The Sun is Winter Solstice (by Unfuwain), the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale runner-up who has two descendants of particular note.
Her son Ice Blue (by Dansili) on the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud and her granddaughter Winsili (by Dansili) won the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.
The third dam of Ice Breeze is Suntrap (by Roberto), who finished third in the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale, Listed Lupe Stakes and Listed Atalanta Stakes and whose siblings include the Group 2 Deutsches St Leger scorer Non Partisan (by Alleged).
More notable, however, is that Suntrap is the dam of the multiple Group/Grade 1 middle-distance stars Raintrap and Sunshack who are full-brothers to Hunt The Sun and also to Summer Breeze. That filly earned her blacktype when finishing third in the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs as a juvenile and she is the dam of the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes winner Doctor Fremantle (by Sadler's Wells).
In addition to the aforementioned German pattern winner, Suntrap is a half-sister to the Group 1-placed Canadian blacktype scorer Jalaajel (by Alleged), to one-time scorer Bright Spells (by Alleged) – dam of the ill-fated classic-placed Group 3 winner Clearing (by Zafonic) – and to Set Fair (by Alleged), the stakes-placed dam of Listed Cheshire Oaks scorer Valentine Girl (by Alzao) and grandam of the Group 1 Sydney Cup winner Stand To Gain (by Hawk Wing).
Sunny Bay (by Northern Bay), the fourth dam of Ice Breeze, was a Grade 1-placed multiple stakes winner in the USA.
It remains to be seen how Ice Breeze will fare when taking on stronger opposition in a strongly run race, but he has the potential to do well over middle-distances in France and, possibly, within that country's stayers' division.
Classic trials generate a lot of coverage and discussion, most of it focusing on winners and beaten favourites. This year's Group 1 Investec Derby hero did run in such a race but his performance did not attract much attention as he was a one and a quarter-length runner-up to his stable companion Venice Beach in the Group 3 Chester Vase.
Had his prior record been more notable then it is likely that he could have gone off at a single-digit price at Epsom rather than the 40/1 he returned on Saturday, but Wings Of Eagles had made the frame in just one of his four previous starts, and that was when winning an eight and a half-furlong maiden at Killarney in August.
He was unplaced over seven furlongs at Galway on his debut, was sent off at 10/1 when only fourth behind Coronet, Cunco, and Permian in the Listed Zetland Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newmarket, and then at 33/1 when ninth behind Waldgeist in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.
This was more the profile of a Derby pacemaker than significant player, especially as each of Aidan O'Brien's other five runners had stronger claims. He was hampered at the start, had only two behind him at they entered the straight, but then crept closer while switching around those blocking his path, and produced the powerful run that saw him sweep past his rivals to take the classic by three-parts of a length in the hands of Padraig Beggy.
The O'Brien-trained Cliffs Of Moher, who looked set for victory when he put his head in front inside the final furlong, had to settle for second, a neck in front of the big-race favourite Cracksman, with Eminent another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.
The time of the race was very good – the fourth-fastest Derby – and it could be that hold-up tactics over 12 furlongs are just what this colt needs to show his ability. He holds an entry in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, as you would expect, but also in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse and Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, which are over 10 furlongs.
In an aside, but interesting coincidence, the Group 3 Chester Vase runner-up also won the Derby 27 years ago. That was the Roger Charlton-trained Juddmonte homebred Quest For Fame (by Rainbow Quest), a Newbury maiden winner who chased home Belmez at Chester before beating Blue Stag by three lengths at Epsom, at 7/1.
Two years later, when trained by Bobby Frankel, he added the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Handicap over 10 furlongs, and although he never became a high-profile success at stud, he did get several Group 1 stars in Australia.
A stallion career awaits Wings Of Eagles whenever his racing career comes to an end but despite his classic success it seems likely that the support he will be afforded will depend on what he does between now and then. We need more true middle-distance horses at stud but all too often they quickly fall from favour, are exported or transferred to the National Hunt market.
Indeed, Wings Of Eagles is the son of such a horse. Pour Moi (by Montjeu) was also a come-from-behind winner of the Derby, getting up on the line to beat Treasure Beach by a head, but he never ran again, his early runners include the pattern-winning sprinter Only Mine and the New Zealand-bred Group 1 scorer Sacred Elixir, and he is already in his first year as a National Hunt sire at Grange Stud, with a Derby hero in his second crop.
Wings Of Eagles was bred in France by Aliette Forien and Gilles Forien, he is a €220,000 graduate of the Arqana Deauville August Yearling Sale, and he is one of three blacktype earners out of Ysoldina (by Kendor).
