The list of Group 1 stars who got an early winning start on the artificial tracks includes Covert Love, Hawkbill, Jack Hobbs, Seventh Heaven, Silverwave, Winter, and Zelzal and one of the most recent additions to the roll of honour is Nezwaah, the Roger Varian-trained four-year-old who won the Pretty Polly Stakes in style 12 days ago.
She was unraced as a two-year-old but made a winning debut over a mile at Chelmsford in January 2016 and followed that, a month later, with another odds-on success, this time over a half-furlong farther at Wolverhampton.
Her turf debut came two and a half months after that, when she finished third in a 10-furlong listed contest at Newbury, and then she went to Newcastle where she ran out a three-length winner of the Listed Hoppings Stakes on the Tapeta surface. All of her subsequent outings have been over the same trip and on turf, each in a different country, and culminating with her Group 1 success in Ireland.
First was the Group 2 Prix de la Nonette at Deauville, where she finished last of five behind La Cressonniere, and then the Listed John Musker Fillies’ Stakes at Yarmouth, where she was only beaten half a length by So Mi Dar. Then it was on to Canada for the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, and although finishing out of the frame, she was only beaten by two lengths into seventh. Timeform rated her 113 at the end of that season.
Nezwaah made her four-year-old debut in Scotland, easily winning the Listed Tennent’s British Stallion Studs EBF Rothesay Stakes at Ayr in late May, and her second start of the year is her aforementioned three and a quarter-length defeat of Rain Goddess at the Curragh. Turret Rocks was another length and a half back in third, with Grade 1 heroine Zhukova disappointing in fourth, another head behind.
This was not a strong renewal of the race, with all but one of the first six home sporting an official pre-race handicap mark of either 108 or 109, but Nezwaah is improving, talented and yet another Group 1 winner for her outstanding sire, Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium).
She was bred by Darley and she is the first foal out of Ferdoos (by Dansili), a lightly-raced triple winner who began her career with a five-length score over 10 furlongs on the polytrack at Kempton and later took the Listed Pinnacle Stakes over a quarter-mile farther at Haydock.
The mare’s half-brother Brusco (by Rock Of Gibraltar) won the Listed Coppa d’Oro di Milano and a listed contest at Cologne, he was placed many times, including third in the Group 3 Deutsches St Leger at Dortmund, and this talented pair are their dam’s only runners.
Blaze Of Colour (by Rainbow Quest), the grandam of Nezwaah, earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Aphrodite Stakes at Newmarket, her half-sister Blue Dream (by Cadeaux Genereux) was listed-placed at Chester and another sibling, Equity Princess (by Warning), was a multiple blacktype earner who was runner-up in the Group 3 Oettingen-Rennen at Baden-Baden.
The latter is the grandam of a middle-distance listed scorer in France, their own dam was the Listed George Stubbs Stakes winner Hawait Al Barr (by Green Desert), and the only stakes winner among several blacktype earners under Group 2-placed fourth dam, Allegedly Blue (by Alleged), is the Group 3 Prix Messidor winner and dual Group 2 Premio Emilio Turati runner-up Ryono (by Mountain Cat), a son of Hawait Al Barr’s Group 2 Deutsches St Leger-placed half-sister Racing Blue (by Reference Point).
This is a smart family but perhaps not one from which you might expect to see a Group 1 winner emerge, given that it is the first four generations that make the most meaningful contribution to the horse. Indeed, each ancestor in the fourth generation is only contributing 6.25%, little to none of which could be influencing racing talent.
But if you go back another generation or two then you will find that the filly is just the latest representative of her distaff line to succeed or be placed at the top level. These horses are so remotely connected to her that they are making no contribution to her obvious talent, but their presence shows that there is actually no surprise that a major sire like Dubawi could help to revive its former glory.
Allegedly Blue was one of five winners from seven foals out of Meadow Blue (by Raise a Native), an unraced full-sister to Dewhurst Stakes winner Crowned Prince and to dual US classic star Majestic Prince whose only loss in 10 career starts was his second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, a race that his son Coastal would win 10 years later.
Really Blue (by Believe It), a three-time winner and half-sister to Allegedly Blue, is best known as being the dam of US champion Real Quiet (by Quiet American) who, like his famous relation, also won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before being runner-up in the Belmont. He also won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, Grade 1 Pimlico Special and Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity, and his offspring include the Grade 1 stars Midnight Lute and Pussycat Doll.
Mining My Business (by Mining), a half-sister to Real Quiet, has done her part for the family’s honour as she is the dam of Grade 2 Fair Ground Oaks winner Real Cozzy (by Cozzene) who was placed in each of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes and Grade 1 Acorn Stakes.
Nureyev’s Best (by Nureyev), who won the Listed Prix Finlande and finished third in the Group 3 Prix de Sandringham, was another of Allegedly Blue’s siblings and the most notable of her blacktype descendents is her daughter Andujar (by Quiet American), winner of the Grade 2 Milady Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Hollywood and placed in both the Grade 1 Go For Wand Handicap and Grade 1 Vanity Handicap.
Also notable is dual winner Mangala (by Sharpen Up) as that daughter of Meadow Blue came up with eight winners from a dozen foals, headlined by the high-class miler Allied Forces (by Miswaki). A dual Grade 2 scorer in the USA, he also won the Group 2 Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot and was third in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
Although still below being a true Group 1-calibre runner – she was raised to an official mark of 116 (Timeform rated her 120) after this latest success – there is reason to hope that Nezwaah can improve further before she eventually retires to stud for what could be an equally notable career as a broodmare.
She holds entries in the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, and Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks so we may not have long to wait to get another chance to assess her capabilities.
It takes a very good horse to earn an end of year rating of 130 or more from Timeform and exceptional one to achieve the feat more than once. The brilliant Petite Etoile is among those special individuals who reached or passed that mark in each of three seasons on the track and only a handful of fillies and mares have ever been rated more highly than her by that organisation.
Although her two-year-old season showed enough talent that she earned a mark of 120 from them, her glittering career did not start off on a particularly promising note. All four of her juvenile outings were over five furlongs and, as Racehorses of 1958 reported, on her debut in a two-horse race at Manchester that May she was green, slowly away, trounced by eight lengths, then got loose and galloped around for a while before being caught.
But she was eased down to win a Sandown maiden by five lengths next time out, then chased home Krakenwake in the Molecomb Stakes before making all to beat three rivals with ease in the Rose Stakes at Sandown.
Despite this early speed, one could have been hopeful that the Noel Murless-trained grey would stay a mile at three, and possibly even a bit farther, rather than follow in the hoofprints of one of her most famous ancestors.
She was by the Eclipse Stakes winner Petition (by Fair Trial), who was a leading six-furlong juvenile, and she was out of Star Of Iran (by Bois Roussel), who won over a mile in France but was a full-sister to Migoli.
He won the Dewhurst Stakes at two and by the time he retired, with a dozen wins from 21 starts, he had added the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Eclipse Stakes and Champion Stakes, among other races of note.
Their dam, Mah Iran (by Bahram), was out of Mah Mahal (by Gainsborough) – the mare who gave us 1936’s Derby hero Mahmoud (by Blenheim) – and the next dam was “The Flying Filly” Mumtaz Mahal (by The Tetrarch), a sprint champion whose seven wins featured the Nunthorpe Stakes.
Petite Etoile won the Free Handicap, 1000 Guineas, Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks and Champion Stakes as a three-year-old, earning a rating of 134 from Timeform. The following year she retained that mark, winning the Coronation Cup and finishing a half-length runner-up to Aggressor (TFR 130) in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot – from just three starts – and she was awarded a figure of 131 at five when her wins included another edition of the Coronation Cup.
With her pedigree and connections there was every reason to hope that Petite Etoile would excel at stud. There are never any guarantees, of course, but had there been odds offered on the likelihood that she would produce at least one top-level performer then those would have been a shade of odds-on.
Sadly, as is well-known, Petite Etoile produced just three named foals: Afaridaan (by Charlottesville), Kazakstaan (by Never Say Die), and Zahra (by Habitat). The latter was her only daughter, she was placed a few times on the track, and it is through her that this famous Aga Khan family has survived to this day.
Zahra has many blacktype descendants but three of them are horses of particular note and now, for the first time, they include a Group 1-winning colt who could go on to make an impact as a stallion.
Her granddaughter Zainta (by Kahyasi) won both the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary and Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) in 1998 and became the dam of the National Hunt Grade 1 stars Zaidpour (by Red Ransom) and Zaynar (by Daylami).
Zarkasha (by Kahyasi), a great-granddaughter of Zahra, is closely related to Zainta and although she did not race she has made a considerable contribution to the breed as she is the dam of the undefeated champion Zarkava (by Zamindar), whom Timeform rated just 1lb behind her great ancestor.
Zarkava was trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, she won the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and champion French two-year-old filly title in 2007, then returned at three to sweep the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte, Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Her first foal, a grey filly named Zerkaza (by Dalakhani), did not race, her second – a colt named Zarkash (by Sea The Stars) – died at the age of three, and her third, Zarkar (by Galileo), was unraced, is reported to have covered 64 mares in his first season at stud in Argentina, but then suffered a fatal paddock injury.
Zarkava’s fourth foal, however, is Zarak and the son of Dalham Hall Stud’s outstanding stallion Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium) carried his owner/breeder’s famous green and red colours to victory in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud a week ago, beating Silverwave by three-parts of a length.
The Alain de Royer-Dupre trained four-year-old won his only start at two – a mile maiden in heavy ground at Deauville that October – and he was among the better three-year-olds in France last year even though his only success came in a mile conditions race at Maisons-Laffitte in April.
He was fifth to The Gurkha when favourite for the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), then chased home Almanzor in both the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and Group 2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano before finishing fourth to Vadamos in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp at Chantilly.
He was only third to Potemkin in the Group 2 Prix Dollar at that same venue on his final start of the year but returned to action at Meydan in February with a one and three-quarter-length score in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes over 10 furlongs.
Zarak was fourth to Vivlos, Heshem and Ribchester in the Group 1 Dubai Turf over nine furlongs at the same venue five weeks later and failed by just a short-neck to beat Cloth Of Stars in the Group 1 Prix Ganay on his return to Europe. His only outing between then and his recent win was a disappointing last of five behind Mekhtaal in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly in late May.
Zarak has a long way to go yet if he is to reach the sort of ratings achieved by his brilliant dam and sixth dam, but he is the latest top-level winner for one of H.H. the Aga Khan’s most famous families and it will be fascinating to see how he fares as a stallion, when the time comes.
Before then there are more good prizes to be won with him, and now that he has shown that he stays 12 furlongs the range of potentially suitable targets has increased.
Zarkava's current three-year-old is an unraced colt named Zarmitan (by Redoute's Choice), her two-year-old filly has been named Zarkamiya (by Frankel), she has a yearling son of Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert) and a colt foal by her owner/breeder's excellent young stallion Siyouni (by Pivotal).
There is always plenty of interest when a very well bred juvenile makes its debut and although he finished only sixth behind Algometer in late October, his only start at two, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses showed potential and earned a Timeform rating of 81p.
That mile Newbury maiden was followed by a 10-furlong contest at Leicester in late April of last year but he was beaten again, this time finishing a half-length runner-up. Three weeks later, however, he was so impressive in scoring by eight lengths over the same trip at Newbury that he was sent off at 8/1 for the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom on his next start.
He disappointed there but bounced back to beat The Major General by half a length in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes over 12 furlongs at Goodwood, was short-headed by the front-running Chain Of Daisies in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes over 10 at Windsor, and then advertised his Group 1 potential when finishing fourth to Highland Reel in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in early November.
He finished the season with a Timeform rating of 121, but when he beat Deauville by a length in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on his four-year-old debut in late April, that figure moved up to 126p which identified him as one of the potential stars of 2017 and a major contender for the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He put up an excellent performance on the fast ground, and even got his head in front briefly in the final furlong, but had to settle for third to Highland Reel and Decorated Knight, another one-two-three for Coolmore Stud stallion Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) in a top-level event.
Ulysses is owned and bred by the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd, and in addition to being a son of the prolific champion sire, he has the considerable attraction of being out of the Group 1 Oaks heroine Light Shift (by Kingmambo).
She was trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil, her classic victory was by half a length from Peeping Fawn, and it followed defeat of All My Loving in the Listed Cheshire Oaks.
After Epsom she ran three times, chasing home Peeping Fawn in the Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh, finishing third behind that same star in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, and then disappointing as an unplaced favourite behind Satwa Queen in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp.
