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).