Timeform 147-rated superstar Frankel (by Galileo) has been bred to some of the cream of the world's elite broodmares and, with such support, anything less than a plethora of stakes and pattern winners from the resulting offspring would be disappointing.
As of today, his tally stands at a dozen pattern winners plus one Group 2-placed listed scorer and a string of blacktype-placed representatives from his first crop, and a Group 2 winner from his second.
He is awaiting his first European Group 1 winner – to add to his champion and classic heroine Soul Stirring, in Japan – but with the manner in which Cracksman won the Group 2 Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes at York this afternoon, there is every reason to hope that this John Gosden-trained three-year-old could be one to make the breakthrough.
His six-length defeat of Venice Beach was impressive, there was a further six lengths back to Mirage Dancer – who is also by Frankel – and the talented Douglas Macarthur was another half-length behind in fourth.
This year's Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe or Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes, and perhaps next year's Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes were mentioned, by trainer John Gosden, as potential future targets for the colt, and it looks like Anthony Oppenheimer's Hascombe and Valiant Studs have bred another top-class racehorse.
He won a mile maiden at Newmarket in mid-October, his only start at two, and the benefit of hindsight makes his short-head victory in the Investec Derby Trial, over 10 furlongs at Epsom in late April, look so much better than it did on the day as the colt he pipped was the tragically ill-fated subsequent Group 1-placed dual Group 2 ace Permian.
The latter's talent had started to become apparent before Cracksman returned to the venue on the first Saturday in June and so, despite having just those two races under his belt, the grandson of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) was sent off favourite for the Group 1 Investec Derby.
His inexperience showed but he still ran an excellent race, finishing third to Wings Of Eagles and Cliffs Of Moher – beaten by a length and a neck – and with the Frankel colt Eminent another three-parts of a length back in fourth.
A month later, he went to the Curragh for the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby where, having come wide and late, he looked like an unlucky loser, crossing the line a short-head in front of Wings Of Eagles but failing by a neck to catch Capri. The Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeist was a length and a half back in fourth, with another two and a quarter back to fifth-placed Douglas Macarthur.
Cracksman is a half-brother to the Group 3 Solario Stakes winner Fantastic Moon (by Dalakhani) and he is the fourth foal out of Rhadegunda (by Pivotal), a triple winner whose tally includes the Listed Prix Solitude over nine furlongs on heavy ground at Fontainebleau, the final start in a nine-race career for the John Gosden-trained bay.
Her half-brother Halla San (by Halling) earned his blacktype with third-place finishes in 14-furlong listed contests at Nottingham and York, he was beaten by just a head when runner-up in the two-mile Northumberland Plate, and went on to some success over hurdles.
His stamina stands out in contrast to the aptitude of his sister, to his dam's Listed Sirenia Stakes-winning half-brother Art Of War (by Machiavellian), and to the classic speed of his grandam, On The House (by Be My Guest), the Group 1 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Sussex Stakes heroine of 1982.
That Timeform 125-rated star is also the grandam of Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes winner Leo (by Pivotal) and of dual Italian listed scorer Balkenhol (by Polar Falcon), and she is the third dam of Irish Field (by Dubawi), who won the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin and was runner-up in the Group 3 Prix du Bois.
In terms of optimal distance, Cracksman could have gone either way – miler or middle-distance horse. These first three generations are mostly about talent at up to nine furlongs, with Halla San an exception. That gelding, however, is by a stallion often noted for getting horses who excel from 12 furlongs to two miles, and so one could argue that this was the source of his stamina.
Frankel was bred to stay a mile and a half – something his triple Group 1-winning full-brother Noble Mission did – and so, with the right mares, it was always going to happen that some of his offspring would also be suited to that trip, and maybe a bit farther.
Should Cracksman succeed at the highest level over middle-distances, then he will not be the first member of his extended family to achieve the feat. That's because his fourth dam is Lora (by Lorenzaccio), the unraced grandam of Nuryana (by Nureyev) and Littlewick (by Green Desert).