Light Shift is out of Lingerie (by Shirley Heights) and that makes her a half-sister to the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup heroine Shiva (by Hector Protector), to the French Group 2 scorer Limnos (by Hector Protector), to Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap runner-up Hyades (by Aldebaran), and to Burning Sunset (by Caerleon), a mile Saint-Cloud listed scorer who finished third in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt over 10 furlongs at Longchamp.
The best of Shiva’s offspring is the Francis-Henri Graffard-trained four-year-old That Which Is Not (by Elusive Quality), who won the Listed Prix Zarkava over 10 and a half furlongs at Saint-Cloud in early April and chased home Armande in the Group 2 Prix Corrida over the same course and distance last month.
Burning Sunset, on the other hand, is the dam of the Group 2-placed stakes winner Zhiyi (by Henrythenavigator), of Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt scorer and Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup runner-up Smoking Sun (by Smart Strike), and of Ikat (by Pivotal), the Group 3 Prix d’Aumale runner-up who gave us Group 1 Investec Derby runner-up and multiple US Grade 1 star Main Sequence (by Aldebaran).
Lingerie also has two non-winning daughters who deserve a mention because of what they have achieved at stud, and one of them is Molasses (Machiavellian). She was unraced but her son Magadan (by High Chaparral) won the Group 3 Prix d’Hedouville and finished third in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, both at Longchamp. He stands at Haras de Treban, in France, and is off the mark as a sire.
Strawberry Fledge (by Kingmambo) is the other one. She is a full-sister to Light Shift, she was placed, and her son Cloth Of Stars (by Sea The Stars) won the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Saint-Cloud early last month.
That short-neck defeat of Zarak was his third pattern victory of the year, following the Group 3 Prix Exbury in March and a neck win over Mekhtaal in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt at Chantilly in April.
Last year he won both the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe and Group 3 Prix La Force and finished third in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris, and at two he won the Group 3 Prix des Chenes and was placed behind Robin Of Navan in both the Group 3 Prix de Conde and Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.
Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 1 Prix Vermeille heroine Northern Trick (by Northern Dancer) is the third dam of Ulysees. She was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, chased home Sagace in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and was rated 131 by Timeform.
The only stakes winner among her seven successful runners was the Listed Prix Imprudence scorer Onda Nova (by Keos) and, in addition to Lingerie, she has another daughter who hit the top at stud. That is the placed Creature du Ciel (by Machiavellian), dam of the Brazilian Grade 1 stars Jeune-Turc (by Know Heights) and Nonno Luigi (by Dubai Dust).
With family connections like these, Ulysses is one of the best bred horses in training. He is a top-notch racehorse and, especially given how the Galileo stallions are doing, he also has the potential to do well whenever the time comes for him to go to stud.
Rathbarry Stud’s veteran stallion Acclamation (by Royal Applause) was among the best runners for his sire and, despite not winning at the highest level on the track, he has sired three Group 1 stars. Leading sire Dark Angel is one of them, Group 1 sire Equiano is another, and the third is last year’s Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp heroine Marsha.
The Sir Mark Prescott-trained bay went into that race as a Group 3-placed dual stakes winner ad she earned a Timeform rating of 121 after her three-quarter-length defeat of Washington DC at Chantilly.
She put up an even better performance on that firm’s figures when she defied her Group 1 penalty to beat that same colt by a neck in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes on her seasonal reappearance at Newmarket.
She went into today’s Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes with a Timeform rating of 127, and although she likely did not run up to that same level, she finished an honourable third to Lady Aurelia and Profitable.
Marsha is owned and bred by the Elite Racing Club, she is a half-sister to the eight-time winner Judicial (by Iffraaj) and she is the second foal out of the French listed scorer Marlinka (by Marju). That mare, a half-sister to several multiple winners, is out of Baralinka (by Barathea), which makes her a half-sister to the excellent miler Soviet Song (by Marju).
This means that Marsha is out of a three-parts sister to Soviet Song, the Timeform 126-rated star who won the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, Group 1 Matron Stakes, Group 1 Fillies’ Mile, and two editions of the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes.
Soviet Song has had some well-documented misfortune at stud so far but her winning full-sister Sister Act is the dam of Ribbons (by Manduro), the prolific filly who won the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and the Group 2 Blandford Stakes at the Curragh. The races in which that James Fanshawe-trained chestnut was placed included the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera and Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes, and both she and Soviet Song were also bred by Elite Racing Club.
Kazatzka (by Groom Dancer), a placed half-sister to Baralinka, Sister Act and Soviet Song, has also done her part for the family as her daughter Miss Marjurie (by Marju) won the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes and finished third in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks, both over 12 furlongs at Haydock.
They also have an unraced half-sister called Kalinova (by Red Ransom) and her offspring include Stars Above Me (by Exceed And Excel) who won over six furlongs in England as a two-year-old and later added a five and a half-furlong listed contest at Saratoga.
Kalinka (by Soviet Star), the third dam of Marsha, is out of the Listed Lupe Stakes and Listed Rockfel Stakes heroine Tralthee (by Tromos), a mare whose siblings include Epanoui (by Val De l’Orne), and what makes that one significant is that she is the dam of the the US Grade 3 winners Ask Anita (by Wolf Power) and Club Champ (by Shimatoree).
Marsha is one of the best sprinters in training and it is to be hoped that she will have as successful a career at stud as she has been having on the track.
Darley’s Australian-bred Group 1 star Exceed And Excel (by Danehill) has been a shining light for the reverse shuttle stallions, so far, and he has become well established as a source of high-class sprinters and milers in Europe, as well as in his native land.
One might expect that one of his offspring that was related to horses to who won their Group 1s over 10 furlongs and 15 and a half furlongs would be among his milers, but even families that are noted for producing top winners over middle-distance and staying trips can sometimes have a speedier branch.
The Clive Cox-trained filly Priceless represents such a line, her handicap mark has increased by 12lbs in the past year, and her half-length defeat of Goldream in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock late last month saw it reach a new high of 110.
She needs to improve again if she is to take the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, but it would not be a surprise to see her sneak into the frame.
All of her races were over six furlongs until early September of 2016 when she took a listed contest at Doncaster. She then skated home by five lengths in a similar event at Bath on her seasonal reappearance in April, both over the minimum trip.
Her only other outing between that and Haydock was at Newmarket where she finished a three-length fifth to Marsha in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes, so her record over five furlongs reads as three wins from four starts.
Her racecourse debut was at Haydock in September of her two-year-old season and, although sent off at 20/1, she won by seven lengths. She was favourite for her only two runs that year but was only third to Shaden in the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes at Ayr and then fifth behind Only Mine in a listed contest at Newmarket.
She was unplaced in her first two starts at three but then chased home subsequent Stewards Cup heroine Dancing Star in a valuable heritage handicap at Newmarket in July – only beaten by three-parts of a length. She lost out by a head in another handicap over that course and distance two weeks later and was fourth in a Pontefract listed contest on her final start over six.
Priceless was bred by Biddestone Stud Ltd and she is a 70,000gns graduate of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. She is the tenth foal of her dam, she is a half-sister to a string of winners and they include both the five-time scorer Brazen (by Kyllachy) and the smart Doctor Brown (by Dr Fong), who was short-headed by Excellent Art in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes on his final start in Europe. He was later a blacktype performer in Hong Kong under the name Helene Brilliant.
Her dam, Molly Brown (by Rudimentary), was trained by Richard Hannon to win two of her 14 starts - one over five furlongs and the other over six - and she was well-beaten the only time she tried farther.
The mare’s siblings include four-time mile scorer The Fun Merchant (by Mind Games) and also the multiple French winner Zilzoom (by Zilzal) whose successes came from five and a half furlongs up to a mile and a quarter.
It may seem a bit surprising that the former, the son of a leading sprinter, might have been a miler but it would appear that he got some of the stamina that prevails in the distaff side of the family. Molly Brown and her daughter, however, likely got the speed passed on through Midyan (by Miswaki), the sire of Molly Brown’s unraced dam Sinking.
When bred to the speedy Statoblest (by Ahonoora), Sinking came up with the prolific Italian winner Stato King, whose double-digit tally includes a listed contest. And Molly Brown’s offspring also include Bright Moll, a dual sprint-winning full-sister to The Fun Merchant and dam of the six-furlong Group 3 Chipchase Stakes winner Aeolus (by Araafa).
That talented gelding has a notable half-sister in Hezmah (by Oasis Dream), a six-furlong Newmarket handicap scorer who earned her blacktype when finishing third in a listed contest, over the same trip, on the polytrack at Lingfield on her final start.
This is clearly an established speed branch of the family.
Sinking’s siblings include Fleeting Rainbow (by Rainbow Quest), who finished third in a 10-furlong maiden before going on the produce the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup heroine Rebelline (by Robellino) and Group 2 Blandford Stakes winner Quws (by Robellino).
Their dam, Taplow (by Tap On Wood), was an unraced half-sister the pattern-placed stakes winner Leipzig (by Relkino) but also to Krakow (by Malinowski), the listed-placed dam of Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak winner and Group 1 Irish St Leger third Braashee (by Sadler’s Wells).
His full-brother Adam Smith was a multiple Grade 3 winner in the USA – a miler who stayed 10 furlongs. Their half-sister Ghariba (by Final Straw) won the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes and finished fourth in the Group 1 1000 Guineas, and she is the grandam of Fantastic View (by Distant View) who won the Group 3 Autumn Stakes and was runner-up in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy in 2003.
But even among this family trend for ability from a mile and upwards – the sires of those horses likely played a major role in determining the distance preferences – there is some speed.
When Ghariba was bred to Green Desert (by Danzig), for example, the result was the pattern-placed prolific sprint winner Reinaldo, and Noirmont (by Dominion), an unraced half-sister to Braashee, is the grandam of the Group 2 Champagne Stakes winner and Group 1 July Cup third Etlaala (by Selkirk).
Again, look at the sires – all are horses associated with producing sprinters or milers.
So given the established pattern of the most recent generations of this family – and its branches – and despite having horses such as Rebelline and Braashee on the page, there is no surprise that sprinting is the game for Priceless – a daughter of Exceed And Excel, out of a Rudimentary mare who was produced from a daughter of Midyan.
Whether she has already hit her peak or can improve further remains to be seen, and it will be fascinating too to see how she gets on later as a broodmare as, if she follows her family’s pattern at stud, the distance ranges of her offspring may depend on the influence of their sires.
Blacktype is an important commodity for any filly or mare and if that comes from winning in pattern company then the boost to her perceived value, and to the opportunities that she may be afforded at stud, is greater.
The popular chestnut Creggs Pipes picked up a Group 2 at the Curragh recently, despite having an official rating that still entitles her to run in handicaps. She had already won six of her 21 starts, including a listed contest over a mile at Killarney last summer and just days before adding a premier handicap at Galway.
She was runner-up to Tanaza in the Group 3 Fairy Bridge Stakes a month later, unplaced behind Alice Springs in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, and the beaten by even farther when out of the frame behind Jet Setting in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes over a half-furlong less at Tipperary in early October.
It would have been entirely understandable if she had been retired to the paddocks then, but the Andy Slattery-trained daughter of Rip Van Winkle (by Galileo) returned to action in April, at the age of five.
She was only fifth to Somehow in a listed contest over nine and a half furlongs at Gowran Park on her seasonal reappearance, beaten by five and a half lengths, but then stepped up to 10 furlongs and took third to Turret Rocks in the Group 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Blue Wind Stakes at the Curragh.
It was a fortnight after that when she benefitted from the combination a weak line-up for the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes over a mile and some of her more highly rated rivals performing below expectations, as she made all, under Declan McDonogh, to beat Opal Tiara by three and three-quarter lengths.
Her official rating was raised to 109 after this win, 1lb above her previous career-best figure, and still a long way below what you expect to see in a Group 2 winner.
She has an ambitious list of big-race entries, which includes the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes, and Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes. The first-named represents his best chance, but even if she fails to make the frame in any of those prestigious events, she will still go to stud with an eye-catching profile.
Creggs Pipes was bred by John Hayes, she is among the best representatives of her sire and she is the first foal out of an unraced mare called Sophie Germain (by Indian Ridge). Her grandam, Nydrion (by Critique), won the Group 1 Oaks d'Italia and her third dam, Nabila (by Foolish Pleasure), was a winning half-sister to several winners.
Those siblings included the Grade 3-placed multiple stakes winner Forty Weight (by Quadratic), whose stakes-placed daughter Forty Fran (by El Gran Senor) produced the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity winner and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Square Eddie (by Smart Strike).
