Coolmore Stud's Group 1 winner Zoffany (by Dansili) has made an outstanding start to his stallion career. His oldest progeny are three, they have yielded nine individual stakes winners in Europe and one Australian-born pattern scorer, and four others from his Irish-conceived offspring have been blacktype placed, one of them in three classics.
What he was missing on his record until the middle of this month was a Group 1 winner, which was something of a surprise given how many of his progeny have performed with credit at the highest level.
The non-stakes winner noted above is Architecture, who chased home Minding in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, was runner-up to Seventh Heaven in the Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh, and third to Serienholde in the Group 1 Preis der Diana (German Oaks) at Dusseldorf.
Foundation was third in last year's Group 1 Racing Post Trophy shortly after winning the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket, Illuminate was runner-up in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes after her Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes victory, and the triple stakes-winning sprinter Washington DC has been placed in each of the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, Group 1 Commonwealth Cup and Group 1 Phoenix Stakes.
The Marco Botti-trained Knife Edge gave his sire a first classic winner when taking the Group 2 Mehl-Mulhens Rennen (German 2000 Guineas) at Cologne in May, but it is Ventura Storm who has given their sire his first Group 1 star.
The Richard Hannon-trained colt, who won the Group 3 Prix de Reux over 12 and a half furlongs at Deauville in August and was runner-up to Harbour Law in the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster last month, is only rated 113, which is some way below what you expect of a top-level winner, but he justified favouritism with a narrow score in the Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club over a mile and a half at San Siro 10 days ago.
This was his sixth win from a dozen starts, his tally also includes the Listed Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton and the Listed Fielden Stakes at Newmarket, and he could become a leading player in the better middle-distance events of 2017.
Ventura Storm was bred by Laurence Kennedy, who sold him for €54,000 in Goffs as a foal. The colt made just €50,000 when re-offered at that venue as a yearling, but Peter & Ross Doyle Bloodstock had to go to 110,000gns to secure him at the 2015 Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale.
A half-brother to the 12-furlong Lingfield winner Bella Varenna (by Lawman), he is the second foal out of Sarawati (by Haafhd) and he is followed by sons of Footstepsinthesand (by Giant's Causeway) and Rip Van Winkle (by Galileo). The former is a €200,000 graduate of last month's Goffs Orby Sale and, like Ventura Storm, he was bought by Peter and Ross Doyle.
Sarawati was trained by John Oxx but did not show much in four starts from eight to 10 and a half furlongs, and her best effort was a fourth-place finish over nine furlongs at Ballinrobe. Several of siblings are winners, however, and one of those is the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks and Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes runner-up Sahool (by Unfuwain), a filly whose best win came in the Listed Chalice Stakes.
That filly's three-parts sister Mathool (by Alhaarth), who was unplaced in five starts, is the dam of this year's Listed Vincent O'Brien Ruby Stakes winner Erysimum (by Arcano), but two of their one-time successful siblings have achieved more notable results at stud.
Nasanice (by Nashwan) is the dam of Maraahel (by Alzao), the dual Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes hero who was placed in each of the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes (twice), Group 1 Champion Stakes, Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Group 1 Coronation Cup and Grade 1 Hong Kong Cup. She is also responsible for Huja (by Alzao), who is the pattern-placed dam of the Group 3-placed stakes winner Tazahum (by Redoute's Choice).
The other sibling is Alikhlas (by Lahib), two of that mare's daughters have produced a pattern-placed juvenile, but it is her own son Gutaifan (by Dark Angel) that made the headlines.
He was one of the leading two-year-olds of 2015, when he won the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin and Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes and was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Morny, but rather than stay in training and have a go at the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, a race for which he looked a leading contender, he joined his sire at Yeomanstown Stud and covered 203 mares this year.
His speed may sound a bit out of place among the good middle-distance stamina of his aforementioned relations, but this is a family that has a well-established tradition of producing speed horses, in addition to its more stamina-oriented stars.
The third dam of Ventura Storm, and of Gutaifan, is an unraced mare called Manal (by Luthier) and, in addition to being a full-sister to the Group 1-placed Group 3 Grand Prix d'Evry scorer Tip Moss and his classic-placed Group 2 Prix Noailles-winning full-brother Twig Moss, she is a half-sister to the runaway Group 3 John Porter Stakes winner Brush Aside (by Alleged).
One might have expected that her Blushing Groom (by Red God) daughter Muhbubh would, therefore, be a miler or middle-distance filly, but not only did she win the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes and take second place in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes, but she is the dam of the US Grade 2 sprint winner Kayrawan (by Mr Prospector), grandam of Group 2 Rockfel Stakes heroine Sayedah (by Darshaan) and of Group 2 Diadem Stakes scorer Haatef (by Danzig), and third dam of the Group 1-placed, Group 2 Duke of York Stakes star Magical Memory (by Zebedee).
Muhbubh's half-sister Mathkurh (by Riverman) also produced a speed-oriented branch of the family as her son Istintaj (by Nureyev) was a dual six-furlong Grade 3 scorer in Florida and her star daughter Asfurah (by Dayjur), the joint champion juvenile filly in Ireland in 1997, won the Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes and was runner-up in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes.
As a classic-placed Group 1 winner it is likely that Ventura Storm will eventually find a place at stud, but although he is related to Gutaifan, who was all about speed and is likely to sire sprinters and milers, his path will be a different one.