The full-sisters Gyrella (by Oasis Dream) and Torentosa have been listed-placed in France. Four-year-old Sweet Electra (by Sea The Stars) has won over nine furlongs at Chantilly, but that Pascal Bary-trained grey has been out of the frame both times she tried blacktype company.
Ysoldina also had ability and, although she did not win at stakes level, she was stakes-placed seven times. These included when runner-up to Divine Proportions in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp, third to that same star in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), and third behind Pride in the Group 2 Prix Corrida, as a four-year-old, on her final start.
She is among 13 winners out of a placed mare called Rotina (by Crystal Glitters) and that string of successful runners includes four pattern stars. Belle Et Celebre (by Peintre Celebre) took the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, and the prolific gelding Valentino (by Valanour) won the Group 3 Prix Edmond Blanc, Group 3 Prix Perth, and Group 3 Prix Andre Baboin.
Whortleberry (by Starborough) notched up eight wins, most notably the Group 2 Prix Jean Romanet, Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio, and Group 3 Prix Minerve, and her offspring include the Japanese Group 3 scorer Straw Hat (by Fuji Kiseki).
The fourth of the notable siblings is Appel Au Maitre (by Starborough), a champion at two and three years of age, and twice as an older horse – all in Scandinavia. He won the Group 3 Stora Pris at Taby, the Group 3 Marit Sveaas Minnelop at Ovreroll, the Listed Svenskt Derby at Jagersro, and two editions of the Group 3 Stockholm Cup International.
Unlike most horses racing in that region, the Wido Neuroth-trained chestnut was also campaigned abroad, mostly in Germany. He won a Group 3 contest, was runner-up to Campanologist in the Group 1 Rheinland-Pokal, and to Axxos in the Group 2 Oppenheim-Union-Rennen, all at Cologne, he was a three-quarter-length third to Getaway in the Group 1 Deutschland-Preis at Dusseldorf, and finished fourth to Adlerflug in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby at Hamburg. He went to stud in Denmark.
Rudolfina (by Pharly), the third dam of Wings Of Eagles, also had ability, notching up four wins that included a pair of listed contests at Longchamp. The races in which she was placed featured the Group 3 Prix Chloe, Group 3 Prix Fille de l'Air, Group 3 Prix Corrida, and Group 3 Prix Messidor, and she went on to produce seven winners from a dozen foals.
One was a pattern-placed listed-race winner, another was Group 3-placed, two earned minor blacktype over hurdles at Auteuil, and one of the non-winners – Rodelina (by Caro) – became the dam of the talented filly Red Rubin (by Hero's Honor), a triple French listed scorer at nine to 10 furlongs.
Wings Of Eagles has risen from relative obscurity to winning one of the world's most famous races in a style that suggests it was no fluke. Whether he stays at around 12 furlongs or goes the old-fashioned route of Derby to St Leger to Gold Cup remains to be seen, but he is clearly a fascinating prospect, both as a racehorse and as a future stallion.
The list of Galileo-sired stallions who have at least one Group 1 winner to their name somewhere in the world got a new addition recently when Enable powered through heavy rain to win the Investec Oaks at Epsom, beating Rhododendron by five lengths.
The Juddmonte Farms homebred represents the first crop of the top-class middle-distance horse Nathaniel (by Galileo), one of two stallions resident at Newsells Park Stud. The other is sprint star and Group 1 sire Equiano (by Acclamation).
Nathaniel had some two-year-old winners in 2016, as you would expect, and given his racing and pedigree profile it was always likely that we would start to see the best of his offspring emerge once they started racing at 10 furlongs and beyond.
That is not to say that he will not get some high-class juveniles – and there is every reason to hope that he will get some stakes and pattern winners among that age group – but this is not a stallion who was going to make the sort of flashy early beginning that the commercial market seems to love.
Instead, Nathaniel's prospects have always been as a potential classic and middle-distance sire. Enable is his first pattern winner, she was joined in the Oaks line-up by fellow listed scorer Natavia – who was unplaced – and the stallion's five other blacktype earners include Group 2 Derby Italiano runner-up Back On Board and two pattern-placed colts who could tackle the Group 1 Deutsches Derby.
That quintet also includes stakes-placed Glencadam Glory who was beaten by just under eight lengths when out of the frame behind Wings Of Eagles in the Group 1 Investec Derby. He is, like Enable, trained by John Gosden, and he holds an entry in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
Enable ran just once as a juvenile, taking a mile maiden on the Tapeta surface at Newcastle in late November by three and three-quarter lengths. Therefore she joins the growing list of Group 1 stars who got an early winning start on the artificial tracks, a roll of honour that also includes Covert Love (Irish Oaks), Hawkbill (Eclipse Stakes), Jack Hobbs (Irish Derby), Silverwave (Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud), and Zelzal (Prix Jean Prat).
