There was a period in the 1980s when yearling sale figures were through the roof and in 1985 a colt set a new world record price of $13.1 million in Keeneland, eclipsing the previous high of $10.2 million for the ultimately unraced and sterile Snaafi Dancer.
This new market leader was a son of Triple Crown hero and influential sire Nijinsky (by Northern Dancer) and out of the Fair Ground Oaks scorer My Charmer (by Poker), which made him both a three-parts brother to Group 1 2000 Guineas winner Lomond (by Northern Dancer) and a half-brother to the US Triple Crown star and leading sire Seattle Slew (by Bold Reasoning).
The colt was bred by Warner Jones Jr, William S Farish and William Kilroy, he was owned by a partnership that included Stavros Niarchos and Robert Sangster, and he went into training with the great Vincent O'Brien. He did show plenty of talent, but it was not the sort of superstar form for which one would hope of such an expensive purchase.
Unraced at two, Seattle Dancer was only third over a mile at Phoenix Park on his racecourse debut, won the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown and the Group 2 Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh, and then bypassed Epsom in favour of Chantilly. He was only sixth in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby), then runner-up in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp, and he was not seen on the track again. His entire racing career fitted into 10 weeks.
Timeform rated him 119, some way below the 128 they awarded to Lomond four years before, and like that sibling he joined the Coolmore stallion team. Lomond began his career in Ireland and got several Group 1 winners. Seattle Dancer began his at Ashford Stud in Kentucky and he got the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy scorer Seattle Rhyme in his first juveniles.
Other notables for him included US Grade 1 scorers Caffe Latte and Pike Place Dancer and talented European runners such as Via Borghese, Que Belle and Rose Of Zollern, but this too was well short of what would be expected of a $13.1 million purchase. Seattle Dancer was a member of the team at Gestut Auenquelle in Germany at the time of his death in the summer of 2007.
Seattle Slew, of course, was not only a major sire of racehorses and of broodmares but a hugely successful sire of sires, and his champion son A.P. Indy has forged one of the most powerful and dominant sire lines in the USA.
Seattle Dancer's siblings also included a full-sister named Ghashtah. She was unraced and came up with just four winners from a dozen foals, but her granddaughter Nasheej (by Swain) showed plenty of talent in England. As a juvenile she won the Group 2 May Hill Stakes and the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes, she was third in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile and earned a Timeform rating of 103. At three she moved up to a figure of 112, winning the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes and being third in both the Group 1 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Coronation Stakes.
Ghashtah is also the grandam of Adaala (by Sahm) and that pattern-placed Listed Kilboy Estate Stakes winner is the grandam Awtaad, the colt who impressed with victory in the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday.
The Kevin Prendergast-trained son of Kildangan Stud's excellent sire Cape Cross (by Green Desert) is owned and bred by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and he is out of Asheerah, one of four stakes-placed daughters of Adaala. A first Group 1 winner for fellow Kildangan team member Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) as a broodmare sire, Awtaad is a fourth Group 1 European classic winner for Cape Cross, following Ouija Board (Oaks, Irish Oaks), Sea The Stars (2000 Guineas, Derby) and Golden Horn (Derby).
Sea The Stars got two Group 1 classic winners in his first crop and has several potential Group 1 scorers among his current batch of three-year-olds, which augurs well for the prospects of other Cape Cross stallions. Yes, that Gilltown Stud ace is a half-brother to prolific champion sire Galileo and related to other Group 1 sires such as King's Best, Tertullian and Black Sam Bellamy, but Awtaad comes from the family of Seattle Slew and of Group 1 sires Seattle Dancer and Lomond.
Awtaad, who has been ridden by Chris Hayes on all five of his starts, was third in a seven-furlong Curragh maiden on his juvenile debut in October and won over the same trip at Leopardstown a fortnight later. He won the Madrid Handicap by five lengths at the Curragh on his seasonal reappearance, beat Blue De Vega by two lengths in the Listed Tetrarch Stakes in early May, and on his first time at a mile he beat Group 1 2000 Guineas hero Galileo Gold by two and a half lengths to record a popular classic success.
His entries include the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes and Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes, both over a mile, the 10-furlong Group 1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, and also the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
His Timeform figure of 124p puts him joint-top of the three-year-old division. His pedigree certainly gives him every chance of being as effective over 10 furlongs, and although he is by the sire of three 12-furlong classic stars he is not absolutely guaranteed to stay the Derby distance.
His dam was stakes-placed over 10 furlongs but beaten when she tried farther, and his grandam stayed nine but was unplaced when she went beyond that trip. Adaala's sire Sahm (by Mr Prospector) was a son of the Group 1 Irish Derby heroine Salsabil (by Sadler's Wells), but he showed more of his sire's speed than his dam's stamina.
The question of whether or not Awtaad can stay 12 furlongs will not be answered until he actually tries it, but whatever distances prove to be his best, this exciting colt promises to be one of the brightest stars of 2016. And with his pedigree connections there is also every reason to hope that a notable stallion career awaits him whenever his racing days come to an end.