Most of the major classics of 2016 have already been run in Europe and one of the remaining few is the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster in September. The longest and the oldest of the classics, the identities of many of its potential candidates do not become apparent until the months of July and August, and the all-conquering Ballydoyle team unveiled a possible challenger during the July Meeting at Newmarket.
The colt in question had already run six times, so we already knew something about him, but the step up to 13 furlongs resulted in his first pattern success; he beat Platitude by a length and a half in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy. His only prior win came in a 10 and a half furlong Dundalk maiden, making him yet another high-class performer to graduate from the artificial tracks, and each of his three runs between that race and Thursday's one was in blacktype company.
He also had Platitude behind him at Chester in early May, but was beaten by a short-head and a head, by Viren's Army and Linguistic, in the Listed Dee Stakes that day. He was then just under three-lengths fourth to Beacon Rock in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh, and was beaten by a total of two and a quarter lengths when filling the same position behind Across The Stars in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot last month.
Housesofparliament may not have had to produce a much better effort than that to win two days ago, but when his big race entries include the Group 2 Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, his connections clearly consider him to be a high-class stayer in the making.
The chestnut was bred by Smithfield Inc and he is yet another pattern winner for Coolmore Stud's phenomenal stallion Galileo (by Sadler's Wells). He is the fifth foal of his dam and his full-brother Foundry chased home Telescope in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes three years ago. That bay was only beaten by three and a quarter lengths when fifth behind Leading Light in the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster before heading off to continue his career in Australia.
His siblings also include the seven and eight-furlong winner Unanimous (by Dansili), who was also trained by Aidan O'Brien, and his two sisters are Lady Bingo (by Galileo) and Ballyhoo Kat (by Storm Cat), both of whom were placed. The former stayed 14 furlongs and the latter is a young broodmare in the US; her second foal is a juvenile filly named Ballyhoo Moon (by Malibu Moon).
Housesofparliament of out of Sharp Lisa (by Dixieland Band), who won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes, the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap and the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, and although Grade 1 placed over nine furlongs, her best form was over a mile.
She is by a stallion that some in Europe immediately associate with stamina, because he got the Group 1 Gold Cup winner Drum Taps from his early runners here, but his European representatives also featured the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) heroine and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Egyptband, Group 1 Oaks d'Italia scorer Menhoubah, and the talented sprinters Didyme, Tajannub and Check The Band, to name just a few.
Dixieland Band, a Grade 2 winner who spent his career at Lane's Farm in Kentucky, was a top-class stallion, and among the leading representatives of his dynasty-making sire Northern Dancer (by Nearctic).
Sharp Lisa's half-brother Spring At Last (by Silver Deputy) won the Grade 1 Donn Handicap over nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park and also the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Nad Al Sheba, and her half-sister Sharp Susan (by Touch Gold) was both a Grade 2 and Grade 3 winner at nine furlongs.
So can a mare of that sort of profile produce a son who stays the St Leger trip, or further? Although not guaranteed at the time of conception, it does seem likely that she has passed on the stamina influences of her pedigree to Houseofparliament, rather than its speed angle.
Winter's Gone, the dam of Sharp Lisa, is a daughter of Dynaformer (by Roberto), the excellent Three Chimneys Farm stallion whose string of top-level winners featured the classic stars Barbaro, Wiener Walzer, Blue Bunting and Lucarno, plus standouts such as Riskaverse, Point Of Entry, Film Maker, Rainbow View, Perfect Drift, and Melbourne Cup hero Americain.
More telling, perhaps, is that the best of several blacktype siblings of Winter's Gone was Bien Bien (by Manila). He had the pace to be a Grade 1 runner-up over 10 furlongs, he won both the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup and Grade 1 San Luis Rey Stakes over 12 furlongs, and there was just Kotashaan's nose between him and being a dual winner of the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over 14 furlongs at Santa Anita.
Bien Bien had some successful moments at stud, most notably with his son Bienamado, who won the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap over 10 furlongs and emulated his sire with wins in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup and Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap.
Housesofparliament has some way to go yet if he is to prove himself good enough to succeed at the highest level, but this pattern-winning Galileo colt is certainly bred to do so, and there is every reason to hope that he can stay at least the St Leger distance.