Nabila was also a half-sister to Turn Down The Heat (by Key To The Mint), a three-time winner whose Grade 2-placed and stakes-winning daughter Flying Heat (by Private Account) was the dam of the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap heroine Pompeii (by Broad Brush).
Flying Heat, who won nine times and was placed 19 times from 34 starts, was also responsible for the Grade 3 winner Omi (by Wild Again) and for dual listed scorer Ground Storm (by Summer Squall), she is the grandam of Take The Cake (by Fly So Free), who won the Grade 3 Forward Gal Stakes and finished second in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes, and third dam of the prolific listed sprint winner Free As A Bird (by Hard Spun).
Some of those horses are remotely connected to Creggs Pipes, but their presence on page shows that this is distaff line that is no stranger to blacktype success and that, combined with being a pattern-winning granddaughter of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) will make her a very interesting broodmare prospect.
One afternoon in the summer of 1993 I left the press area of the stands at Leopardstown feeling saddened by what I had just seen. A two-year-old filly I'd liked in the parade ring pulled-up, clearly badly injured, in the Listed Rochestown Stakes – her fourth start - and the end result for her seemed inevitable.
Scroll on a year and a half later, to my first morning as a student on the Irish National Stud's famous management course, a cold January day made warmer by what, or rather who I found in the farm's Kildare Yard barn.
The foreman misunderstood my surprise and my question “do you mean the Bluebird filly?” when she gave me the name of the next mare I was to bring out to the teaser, and it was over the next few weeks that I learned what an amazing individual their homebred chestnut Ridge Pool was.
Her injury at Leopardstown was, as it looked from the stands, to her pelvis, but thanks to her wonderful temperament and the dedication of the team at the stud, she made a full recovery after a lengthy period of convalescence that included some considerable restrictions temporarily placed on her ability to move about.
'Ridgey', the sweet-natured live model for practicals on tacking and bandaging, the frequent depositor of partially chewed feed in my jacket pocket – a garment she appeared to favour as an ideal scratching tool – was among the favourites of all of the horses with whom I've worked, and although she is long gone now, she left a lasting impression, both on me and on the racing scene.
Ridge Pool's only sibling was the stakes-placed nine-time winner Captain Le Saux (by Persian Heights), and she had just three foals of her own, but the last of them was Caumshinaun (by Indian Ridge), the top-rated older mare in Ireland in 2001.
That chestnut won five times for the Dermot Weld stable, including the Listed Platinum Stakes over a mile at Cork, and went on to become a prolific producer at stud.
Her finest hour in that role came in 2006 when her daughter Nightime (by Galileo), who was owned and bred by the late Marguerite Weld, ran away with the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh, and she became the grandam of a top-level star when Zhukova (by Fastnet Rock) trounced the boys with a six-length victory in the recent Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park.
Zhukova, who has also won the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes, Group 3 Kilternan Stakes and three listed contests for the Weld stable, is a daughter of Nightime.
She is reportedly being aimed at several major targets in 2017, including the Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and with the opportunities she has earned and will be afforded at stud, she could extend the family's Group 1 record to at least one more generation.
One of the best-bred fillies in training gave her future paddocks value another boost when easily winning the Group 2 Charm Spirit Dahlia Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket this afternoon. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Somehow (by Fastnet Rock) took over the lead from the front-running Elbereth at the furlong pole and pulled away to win by three and a quarter lengths on fast ground.
Just one week earlier she won a listed contest over a half-furlong farther at Gowran Park, a performance that came a month after she was beaten half a length by Czabo in the Group 3 Park Express Stakes over a mile at Naas.
Somehow, who was bred by the partnership of Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt, was third to Pretty Perfect in a seven-furlong Leopardstown maiden on her only start as a juvenile, and got off the mark first time out at three, taking a 10-furlong maiden on heavy ground at that same venue.
She followed that with a half-length win in the Listed Cheshire Oaks, was then a well-beaten fourth behind Minding in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, and finished an eight and a half-length fifth to Seventh Heaven in the Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
A few weeks later and wearing a visor for the first time, she was beaten a neck by Best In The World in the Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes over 12 furlongs at Cork, but since then she has dropped back in trip with a seven-length defeat of Epsom Icon in the nine-furlong Group 3 Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes at the Curragh her remaining start.
Her sire is well known in both hemispheres – a prolific classic and Group 1 source – and her dam Alexandrova (by Sadler's Wells) will be remembered by most as she won both the Group 1 Oaks and Group 1 Irish Oaks in 2006.
Alexandrova is also the dam of the Group 2-winning stayer Alex My Boy (by Dalakhani), her daughter Drops (by Kingmambo) is the dam of the useful colt Majoris (by Frankel), and her own siblings include the Derby-placed stallion Masterofthehorse (by Sadler's Wells) and Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Magical Romance (by Barathea). That speedy star is the dam of the Group 2-placed Australian stakes winner Tall Ship (by Sea The Stars).
Shouk (by Shirley Heights), the winning grandam of Somehow, is a half-sister to the listed race scorer and Group 3 Park Hill Stakes runner-up Puce (by Darshaan) and also to one-time scorer Sitara (by Salse), both of whom have caught the eye at stud.
The latter is the dam of Group 3 Chester Vase winner and Group 1 Irish Derby runner-up Golden Sword (by High Chaparral) and grandam of the Group 2-placed Saratoga listed race winner Julie's Love (by Ad Valorem), while Puce is the dam of both Group 2 Lancashire Oaks winner and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Pongee (by Barathea) and dual listed scorer Lion Sands (by Montjeu).
Puce is also notable as being the grandam of Group 3 Prix de Lutece winner Pacifique (by Montjeu), of Group 2-placed stakes winner Pinzolo (by Monsun) and of listed scorer Prudenzia (by Dansili), and the latter is the dam of the Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine and Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) runner-up Chicquita (by Montjeu).
These are the highlights of the first few of generations of Somehow's pedigree and, with connections like these, it is no surprise that she has become such a high-class performer.
Her string of big-race entries includes the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, and Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes, and although further improvement is required to be up to winning any of those, this 113-rated bay has plenty of ability.
Brando was placed in the final three of his five starts as a juvenile, was gelded soon afterwards and then ran just three times in his second season. He won a maiden by four lengths at Hamilton and a six-furlong handicap at Haydock that September, and he was rated a useful 88.
Timeform had him on 97p at that point, but the progress that the Kevin Ryan-trained chestnut made at four saw him rocket up the rankings, reaching 116 in the official handicap and an impressive 125 from Timeform, the mark of a Group 1 calibre horse.
He was only beaten by a head in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, followed that with a short-head victory in the Group 3 Coral Charge at Sandown, and then chased home Mecca's Angel in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes over five furlongs at the Curragh before finishing unplaced behind that same star in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
A month later he defied 9st 10lbs to beat Growl by one and a quarter lengths in the Ayr Gold Cup, so it was no surprise that he ran so well in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot several weeks later, beaten a length and a short-head by The Tin Man and Growl.
Brando made his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket last month, justifying favouritism with a one-length defeat of Ornate in the Group 3 Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes over six furlongs on fast ground and he looks set for another good year.
Brando is one of 133 stakes winners for Group 1 star and Cheveley Park Stud stallion Pivotal (by Polar Falcon), a classic sire whose tally includes 26 individuals who have won at least once at the highest level.
He was bred by Car Colston Hall Stud, he is a 115,000gns graduate of the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale, and he a gelded son of Argent Du Bois (by Silver Hawk), a multiple placed mare with some famous relations and notable descendants.
In addition to her pattern-winning son, the mare has given us Ticker Tape (by Royal Applause) and Sant Elena (by Efisio), the latter being the stakes-placed dam of Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and Group 1 Prix Morny star Reckless Abandon (by Exchange Rate). He has a tiny sole crop to represent him, now aged two.
Ticker Tape won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Stakes at Keeneland and the Grade 1 American Oaks Invitational at Hollywood Park. She was placed in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes, and her grandson War Decree (by War Front) won last year's Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Argent Du Bois is out of an unplaced mare called Wiener Wald (by Woodman) and that dam of nine winners from 16 foals has six blacktype offspring. Crowded House (by Rainbow Quest) won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, his full-brother On Reflection was a pattern-placed stakes winner in France, and the other four are stakes-placed.
Riotous Applause (by Royal Applause) is one of that quartet and she has made a good start to her broodmare career as her first six foals include four winers, one of whom is the stakes-winning sprinter Invincible Warrior (by Invincible Spirit).
Vienna Affair (by Red Ransom), a non-winning daughter of Wiener Wald, has done her part by coming up with the Grade 2 Lake George Stakes winner Daring Dancer (by Empire Maker) and Grade 3-placed listed race winner Hamp (by Sky Mesa) in the USA.
The next three dams will be well known to many as they are Chapel Of Dreams (by Northern Dancer), Terlingua (by Secretariat) and Crimson Saint (by Crimson Satin).
The first-named won the Grade 2 Palomar Handicap and Grade 2 Wilshire Handicap as a four-year-old, was runner-up in the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap and Grade 1 Ramona Handicap, and her list of blacktype descendants also includes the US Grade 2 winners Tale Of A Champion (by Tale Of The Cat), Postponed (by Summer Squall), and Juniper Pass (by Lemon Drop Kid).
Grade 1-placed multiple Grade 2 star Terlingua is, of course, the mare who gave us the Grade 1 winner and multiple US champion sire Storm Cat (by Storm Bird). His 177 individual stakes winners include 35 Group/Grade 1 stars and the exploits of his descendants, on the track and at stud, have made him one of the most influential stallions of recent decades.
Record-breaking sprinter Crimson Saint, on the other hand, gave us the brilliant Royal Academy (by Nijinsky), the Vincent O'Brien-trained classic-placed Group 1 July Cup and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile hero who achieved a tally of 168 stakes-winning offspring, 22 of whom won at least once at the highest level.
Dual classic star Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) has made a good start to his stallion career at Ballylinch Stud and his first three crops have so far yielded 28 individual stakes winners, headed by the Group 1 stars Belardo, Jemayel, and The Right Man.
They also include Steel Of Madrid, the Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old who won the Group 3 bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket this afternoon, beating Folkswood by half a length. A second-crop son of his sire, the colt is a 120,000gns graduate of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and this was his fourth win from a dozen starts.
Last year he won the Listed Fairway Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newmarket, beating Linguistic by one and a half lengths, and although he did not make the frame in any of his subsequent outings, he was not disgraced in pattern events won by standouts such as Hawkbill, Ulysees, and Almanzor.
Steel Of Madrid was bred by Jeddah Bloodstock, he is the second foal out of the one-time scorer Bibury (by Royal Applause) and his now two-year-old Born To Sea (by Invincible Spirit) half-brother made 52,000gns from Book 3 of last year's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
Bibury is a half-sister to the Group 1 Gold Cup and Group 3 Long Distance Cup star Rite Passage (by Giant's Causeway), who is spending his retirement as a 'Living Legend' at the Irish National Stud, and she is out of Dahlia's Krissy (by Kris S), a stakes-placed five-time winner whose listed-placed dam Dahlia's Image (by Lyphard) was a daughter of the great Dahlia (by Vaguely Noble).
Many top-class fillies disappoint at stud but Dahlia was an exception, a dual champion racehorse who Timeform rated 132 at three and 135 at four, and who went on to become of the most successful broodmares of all time.
Her 15 wins featured the Group 1 Irish Oaks, Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, Grade 1 Washington DC International, and two editions of both the Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Group 1 Benson & Hedges Gold Cup (now Juddmonte International Stakes), and of her eight winning offspring, four won at the highest level.
Dahar (by Lyphard) won the Grade 1 Prix Lupin, Grade 1 Century Handicap, Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap and Grade 1 San Luis Rey Stakes, Rivlia (by Riverman) won that latter contest plus the Grade 1 Hollywood Invitational Handicap and Grade 1 Carleton F Burke Handicap, and Delegant (by Grey Dawn II) got his top win in the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap.
Dahlia's Dreamer (by Theatrical) won the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap, Llandaff (by Lyphard) is the Grade 2 Jersey Derby-winning sire of Group 1 scorer Vespone, and Wajd (by Northern Dancer) won both the Group 2 Grand Prix d'Evry and Group 3 Prix Minerve before going on to a notable career at stud. She was also third in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks.
The best of Wajd's offspring is the Group 1 St Leger star and Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up Nedawi (by Rainbow Quest), who went on to sire Grade 1 winners in Brazil, and her sons also include the ill-fated Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes scorer Wall Street (by Mr Prospector).
Fitful Skies (by Dubawi) was her most notable daughter on the track, winning a Group 3 contest at Hannover and taking the runners-up spot in the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, but her one-time winner Whist (by Mr Prospector) has contributed to the family's honour by being the grandam of the Australian-bred full-brothers Mission Critical and Brilliant Light.
