Classic star and Ballylinch Stud resident Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) has made a good start to his stallion career with a string of stakes winners that includes dual Group 1 ace Belardo.
That miler and new Kildangan Stud sire represents his first crop, while classic prospect South Seas comes from his third. Qatar Racing Ltd's chestnut was bred by Stonepark Farms, he is trained by Andrew Balding, and he achieved a juvenile rating of 110.
He was favourite on each of his first three starts, winning a six-furlong maiden on soft ground at Windsor in June, following that with victory over the same trip at Haydock in July, and then beating Salouen by two and a quarter lengths to take the Group 3 Solario Stakes over seven furlongs at Sandown in August.
He lost his unbeaten record when only sixth to Churchill in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes seven weeks later, but bounced back to chase home Thunder Snow in the Group 1 Criterium International over the same trip at Saint-Cloud later that month.
A €170,000 Goffs foal who made 145,000gns from the Tattersalls Book 1 catalogue at Newmarket as a yearling, South Seas is the first produce of Let It Be Me (by Mizzen Mast). The mare had a Lawman (by Invincible Spirit) filly last year, was then covered by classic star Make Believe (by Makfi) but did not go in foal.
She was unplaced but is a half-sister to Zaidan (by Street Cry), a Listed Chesham Stakes winner who went on to become a Grade 2-placed listed scorer in Hong Kong and who was runner-up to Chinchon in the Grade 1 International Cup over 10 furlongs at Kranji.
Element Of Truth (by Atticus), the grandam of South Seas, earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Eternal Stakes over seven furlongs at Warwick, her half-sister My Hansel (by Hansel) was third in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile at Ascot, and her four other successful siblings feature the prolific Ramooz (by Rambo Dancer).
He won 10 times from two to six years of age, including the Group 3 Van Geest Criterion Stakes, Group 3 Aon MacDonagh Boland Stakes, and two editions of the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes. He also won two listed races and was placed in a long list of blacktype events from six to eight and a half furlongs.
Their dam, My Shafy (by Rousillon), won two of her four starts and she was among five winners for Lys River (by Lyphard), a Deauville and Longchamp listed scorer who was runner-up to Reine De Saba in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary.
South Seas holds entries in both the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh and it will be fascinating to find out just how good he is. He has made a promising start to his career.