GIlltown Stud's Timeform 140-rated champion Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) is well-established as one of Europe's leading sires and, in Knight To Behold, he has another high-class prospect on his roll of honour.
The Harry Dunlop-trained colt was a nose runner-up to White Mocha in a mile conditions race on his debut 13 months ago, he followed that with a narrow win over the same trip at Newmarket, and showed himself to be a potentially leading middle-distance three-year-old when, having gone to the front a mile from home, he won the Listed Derby Trial Stakes by three and a quarter lengths at Lingfield.
The horse who chased him home there has improved a lot since that day as he – Kew Gardens – has won the Group 2 Queen's Vase, Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris and Group 1 William Hill St Leger Stakes. That Aidan O'Brien-trained star runs in tomorrow's Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Knight To Behold finished well-beaten in both the Group 1 Investec Derby and Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, but then dropped back to 10 furlongs for the prestigious Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville and made all for an impressive four-length win, chased home by Patascoy and with Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club scorer Study Of Man another two lengths back in third.
Homebred by Neil Jones's Abergwaun Farms, Knight To Behold is a half-brother to Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes winner Beauty O' Gwaun (by Rainbow Quest) and to Japanese Group 3 scorer Cosmo Meadow (by King's Best) who earned just short of £1 million in prize money.
Their dam, Angel Of The Gwaun (by Sadler's Wells), is an unraced full-sister to Group 1 Derby third Let The Lion Roar and to Group 3 Gallinule Stakes third King In Waiting, but two of her half-siblings are of considerably more note.
Head In The Clouds (by Rainbow Quest) won the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes, she was runner-up in the Group 2 Prix de Pomone and in the Group 3 St Simon Stakes, and in addition to her talented daughter Roses For The Lady (by Sadler's Wells), who won the Listed Vintage Crop Stakes and was second in the Group 1 Irish Oaks, her descendants include listed scorer and Group 1 Oaks third Lady Of Dubai (by Dubawi).
Her older full-brother Millenary was Europe's top three-year-old stayer in 2000 when his top success came in the Group 1 St Leger Stakes at Doncaster, and by the time he retired to stud his tally of wins was at 12, including the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes, Group 2 Lonsdale Stakes, Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, and two editions of both the Group 2 Doncaster Cup and Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes.
Ballerina (by Dancing Brave), the winning grandam of Knight To Behold, is a half-sister to Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes winner and dual Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Dancing Bloom (by Sadler's Wells), and also to River Dancer (by Irish River), the stakes-winning dam of Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Champion Stakes star Spectrum (by Rainbow Quest). He sired blacktype winners at all levels and under both codes.
Spectrum's full-brother Stream Of Gold was a Grade 1-placed Grade 2 scorer on turf in the USA, his winning half-sister Ballet Shoes (by Ela-Mana-Mou) became the dam of Group 1 Irish Oaks, Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and Group 1 Prix de l'Opera heroine Petrushka (by Unfuwain), and their siblings also included an unraced mare called Well Head (by Sadler's Wells).
Her final foal was the champion and multimillionaire Conduit (by Dalakhani), winner of the Group 1 St Leger Stakes, Group 1 King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and two editions of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf. Timeform rated him 130 at both three and four years of age.
There are also major winners in the fourth generation of the pedigree as third dam Dancing Shadow (by Dancer's Image) – who was placed in the Group 2 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood – was out of Sunny Valley (by Val De Loir) and that made her a half-sister to Sun Princess (by English Prince) and Saddlers' Hall (by Sadler's Wells).
The latter won the Group 1 Coronation Cup, Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes and Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, he was runner-up in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and in the Group 1 St Leger, was rated 126 by Timeform, and went on to become a successful dual-purpose sire.
Sun Princess, of course, won the Group 1 Oaks by 12 lengths at Epsom, added the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and Group 1 St Leger, was third in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and chased home All Along in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The Timeform 130-rated champion became the dam of ill-fated juvenile Group 1 scorer Prince Of Dance (by Sadler's Wells) – who died due to cancer shortly after disappointing at Epsom.
With family connections like these, it is no surprise that Knight To Behold has become a talented middle-distance performer. It will be interesting to see how high he can climb in the rankings.