The former won the Group 1 Whakanui Stud International Stakes over 10 furlongs at Te Rapa, in New Zealand, and the latter is a Group 2 Ajax Stakes winner who finished third in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick. They are sons of the top-class international performer Fantastic Light (by Rahy).
Dahlia is also the dam of Miss Dahlia (by Strawberry Road), the unraced dam of Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap winner and Grade 1 Gamely Stakes third Capital Plan (by Rock Hard Ten).
With family connections like these, there is no surprise that Steel Of Madrid made a six-figure sum as a yearling or that he has become a pattern winner. He was rated 106 before today's seasonal debut, he holds an entry in next month's Group 2 Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes over 12 furlongs at Newmarket, and it will be interesting to see how high in the rankings he can climb.
Juvenile champion and impressive Group 1 2000 Guineas star Zafonic (by Gone West) compiled a good record at stud and he has several sons getting stakes and pattern winners, including at Group 1 level – most notably international classic sire Iffraaj.
His Group 3-winning full-brother Zamindar also got a chance at stud, and although he is without a sire son to carry on his line, he did some up with with Group 1-winning daughters.
One of those is Zenda, the classic-winning dam of brilliant miler and popular young Banstead Manor Stud stallion Kingman (by Invincible Spirit), but his standout performer was the undefeated Arc and classic heroine Zarkava, and she is the dam of the classic-placed pattern winner Zarak (by Dubawi).
Zamindar's sons of note include the prolific Air Pilot, and Lady Cobham's homebred is now a triple Group 3 scorer following his narrow defeat of Success Days in the Dr Vincent O'Brien Centenary Alleged Stakes at Naas eight days ago.
He got up on the line to score by a head from the talented grey and had the classic-placed US Army Ranger three and a quarter lengths farther back in third, with Stellar Mass also performing below expectations in fourth.
All four of his blacktype victories have come over 10 furlongs, two of them on good ground, last week's one on was on yielding, and last summer he beat subsequent Group 1 scorer Elliptique by two lengths in the Group 3 La Coupe on soft at Chantilly. The 113-rated gelding is trained by Ralph Beckett and his career earnings stand at just over £260,000.
Air Pilot is the best of several winners out of one-time scorer Countess Sybil (by Dr Devious), a mare whose string of successful siblings includes Mint Crisp (by Green Desert). That five-time winner stayed a little farther than most by her famous sire, getting her top win in the Group 3 Grand Prix de Vichy over 10 furlongs.
The best of her offspring, however, was the Undeterred (by Zafonic), whose 11 wins included the Listed Rockingham Stakes over six furlongs. In fact, nine of his wins came over that trip and, although his form deteriorated, he stepped up in trip later in his career and was successful over eight and a half furlongs at Wolverhampton and in an 11 and a half-furlong handicap at Windsor, both at the age of 10.
Group 3 Park Stakes heroine Countess Candy (by Great Nephew) is the grandam of Air Pilot, she was a half-sister to listed scorer and Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes third Countess Tully (by Hotfoot) and also to Intimidate (by Formidable), who was runner-up in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes and Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes as a juvenile and third to Prince Of Birds in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas the following spring.
Countess Tully went on to produce six winners at stud, most notably Russian Countess (by Nureyev), the stakes-placed dam of the Group 1-placed stakes winners Alboostan (by Sabrehill) and Crown Of Light (by Mtoto). The Group 1s in which the latter was placed were the Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks.
Russian Countess is also the grandam of multiple Group 2-placed stayer, dual listed scorer and prolific gelding Balkan Knight (by Selkirk) and of Charlie Farnsbarns (by Cape Cross), the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy runner-up whose five wins included the Group 3 Darley Stakes at Newmarket.
Countess Tully, on the other hand, is also the grandam of Orange Sunset (by Roanoake), who won the Listed Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran Park before going on to become a Grade 2-placed stakes winner across the Atlantic.
Zepha, a three-time winning full-sister to Countess Tully, also did her part for the family as her descendants include the speedy pattern-placed Irish stakes winners Sunset Reigns (by Taufan) and Irish Jig (by Celtic Swing).
If you go back farther then you find that the fifth dam of Air Pilot is Kandy Sauce (by Hard Sauce), the Queen Anne Stakes and Atalanta Stakes heroine of 1956, a three-year-old campaign for which Timeform rated her 129.
Regular racegoers could be forgiven for underestimating the prospects of Diamond Fields in Sunday's Group 3 Gladness Stakes at Naas as last time she had been seen in action in Ireland was when finishing a four and a half-length fourth behind Divine in a Group 3 sprint at the Curragh in early June.
Before then she had won just once from six starts, chased home Washington DC in a six-furlong listed contest at Navan, and been well-beaten on her only attempt over seven. But all of that was before she began to travel abroad.
First stop was Royal Ascot where, at 33/1, she chased home the subsequent Group 1-placed pattern winner Persuasive (rec. 2lbs) in the Listed Sandringham Handicap over a mile on soft ground.
Then it was off to Saratoga where, on her second run, she was third to Time And Motion in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes over nine and a half furlongs on firm turf, and, a month later, she chased home On Leave in the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes over the same trip at Belmont Park, again on firm ground.
Sunday's win was both her first start since that mid-September run, and her first for new trainer Fozzy Stack, and she claimed a notable scalp with her half-length defeat of Alice Springs (gave 5lbs).
It seems unlikely that she could beat that chestnut Group 1 star again, especially over the latter's favoured mile trip, but Diamond Fields has plenty of ability and is good enough to win again at least at the same level.
The four-year-old was bred by Sweetmans Bloodstock and she is a daughter of the Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill) whose handful of shuttle-years at Coolmore Stud resulted in the Group 1 stars Qualify, Diamondsandrubies, Intricately, Rivet, and, best of all, Fascinating Rock.
Her dam, Question Times (by Shamardal), earned her blacktype when runner-up in the Listed Bosra Sham Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket as a juvenile, and the mare is a half-sister to Sunday Times (by Holy Roman Emperor), a Group 3 Sceptre Stakes winner who was a half-length runner-up to Lightening Pearl in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes.
Their dam, Forever Times (by So Factual), won six times from five to seven furlongs and is a half-sister to three sprinters of note. Brave Prospector (by Oasis Dream) is a Group 3-placed prolific winner, Majestic Times (by Bluebird) got his best win in the Listed Abergwaun Stakes over the minimum trip at Cork, and the third sibling is Welsh Emperor.
That gelded son of Emperor Jones (by Danzig) won 13 times including the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes, Group 3 Bentinck Stakes, and two listed events, and his string of pattern race placings featured twice taking the runners-up spot in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret, to Caradak and Toylsome respectively.
These are among the 10 offspring of the once-raced maiden Simply Times (by Dodge), one of those rare mares with a 100% record of winners to foals born.
Her dam, Nesian's Burn (by Big Burn), was a listed-placed five-time winner from two to four years of age in the USA, and her siblings include the listed scorer Bucky's Baby (by Buckaroo) and Nesian's Dancer (by Sovereign Dancer), the unraced dam of dual listed race winner Sejm Run, a gelded son of the unraced Danzig (by Northern Dancer) stallion Sejm.
Nesian's Burn, in turn, is out of the unraced Marnesian's Cross (by Sun Cross), which makes her a full-sister to the 22-time US winner Catch If You Can and half-sister to Aristocratic Cross (by An Eldorado), a grandson of Vaguely Noble (by Vienna) whose impressive tally of 33 wins from 106 starts included several listed events.
This is a family that has an established history of producing blacktype horses and also of coming up with some who are both durable and prolific. All of this boosts the prospects of Diamond Fields doing well at stud, whenever her current and admirable racing career comes to an end.
The new Irish flat season, on turf, got underway recently at Naas and the opening meeting hosted the country's first pattern event of the year, the Group 3 Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes over a mile.
The ground was on the heavy side of soft, the time slow in comparison to the other races over the same trip that day, and so the form may be unreliable, but the winner's performance gave her future paddocks value quite a boost.
Czabo was already valuable before this success. A winner on the second of her two starts as a juvenile, she announced her blacktype potential first time out at three when taking the one-mile Esher Cup (handicap) at Sandown by two and a quarter lengths.
She was a well-beaten fourth on her next two starts, the latter of which was the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, won by Jet Setting, but then won a listed contest over a mile on soft ground at Deauville in early June.
She came home last behind Qemah in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot on her only other start last season and beat just one home in a listed race at Saint-Cloud on her first outing of 2017.
Czabo has had her limitations well-exposed, and her half-length defeat of Somehow at Naas and her official rating remained at 99 following this success, but she is a good advertisement for her sire and has the potential to produce one or more offspring who could surpass her achievements on the track.
Czabo was bred by Norman Court Stud, in whose ownership she raced at two and three, and it is at that farm that her classic-winning sire stands.
Sixties Icon, the Group 1 St Leger-winning son of classic stars Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Love Divine (by Diesis), has produced a surprising number of offspring who excel in the six to 10-furlong range and although awaiting his first top-level winner in the northern hemisphere, has supplied the dual Argentine Grade 1 star Sixties Song.
Czabo is the first foal out of Fiumicino (by Danehill Dancer), a one-time scorer who earned her blacktype when runner-up in the Listed Masaka Stakes over a mile at Kempton. The mare's second produce is a two-year-old full-brother to her talented daughter: he has been named Billy Ray.
Fiumicino is the best of three winners from nine foals out of the unplaced Valhalla Moon (by Sadler's Wells) and that mare is, in turn, a half-sister to four blacktype earners produced from Akuna Bay (by Mr Prospector), a winning relation to a string of Group 1 performers.
It is the first three generations of her family tree that, obviously, make the greatest contribution to the genetic make-up of Czabo – who is inbred 3x3 to Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) – but what's in the fourth and fifth ones cannot be ignored, even if just for pure academic interest.
They show that the roots from which her somewhat unremarkable recent distaff line comes are strong, and with the opportunities that her new owners are likely to give her at stud, she may be capable of giving her branch new strength.
Dark Lomond (by Lomond) is the fourth dam of Czabo and she was the champion three-year-old stayer in Ireland in 1988 after her victory in the Group 1 Irish St Leger over 14 furlongs at the Curragh. She also won the Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at the same venue, plus a listed contest at Phoenix Park, and she was runner-up in the Group 3 Meld Stakes.
Dark Lomond only had five foals and, in addition to Czabo's third dam Akuna Bay, they included Gothic Dream (by Nashwan). That John Oxx-trained bay didn't win a stakes race but she was runner-up in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 2 Europachampionat, and third in the Group 1 Irish Oaks.
Gothic Dream's best son is the Curragh and Fairyhouse listed scorer and Group 1 Irish St Leger runner-up Pugin (by Darshaan), and her stakes-winning daughter Chartres (by Danehill) is the dam of Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup victor Certerach (by Halling). She is also responsible for Sogno Verde (by Green Desert), who is the winning dam of Lilbourne Lad (by Acclamation).
He showed notably different aptitudes to those of his best-known relations, possessing his sire's speed rather than the family's stamina, but failed to make the grade at stud. On the track he was a leading juvenile who won the Group 2 Railway Stakes and Listed Rochestown Stakes and was runner-up in both the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes.
Each fifth-generation member on the pedigree chart contributes only 3.25%, which is why going back that far, or farther, is of little meaning beyond academic interest, and when the fifth dam of Czabo is a mare as well-known as Arkadina (by Ribot) then it would be remiss to fail to mention her.
She won the Athasi Stakes, was placed in each of the Oaks, Irish Oaks, and Irish 1000 Guineas, and in addition to her Group 1-winning daughter Dark Lomond, she was the dam of Group 2 Blandford Stakes winner South Atlantic (by Mill Reef), Group 3 Silken Glider Stakes winner Forlene (by Forli), and Listed Ulster Derby scorer Encyclopedia (by Reviewer).
She was out of champion three-year-old and US Broodmare of the Year Natashka (by Dedicate), was a full-sister to the pattern-winning stayer Blood Royal, and half-sister to Group 1 Joe McGrath Memorial Stakes winner Gregorian (by Graustark), and her siblings also included the Grade 2 winner Truly Bound (by In Reality), Grade 3 scorer Ivory Wand (by Sir Ivor; dam of Group 1 star Gold And Ivory, by Key To The Mint), and Tash (by Never Bend) who was the winning dam of Group 1-placed Group 2 scorer and somewhat successful sire Mukaddamah (by Storm Bird).
