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).
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.
Not many horses who begin their career with an unplaced run on the all-weather and at double-digit odds go on to become a pattern winner at any stage, let alone within less than three months' time, but Making Light did just that and she is an interesting prospect for the coming turf season.
Moyglare Stud's homebred does not hold any classic engagements and she needs to improve considerably on her 101-rating to be up to competing well at the highest level, but with her pedigree and connections there is reason to hope that she can go on to further blacktype success. She also has the potential to become another notable broodmare for both her owners and her family.
The Dermot Weld-trained bay finished only fifth of 12 in a seven-furlong Dundalk maiden in mid-August. She was a 14/1 longshot that day but a 3/1 favourite at Limerick when she reappeared less than two months later, this time storming home by eight lengths on soft ground.
Such was the impression she created that afternoon that she was sent off a joint-favourite for the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown 20 days later and, on ground described as yielding, she stayed on to beat Spirit Of Valor by a length, with Taj Mahal a neck farther back in third.
Making Light is a daughter of the regally-related mile Group 1 star Tamayuz (by Nayef), the Derrinstown Stud stallion whose double-digit tally of stakes winners includes Group 1 sprint ace G Force and Group 2 scorers Blond Me and Sir Prancealot, the latter a prolific freshman sire in 2016.
She is the third foal out of the 12-furlong winner Instant Sparkle (by Danehill), a mare who has two siblings of particular note: full-sister Irresistible Jewel and half-sister Diamond Trim (by Highest Honor).
The latter won the Listed Finale Stakes at the Curragh and the best of her offspring is the prolific Profound Beauty (by Danehill), whose nine wins include the Group 3 Curragh Cup, Listed Saval Beg Stakes, two editions of the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes and three of the Listed Challenge Stakes.
Profound Beauty's daughter Rose De Pierre (by Dubawi) won the Listed Platinum Stakes over a mile last year, and her siblings include Majestic Silver (by Linamix), the unraced dam of last year's mile-placed, seven-furlong listed scorer Joailliere (by Dubawi) and of the high-class Carla Bianca (by Dansili).
That grey has wins in the Group 3 Meld Stakes, Group 3 Dance Design Stakes, Listed Hurry Harriet Stakes and Listed Naas Oaks Trial on her record, she is to visit Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium) in 2017, and is an exciting young broodmare.
Diamond Trim's contribution to the family is admirable and yet that of Irresistible Jewel is more impressive. She won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 3 Blandford Stakes, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera, and has three Group 1 offspring, so far.
Royal Diamond (by King's Best) won the Group 1 Irish St Leger, Group 3 British Champions Long Distance Cup and Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial, among other performances of note.
Mad About You (by Indian Ridge) won the Group 3 Gladness Stakes and Listed Garnet Stakes, she was runner-up to Halfway To Heaven in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and to Promising Lead in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes, and her string of other blacktype placings include third in both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac as a juvenile.
Mad About You's first foal, a filly named Malinka (by Pivotal), won at over middle-distances at Limerick and Roscommon last year, and her second, a four-year-old named Heartful (by Shamardal), won a mile maiden at Dundalk last month.
Princess Highway (by Street Cry) is the third of Irresistible Jewel's stars and she was a joint-champion three-year-old filly in Ireland and England in 2012 when she won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes and finished third to Great Heavens in the Group 1 Irish Oaks.
Aptostar (by Fappiano), the third dam of Making Light, won the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes in 1988, was second in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and third in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes that same year, and was a multiple Grade 1-placed Grade 3 winner at the age of four, before going to Ireland to join the Moyglare Stud broodmare band.
Whether Making Light is going to be a mile to 10-furlong filly or one who may stay farther will depend on the amount of speed or stamina she has got from Tamayuz.
There is no doubt, however, that she is bred to achieve anything, both on the track and, eventually, at stud, and this, combined with her promising juvenile season, makes her an interesting prospect for 2017, and possibly also for 2018.