German champion and Group 1 Deutsches Derby hero Adlerflug (by In The Wings) has done well with his early crops, and given the family he represents that is hardly a surprise.
Gestut Harzburg's stallion, whose progeny include the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern and recent Group 2 Gerling-Preis winner Ito, is a grandson of the Group 2 Preis der Diana (German Oaks) runner-up Alya (by Lombard), and she was a full-sister to the pattern-placed Allegretta (by Lombard), the mare who gave us Urban Sea (by Miswaki).
That Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine is not only one of the elite few who produced at least four Group/Grade 1-winning offspring, but her two most brilliant sons are also two of Europe's best sires.
Galileo (by Sadler's Wells), who is somewhat closely related to Adlerflug, is a prolific champion sire who appears to be forging a dynasty, while Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) came up with the classic winners Sea The Moon and Taghrooda in his first crop and has several exciting prospects in his latest batch of three-year-olds, including Cloth Of Stars, Harzand and Mekhtaal.
Urban Sea's three-parts brother Tertullian (by Miswaki) has the Australian Group 1 scorer Mawingo, German Group 1 winner Guiliani, and the millionaire and German Group 2 classic scorer Irian on his roll of honour. Her siblings include the Group 1 2000 Guineas hero and classic sire King's Best (by Kingmambo) and her sons also include Black Sam Bellamy (by Sadler's Wells), the Group 1-winning sire of classic-placed triple Group 1 star Earl Of Tinsdal.
With family connections like these, combined with representing the Danehill (by Danzig) sire line, Monday's Group 2 Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (German 2000 Guineas) winner Knife Edge may now attract plenty of attention as a prospective stallion. His unraced dam Attalea (by Monsun) is out of Anthyllis (by Lycius), a stakes-placed half-sister to Adlerflug.
The Marco Botti-trained chestnut was bred by the Attalea Partnership and he races in Coolmore colours. He made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Ascot in September, his short-head defeat by Tasleet in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Chelmsford last month was his fourth start, and his classic victory was achieved by a nose over a mile on good ground at Cologne.
Knife Edge represents the first crop of Coolmore Stud stallion Zoffany (by Dansili), a horse who won the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes as a juvenile but who is probably best remembered as the one who gave Frankel fans a brief scare in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
With eight individual stakes winners already in his first crop, plus two others who have been blacktype-placed, Zoffany is the standout second-crop stallion in Europe.
His Group 1-placed Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes winner Foundation may go to Epsom for the Group 1 Investec Derby or to Chantilly for the Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club, Waterloo Bridge and Illuminate were Group 2 scorers last summer, Ventura Storm and Group 1-placed Washington DC are listed race winners in 2016, and Dolce Strega took the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at the Curragh a couple of weeks ago.
A €43,000 graduate of the Baden-Baden September Yearlings Sale, Knife Edge is said to be entered in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He still has quite a bit of improvement to make if he is going to win at the highest level, but this victory was a step up on what he had done before, so he is a colt who appears to be on the upgrade.