He's back! Jack Hobbs, the Timeform 129-rated star who was a five-length winner of the Group 1 Irish Derby at the Curragh two years ago, easily beat Seventh Heaven and Postponed to take the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic in style over 12 furlongs at Meydan this afternoon.
One of a growing number of top-level winners who began their racing careers on the all-weather tracks, Godolphin's five-year-old made his debut in an eight and a half furlong contest at Wolverhampton in late December of his juvenile year and followed that with a hugely impressive 12-length victory in a 10-furlong handicap on turf at Sandown four months later.
Such was the impression he created that day that he shot to prominence in the ante-post markets for the Group 1 Investec Derby, and after losing his unbeaten record when runner-up to Golden Horn in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York next time out, he chased home that same star at Epsom before his easy classic success in Ireland.
After the Curragh, Jack Hobbs won the Group 3 September Stakes on the polytrack at Kempton, he finished third to Fascinating Rock and Found in the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot, but then apparent disaster struck when he was pulled-up and dismounted over a furlong from home in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on his four-year-old reappearance.
The injury was a stress fracture of his pelvis and not only did he make it back to the track just five and a half months later, but his first run after the absence was a third place finish to Almanzor and Found in the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Today's victory brings his record to five wins from 10 starts and the manner of it suggests that he could be one of the brightest stars of 2017.
Jack Hobbs was bred by Willie Carson's Minster Stud, he is the best of four Group 1 stars and three millionnaires by the late Dalham Hall Stud stallion Halling (by Diesis), and he is out of a three-time US winner called Swain's Gold (by Swain).
The mare has produced three other multiple winners, including Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes third Niceofyoutotellme (by Hernando), and she is out of the prolific Golden Pond (by Don't Forget Me), a seven-time scorer who was a listed race winner in France before going on to add the Grade 2 Orchid Handicap and Grade 3 Suwanee River Handicap in the USA.
Golden Pond's offspring also include Brazilian (by Stravinsky), who is the stakes-winning dam of the dual listed scorer La Malaguena (by English Channel), and she was one of four winners out of an unraced mare called Golden Bloom (by Main Reef).
The quartet also included Group 3 Chester Vase third Golden Wells (by Sadler's Wells), but is is their non-winning half-sister Ceanothus (by Bluebird) who is most notable and that is because of her record at stud.
The most prolific of her progeny is the eight-time scorer Competitor (by Danzero), but Pollenator (by Motivator) won the Group 2 May Hill Stakes as a two-year-old and Wedding Party (by Groom Dancer), who was runner-up in the Listed Radley Stakes at that age, is the dam of three blacktype earners, one of whom is last year's Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes runner-up Rosebride (by Mayson).
These are the highlights of the first three generations of the pedigree of Jack Hobbs, but if you go back another step then you will find that he is not the only Group 1 star in the family.
That's because, in addition to being a half-sister to the Group 3 Matron Stakes winner Spring Daffodil (by Pharly), Golden Bloom was a half-sister to the Group 1 Australian Derby winner Dance The Day Away (by Seattle Dancer), and her dam, Daffodil Day (by Welsh Pageant), was a half-sister to Connaught (by St Paddy).
One of many top horses who ran in the famous Jim Joel colours, Connaught chased home Sir Ivor in the Derby at Epsom, he took the Eclipse Stakes in record time, won two editions of the Prince of Wales's Stakes, and also had the King Edward VII Stakes and Great Voltigeur Stakes on his tally, achieving a career-best Timeform rating of 130 at the age of five.
His offspring included the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks winner Connaught Bridge, Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois scorer Lirung, Guineas and Derby-placed pattern scorer Remainder Man, and the high-class filly Sauceboat, to name just a few, and this success augurs well for the prospects of Jack Hobbs when he eventually takes up his place at stud.
Nagaika (by Goyama), who was the dam of Connaught, is the fifth dam of Jack Hobbs, her wins included the Solario Stakes, Princess Royal Stakes and Lonsdale Stakes, and she was rated 117 by Timeform.
It is great to see Jack Hobbs back in action at the highest level and this dual Group 1 star should be one of the top contenders for all of the best middle-distance events in Europe in 2017. Given all that he has achieved, it is remarkable to think that he made just 60,000gns from Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
Three Troikas (by Lyphard) was both Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old in Europe in 1979 following an outstanding season in which she swept the Group 1 series of Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Prix Saint-Alary, Prix Vermeille and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. She was also runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks).
The Timeform 133-rated filly easily beat Le Marmot and Troy in the Arc, she won the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt at four in a season that paled in comparison with her classic year yet earned her a Timeform mark of 128, and she went to stud with high expectations.
She produced only four winners from seven foals, headed by the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs winner and Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary runner-up Three Angels (by Halo), she is the grandam of the listed race winners Thames (by Fabulous Dancer) and Three Wrens (by Second Empire), but one of her great-grandsons played a starring role at Meydan this afternoon.
The Right Man, who is trained in France by Didier Guillemin, narrowly won the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments, beating 66/1 Long On Value by a nose in the six-furlong turf event and with big-race favourite Ertijaal one and a quarter lengths farther back in third, a nose ahead of Jungle Cat.
The five-year-old is a gelded son of Group 1 star and Ballylinch Stud stallion Lope De Vega (by Shamardal), he was bred by Anita Wigan and he is a €32,000 graduate of the Arqana October Yearling Sale in Deauville.
Today's win was his ninth, he was third to Jungle Cat in a six-furlong conditions event at Meydan on his seasonal reappearance earlier this month, and he rounded off 2016 with victories in the Listed Prix de Bonneval over five and a half furlongs and Group 3 Prix de Seine-et-Oise over six, both at Maisons-Laffitte.
The Right Man is the best of six winners out of one-time scorer Three Owls (by Warning), three of those siblings are multiple scorers, and two are blacktype earners, with the more notable of the latter being Listed Pretty Polly Stakes runner-up Three Moons (by Montjeu) because she is the dam of the Group 3-placed Listed Godolphin Stakes winner Tashaar (by Sea The Stars).
Three Terns (by Arctic Tern), the grandam of The Right Man, was one of Three Troikas' four winners on the track. Oregon (by Halo) was another, and he was runner-up in the Grade 3 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct, but one of their unplaced siblings deserves a mention too.
Three Secrets (by Secretariat) shared none of the considerable ability of her famous parents, but her granddaughter Thanks Note (by Sakura Bakushin O) won the Group 2 Keio Hai Spring Cup over seven furlongs at Tokyo as a five-year-old.
Today's victory makes The Right Man an interesting contender for Europe's top sprints of 2017 and it made him the third winner at the highest level for his young sire, following Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary heroine Jemayel and new Kildangan Stud stallion Belardo, who won the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes.
The stayers' division in Europe looks set for a competitive season if we are to judge its prospects from the outcome of the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored By Al Tayer Motors at Meydan this afternoon.
Beautiful Romance, who has excelled since moving up to longer trips, looked set for victory when going clear in the straight, but Vazirabad and Sheikhzayedroad were closing steadily, with the former catching the mare close to the finish to win by a neck.
There was a gap of one and a quarter lengths back to Sheikhzayedroad in third with Big Orange another half-length behind in fourth, and they finished four and a half lengths and more clear of the rest. The race was over two miles and the turf was yielding.
This was an alteration to the placings from when the first three met in last month's Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 14 furlongs at the same venue as, on that occasion, Vazirabad failed to catch Beautiful Romance, who had again taken up the running three from home. She landed the spoils by one and a half lengths and Sheikhzayedroad was again third, that time finishing three and a quarter lengths behind the Aga Khan's homebred gelding.
Vazirabad is trained in France by Alain de Royer-Dupre and he has now won 10 of his 15 starts. These include last year's Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup, in which he beat Big Orange by a neck, plus two editions of the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak, among other pattern events.
The millionaire is a son of the top-class international performer Manduro (by Monsun), who stands at Haras du Logis, and he is both the seventh foal and one of seven winners out of the talented Visorama (by Linamix).
She won the Group 3 Prix de Flore and Listed Prix Charles Laffitte, she was runner-up in the Group 2 Prix Corrida and third in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, and her successful septet also includes the pattern-placed stakes-winner Visoriyna (by Dansili).
That filly, who is a year older than Vazirabad, is also a member of the Aga Khan's powerful broodmare band and her first foal is a Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) filly born 14 months ago. Visorama, on the other hand, did not have a foal between the arrival of Vazirabad and of a Sinndar (by Grand Lodge) colt born in early February 2016.
There is no surprise that Visorama has done well at stud as she is one of six blacktype horses among nine winners for her own dam, Visor (by Mr Prospector), a roll of honour that is headed by the Group 1 Prix de la Foret scorer Varenar (by Rock Of Gibraltar).
Half-brother Visindar (by Sinndar) won the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe, Visorama's stakes-winning full-brother Visionary was third in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), and Visionnaire (by Linamix) notched up a string of pattern-race placings that included third in both the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary.
Visionnaire is also carrying on the family's good name at stud as she is responsible for the Group 3 Prix La Rochette and dual listed race winner Visionario (by Spinning World) and for the pattern-placed pair Visiyani (by Rock Of Gibraltar) and Vison Celebre (by Peintre Celebre), as well as being the grandam of last year's Group 3 Prix La Force runner-up Viserano (by Rock Of Gibraltar).
Visor, who is a half-sister to a dual listed race winner in the USA, is also the dam of Viyadana (by Azamour), who is the unraced dam of last year's Japanese nine-furlong Group 3 scorer Danon Major (by Daiwa Major).
Look (by Spectacular Bid), the winning third dam of Vazirabad, is out of the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap and Grade 3 Chrysanthemum Handicap winner Tuerta (by Forli) and that makes her a half-sister to the tragically ill-fated US champion three-year-old Swale (by Seattle Slew).
He was a leading juvenile of 1983, when he won the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes, Grade 1 Young America Stakes, Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity and Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes, and he secured his championship title with victories in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes the following year. But just a week after the latter success, the Claiborne Farm homebred had a fatal heart attack.
The European turf season has begun again and Saint-Cloud hosted three blacktype events on Sunday, with the Group 3 Prix Exbury being the highlight. Cloth Of Stars, who was running for the first time in eight months, won the 10-furlong contest comfortably, giving 4lbs and a one and a quarter-length beating to Star Victory. Godolphin's four-year-old is trained by Andre Fabre.
He beat Vedevani by one and three-quarter lengths in the Group 3 Prix des Chenes over a mile at Longchamp and chased home Robin Of Navan in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a juvenile and was also a Group 1-placed dual winner from four starts at three.
That campaign began with an odds-on success in the Group 3 Prix La Force over 10 furlongs on heavy and then he beat Robin Of Navan by two and a half lengths in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe over the same course and distance, this time on good ground.
He was among the market leaders when finishing unplaced behind Harzand in the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom and then finished third to Mont Ormel (now known as Helene Charisma) and Red Verdon in the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, beaten by one and a quarter lengths and a neck.
Cloth Of Stars was bred by Peter Anastasiou and he is among 34 stakes winners that have come from the early crops of Timeform 140-rated champion Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross), whose offspring also include the aforementioned dual Derby hero Harzand plus additional Group 1 aces Sea The Moon, Taghrooda, Vazira, and Zelzal.
The Aga Khan-homebred Harzand has joined his sire at Gilltown Stud, Sea The Moon is at Lanwades Stud (yearlings in 2017) and it can be expected that a stallion role will be found for the dual Group 1-placed Group 2 winner Cloth Of Stars whenever his racing days come to an end.
He is a 400,000gns graduate of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, he is inbred 4x3 to Mr Prospector (by Raise a Native) and is the third foal of an unraced mare called Strawberry Fledge (by Kingmambo).
She is a full-sister to Light Shift, who beat Peeping Fawn by half a length in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, chased that star home in the Group 1 Irish Oaks and finished third to her in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes.
Light Shift was represented on the track last year by her Group 3 Gordon Stakes-winning son Ulysses (by Galileo), a Sir Michael Stoute-trained chestnut who was unplaced in the Derby but rounded off his year with an honourable fourth to Highland Reel in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.
The classic heroine is a half-sister to the Hector Protector (by Woodman)-sired pair Shiva and Limnos. The former was a champion older mare and Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup scorer, while the latter got his best wins in the Group 2 Prix Foy and Group 2 Prix Jean de Chaudennay.
Their non-winning dam Lingerie (by Shirley Heights) is also responsible for the Group 2-placed stakes winner Burning Sunset (by Caerleon), dam of the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt winner Smoking Sun (by Smart Strike), who was runner-up to Dan Excel in the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Stakes at Kranji, and also of the Group 2-placed stakes winner Zhiyl (by Henrythenavigator).
