Multiple Group 1 star Whipper (by Miesque's Son) looked full of promise when he retired to stud, and not just because of his considerable talent as a racehorse.
He is by a full-brother to leading sire Kingmambo (by Mr Prospector), he could be described as being a three-parts brother to the top-class filly Divine Proportions (by Kingmambo), and his grandam was a full-sister to dual Derby hero and influential stallion Shirley Heights (by Mill Reef).
Sadly, he has not lived up to that potential, getting some stakes and pattern winners but no standout performers. He does have a talented three-year-old this season and it will be interesting to see how that colt fares if he remains in training in 2018.
Sarl Darpat France's homebred Recoletos stays farther than his sire did, but as he comes from the direct family of a Timeform 135-rated dual Derby hero, that's not really a surprise.
He first came to prominence when beating Waldgeist in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud in early May. That colt reversed the placings when they met again in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) a month later but the pair had to settle for second and third to Brametot, who won by a short-head and a length.
Recoletos disappointed when well-beaten behind Eminent in the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano Haras du Logis Saint-Germain over 10 furlongs at Deauville in mid-August but bounced back to pip Plumatic by a nose in the Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange over the same trip at Maisons-Laffitte a month later.
Both of his pattern wins came on very soft ground, and it was described as good-to-soft when he earned his classic placing, but he has won on good ground, albeit in a conditions race. It was also soft at Ascot today when he put up what has arguably been his best performance to date, finishing fourth in the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes.
Cracksman stormed home seven lengths clear of Poet's Word, with Highland Reel a neck back in third and just one length more back to Recoletos.
Recoletos is trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, he is the best of several winners for his dam, and she, Highphar (by Highest Honor), is an unraced daughter of the Grade 2 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap and Group 3 Prix de Sandringham scorer Pharatta (by Fairy King).
That talented filly, whose top wins came over nine and eight furlongs respectively, is out of the unraced Sharata (by Darshaan), which makes her a half-sister to Group 2 Premio Ribot and Group 3 September Stakes scorer Crimson Tide (by Sadler's Wells), a successful sire in Brazil.
The next dam is the three-time winner Shademah (by Thatch) and so Sharata, the third dam of Recoletos, is a half-sister to the Aga Khan's homebred dual Derby hero but disappointing stallion Shahrastani (by Nijinsky).
He won the Group 3 Guardian Classic Trial and Group 2 Dante Stakes before that rather fortunate defeat of Dancing Brave at Epsom, and then ran away with the Group 1 Irish Derby before finishing fourth behind his old rival in both the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in what was a vintage year – 1986.
His dam was a half-sister to Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner Shakapour (by Kalamoun), to Grade 1 Bowling Green Handicap scorer Sharannpour (by Busted), and to Shashna (by Blakeney) – the unplaced dam of Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) heroine Shemaka (by Nishapour) – and they were out of Shamim (by Le Haar), a winning half-sister to the classic-placed Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris winner Kamaraan (by Tanerko).
Recoletos is not in the same league as his most famous relation, but he is a talented colt who has probably done enough to attract some interest as a prospective stallion, and who could do well on the track as a four-year-old.
There was a somewhat unusual aspect to this year's Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup and not just that it was carrying the highest status for the first time.
The two-mile feature was won by the three-year-old Stradivarius, who beat six-year-old Group 1 Gold Cup hero Big Orange by one and three-quarter lengths, with the third, another three and a half lengths behind, being Desert Skyline, another member of the classic generation.
One does not expect to see three-year-olds doing so well in midsummer all-aged stayers' pattern events and this performance augured well for their future prospects.
The obvious immediate potential target for the winner was the Group 1 William Hill St Leger Stakes at Doncaster in September, and he ran another fine race there, finishing third to Capri and Crystal Ocean, beaten just half a length and a short-head.
Desert Skyline also went to Doncaster but his target was necessarily different as, being a gelding, he is barred from the classics. So he stepped up another quarter-mile and landed the Group 2 Doncaster Cup Stakes, further advertising his potential to take high rank in the stayers' division in 2018.
Desert Skyline, who was bred by Tinnakill Bloodstock & Cannings, is a €40,000 graduate of the Goffs Orby Sale, he is trained by David Elsworth, and he is a son of the Group 1-winning miler and Derrinstown Stud stallion Tamayuz (by Nayef).
That stallion has been having a notably successful year in 2017 and his string of current blacktype performers include Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) heroine Precieuse, Group 2 Middleton Stakes winner and Group 1 Nassau Stakes runner-up Blond Me, Group 3 Strensall Stakes scorer Mustashry, and listed race winner and Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest third Tupi.
Desert Skyline is a half-brother to three blacktype performers, including Group 3 Prix de Lutece runner-up Dounyapour (by Lope De Vega), and he is out of the Group 2 Prix de Pomone winner Diamond Tango (by Acatenango).
She, in turn, is a half-sister to Saint-Cloud listed scorer Crystal Diamond (by Teofilo) and is the best of several winners out of Group 3 Prix Penelope victress Diamond Dance (by Dancehall). A half-sister to Group 1-placed Group 2 winner Diamond Mix (by Linamix) and to Group 3 Prix de Royaumont scorer Diasilixa (by Linamix), Diamond Dance is also a half-sister to the ancestor of a current classic star.
That sibling is Diamonaka (by Akarad) who, although not a stakes winner, was placed in the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret at Longchamp and Group 3 Prix de Royaumont at Saint-Cloud, and her three pattern-winning offspring include Diamilina (by Linamix), the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret winner and Group 1 Prix Vermeille runner-up whose grandson, Capri (by Galileo), won the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby before his aforementioned St Leger success.
Diamonaka's other pair are the ill-fated runaway Group 3 Prix Cleopatre winner Diamonixa (by Linamix) and the talented miler Diamond Green (by Green Desert), who won the Group 3 Prix La Rochette and was runner-up in each of the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, and Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes.
The talented trio also have a notable sister in Dali's Grey (by Linamix), a one-time winner whose star son is Group 3 winner and Group 1 Melbourne Cup runner-up Bauer (by Halling) and whose descendants include current talented three-year-old Khalidi (by High Chaparral) – the dual stakes winner who chased home the ill-fated Permian in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot in June.
The third dam of Desert Skyline is, therefore, Phoenix Park listed race winner Diamond Seal (by Persian Bold), a granddaughter of 1967 Irish Oaks heroine Pampalina (by Bairam), and so out of a half-sister to 1977's Irish 2000 Guineas winner Pampapaul (by Yellow God).