Had he inherited the speed elements of his parents' genetics then he would not have come so close to winning the St Leger last month. With the right mares he could, of course, sire some milers or 10-furlong horses, but if he remains in Europe then it seems more likely that his offspring will be middle-distance horses and stayers on the flat, and that he may attract the attention of National Hunt breeders.
Rathbarry Stud stallion Acclamation (by Royal Applause) has had a tremendous season, a top-10 position in the combined Ireland and Great Britain sires' championship title race and a string of stakes winners headed by the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp heroine Marsha.
It has also been a notable year for his sons with Dark Angel and Equiano represented by Group 1-winning progeny on the track and Harbour Watch being among the current cohort of freshmen with at least one pattern winner to their name from among their first juveniles.
His list of stallion sons will be bolstered in 2017 when the Group 1-placed dual juvenile Group 2 scorer Mehmas covers his first book at Tally-Ho Stud, and those for whom a stallion career may also await include Aclaim.
The Martyn Meade-trained three-year-old won the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup over seven furlongs at Newbury last month and he added the Group 2 Challenge Stakes over the same trip at Newmarket 10 days ago.
He won his only start at two, a six-furlong maiden on the polytrack at Kempton in December, made a successful reappearance in a Newmarket handicap over the same trip on soft ground in April, and lost his unbeaten record when finishing third to Only Mine in the Group 3 Lackan Stakes at Naas in late May, also over six.
He could be candidate for the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and the Group 1 Prix de la Foret next year, if he stays in training and continues to progress, but it also possible that he could become a notable player in the milers' division too. He won a mile handicap on fast ground at Ascot in early September, his only attempt at the distance.
Acclamation was a leading sprinter, among the best of his generation not to win at the highest level, and it is true that most of his leading progeny are sprinters and/or effective at seven furlongs. Some do stay a mile, we already know that this young son of his does, and with the distaff family that the colt represents there is no surprise in that.
Aclaim is owned and bred by Dermot Farrington and Canning Downs and he is the first foal out of Aris (by Danroad). The €130,000 Goffs Orby Sale graduate has a two-year-old half-brother named Bere Island (by Dark Angel), his yearling Dawn Approach (by New Approach) half-brother made €125,000 in Goffs as a foal, and the mare had a first-crop Slade Power (by Dutch Art) filly at the end of March.
Her sire got some good results in his native Australia but did not make any impact with his handful of European-born crops. Add to this the fact that the grandam of Aclaim is an unraced daughter of Kahyasi (by Ile de Bourbon), and this might not particularly promising. Aclaim, however, actually represents what has become one of the premier classic families in Europe.
Not only that, but his grandam is a half-sister to a stallion of major significance and the family's latest Group 1 star is likely to be among the most popular new recruits whenever his time comes to go to stud.
Aris was listed-placed over a mile as a two-year-old, her sole win was a half-length defeat of Gordon Lord Byron over seven furlongs in very soft ground at Listowel on her final start. She is out of Cumbres, and that makes her a slightly closer than half-sister to the classic heroine Again (by Danehill Dancer) and to Arkadina (by Danehill), the pattern-placed dam of listed scorer Iltemas (by Galileo).
Again was the joint-champion juvenile filly in Ireland in 2008, when she won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 2 Debutante Stakes, and she added the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas the following spring. She was third in the Group 1 Matron Stakes three and a half months later, and she is the dam of the juvenile listed scorer Indian Maharaja (by Galileo).
Cumbres is out of the talented stayer Floripedes (by Top Ville) and hers is a name that will be instantly recognised by many because she is the dam of Montjeu (by Sadler's Wells). He won the Irish Derby, Prix du Jockey Club, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Tattersalls Gold Cup, and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud – all Group 1 – and was Europe's three-year-old champion and leading older male before going on to become one of the world's leading sires of Derby-type horses.
Montjeu's premature death was a huge loss to the bloodstock industry, but his sons and daughters are carrying on his name. The Derby heroes Authorized and Motivator are among the former, and those of note from his daughters include the multiple Group 1-winning standouts Charm Spirit (by Invincible Spirit) and Legatissimo (by Danehill Dancer).
Floripedes is also responsible for the Grade 1-placed stakes winner Le Paillard (by Sanglamore), for the pattern-placed Le Fou (by Polish Precedent), and for Cuixmala (by Highest Honor), an unraced filly whose descendants have made quite an impact on the track.
Her multiple stakes-winning son Mont Rocher (by Caerleon) was placed in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville and Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly, her unraced daughter Clizia (by Machiavellian) is the dam of the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and Group 1 King's Stand Stakes star Goldream (by Oasis Dream), and that gelding's unraced half-sister Galicuix (by Galileo) is the dam of Galileo Gold.
A second-crop son of the top-class miler Paco Boy (by Desert Style), the chestnut won the Group 2 Vintage Stakes and was third in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere as a juvenile, and this year he has won both the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot.
He was runner-up to Awtaad in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas and to his classic-winning Ascot victim The Gurkha in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, he finished fifth behind Minding in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, and it was good news to hear that he is to stay in training as a four-year-old.
With family connections like these, there is every reason to hope that Aclaim could make the necessary progress to be able to win at the highest level, and with how the Acclamation stallions have been doing at stud, this relation to Montjeu looks sure to attract plenty of attention from breeders whenever his racing days come to an end.