Such is the growing obsession with speed and precocity that a horse such as Permian can be easily overlooked, and that is a shame. With the exception of a couple of hiccups along the way, the colt has steadily worked his way up through the ranks and he deserves to be recognised as being among the leading middle-distance three-year-old colts in Europe.
He is also a horse who has a stallion’s pedigree and it is to be hoped that, should be win at the highest level, then he will be afforded a well-supported position at stud. He won’t sire early sprint types, but he could, given the chance, get milers and middle-distance horses – even classic types – along with some talented autumn juveniles.
The Darley-bred bay is trained by Mark Johnston and yes, he was precocious. Just because he was not asked to race below seven furlongs does not change that reality, especially as he made a winning racecourse debut less than two months after his physical second birthday. That was on the polytrack at Kempton in June.
He was runner-up under a penalty at Ayr a month later, on soft ground, and then took a one-mile Windsor nursery by four lengths, under 9st 7lb, just eight days before scoring over the same trip at Ripon. He was now rated 91, he disappointed when only fifth in a Newcastle nursery – giving 10lbs and more to each of his rivals – before rounding out his first season by finishing a three-quarter length third in what can now be viewed as having been one of the best two-year-old races of 2016.
It did not look in any way remarkable at the time, but the Listed Zetland Stakes, over 10 furlongs on good ground at Newmarket, saw Coronet beat Cunco by a neck, with Permian third and a gap of three and three-quarter lengths back to the fourth, Wings Of Eagles.
Coronet finished third in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary next time out and won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot on Thursday, Cunco won the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown in April, Wings Of Eagles sprang a 40/1 surprise in the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom a few weeks ago, and in addition to his half-length defeat of Khalidi in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot on Friday, Permian has won both the Group 2 Dante Stakes and Listed Newmarket Stakes.
He failed by a head and short-head to give 14lbs and 15lbs to two rivals in an 11 and a half-furlong Bath handicap on his seasonal debut, was short-headed by subsequent Group 1 Investec Derby third Cracksman in the 10-furlong Derby Trial at Epsom 12 days later, and then began his sequence of blacktype wins. He disappointed in the Derby itself, finishing eight and a quarter lengths behind Wings Of Eagles, but that blip on his record is clearly not reflective of his ability.
Benbatl and Crystal Ocean are the pair that chased him home at York. The latter finished third behind him again at Ascot, and the former is the Saeed bin Suroor-trained colt who finished well to take fifth in the Derby before beating Orderofthegarter by half a length in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes over 10 furlongs at Ascot on Thursday.
Permian was rated 113 going to Ascot and so he still has improvement to make if he is going to be capable of winning at the highest level, but with the way his figures have been progressing throughout his career, it would not be any surprise to see him take such a leap forward. And it should not be forgotten – he is a 1st May foal.
Permian is a son of juvenile ace and Kildangan Stud classic sire Teofilo (by Galileo), a stallion whose dozen Group 1 stars include Havana Gold, the Tweenhills Farm & Stud horse who was the first freshman of 2017 to get a stakes winner in Europe. That was the Listed National Stakes winner Havana Grey and he may be joined before long by Headway, the colt who was a head runner-up in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Ascot on Tuesday.
Tessa Reef (by Mark Of Esteem), the dam of Permian, won listed races over eight and nine furlongs in France, her string of multiple-winning offspring includes the blacktype-placed pair Second Wave (by New Approach) and Samana Cay (by Authorized), and she was the best of four winners out of Massaraat (by Nureyev), a stakes-winning full-sister to the great Miesque.
Massaraat is the grandam of Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes winner Silkwood (by Singspiel) and of Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes scorer Silent Honor (by Sunday Silence), and she is the fourth dam of last year’s triple Oaks-placed filly Architecture (by Zoffany), but her record pales in comparison to that of her famous sister.
A Niarchos homebred, Miesque was trained by the late François Boutin and she was a champion in each of her seasons to race. She won both the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre at two, earning a Timeform rating of 124. At three she took the Group 1 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, and was Timeform-rated 131.