The latter is the dam of the Chilean-bred Grade 1 Premio St Leger heroine Fontanella Borghese (by Roy), but in addition to being the stakes-winning dam of Group 1 Coronation Stakes winner Rebecca Sharp (by Machiavellian), Nuryana is a half-sister to 11 and a half-furlong Group 3 scorer and Derby sixth Mystic Knight (by Caerleon) and grandam of Golden Horn (by Cape Cross).
That Oppenheimer-bred, Timeform 134-rated champion won the Group 1 Derby, Group 1 Coral-Eclipse, Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 2015, he stands at Dalham Hall Stud, and his first foals arrived this year.
His relationship to Crackman is remote, as are that of Nuryana, Fontanella Borghese, New Zealand-bred dual Group 1 mile star Obsession (by Bachelor Duke; grandam a half-sister to Nuryana), and Australian Group 1 scorers Kidnapped (by Viscount) and Hauraki (by Reset; their grandam is another half-sister to Nuryana).
But if Cracksman lives up to the potential that he showed at York today then he could take high rank among the very best horses that his immediate and broad family have produced, before going on to what could be a notably successful career at stud.
As one would expect when the first crop of a racing superstar reach the track, there has been a considerable amount of coverage and attention given to the early sons and daughters of Frankel (by Galileo). He has not disappointed.
When the Martyn Meade-trained Eminent won the Group 3 bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket recently, he became the seventh individual pattern winner for his young sire, joining an early role of honour that is headed by the classic-placed Japanese champion Soul Stirring.
Frankel's fee has been £125,000 since he began his breeding career at Banstead Manor Stud, so it is no surprise that so many of his talented offspring represent distaff families with a strong tradition of producing Group 1 horses, and Eminent is related to several classic stars and and Group 1 aces.
His only start at two was in a mile maiden on fast ground at Newmarket in late September and he went into a lot of notebooks as one to follow when taking that contest by two and three-quarter lengths from Vantage Point.
The form of that has not amounted to much, with only the second, fourth, seventh and tenth, successful since all the all-weather tracks, with the seventh being the pattern-placed Taj Mahal. That full-brother to two classic stars won just once from eight starts at two but has been highly tried and, on his seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown recently, he chased home Orderofthegarter in a mile listed contest.
The Craven Stakes was just Eminent's second race and last year's Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Rivet is the colt who chased him home, beaten by one and three-quarter lengths. Benbatl was a neck back in third and the time for the race was good.
Eminent is now a leading contender for next week's Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas. His entries also include the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes at York and the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom, and his pedigree gives him every chance of being effective at anywhere from a mile to 12 furlongs.
He was bred by Premier Bloodstock, he made 150,000gns from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, he is a half-brother to the Richard Fahey-trained dual six-furlong scorer As Good As Gold (by Oasis Dream), and he is out of the Group 1 Fillies' Mile third You'll Be Mine (by Kingmambo).
The mare is a half-sister to three blacktype earners, of whom Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Diamondsandrubies (by Fastnet Rock) is easily most notable, and she is out of Quarter Moon (by Sadler's Wells), the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner who was runner-up in each of the Group 1 Oaks, Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas.
Quarter Moon's full-sister Yesterday got her top-level win in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and the races in which that classic star was placed featured the Group 1 Oaks, Group 1 Prix de l'Opera, Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Stakes.
Four of their other siblings are blacktype horses, although just placed rather than being stakes winners. That said, Betterbetterbetter (by Galileo) was runner-up in the Group 3 Noblesse Stakes, Hold Me Love Me (by Sadler's Wells) was third in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes before becoming the dam of the Group 2-placed stakes winner Renew (by Dansili), and the other pair include All My Loving.
That full-sister to Quarter Moon and Yesterday was runner-up in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 2 Park Hill Stakes, she was third in both the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom and Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh, and her offspring feature Thomas Chippendale (by Dansili), the tragically ill-fated Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes winner.
