Nayef (by Gulch) was a top-class middle-distance racehorse and Shadwell's Nunnery Stud stallion notched up his 25th individual stakes winner when Ice Breeze took a slowly run edition of the Group 2 Prix Hocquart over 12 furlongs at Chantilly this afternoon.
This head defeat of Shakeel came on his fourth start and it followed his two-length second to Called To The Bar in the Group 3 Prix du Lys over the same trip at Saint-Cloud last month. He won a maiden over that same course and distance three weeks before, and was a half-length runner-up to Sand Fox on his debut, over a furlong and a half less, at that same venue in April.
Having won a Group 2 so early in his career, the Pascal Bary-trained bay has earned a step up in class – with the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris an obvious potential target – but it is fair to say that, as yet, the level of form he has achieved is still some way short of what would be required to succeed at the highest level.
He should be capable of further improvement, however, and of staying not only a strongly run mile and a half but, potentially, a bit farther too.
His full-brother Snow Sky won the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup and Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, finished third to Kingston Hill in the Group 1 St Leger, and was not disgraced when finishing a four and three-quarter-length fifth to Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup.
Snow Sky stands at Ballycurragh Stud and some of his first crop are likely to appear at the foal sales later in the year.
Ice Breeze is out of Winter Silence (by Dansili), who was a stakes-placed middle-distance winner in France. The mare's success at stud is no surprise as she is daughter of the excellent producer Hunt The Sun (by Rainbow Quest), a three-time placed runner who became the dam of six blacktype horses, two of which won at the highest level.
Meteor Storm (by Bigstone) took the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park, the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap and Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita, and the Grade 2 W L Knight Handicap at Calder. He was also placed in a string of good races, notably the Grade 1 Canadian International Stakes, Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes and Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup.
Polish Summer (by Polish Precedent) won the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad Al Sheba, the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville and the Group 3 Prix Exbury in France, he was runner-up in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin, and twice second in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
Their half-brother Host Nation (by Grand Lodge) got his best win in the Group 3 Prix de Barbeville at Longchamp, half-sister Morning Eclipse (by Zafonic) won a listed contest at Chantilly, and the remaining blacktype produce of Hunt The Sun is Winter Solstice (by Unfuwain), the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale runner-up who has two descendants of particular note.
Her son Ice Blue (by Dansili) on the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud and her granddaughter Winsili (by Dansili) won the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.
The third dam of Ice Breeze is Suntrap (by Roberto), who finished third in the Group 3 Prix d'Aumale, Listed Lupe Stakes and Listed Atalanta Stakes and whose siblings include the Group 2 Deutsches St Leger scorer Non Partisan (by Alleged).
More notable, however, is that Suntrap is the dam of the multiple Group/Grade 1 middle-distance stars Raintrap and Sunshack who are full-brothers to Hunt The Sun and also to Summer Breeze. That filly earned her blacktype when finishing third in the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs as a juvenile and she is the dam of the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes winner Doctor Fremantle (by Sadler's Wells).
In addition to the aforementioned German pattern winner, Suntrap is a half-sister to the Group 1-placed Canadian blacktype scorer Jalaajel (by Alleged), to one-time scorer Bright Spells (by Alleged) – dam of the ill-fated classic-placed Group 3 winner Clearing (by Zafonic) – and to Set Fair (by Alleged), the stakes-placed dam of Listed Cheshire Oaks scorer Valentine Girl (by Alzao) and grandam of the Group 1 Sydney Cup winner Stand To Gain (by Hawk Wing).
Sunny Bay (by Northern Bay), the fourth dam of Ice Breeze, was a Grade 1-placed multiple stakes winner in the USA.
It remains to be seen how Ice Breeze will fare when taking on stronger opposition in a strongly run race, but he has the potential to do well over middle-distances in France and, possibly, within that country's stayers' division.