Ten furlongs is a long way for a two-year-old and those who can win over that distance tend to prove best from a mile and a half and upwards as three-year-olds and older horses. The Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket is one of the few blacktype events for them at that trip and in 2017 it was won in promising style by Kew Gardens.
This was his fifth start, his second win and his second piece of blacktype. He'd chased home the fellow Aidan O'Brien-trained Nelson in a mile Group 3 contest at Leopardstown on his third run and then finished fourth behind another stablemate, Saxon Warrior, in the Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes on soft ground at Naas.
His first four outings suggested that he could be a useful middle-distance horse in the making, his three-and-a-half-length defeat of Dee Ex Bee at Newmarket gave him the look of a future pattern winner and possible Group 1 William Hill St Leger Stakes candidate, and Timeform rated him 108p.
As it turned out, he was indeed a contender for the final classic of the year, and he won it by two and a quarter lengths from rising star Lah Ti Dar. What's more, this was his second victory at the highest level as, two months before, he beat Neufbosc by a length and a quarter to take the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris over 12 furlongs at ParisLongchamp.
This came a few weeks after he'd beaten Southern France by four and a half lengths to take the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, and between his two Group 1 scores he finished third to Old Persian in the Group 2 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, giving the winner 2lbs and the runner-up, Cross Counter, 5lbs.
Kew Gardens's overall record stands at five wins and four placings from a dozen starts and he is due to line-up in tomorrow afternoon's Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Those efforts include third in the Listed Feilden Stakes at Newmarket in April and a second-place finish to the front-running Knight To Behold in the Listed Betfred Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield in May, and his only time out of the frame in 2018 is when he finished well-beaten behind Masar in the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom.
One of 73 top-level scorers among a remarkable 284 stakes winners for Coolmore Stud's prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells), Kew Gardens is the best of several multiple winners out of Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Chelsea Rose (by Desert King).
She beat Pictavia by three-parts of a length to take that prestigious seven-furlong juvenile contest, she went on to win listed races at nine, 10 and 12 furlongs as a three-year-old, and she came within a neck of beating Alexander Goldrun in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh the following summer.
Chelsea Rose earned a 121 rating from Timeform, 4lbs ahead of her best daughter, Thawaany (by Tamayuz). That Freddy Head-trained filly is by a Group 1-winning miler whose offspring tend to be best in the five-to-eight-furlong range and so it was no surprise to see her follow that pattern.
She won the Listed Prix Coronation over a mile at Saint-Cloud as a three-year-old but dropped in trip the following summer, winning the Group 3 Prix de Ris-Orangis over six furlongs before chasing home half-length winner Garswood in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest over a half-furlong farther – both at Deauville.
Chelsea Rose's full-sister to Kew Gardens is catalogued as lot 298 during Wednesday's session of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. The mid-February-born chestnut is consigned by Barronstown Stud, who bred the classic star and so many other top horses.
The mare's siblings include the mile listed scorer European (by Great Commotion) and she is out of Cinnamon Rose (by Trempolino), a winning half-sister to Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam winner and Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap runner-up River Warden (by Riverman).
If you go back farther you will find that Servilia (by Aureole), the unraced fourth dam of Kew Gardens, was a half-sister to Snob (by Mourne) – who won the Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs, the Prix de Lutece over 12, and finished fourth in the Arc – while the fifth dam is Prix Penelope scorer Senones (by Prince Bio), a full-sister to 1951's Prix du Jockey-Club (then 12 furlongs) and Grand Prix de Paris (then 15 furlongs) star and classic sire Sicambre, whom Timeform rated 135.
Kew Gardens's current Timeform rating is 127, he is a top-class 12-furlong colt who stays a bit farther, and it will be fascinating to see what he does as a four-year-old. Might he become a King George candidate and the stable's next middle-distance globetrotter?