When asked to name an influential son of Shirley Heights (by Mill Reef) most will automatically say Darshaan. The classic star was a prolific source of top-class racehorses, his stallion sons include Mark of Esteem and Dalakhani, and his daughters have long been prized as broodmares.
The 64 stakes winning offspring of 1978's dual Derby hero, which represented 9.2% of his progeny, also included a champion freshman sire who, despite siring just six blacktype scorers of his own at stud, left a notable legacy. Group 2 Tattersalls Gold Cup hero Elegant Air died young but he was the sire of Dashing Blade, who represented his first crop.
Bred by Jeff Smith's Littleton Stud, Dashing Blade won both the Group 1 National Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes in 1989, he was Ireland's juvenile champion and he went on to add both the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam and the Group 1 Gran Premio d'Italia before heading to stud. He spent one season at his owner-breeder's farm and then moved to Gestut Etzean in Germany from where he became a multiple champion sire.
Dashing Blade was retired from stallion duties early in 2013, he died several months later, and his 54 stakes winners include four who have won at the highest level, headed by classic-placed Group 1 star and leading young sire Lord Of England.
That Gestut Etzean stallion has two Group 1 winners to his name so far, both of them classic stars: Preis der Diana (German Oaks) winner Feodora and Deutsches Derby hero Isfahan. The latter, a lightly-raced triple pattern scorer, was not seen out again after his classic success in heavy ground at Hamburg in mid- July.
Isfahan is a half-brother to the mile pattern winner Incantator (by Areion) and he could be described as being a three-parts brother to the Group 3 Bavarian Classic runner-up Il Divo (by Dashing Blade). Their dam, an unraced mare called Independent Miss (by Polar Falcon), is a half-sister to the stakes-placed Invincible Hero (by Lomitas).
His dam is, in turn, out of a winning daughter of Group 1 Arak-Pokal heroine and 1990's German three-year-old filly champion Indica (by Athenagoras) and that makes the grandam of Isfahan a half-sister to the Group 3 Furstenberg-Rennen scorer Indikator (by Sillery).
If you go back farther then you will find that Isfahan's fifth dam is the smart Inga (by Birkhahn), who was a full-sister to 1965's Preis der Diana (German Oaks) winner Indra (dam of classic-placed champion Indian Pearl, by Gulf Pearl), and his seventh dam is 1939's Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) winner and multiple classic producer Yonne (by Indus).
Isfahan's is a German classic winner from a family that has a long-established classic tradition and this young descendant of Shirley Heights is likely to prove popular in his new role at Gestut Ohlerwriherhof.
ISFAHAN (GER) – ch.2013 – Lord Of England – Independent Miss, 3 wins inc Deutsches Derby (Gr1), Bavarian Classic (Gr3), Preis der Winterfavoriten (Gr3). Sire in Germany. First foals in 2018.
Sire of Stallions