Having just these stars among his close relations would be more than enough to advertise Eminent's Group 1 potential, but they only tell part of the story of this remarkable family. This branch, all descendants of the placed mare Jude (by Darshaan), is one strongly associated with the Coolmore team, but the next dam is Alruccaba (by Crystal Palace), ancestor of so many stars for the Lanwades Stud team.
Jude's eight winning siblings include her Group 1-placed, stakes-winning full-sisters Arrikala and Alouette, the Group 3 Doncaster Cup scorer Alleluia (by Caerleon), and Last Second (by Alzao) who won both the Group 2 Nassau Stakes and Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes.
The latter is the dam of Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) scorer and successful sire Aussie Rules (by Danehill), Alleluia is the dam of the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak star Allegretto (by Galileo), and Alouette is the mare who gave us the multiple Group 1 stars Albanova (by Alzao) and Alborada (by Alzao).
Albanova won the Group 1 Preis von Europa, Group 1 Rheinland Pokal, and Group 1 Deutschlandpreis – all over 12 furlongs – and she is the dam of triple stakes winner All At Sea (by Sea The Stars) who is best at around 10 furlongs, of 11-furlong Group 3 scorer Algometer (by Archipenko), and of Alwilda (by Hernando) who got her blacktype success over two miles, three furlongs in Germany.
Dual Group 1 Champion Stakes heroine Alborada chased home Swain in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes and her quartet of blacktype progeny include the eight and a half-furlong listed scorer Nordico Hero (by Archipenko), and the lightly-raced Alvarita (by Selkirk).
That 10 and a half-furlong listed race winner has done her part for the family at stud by coming up with the 10-furlong Leopardstown Group 3 scorer Alla Speranza (by Sir Percy) and also Altesse (by Hernando), a 12-furlong listed winner at the same venue and whose seven other pieces of blacktype include her head second in the Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes at Cork.
The great champion Frankel (by Galileo) made an exciting start to his stallion career in 2016 by coming up with six pattern-winning juveniles in his first crop, headed by the undefeated Group 1 star and Japanese filly champion Soul Stirring.
The sextet also includes Frankuus, and although he may not have as much potential for improvement as do some others among their sire's initial runners, this 106-rated grey could be a high-class middle-distance colt in 2017 and 2018.
Like so many of his sire's earliest runners, this Mark Johnston-trained colt made a winning debut, in his case over seven furlongs at Haydock in June. He finished fifth to Churchill in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, then third and fourth in listed contests at Ascot and Newbury before stepping up to a mile and beyond.
That move saw him win the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock in early September and the Group 3 Prix de Conde over nine furlongs at Chantilly a month later, his rivals in the latter including the subsequent Group 1 star Waldgeist, who finished third.
The degree of improvement that rival found in the following weeks was evident in the way he won the 10-furlong Criterium de Saint-Cloud next time, a race in which Frankuus disappointed in eighth place.
Frankuus was bred by Ballylinch Stud, he is a half-brother to the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon winner and Group 1 Criterium International third US Law (by Lawman), and he is out of Dookus (by Linamix), a half-sister to the speedy juvenile stakes winner Pharmacist (by Machiavellian).
That smart filly became a notable success at stud, she has four blacktype-winning offpsring to her name, and one of those is the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf and Grade 1 Man O'War Stakes hero Red Rocks (by Galileo).
He was also a talented performer in Europe where he was placed in both the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp and Group 1 St Leger at York, he began his stallion career at Centro Equino Arcadia in Italy, spent two seasons at Calumet Farm in Kentucky, and is now back at his prior home.
Pharmacist's quartet also includes the Group 2-placed, stakes-winning middle-distance horses Medicinal (by Linamix) and Galvaun (by Galileo), while her stakes-placed half-sister Phariseek (by Rainbow Quest) has chipped in with the Punchestown Grade 1 Champion 4YO Hurdle scorer Hisaabaat (by Dubawi).
She is also a half-sister to the unraced dam of Green Rock (by Green Tune), a juvenile listed race winner who was third in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe, and all of this stamina at eight to 14 furlongs is striking given that their dam is the high-class sprinter Pharaoh's Delight (by Fairy King).