Her second start was in a 10-furlong conditions race at Newbury in April, where she finished two and a half lengths and a head behind Shutter Speed and Raheen House, with the rest well-beaten.
Just 19 days later she was eased down to beat Alluringly by one and three-quarter lengths in the Listed Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks over the extended 11 furlongs at Chester. The third that day, Tansholpan, finished another nine lengths behind.
Although a comparison of the margin between Enable and Alluringly that day versus the 11 lengths that separated them at Epsom may flatter the newly crowned classic star, there is no doubt that she improved again between those two races. Her Chester rival finished third in the Oaks, three and three-quarter lengths clear of fourth-placed Horseplay.
Enable is the fifth foal out of the listed race winner and Group 3 Prix de Flore runner-up Concentric (by Sadler's Wells) and so the first thing about her pedigree that jumps off the page is that she is inbred 3x2 to Coolmore Stud's late, great, white-faced bay. Whether or not that has had any bearing on her ability cannot be known.
Concentric's offspring also include the Group 2 Prix de Pomone third Contribution (by Champs Elysees), she is out of the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont scorer Apogee (by Shirley Heights) and so has three siblings of particular note.
Dance Routine, her full-sister, won the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu and was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) before going on to become the dam of five-time Group/Grade 1 star Flintshire (by Dansili). A dual Arc-placed Group 1 winner before heading to stardom across the atlantic, he is completing his first season on the stallion roster at Hill 'N Dale Farms in Kentucky.
His full-brother Dance Moves has been a dual stakes winner in France and third in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay, and his half-sister Deliberate (by King's Best) is the winning dam of the pattern-placed pair Projected (by Showcasing) and Delivery (by Rail Link).
Apogee's other two stakes winners are Apsis (by Barathea) and Space Quest (by Rainbow Quest). The former won the Group 3 Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord and Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon, and his progeny include the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak scorer Les Beaufs.
Space Quest won the Listed Prix Joubert, her son Kocab (by Unfuwain) won five listed races and took second place in the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris, and her grandson Virtual Game (by Kheleyf) has won several listed contests in Italy.
Light Ballet, another full-sister to Concentric, did not win a stakes race, but earned her blacktype when third in the Group 3 Prix Minerve and she has done her part for the family's reputation by producing listed scorer Penchee (by Grand Lodge) and two stakes-placed sons.
Bourbon Girl (by Ile De Bourbon), who Juddmonte also bred, chased home Unite in both the Group 1 Oaks and Group 1 Irish Oaks in 1987, and Apogee is one of three daughters of particular note for her.
Daring Miss (by Sadler's Wells), who could be described as being a three-parts sister to Concentric and Dance Route, won the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly three weeks before chasing home Montjeu in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. The best of her progeny is the stakes-winning gelding Destruct (by Rail Link).
The other sister is Shining Bright (by Rainbow Quest) who made her name solely at stud, coming up with two of El Prado's (by Sadler's Wells) star performers in Europe. Spanish Moon won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and his sister Spanish Sun, who is the dam of Listed Pretty Polly Stakes scorer Swiss Range (by Zamindar), took the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes.
A Nathaniel filly from this famous family was always going to stay a mile and a half and, if proving smart, become a likely candidate for the Oaks and Irish Oaks. She has won the former and is likely to tackle the latter.
Her Oaks victory, during a thunderstorm, was achieved in the fastest time ever for a winner of that classic at Epsom, which suggests that she may be an above-average classic heroine. Her apparent superiority over Rhododendron may be slightly exaggerated given that the latter's stamina appeared to falter, and it could be a case that, like in 1992 when User Friendly beat All At Sea, with the rest nowhere, that the runner-up will drop back in trip and excel there instead.
Enable could certainly emulate User Friendly by adding the Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, and my immediate post-race impression was that we had just seen the likely Group 1 St Leger winner in action. It was a pity, therefore, to hear her trainer all but rule out a tilt at the final classic of the year.
She is among the ante-post favourites for the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe so it is possible that she might go there instead of to Doncaster. But whatever her year planner contains, there is no doubt that she is a high-calibre filly, one who could achieve anything on the track and, eventually, at stud, and she is a wonderful advertisement for her young sire.
Two-year-olds who win their maiden by 10 lengths or more seldom prove anything but smart and the way that Sobetsu beat nine rivals by that distance and more over a mile at Newmarket in September put her into many notebooks as a potential Group 1 candidate for 2017.