At four she added the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and a second edition of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, and earned a Timeform figure of 133. Her only defeats in a 16-race career were in the Group 1 Prix Morny (third), Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks – runner-up to Indian Skimmer), Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (runner-up to Milligram), and when a head second to Soviet Star – the only colt to have beaten her – on soft ground in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin as a four-year-old.
Many champion racemares disappoint at stud, but not Miesque. Her first foal was the triple Group 1-winning miler and leading international classic sire Kingmambo (by Mr Prospector), her second was dual French classic heroine East Of The Moon (by Private Account), and her third was the Group 1-placed and pattern-winning sprinter Miesque’s Son (by Mr Prospector), the sire of Group/Grade 1 stars Miesque’s Approval and Whipper.
Mingun (by A.P. Indy) won the Group 3 Meld Stakes, and Moon Is Up (by Woodman), her fourth foal, is the stakes-winning dam of South African Grade 1 winner Amanee (by Pivotal) and grandam of classic and Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Karakontie (by Bernstein), a Gainesway stallion whose first foals arrived this year.
The aforementioned East Of The Moon is the dam of Group 3 scorer Moon Driver (by Mr Prospector) and grandam of both Group 3 winner and blacktype sire Evasive (by Elusive Quality) and this year’s Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes scorer Autocratic (by Dubawi).
Monevassia, on the other hand, is a non-winning full-sister to Kingmambo who has produced juvenile champion and dual Group 1 star Rumplestiltskin (by Danehill) – dam of classic-placed Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine Tapestry (by Galileo). She is also responsible for the Group 3 Balanchine Stakes winner I Am Beautiful (by Rip Van Winkle) and she is the grandam of the dual classic-placed Group 1 Dubai Turf hero Real Steel (by Deep Impact).
This is quite a legacy, and should Karakontie have the expected success in the sales ring and on the track over the next few years then that should also strengthen the appeal of Permian as a prospective stallion. Again, getting a good Group 1 win to his name will be important if he is to earn the chance.
Miesque’s stakes-winning dam Pasadoble (by Prove Out) has two other daughters who must be mentioned in any discussion of this famous family, even though neither of them raced. One Life (by L’Emigrant) is the third dam of 2012’s Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) scorer Lucayan (by Turtle Bowl), and Yogya (by Riverman) is the dam of the excellent Six Perfections (by Celtic Swing).
She was Timeform-rated 120p at two, 124 at three, and 120 at four, her wins included the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, and Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, and the races in which she was placed included the Group 1 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan, and other editions both of the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Her son Yucatan (by Galileo) was runner-up in both the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy (to Rivet) and Group 2 Beresford Stakes (to Capri) last year, finished a one-length third to Rekindling in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes on his seasonal reappearance in April, and lost out by a head to Douglas Macarthur in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes on his only subsequent outing. He is currently available at around 16/1 for Saturday’s Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
The same price is also available about Permian’s prospects in next month’s Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, and his big race entries also include the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, both over 10 furlongs.
It's January, all of the thoroughbreds in this part of the world are officially a year older, and with the breeding season soon to begin again it is also a time when fans of the flat start to look ahead to the new turf campaign and speculate as to which of the previous year's juveniles will play a prominent role in the classics.
It is entirely possible that one or more of those who will become Group 1 classic winners in Europe in 2017 have not yet done anything more than run in or win a maiden. Maybe they have not even step foot on a racecourse. Some, if not most, will already have names already well known to us because of their excellent juvenile form.
Every year there are some major winners and even classic stars who have somewhat humble pedigrees, but should H H the Aga Khan's homebred Eziyra hit the top then she would be the opposite of that, an example of equine royalty achieving what she was bred to do. She was also a highly talented performer at two.
The daughter of Kildangan Stud's leading international sire Teofilo (by Galileo) has five Group 1 stars in her immediate family and four of them are siblings of her stakes-placed dam Eytarna (by Dubai Destination).
She holds entries in both the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks, she is available at around 20/1 for the Group 1 Investec Oaks at Epsom, and she was among the leading juvenile fillies in Ireland last season.