Burning Sunset is arguably better known as being the grandam of the Group 1 Derby runner-up and subsequent US champion and four-time Grade 1 star Main Sequence (by Aldebaran), a gelded son of her pattern-placed daughter Ikat (by Pivotal). The horse he chased home at Epsom was Camelot.
Lingerie is also the grandam of the Group 1-placed pattern scorer Magadan (by High Chaparral), a French-based stallion who is off the mark with his first crop, and she is a half-sister to the dam of the Brazilian Grade 1 stars Nonno Luigi (by Dubai Dust) and Jeune-Turc (by Know Heights), the latter a champion three-year-old.
The third dam of Sunday's Group 3 scorer is Northern Trick (by Northern Dancer), Europe's three-year-old filly champion of 1984 when she won the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 1 Prix Vermeille and was runner-up to Sagace in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
With such a strong middle-distance pedigree behind him, it is no surprise that Cloth Of Stars has done so well on the track. If he lives up to the potential he has shown so far then he could go on to success at the highest level, something that would give his prospects of a good future stud career another boost.
Every year produces some shocks and surprises on the track and the loss by 2/5 favourite Postponed in the recent Group 2 Dubai City of Gold Sponsored by Emirates SkyCargo at Meydan will certainly not be the last unexpected result of 2017.
The Group 1 star was somewhat fractious before being loaded into the stalls, he did not have a clear passage at a key stage of that 12-furlong contest and his finish came too late: Prize Money got the verdict by a neck.
The winner is a Darley-bred four-year-old in the Saeed bin Suroor stable and he has won three of his four starts since being gelded last August. He had, to that point, been listed and Group 3 placed from six starts.
His stronger profile began with victory in a valuable 12-furlong handicap at Doncaster in November, raising his rating from 107 to 113. He was runner-up in a handicap over the same trip at Meydan in January, won a similar contest last month, and went into the Dubai City of Gold rated 115.
Prize Money will need to improve again if he is going to be able to win at the same level in Europe, but he is a son of Derby hero and Haras du Logis stallion Authorized (by Montjeu) and out of a half-sister to a champion and classic heroine, so further big-race success may indeed be within his compass.
He is out of the juvenile winner Dresden Doll (by Elusive Quality) and his siblings include Dubai One (by Exceed And Excel), a useful late-season two-year-old in 2016 and whose career path appears to be going in to quite a different direction to that of her brother.
Although he is a high-class middle-distance horse, she is a sprinter and her only time out of the frame in six starts is when she was fifth of six at Newmarket in a race for which she was favourite. She dropped to the minimum trip for her final two starts, winning at Newcastle and Wolverhampton, and she finished the year on a mark of 88.
Dresden Doll is among 10 winners out of the one-time juvenile scorer Crimson Conquest (by Diesis) and those siblings include Group 2 Lancashire Oaks runner-up Local Spirit (by Lion Cavern), Group 3 Chester Vase scorer Dutch Gold (by Lahib), and best of all, champion filly Crimplene (by Lion Cavern).
She won the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Coronation Stakes, Group 1 Nassau Stakes and Group 2 Henkel Rennen (German 1000 Guineas), and although this ace miler has not produced anything at stud with her level of talent, she is the dam of the Group 3-placed Crimson Sun (by Danzig) and grandam of Group 2 runner-up Gold City (by Pivotal).
Her dam's tally of 10 winners from 14 foals was beaten by the total of 11 from 15 achieved by her stakes-placed grandam, Sweet Ramblin Rose (by Turn-To), and that string included the US Grade 2 winners Rambin Guy (by Ogygian) and Sword Blade (by Damascus).
Prize Money has a long way to go if he is to be able to overtake his 'aunt' Crimplene as being the brightest star in the recent generations of his family, but he clearly has ability and there should be some more good pots to be won with him.
Decorated Knight was a Group 2-placed miler when he left Roger Varian's stable to join the Roger Charlton team last year. He started off well from his new base, winning two of his four starts, but was not seen out again after his victory in the Group 3 Meld Stakes over nine furlongs at Leopardstown in mid-July.
The chestnut made a successful return to action in the Listed Betway Winter Derby Trial Stakes over 10 furlongs on the polytrack last month, increasing his official rating to 113, and he looks set for another raise following his win in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline over nine furlongs at turf at Meydan this afternoon.
He is a 63rd winner at the highest level for Coolmore Stud's prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and, as he could be described as being a brother-in-blood to two classic stars, in addition to being out of a full-sister to a multiple champion sire, an eventual future role as a stallion has probably been on the cards at least since his victory in a 10-furlong listed contest at Goodwood 10 months ago.
With a Group 1 success to his name, the odds of that new career becoming a reality are surely odds-on and what remains to be discovered is where that will be and the strength of support he will receive.
He will need to do more to enhance his record on the track and, hence, his profile as a prospective stallion, but, with a top-level success on his CV, it just got a whole lot easier to market him as a less expensive alternative to two of his most famous relations.
Decorated Knight is out of Pearling (by Storm Cat) and that mare's string of blacktype siblings includes Giant's Causeway, You'resothrilling, and Freud, all of whom are also by Storm Cat (by Storm Bird).
Giant's Causeway was a Group 1 star at two, went on to become a Breeders' Cup Classic and dual Guineas-placed winner of the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, Group 1 Eclipse Stakes, Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, Group 1 Sussex Stakes, and Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at three, before going on to become a triple US champion sire.
His current tally of 168 stakes winners includes 31 Group/Grade 1 scorers of whom Footstepsinthesand (52 SW inc 5 G1W), Ghanaati, Penelopa, and Shamardal (108 SW inc 18 G1W) have been European classic stars.
Group 2-placed sprinter Freud has been the leading New York-based stallion for a long time and his tally of 51 stakes winners includes the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes victress Franny Freud, Argentine Grade 1 scorer Must Go On, and the tragically ill-fated Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes winner Giant Ryan.
You'resothrilling won the Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes and her first three foals are the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Marvellous, dual mile classic star and exciting young Coolmore stallion Gleneagles, and the Grade 1-placed pattern-winning filly Coolmore. They are all by Galileo, as is last year's Group 3 Killavullan Stakes third Taj Mahal.
The grandam of Decorated Knight is the Grade 1-placed Grade 2-winner Mariah's Storm (by Rahy), her offspring also include the blacktype sires Tumblebrutus (by Storm Cat) and Tiger Dance (by Storm Cat), and unraced Love Me Only (by Sadler's Wells), the dam of Storm The Stars (by Sea The Stars).
He won the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes, chased home Jack Hobbs in the Group 1 Irish Derby, and finished third in both the Golden Horn's Group 1 Derby at Epsom and Erupt's Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp before spending a year Australia, where he picked up Group 2 placings at eight and 10 furlongs. It was reported in December that he is to be trained by Andreas Wöhler in 2017, in advance of a stallion career.
Panoramic (by Rainbow Quest), the Grade 1-placed Group 2-winning half-brother to Mariah's Storm, enjoyed some success as a dual-purpose sire – most notably with his Grade 1 Ramona Handicap-winning daughter Tuzla – and other descendants of their Grade 3-winning dam, Immense (by Roberto), include the US Grade 2 scorers Guys Reward (by Grand Reward) and Quest Star (by Broad Brush).
Decorated Knight still has improvement to make if he is to be able to win a well-contested Group 1 event in Europe, but he is clearly on the upgrade and it will be fascinating to see how the rest of his career turns out, both on the track and, eventually, at stud.
The first English pattern event of 2017 was the Group 3 Betway Winter Derby Stakes over 10 furlongs on the polytrack at Lingfield last week and it provided the Juddmonte Farms-bred Convey with a second blacktype success.
The five-year-old was a multiple pattern-placed mile listed race winner in 2016 and his recent success came on his first start since being gelded in November. He was rated 111 before Lingfield, down from a peak of 113, and it will be interesting to see how the Sir Michael Stoute-trained bay performs throughout the year.
Convey is a 67th pattern winner, among 116 individual stakes winners, for Banstead Manor Stud's outstanding stallion Dansili (by Danehill) and he is one of three blacktype scorers for his dam, Insinuate (by Mr Prospector).
She won a mile listed contest at Ascot, her son Stronghold (by Danehill) won the Group 3 Supreme Stakes over seven furlongs at Goodwood, and her daughter Take The Hint (by Montjeu) won the Listed Pretty Polly over 10 furlongs at Newmarket.
Imroz (by Nureyev), a Grade 3-placed half-sister to Insinuate, is the grandam of the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat scorer Mutual Trust (by Cacique), and the talented sisters are out of the Group 1 star All At Sea (by Riverman).
That chestnut got her top-level success when beating Brief Truce by a neck in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, her stamina gave out when chasing home User Friendly in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, and she also had to second for second place against Rodrigo De Triano in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
All At Sea's half-brother Over The Ocean (by Super Concorde) won the Group 3 Prix Gontaut-Biron and Group 3 Prix Perth, her listed-winning half-sister Full Virtue (by Full out) is the third dam of the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes heroine Hilda's Passion (by Canadian Frontier), and her winning half-sister Quack A Doodledoo (by Quack) is the grandam of champion and prolific Grade 1 star Banshee Breeze (by Unbridled).
The most notable of her siblings, however, is Quandary (by Blushing Groom). She won the Listed James Seymour Stakes at Newmarket as a four-year-old before becoming the dam of seven winners, two of whom have become important broodmares.
Double Crossed (by Caerleon) won the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield and her major contribution is her top-class son Twice Over (by Observatory). His dozen wins included the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, Group 1 Eclipse Stakes, and two editions of the Group 1 Champion Stakes, and he took up stallion duties in South Africa.
Quandary's daughter Clepsydra (by Sadler's Wells) won just once but is the dam of the Breeders' Cup-placed Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Passage Of Time (by Dansili), of Group 1 Falmouth Stakes heroine Timepiece (by Zamindar), and of Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes scorer Father Time (by Dansili) among four stakes-winning offspring.
Passage Of Time, of course, is the dam of the high-class Time Test (by Dubawi), the Group 2 York Stakes and Group 2 Joel Stakes winner who finished third to Hawkbill in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown last July.
One of the earliest articles posted on this website was a review of the Newsells Park Stud stallion Equiano, the dual Group 1-winning sprinter whose first crop two crops had yielded several stakes winners, including the Group 1-placed Strath Burn and promising speedster The Tin Man, the latter a smart handicapper who rounded off his three-year-old campaign by finishing fourth in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot.
The conclusion was that it was only a matter of time before this promising young sire got his first Group 1 winner, and, thanks to The Tin Man, that time was Saturday afternoon.
A member of his sire's first crop, the James Fanshawe bay kicked off his current campaign with listed success over six furlongs at Windsor in late May, and although he disappointed when only eighth in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot the following month, he has bounced back from that in style.
He narrowly beat Divine in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury, chased home Quiet Reflection in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock, and then showed a clean pair of heels to his dozen rivals in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.
The gelding is an exciting prospect for 2017, and if he can stay happy, healthy and sound, he could become one of those popular horses who complete in the best races for several years. Winning at four, five and older is something that his family tends to do.
Equiano's overall tally of 11 individual stakes winners includes the US Grade 3 scorers Baciami Piccola and Belvoir Bay, the Australian Group 3 winner Sewar – all of whom have been in action in 2016 – and, of course, the high-class juvenile Medicine Jack, who won the Group 2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh in June before finishing third to Caravaggio in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the same venue.
His prior runners of note include the pattern-winning juveniles Dark Reckoning and Fly On The Night, and two-year-old listed scorer Waipu Cove, and the aforementioned Group 1-placed sprint pattern winner Strath Burn is going to Bridge House Stud for 2017, thereby giving him his first stallion son.
The Tin Man was bred by Elizabeth Grundy and he is an 80,000gns graduate of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. His Poet's Voice (by Dubawi) half-brother is catalogued as Lot 765 for the upcoming Tattersalls December Foal Sale and so his victory on Saturday will be among the biggest updates in that book.
His dam, Persario (by Bishop Of Cashel) won a seven-furlong maiden at three and got her second score with a six-furlong handicap success at Kempton at the age of five. She was also trained by Fanshawe and so too was her other top-class son Deacon Blues (by Compton Place).
He won on the second of his two starts as a juvenile and picked up a Yarmouth handicap at three, but at the age of four and following a seasonal reappearance when he was a neck runner-up over six furlongs at Ascot, the gelding went unbeaten for the rest of that campaign, culminating in an impressive length and a half defeat of Wizz Kid in the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.