She had been third to Spatial and Unforgettable Filly over a furlong less at that venue three weeks before, her only other juvenile outing ended in a somewhat disappointing fifth to Rhododendron in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile, also at headquarters, and she finished her first season with a Timeform rating of 103.
She had been beaten by 15 lengths on that first tilt at blacktype company so it was not really a surprise that she was sent off at 14/1 on her seasonal reappearance at Deauville last month.
She belied those odds, however, and on her first attempt at 10 furlongs, and on soft ground, Godolphin's Darley-bred took the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary by three lengths from Vue Fantastique.
Sobetsu is trained by Charlie Appleby, she was raised to an official mark of 113 after this success, and it will be interesting to see how this daughter of outstanding Dalham Hall Stud stallion Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium) fits into the overall end-of-year rankings.
There is no doubt that she is bred to achieve anything, both on the track and, eventually, at stud, because in addition to having such a notable sire, she comes from one of the most famous families in the stud book.
Sobetsu is out of Lake Toya (by Darshaan), a dual listed race winner who was third in the Group 3 Prix de Flore at Saint-Cloud. That mare has nine winning siblings, three of them blacktype earners, and she is also a half-sister to Hermes Tiara (by Brian's Time), the unraced dam of Group 1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) winner and Group 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) third Dee Majesty (by Deep Impact).
Shinko Hermes (by Sadler's Wells), the grandam of Sobetsu, was only placed but her full-sister Imagine won the Group 1 Oaks and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas in 2001, and another full-sister, Strawberry Roan, won a Leopardstown listed race before chasing home Classic Park in the 1997 edition of that same Curragh classic.
Strawberry Roan is the grandam of Group 2 Rockfel Stakes winner Cape Dollar (by Cape Cross), Imagine's daughter Kitty Matcham (by Rock Of Gibraltar) won that same juvenile contest, Imagine is also responsible for the classic-placed Group 2 scorer Viscount Nelson (by Giant's Causeway), US mile Grade 3 winner Point Piper (by Giant's Causeway), and ill-fated Group 1 Grand Criterium winner Horatio Nelson (by Danehill), and those mares are only two of the notable offspring of Doff The Derby (by Master Derby).
She was unraced because of an injury sustained early in life, but she comes from a family whose many top-level stars include the prolific but ill-fated Group 1 heroine Triptych (by Riverman), that standout's dam and US champion Trillion (by Hail To Reason), and, distantly removed, the brilliant dual Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Treve (by Motivator).
Doff The Derby's roll of honour also includes the Group 1-placed pattern winner Wedding Bouquet (by Kings Lake), the talented Japanese colt Osumi Tycoon (by Last Tycoon), and, best of all, the Timeform 139-rated superstar Generous (by Caerleon).
That flashy chestnut sprang a 50/1 surprise in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at two, finished an eye-catching fourth behind Mystiko in the Group 1 2000 Guineas on his seasonal reappearance, and then posted a hugely impressive success in the Derby at Epsom, easily beating subsequent Group 1 scorer Marju by five lengths.
Suave Dancer had looked equally brilliant when taking the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly and the prospect of a match between the pair generated great excitement at the Irish Derby meeting a few weeks later.
Generous trounced his Gallic rival by three lengths – the pair well clear of the other four runners – and followed that with a seven-length victory in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, with Sanglamore, Rock Hopper, and Terimon the ones who chased him home.
It was to prove to be his final win, but his Curragh foe, who bypassed Ascot, went on to impressive wins in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, being applauded through the final furlong in the former by an appreciative Leopardstown crowd.
Generous sired winners at all levels but, like most sons of his dual champion sire, had an overall disappointing record at stud.
But back to Wedding Bouquet for a moment as her pattern-winning descendants include a brilliant granddaughter: champion and prolific Group 1 star Moonlight Cloud (by Invincible Spirit), who Timeform rated 129.
Sobetsu has a long to go yet if she is to get close to the ratings produced by some of her most famous relations, but she holds a string of Group 1 entries from eight to 12 furlongs – starting with tomorrow's Group 1 Investec Oaks at Epsom – so hopefully we will get plenty of opportunities to see what she can do.
Classic season is well under way and one result was quite a surprise. It's not that the horse in question had failed to show potential before her Group 1 success – she had a trio of blacktype seconds to her name – but her performance over the mile at Deauville was a huge step forward from what she had achieved in sprints.
Precieuse, homebred in Ireland by Brendan and Anne-Marie Hayes of Knocktoran Stud, was returned at odds of 33/1 when beating Sea Of Grace by one and three-quarter lengths in the Abu Dhabi Poule d'Essai des Pouliches.