The Dermot Weld-trained chestnut was runner-up on her debut over seven and a half furlongs at Tipperary in early July and then beat the subsequently dual Group 1-placed Hydrangea by two lengths in a seven-furlong maiden at Galway before losing out by a neck to her debut conqueror Sea Of Grace in the Group 3 Flame Of Tara Stakes over a mile at the Curragh.
A month later, and wearing a hood for the first time, she justified favouritism with a two-length score in the Group 3 C.L. & M.F. Weld Park Stakes over seven on heavy ground at that same venue.
Weld said, in post-race interviews, that he sees her as a miler and as an Irish 1000 Guineas candidate. She has already run well over that course and distance so we know that neither will pose her any difficulty if she lines up for that classic in May.
We also know that she is bred to achieve anything and that the Curragh race is a classic that her sire has won before: Pleascach beat Found by half a length to land the spoils in 2015. Both those standout fillies went on to excel over 10 and 12 furlongs and there is every chance, on pedigree, that Eziyra could follow suit.
The Australian dual Group 1 stars Kermadec and Palentino are milers, as was the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat scorer Havana Gold, but Teofilo's other top-level winners also include the afore mentioned Yorkshire Oaks and Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Pleascach, Irish St Leger winner Voleuse De Coeurs, last season's Prix du Cadran scorer Quest For More, and also the ill-fated Irish Derby hero Trading Leather.
Dubai Destination (by Kingmambo), who was a miler, is well-established as a leading broodmare sire and the Derby and Arc champion Golden Horn (by Cape Cross) is just one the major winners his daughters have produced. Like Eziyra, that colt represents a family that contains some notable middle-distance horses.
Eytarna was unraced at two, won her maiden over nine and a half furlongs in July of her three-year-old season and rounded off her career with a third-place finish in the Listed Finale Stakes over 12 furlongs on soft ground at the Curragh.
Her first foal is the hurdles-placed gelding Enzani (by Cape Cross), who won over 12 furlongs at Dundalk just over two years ago, and her second is the lightly-raced Eshera (by Oratorio) whose two wins from just three starts included a mile listed contest at Cork.
Eytarna is out of the Group 2-placed triple middle-distance stakes winner Ebaziya (by Darshaan) and that makes her a half-sister to the Group 1 Gold Cup winners Enzeli (by Kahyasi) and Estimate (by Monsun), to Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine Ebadiyla (by Sadler's Wells) and to the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes scorer Edabiya (by Rainbow Quest).
Ebadiyla is the dam of three blacktype earners and grandam of the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu winner Ebiyza (by Rock Of Gibraltar), and those out of her unplaced half-sister Elbasana (by Indian Ridge) include the lightly-raced Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes winner Edelmira (by Peintre Celebre).
Ebazyia's daughters also include a thrice-raced maiden called Ebaza (by Sinndar), dam of the Group 3 Athasi Stakes winner Emiyna. That filly was also Group 3-placed over a mile and never asked to try farther, but she is a daughter of US classic sire Maria's Mon (by Wavering Monarch), a horse whose best tend to be in the seven to 10-furlong range. That is also the range in which Ebadiyla's son Eyshal (by Green Desert) earned all of his blacktype.
Another indication that Eziyra may stay the Oaks trip is that Ezilla, an unraced full-sister to Ebaziya, is the dam of Ezima (by Sadler's Wells), the Listed Savel Beg Stakes winner and Group 2 Lancashire Oaks runner-up whose star daughter is 2014's champion Taghrooda (by Sea The Stars).
She won both the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom and Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, was runner-up in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and third in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Her first foal is a Kingman (by Invincible Spirit) filly born last February and she was then bred to Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium).
If Eziyra has inherited a speed influence from Teofilo and through Dubai Destination then she may indeed be a miler in the making, but the odds are slightly more in favour of her getting at least 10 furlongs.
If she does indeed prove good enough to win or be placed in the first fillies' Irish classic of the year at the Curragh then she may also be capable of following the example of her sire's Pleascach by excelling over middle-distances too.