She won the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and was runner-up to Chimes Of Freedom in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, when it was run over six furlongs, and she was later third to the brilliant Dayjur in each of the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, Group 1 Sprint Cup and Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.
Her half-brother Kateb (by Pennine Walk), on the other hand, was a star middle-distance runner in Scandinavia, a dual winner of both the Listed Dansk Eclipse Stakes and Listed Oslo Cup.
Frankuus clearly has plenty of ability, he holds entries in both the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, and it would be no surprise to see him become a smart middle-distance performer in 2017 and 2018.
Frankel was one of the greatest racehorses of all times and when his daughter Soul Stirring won the Group 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies over a mile in Japan in December, the Timeform 147-rated superstar and Banstead Manor Stud stallion became yet another son of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) to sire a top-level winner on the flat.
A total of nine Galileo sons are on that list, so far, and there is a high degree of probability that, in 2017, Frankel will join New Approach and Teofilo on the more select list of Galileo stallions who have been represented by at least one northern hemisphere Group 1 classic star.
He had six pattern-winning juveniles in his first crop - the others were Fair Eva, Frankuus, Mi Suerte, Queen Kindly, and Toulifaut - a string of promising maiden winners and, no doubt, plenty more high-class prospects still to emerge from that initial batch.
Some have looked like being sprinters, others like milers and/or middle-distance horses, and the latter include the aforementioned Soul Stirring. She extended her unbeaten record to four with an odds-on success in the Group 3 Tulip Sho over a mile at Hanshin today and so she remains the top candidate for the Group 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) over the same course and distance next month.
Her sire was never tried beyond 10 and a half furlongs, her dam's string of top wins includes the Prix Vermeille over 12 at Longchamp, and this also makes the Kazuo Fujisawa-trained star a prime prospect for the Group 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) over a mile and a half at Tokyo in May.
Soul Stirring is a daughter of the French champion Stacelita (by Monsun) who, in addition to the Vermeille, won the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet, Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes, and Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes.
Her pattern-placed, juvenile stakes-winning dam Soignee (by Dashing Blade) is one of four blacktype scorers out of Suivez, who was a dual stakes-placed German winner from the tiny sole crop of Fioravanti (by Northern Dancer), a $2.3 million yearling and juvenile Phoenix Park listed scorer that Timeform rated 115p at two.
Soignee's half-brother Simoun (by Monsun) won the Group 2 Hansa-Preis and Group 2 Grosser Mercedes-Benz Preis, and he could be described as being a three-parts brother to Stacelita. Their half-brother Shining (by Sutumu) won 10 times, including a listed contest in Germany, and the fourth of the high-class siblings is Soudaine (by Monsun), a German listed scorer who has become a notable broodmare.
Her dual stakes-winning son Sussudio (by Nayef) has won seven times in France and Savoir Vivre (by Adlerflug) was among the leading classic-age colts of 2016 when he won the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville and took the runners-up spot to Isfahan in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby at Hamburg in July, beaten by just a head in heavy ground.
Several of Suivez's daughters have also been blacktype producers at stud, notably the unraced Suisun (by Monsun). She is the dam of Secessio (by Konigstiger), who has won listed races in Germany and Australia, and of Silvaner (by Lomitas), the dual Group 3 scorer who finished third to Earl Of Tinsdal in the Group 1 Rheinland-Pokal six years ago.
Fioravanti's single-digit foal count also included the speedy Group 3 and dual listed-winning filly Wixon, but it is Suivez's descendants who represent his legacy.
If you go farther back into the family then you will find Group/Grade 1 standouts such as Steinlen (by Habitat), Zagreb (by Theatrical), and Sagace (by Luthier) in its branches, although their connection to Japan's leading three-year-old filly is remote.
As for Soul Stirring, this dark bay filly has the potential to win two classics in 2017, and if she does fulfil that promise then it would be exciting to see Shadai Farm's homebred daughter of Frankel have a go at one or more of the best races in Europe and/or the USA.