Retired classic sire Danehill Dancer (by Danehill) was in the news recently as his daughter Qemah, who represents his penultimate crop, won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, but another who drew attention to his record as a stallion was Even Song, the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes winner.
She is not daughter but is, instead, his granddaughter as she is by the juvenile star and classic-winning multiple Group 1 ace Mastercraftsman. That grey stands at Coolmore Stud, his oldest progeny are only five and his tally of 33 stakes winners, around the world, features four who have won at the highest level, two of them achieving that feat in classics.
Kingston Hill, who won the Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Racing Post Trophy, was runner-up in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom, is also a member of the Coolmore stallion roster, and his first foals will arrive next year. Sir Robert Ogden's homebred mare Amazing Maria was not beaten by far when sixth behind Tepin in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes last week, and she was third behind Usherette in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes the time before, but her prior record includes victories in last summer's Group 1 Falmouth Stakes and Group 1 Prix Rothschild.
The Grey Gatsby finished fourth to My Dream Boat in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes on his seasonal reappearance last week, but this multimillionaire won the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes in 2014, was short-headed by Free Eagle in last year's Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes, and has a string of other Group 1 and blacktype placings to his name.
In February the New Zealand-bred three-year-old Valley Girl gave her sire a fourth winner at the highest level when taking the 10 furlong Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa and she was only beaten by three-parts of a length when runner-up in the Group 1 Vinery Stakes over the same trip at Rosehill the following month.
Other notable results for him in 2016 include Spring Master's win in the Group 3 Prix du Lys Longines at Chantilly on Sunday, a listed win and Group 3 placing for four-year-old filly Carnachy, and a fine performance by five-year-old Curbyourenthusiasm on his seasonal reappearance last month, failing by half a length to take the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.
But back to Even Song.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained three-year-old is yet another major winner bred by the famous Barronstown Stud and she is a €170,000 graduate of the foals section of the Goffs November Sale. She was only beaten by half a length when third in a seven-furlong Dundalk maiden on her debut in October, was an odds-on three and a half length winner over a mile at Leopardstown eight days later, and finished third in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on her only other start before Ascot.
Even Song is the fifth foal out of an unraced mare called Guantanamera (by Sadler's Wells), and although her three winning siblings include the Group 2 Superlative Stakes third Maxentius (by Holy Roman Emperor), considerably more notable is her year-older half-sister, last year's Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes heroine Simple Verse (by Duke Of Marmalade).
That Ralph Beckett-trained star, whom Barronstown sold for €240,000 as a yearling at the Goffs Orby Sale, was runner-up to Exosphere in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes on her seasonal reappearance. She disappointed when only fourth behind Postponed in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom and when unplaced behind Dartmouth in Saturday's Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (sponsored by Qipco) at Ascot, but holds entries in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, so hopefully she can bounce back to her best before going on to what promises to be a notable career at stud.
Guantanamera was not covered in 2013, so has no two-year-old, and she had a first-crop son of Declaration Of War (by War Front) in 2015. She is a half-sister to the listed-placed Limerick 12-furlongs scorer Really (by Entrepreneur) and out of Bluffing (by Darshaan), a juvenile winner who earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Eyrefield Race at the Curragh and in the Listed Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran Park.
In addition to being the daughter of an influential stallion, Bluffing was one of seven winners out the one-time scorer Instinctive Move (by Nijinsky) and that made her a half-sister to Feminine Wiles (by Ahonoora). That Listed Ballymacoll Stud Stakes winner was runner-up in both the Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes and Group 3 May Hill Stakes, and although she has a trio of stakes-placed horses among her descendants, it is another two of her sisters that came up with the blacktype winners at stud.
Sharnazad (by Track Barron) won just once but is the dam of the Italian listed scorer Splendida Idea (by Kenmare) and of stakes-placed prolific winner Sensum (by Kendor), and her unraced daughter Siraka (by Grand Lodge) is the dam of Strait Of Mewsina (by Spartacus). That grandson of Danehill won five of his 35 starts, including the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby over nine furlongs on turf, and retired to stud in Indiana where his first crop are two years old.
Shigeki, on the other hand, raced in Australia, and although unsuccessful on the track, she is the dam of the Group 2-winning filly Keiki (by Falvelon).
The fourth dam of Even Song is the Grade 3 Jersey Belle Handicap winner Bold Bikini (by Boldnesian), a half-sister to 1968's US juvenile champion Top Knight (by Vertex). He won the Champagne Stakes, Hopeful Stakes and Futurity Stakes that year, added the Flamingo Stakes and Florida Derby at three, but proved sterile when tried at stud.
His talented sister, however, had a long and successful stud career, producing 20 foals of whom 14 ran and a dozen won, several of them in blacktype company and one a classic star.
The best of Instinctive Move's siblings was, therefore, 1985's Group 1 Irish Derby winner Law Society (by Alleged). He began his stallion career at Coolmore Stud, later moved to Gestut Isarland in Germany, and the best of his progeny include the Group/Grade 1 winners Anzillero, Approach The Bench, Court Of Honour, Homme De Loi and Right Win. He died five years ago, at the age of 29.
Their half-brother Strike Your Colors (by Hoist The Flag) won the Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park, Legal Bid (by Spectacular Bid) won the Group 3 Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield, while both Alfarazdq (by Exclusive Native) and Cerada Ridge (by Riva Ridge) were Grade/Group 2-placed stakes winners. Various other blacktype horses descend from Bold Bikini, including her Group 1 Oaks d'Italia-winning great-granddaughter Nicole Pharly (by Pharly), but the relationship of those horses to Even Song is remote.
Even Song's entries include the Group 1 Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at the Curragh on Sunday and, as you might expect, next month's Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks over a quarter-mile farther at the same venue. Her length and a half defeat of 33/1 Ajman Princess was a promising effort, and while improvement on that would be required to win at the highest level, she is certainly bred for the job. Looking farther ahead, this is a filly whose pedigree also gives her every chance of making an impact at stud.