The ground was described as being very soft, as it was when she was an odds-on three-length winner over six furlongs at Fontainebleau two months before, it was heavy when she chased home Simmie in a listed contest over a half-furlong less at Chantilly in November, and soft when she was runner-up in a similar contest over six at Maisons-Laffitte 19 days before that.
Her other two starts have been on good ground, both of them also second-place finishes – so she does not necessarily need easy underfoot conditions – and the more recent of those was last month's Group 3 Prix Sigy at Chantilly in which she chased home the exciting Fas.
It remains to be seen if her classic performance is going to remain a career-best effort or if she can improve again and hold her own against stronger opposition, but there is no doubt about the strength of the pedigree behind this Fabrice Chappet-trained chestnut.
Precieuse joins the high-class sprinter G Force as a top-level winner for Derrinstown Stud's regally-bred mile Group 1 star Tamayuz (by Nayef).
She is a half-sister to the blacktype-placed pair Baccarat (by Dutch Art) and Peut Etre (by Whipper) and out of the multiple stakes-placed Zut Alors (by Pivotal). That mare is, in turn, one of nine winners for the French and triple US stakes winner Zeiting (by Zieten) and that makes her a half-sister to four horses of note.
Combat Zone's (by Refuse To Bend) 16 wins feature the Group 2 Europa Meile at Munich, Royal Empire's (by Teofilo) five include the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, and that one's full-brother Scottish has a Group 3 Strensall Stakes victory on his resume.
The fourth notable sibling is Bikini Babe (by Montjeu) and her string of blacktype placings include second in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche, Group 3 C L Weld Park Stakes, and Listed UAE Oaks, and third in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown.
Bikini Babe's first foal is the multiple French winner Rkaya (by Exceed And Excel) and her current yearling, a Kodiac (by Danehill) colt who made 65,000gns at Newmarket last year, looks sure to attract plenty of attention following Precieuse's big update to his page.
Blacktype form is something that this family has in abundance and this enhances the likelihood that Precieuse will do well whenever she goes to stud.
Zeiting, her grandam, is among eight winners from 11 foals out of the one-time scorer Belle De Cadix (by Law Society) and that octet also includes Dolled Up (by Whipper) and Madany (by Acclamation).
The former was a leading sprint juvenile in France, where she won the Group 3 Prix du Bois, was runner-up in the Group 3 Prix d'Arenberg, and third in both the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin and Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte.
Madany, on the other hand, is the dam of Massaat (by Teofilo), the colt who runner-up to Air Force Blue in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes and then chased home Galileo Gold in the Group 1 2000 Guineas.
Gourgandine (by Auction Ring), the unplaced fourth dam of Precieuse, was out of the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes runner-up North Forland (by Northfields) and that half-sister to Group 1 Prix Ganay heroine Infra Green (by Laser Light) was responsible for three runners of note.
Fortune's Wheel (by Law Society) was Group 1-placed in France and a Group 2 scorer in Italy as a juvenile and went on to add wins in both the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt and Group 3 Prix Exbury. His second-place finishes in the Group 1 Bayerisches Zuchtrennen and Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam were also praiseworthy.
Libertine (by Hello Gorgeous) won the Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio, her Group 1 placings included third to the brilliant Miesque in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, and the best of her four winning offspring was Take Liberties (by Warning), who was runner-up in both the Group 3 Prix Chloe at Evry and Group 3 Prix de Psyche at Deauville.
Libertine's grandson Sgt Pepper (by Fasliyev) won the Listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury, and her smart great-granddaughter Infamous Angel (by Exceed And Excel) won the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at Newmarket nine years ago.
The third member of North Forland's star trio is Harmless Albatross (by Pas De Seul) who won the Group 3 Prix des Chenes and finished third to Ashayer in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac before going on to an excellent career at stud.
Her listed scorers Almaas (by Elnadim), Ghataas (by Sadler's Wells), Kahtan (by Nashwan), and Sakha (by Wolfhound) notched-up 19 races between them, but her standout was eight-time scorer Volochine (by Soviet Star) who won a Grade 2 handicap at Saratoga and was Group/Grade 1-placed at Longchamp and Woodbine.
The talented performers who appear under the fourth and fifth generations – and their branches – of the pedigree are remotely connected to the recent French classic heroine. Their presence does, however, help to illustrate the strength of the broad female line that she represents and that augurs well for her future prospects at stud.
Before then, of course, it is to be hoped that we get more opportunities to assess Precieuse's capabilities as a racehorse and it will be interesting to see where she sits in the overall order of merit at the end of the year.