Getting two winners of that race is a notable achievement for Persario, and her other three runners are the stakes-placed multiple sprint handicapper Holley Shiftwell (by Bahamian Bounty), four-times scorer If So (by Iffraaj), and current juvenile Hilario (by Sepoy), a twice-raced Charles Hills-trained colt who got off the mark over six furlongs at Kempton last month.
Deacon Blues's tally in 2011 also included the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury and the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh – all over six furlongs – plus the Group 3 Dubai International World Trophy over the minimum trip at Newbury.
His official rating was 120, but Timeform placed him on a figure of 130, making him one of the best European sprinters of recent years and giving his younger sibling quite a target to chase.
Persario is one of four winners from six foals out of dual scorer Barford Lady (by Stanford) and they include two performers of note. Her full-brother Heretic did not earn any blacktype, but this capable miler won at two, three, four, five and six years of age, reaching a peak handicap mark of 110.
Their half-brother Warningford (by Warning), who could be described as being their three-parts brother, notched up 10 wins from three to eight years of age. Those included three editions of the Group 3 Leicestershire Stakes, two renewals of the Listed John of Gaunt Stakes, plus one running of the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup.
Warningford was only beaten a neck by Medicean in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, he was third to Mount Abu in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret, and fourth (no blacktype) to Slickly in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, he achieved a peak handicap mark of 116 and, at the age of seven, was rated 119 by Timeform.
Barford Lady was among six winners from 10 foals out of the stakes-placed triple scorer Grace Poole (by Sallust) and the best of those was Ansellman (by Absalom), who won the Listed Doncaster Stakes over five furlongs as a juvenile and got the final of his 11 wins, from 128 starts, at the age of 10.
Last year The Tin Man was Timeform-rated 120, and for his Group 1 success that organisation raised his figure to 126. He is a fine advertisement for his sire and unlikely to remain Equiano's only top-level winner for long.
Multiple Group 1 star Rip Van Winkle (by Galileo) has had an eye-catching year and the Coolmore Stud stallion's career tally of stakes winners is now in double figures. The juvenile Group 1 scorer Dick Whittington, now aged four and reviewed here after his Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes victory earlier in the year, heads his roll of honour and the colt represents his first crop.
Capella, Magic Dancer, and First Impressions are New Zealand-bred pattern winners, the latter a 12-furlong Group 3 scorer in Australia, while the dual Group 2-placed two-year-old Arcada, talented sprinter The Happy Prince, and popular pattern-placed stakes-winning filly Creggs Pipes have done well for him in Ireland in 2016. That latter pair also come from his first crop.
The Happy Prince has been very busy and was running for the 14th time this season when unplaced in the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Home of Champions Concorde Stakes over a few yards short of seven and a half furlongs at Tipperary today, eased down when his chance was gone. For the Andy Slattery-trained Creggs Pipes, who finished fifth, that race was her ninth run of the season. The wide-margin winner was the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Jet Setting.
Fifth of 22 in a seven-furlong Curragh maiden on his only start at two, The Happy Prince was an odds-on winner over six and a half furlongs at Limerick on his three-year-old debut. He added a six-furlong premier handicap at Naas and picked up a trio of blacktype placings, rising to a mark of 108, but had a disappointing start to his latest campaign.
He did not make the frame until his ninth start of the year, but after that second place finish to Moviesta in a six-furlong Dundalk handicap, he chased home Spirit Quartz in a listed contest over five at Tipperary, beat In Salutem by one and three-quarter lengths in a conditions race over six at Naas, and then came within a short-head of beating Breton Rock in the Group 2 Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes over seven furlongs at Doncaster.
That performance saw his rating jump to a career-best of 112, he followed it with a three-quarter-length defeat of Flight Risk in the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes on heavy ground at the Curragh seven days ago.
The Happy Prince was bred by Floors Farming, he made £90,000 in Doncaster as a yearling, he is trained by Aidan O'Brien, and he is the first foal out of Maid To Dream (by Oasis Dream), who was placed over seven furlongs at Lingfield (turf) and Wolverhampton (all-weather) from four starts at three.
She has twice changed hands at Tattersalls since then, making 80,000gns each time, she had a Nathaniel (by Galileo) filly in 2015 and first-crop daughter of ace miler Toronado (by High Chaparral) in March.
Eight of her siblings have won at least once, including her speedy stakes-placed full-brother Run For The Hills and middle-distance stakes-placed half-sister Maid To Perfection (by Sadler's Wells), and both that filly and two of their siblings have produced stakes winners at stud.
Maid To Treasure (by Rainbow Quest) was only placed a few times but is the dam of the Listed Esher Stakes winner and Group 2 Lonsdale Cup third King Of Wands (by Galileo), one-time scorer Green Tambourine (by Green Desert) is the dam of Californian listed scorer Maid For Music (by Dubai Destination), and Maid To Perfection is responsible for Caucus and Queen Of Pentacles.
The former, a son of Cape Cross (by Green Desert), is a triple stakes winner over two miles in England and chased home Estimate in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot. Queen Of Pentacles (by Selkirk) ran six times, all but one of those over 10 furlongs, she won a listed contest at Doncaster on her final start, and her three-year-old, Queen Of The Stars (by Sea The Stars), won a Pontefract maiden by seven lengths over that trip two weeks ago.
The grandam of The Happy Prince is Maid For The Hills (by Indian Ridge), who won a six-furlong listed contest at Newmarket as a two-year-old, the third dam, Stinging Nettle (by Sharpen Up), was a six-furlong listed scorer at Ascot on her only start at two, and those who descend from the latter include a string of stakes and pattern winners over a wide variety of distances.
The Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes winner and Group 1 Nassau Stakes runner-up Lady In Waiting (by Kylian) is among them, as are the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes scorer Stroll (by Pulpit), the Group 3 Prix de Lutece winner Savannah Bay (by In The Wings), Group 2-winning miler Lovelace (by Royal Applause), and the Group 1-placed pattern-winning South African sprinters Welwitschia (by Oasis Dream) and Headstrong (by Pivotal).
The Happy Prince is a capable performer without being good enough to trouble the best, he is entered in Friday's Group 2 Dubai 100 Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket, and regardless of whether or not he makes that journey, there should be more good prizes to be earned with him.
There is nothing unusual in talented flat horses going on to become high-class hurdlers or chasers. After all, a large number of all leading National Hunt horses began their careers as flat ones, or were bred for that job, as were almost all of the stallions who sire the top jumpers.
Those who show talent as National Hunt horses before becoming notable flat ones are rare, and when it happens they tend to be ones who were bred for the flat anyway. They also tend to be stayers on the level, a division that is often weak compared to those for the speedier types.
Many forget that the Group 1 Melbourne Cup and dual Group 1 Irish St Leger hero Vintage Crop won a maiden hurdle and novice hurdle after a flat maiden success and before getting his first good win on the level – the Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket. And, on what was his only other start under National Hunt rules, he was sixth to Granville Again in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham just over three months before his first stakes race success.
He was a flat-bred son of the ace miler Rousillon (by Riverman), and the most recent winner of the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger is another flat-bred gelding who got his start under National Hunt rules.
Some will call him a classic winner, but a classic is for three-year-olds only, geldings are excluded from those in Ireland, England and France, and the Irish St Leger gave up its classic status when opened up to older horses in 1983, won that year by the four-year-old filly Mountain Lodge, a handicapper. The race is really Ireland's equivalent of the Gold Cup at Ascot, albeit over a much shorter distance, than a match for the world's oldest classic, the St Leger at Doncaster.
There are few blacktype races in the country for stayers and there is a case to be made for raising the distance of the Irish St Leger to two miles, to make it fit better as a 'Cup' race and to attract more of the top European stayers for whom, in many cases, 14 furlongs is a bit short. It is, after all, one of the feature races during Irish Champions Weekend.
But back to Wicklow Brave, another fine advertisement for the Ballylinch Stud sire Beat Hollow (by Sadler's Wells) and a third flat Group 1 star for him, among a total of 21 individual stakes winners. The regally-related stallion is also building up a growing reputation with his National Hunt runners, making him one of the top dual-purpose sires around, and his other pair of top-level flat winners are Beaten Up and Proportional.
The Willie Mulllins-trained Wicklow Brave won a trio of bumpers, got his first blacktype success over hurdles at the age of five, and he won the Grade 3 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2015.
It was almost two months after that impressive success that he made his flat debut, scoring over two miles in heavy ground at Gowran Park. He followed-up with an odds-on success over 14 furlongs at Listowel and then took fourth in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot before finishing down the field in the Grade A Galway Hurdle at that track's big summer festival.
A few weeks after that performance he was runner-up in the prestigious Ebor Handicap over 14 furlongs at York. He then finished a distant third behind runaway winner Order Of St George in the Group 1 Irish St Leger, was a two-length third in the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup over two miles at Ascot, and then resumed jumping.
He was third to Nichols Canyon in the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown and third to Identity Thief in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle – both in November – and then off the track until finishing a neck second to Dartmouth in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester in May.
His surprise half-length defeat of Order Of St George in the recent Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, in which the pair finished 16 clear of the remaining two runners, was his fifth start of the current flat season, and followed a fourth-place finish (no blacktype) to Big Orange in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup and third in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup at York.
Wicklow Brave was bred by Millsec Ltd, he is out of Moraine (by Rainbow Quest) and that makes him a half-brother to Brass Ring (by Rail Link), a three-time 12-furlong scorer in England who finished third to Quest For More in the Queen Alexandra Stakes and fourth in the Cesarewitch Handicap.
That gelding's full-sister Glacial Drift was a short-head winner of a two-mile Down Royal bumper on her debut but has been unplaced in all four of her starts on the flat, most recently in a 14-furlong Navan handicap last month. They have a two-year-old half-sister named Dreamtide (by Champs Elysees) and Moraine had a Bated Breath (by Dansili) filly in 2015.
Moraine, who won over 12 furlongs, is a daughter of the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont scorer Cantilever (by Sanglamore) and, in addition to flat blacktype earners, that mare's siblings include two jumpers of note.
Battle Group (by Beat Hollow), who is very closely related to Wicklow Brave, is a talented but quirky gelding who won two editions of a Grade 3 handicap hurdle over an extended three miles at Aintree, with the latter success coming just two days before he won the Listed John Smith's Handicap Chase over three miles, one furlong at the same venue.
The other one was Upgrade (by Be My Guest). He was bred by Juddmonte Farms, was by a champion sire, but bypassed the flat, won the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as a four-year-old, won the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novice Chase at Sandown two years later, and he also won Grade 2 chases at Cheltenham and Ascot among a career tally of 10 wins from 49 starts.
Cantanta (by Top Ville), the third dam of Wicklow Brave, won once on the flat, she was out of the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine Sarah Siddons (by Le Levanstell) and that made her a sibling to two racehorses of particular note.
Her full-sister Princess Pati won the Group 1 Irish Oaks and Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes in 1984, was third to Sadler's Wells in the Group 1 Phoenix Champion Stakes, and was the dam of the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup runner-up Parthian Springs (by Sadler's Wells) and Cambridgeshire Handicap scorer Pasternak (by Soviet Star).
Her half-brother Seymour Hicks (by Ballymore) won the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes and later became a successful National Hunt sire whose brightest star was the Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup and dual Grade 1 King George VI Chase hero See More Business.
Sarah Siddons has three other progeny who deserve a mention, even though one was unplaced and the other two unraced.
Miss Kemble (by Warning), who ran once, is the grandam of the multiple mile Group 1 star Excelebration (by Exceed And Excel), a young Coolmore Stud stallion whose first juveniles are winning in 2016, and also of his multiple Group 3-winning half-brother Mull Of Killough (by Mull Of Kintyre).
Gertrude Lawrence (by Ballymore), an unraced full-sister to Seymour Hicks, was the dam of the stakes-winning sprinter Lady Ambassador (by General Assembly) and that filly, in turn, became the dam of the Group 1 Prix Vermeille heroine and Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Leggera (by Sadler's Wells).
Then there's Dansara (by Dancing Brave), unraced dam of the multiple pattern-placed stakes-winning middle-distance horse Self Defense (by Warning), who was also a blacktype scorer over hurdles. The mare is also the grandam of a string of blacktype earners who include the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu winner Sea of Heartbreak (by Rock of Gibraltar), Group 3 Ballysax Stakes scorer Puncher Clynch (by Azamour) and Group 1 St Leger runner-up The Last Drop (by Galileo).
Wicklow Brave, an €11,000 graduate of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale – the 2016 edition of that prestigious sale starts at 10am tomorrow – made a second appearance in the Fairyhouse auction ring when, as a three-year-old, he was sold for €43,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale.
His 155 handicap mark over hurdles, down from a peak of 166, is that of a solid Grade 2 horse. His flat mark was raised recently to 118, that of a solid pattern-level runner but still some way short of being a proper Group 1 horse.
Such a mark can, however, enable Group 1 success in a weak division or contest, especially if good fortune strikes, as it did for him at the Curragh. Admirable though he is as a flat stayer, Wicklow Brave was lucky to catch the 124-rated Order Of St George on an off-day and in what pretty much turned out to be a two-horse race. He was also the beneficiary of a great ride by Frankie Dettori.
He is only seven so there are likely to be plenty of other group and graded events for him to contest, some of which he can win, and Wicklow Brave is a fine advertisement for his connections, for his sire and for the Group 1-producing distaff line that he represents.
A pattern winning juvenile whose only defeat was his third-place finish to New Approach and Fast Company in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, Raven's Pass (by Elusive Quality) endured a frustrating first half to his three-year-old campaign.
He was short-headed by Twice Over in the Group 3 Craven Stakes, finished fourth to Henrythenavigator in the Group 1 2000 Guineas, chased home that same colt in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot and lost to him by a head in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, and he was also runner-up to Tamayuz in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.
But then his fortunes changed, he reeled off a hat-trick and retired to stud with a championship title to his name: three-year-old miler. He took the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood and followed that by finally getting his revenge on Henrythenavigator with a one-length score in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
The pair met one last time in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic on the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita in late October, they again finished first and second, and this time the chestnut beat the bay by one and three-quarter lengths.
As stallions they are closely matched in terms of the number of individual stakes winners sired, with 15 for Raven's Pass and 14 for Henrythenavigator (by Kingmambo). The Kildangan Stud team member also leads his Coolmore rival by the number of pattern winners - six to four - but the latter leads by three to nil when it comes to Group 1 winners, two of whom are George Vancouver and Pedro The Great, now stallions who have their first yearlings on offer.
There is no reason why Raven's Pass should not get at least one Group 1 winner by the time his final progeny have finished their careers, and as he is only 11 years old now, there should, hopefully, be plenty of time available for him to achieve that goal.
Could Richard Pankhurst be the one to make the breakthrough for him? The John Gosden-trained four-year-old looked full of promise when easily winning the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2014, but he missed most of last year and has run just three times in 2016.
He put up the best performance of his career to date when beating Home Of The Brave by a length in the Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes last month, earning a 115 handicap mark that is still some what short of what is required at the highest level, and he is due to run in tomorrow's Group 2 Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes at Doncaster, also over seven furlongs.
The Godolphin-owned chestnut was bred by Rachel Hood, he is the first foal out of the mile winner Mainstay (by Elmaamul) and she is a full-sister to the nine-furlong Group 3 scorer Lateen Sails. Her second foal is the seven-furlong Group 3 winner Crazy Horse (by Sleeping Indian), whose only defeat is his sixth-place finish to The Gurkha in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Deauville in May, her two-year-old filly is named Lydia Becker (by Sleeping Indian), and her 2015 Nathaniel (by Galileo) colt was followed by a Kingman (by Invincible Spirit) filly born in March.
Felucca (by Green Desert), the winning grandam of Richard Pankhurst, is a half-sister to the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam scorer Radevore (by Generous) and out of Bloudan (by Damascus), an unraced half-sister to the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 2 Coronation Stakes heroine Al Bahathri (by Blushing Groom).
That classic ace is, of course, the dam of the Group 1 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Champion Stakes winner Haafhd (by Alhaarth) and of Group 2 Challenge Stakes scorer Munir (by Indian Ridge), both of whom have enjoyed some success at stud, and her descendants include the Group/Grade 1 stars Military Attack (by Oratorio), Gladiatorus (by Silic) and Red Cadeaux (by Cadeaux Genereux).
A half-sister to the Grade 2 scorer and prolific winner Geraldine's Store (by Exclusive Native), Al Bahathri was also a full-sister to Chain Fern, the mare from whom the Group/Grade 1 winners Spanish Fern (by El Gran Senor), Heatseeker (by Giant's Causeway) and Lord Shanakill (by Speightstown) descend. The latter, who is a remote relation to Richard Pankhurst, is the sire of this year's surprise Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes scorer My Dream Boat.
Richard Pankhurst has plenty of ability and, although he still has some way to go if he is to be up to winning at the highest level, it should be noted that his only defeats, so far, have been when racing over a trip other than seven furlongs. Will he extend that unbeaten record to four tomorrow?
He also hold entries in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes over a mile at Newmarket in two weeks' time and in next month's Group 2 Dubai 100 Challenge Stakes over seven at the same venue. It will be interesting to see how highly he can climb in the rankings and to find out if he is actually a seven-furlong specialist.
Dalham Hall Stud's classic-winning miler Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium) is well-known around the world as being one of the very best sires in active service. He gets top two-year-olds, sprinters, milers and middle-distance horses, and one of the brightest stars of the latter group in 2016 is his five-year-old son Postponed.
Some horses have impressed once or twice, but Postponed has won four times, by an aggregate of almost 11 lengths, three of those at the highest level, and he has not met with defeat since June 2015.
That was his third-place finish to Snow Sky and Eagle Top in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot, back when we knew him as a Group 1-placed Group 2 scorer with the potential to hit the top.
A month later he beat Eagle Top by a nose in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over the same course and distance, and his only subsequent outing that season was his win in the Group 2 Prix Foy on very soft ground at Longchamp in September. It was shortly after that victory that he left the Luca Cumani stable to join Roger Varian's team.
Postponed kicked off 2016 with a three-length defeat of subsequent Group 1 scorer Dariyan in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold over 12 furlongs at Meydan in early March, he beat Japanese star Duramente by two lengths in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic over the course and distance three weeks later, and then trounced Breeders' Cup heroine Found by four and a half lengths in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom in June.
Yesterday, he dropped back to the extended 10 furlongs of the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York and, in a quick time, beat last month's King George hero Highland Reel by one and a quarter lengths, with Mutakayyef another length back in third.
Given his age and all that he has achieved, it is to be expected that he will be taking up a prominent stallion role in either 2017 or 2018, a career path that is already under way for one of his relations.
Dubawi is 14 years old, his tally of 112 stakes winners includes 23 who have won at least once at the highest level somewhere in the world, and although it is still early for him as a sire of stallions, his first one with runners is Haras de Bonneval's classic winner and classic sire Makfi and his second is the Group 1-winning miler and pattern sire Poet's Voice. That is promising, but no more than that: we need more data before being able to determine what sort of long-term impact his male line might have.
Some of the progeny of his top-level winners Akeed Mofeed, Al Kazeem, Hunter's Light, Monterosso, Night Of Thunder, and Waldpark, and those of Group 2 scorers Aljamaaheer, Universal and Worthadd, will have appeared on the track before the first offspring of Postponed get there, so by that time we should know a lot more.
Bred by St Albans Bloodstock Llp and a 360,000gns graduate of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, Postponed is the second foal out of Ever Rigg (by Dubai Destination), a mare whose sole win in five starts came over 12 furlongs on the polytrack at Kempton.
Her first foal, Neamour (by Oasis Dream), was placed four times from seven starts, from seven to 12 furlongs, and her first foal is an Archipenko (by Kingmambo) colt born last August.
Their three-year-old half-brother Avoidable (by Iffraaj) ran three times on the all-weather track at Wolverhampton earlier in the year, with a two-length fifth on his second start being the most distinguished of his performances. Their two-year-old half-sister has been named God Given (by Nathaniel), the mare had a Makfi (by Dubawi) colt in 2015, and that three-parts brother to Postponed was followed by a full-brother to the Group 1 star, who arrived at the end of April.
Ever Rigg was the sixth foal out of the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Bianca Nera (by Salse), she is a half-sister to several winners, including the five-times scorer Glencairn Star (by Selkirk), but it is three of her half-sisters who deserve more detailed comment.
Bite of The Cherry (by Dalakhani) was twice listed-placed, Bijou A Moi (by Rainbow Quest) is the dam of the Group 3 Winter Derby scorer Robin Hoods Bay (by Motivator), and Pietra Dura (by Cadeaux Genereux) is the stakes-placed dam of Turning Top (by Pivotal), who won the Grade 3 Beverley Hills Handicap and was runner-up to Hibaayeb in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes.
That filly was also placed in the Grade 2 Robert J Frankel Stakes, in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Stakes and in the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap, and on her penultimate start in graded company, was fourth (no blacktype) behind Dubawi Heights in another edition of the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes.
Bianca Nera, the top-rated juvenile filly in Ireland in 1996, had an Exceed And Excel (by Danehill) colt in 2014 and a Farhh (by Pivotal) filly in May, and she was the best of several winners out of Birch Creek (by Carwhite), a Group 3-placed half-sister to Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes winner and Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes runner-up Great Deeds (by Forzando).
Her full-sister My Mariam is the dam of the twice listed-placed filly In The Ribbons (by In The Wings), but it is two of her other siblings who have made the more notable contributions to the family's reputation.
Hotelgenie Dot Com (by Selkirk) was a leading juvenile, who was placed in both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Fillies' Mile, and she is the dam of the classic-placed dual Group 1 star Simply Perfect (by Danehill).
That Jeremy Noseda-trained grey first caught the eye when runner-up in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes just 16 days after chasing home Dutch Art in a Windsor maiden, and she rounded off that first season with wins in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes (at York that year) and Group 1 Fillies' Mile.
Simply Perfect chased home Finsceal Beo and Arch Swing in the Group 1 1000 Guineas on her seasonal reappearance, was well-beaten in the Oaks, and then took the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes over a mile at Newmarket shortly before finishing third behind classic star Darjina in the Group 1 Prix d'Astarte at Deauville, beaten by just a length.
She was only beaten by a total of two lengths when fourth behind Majestic Roi in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes over the same trip at Newmarket that October and then put up that bizarre display in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Monmouth Park, pulling her way to the front, leading the pack for a bit, and then hanging right across the course, taking a couple of her rivals with her, before being pulled up.
Her second foal is Mekong River (by Galileo), who ran away with the Listed Eyrefield Stakes at Leopardstown as a juvenile, won the Group 3 International Stakes over 10 furlongs at the Curragh at three, and later went to race in Scandinavia. His full-brother Graphite is entered in next year's Derby, and she had another Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) colt in 2015.
Simply Perfect's unraced full-sister One Moment In Time had a couple of fillies in Australia before returning to the country of her birth in 2009. She too had a Galileo colt last year, and he is a full-brother to three winners, most notably Bondi Beach.
For just under two weeks last year he was the Group 1 St Leger winner of 2015, but the stewards' room decision that awarded him the prize on the day was reversed on appeal and so first-past-the-post Simple Verse got her name on the roll of honour for the oldest classic instead.
Before then he had short-head Order Of St George in the Group 3 Curragh Cup and chased home Storm The Stars in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes, and this season he has won twice from three starts.
Bondi Beach, who is trained by Aidan O'Brien, kicked off the year with a two and three-quarter length win in the Listed Martin Molony Stakes over 12 and a half furlongs at Limerick, he followed-up with an odds-on success in the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes over 14 furlongs at Navan and then finished third behind Stellar Mass in the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes over 12 at Leopardstown. As you might expect, his entries include the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger and the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.
Bianca Nera's other notable sister is Crackling (by Electric), a dual winner who came up with the Listed Warwickshire Oaks scorer Ronaldsay (by Kirkwall) and whose descendants include a popular young Irish stallion. That horse is Gale Force Ten (by Oasis Dream), the first foal out of that stakes-winning mare.
He was second in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes and third in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes as a juvenile, kicked off his three-year-old campaign with listed success over seven furlongs at Dundalk, and was beaten by less than a length when fourth behind Style Vendome in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), splitting subsequent Group 1 stars Intello (third) and Havana Gold (fifth) in that five-way finish.
Just 13 days after that he chased home Magician in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh, then justified favouritism in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Ascot before finishing sixth in the Group 1 July Cup. The best of his subsequent placings was fourth (no blacktype) in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. Gale Force Ten stands at the Irish National Stud and some of his first foals will be on offer later this year.
Crackling is also the dam of the dual US Grade 3 scorer Pickle (by Piccolo) and that mare, in turn, is the dam of the prolific listed-winning sprinter Gusto (by Oasis Dream), whose half-sister Beauly (by Sea The Stars) was only beaten half a length by Abingdon in the Listed Lord Weinstock Memorial Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newbury in May.
If you go back to the sixth generation of the family then you will find two other notable individuals.
Life Sentence (by Court Martial), who was placed in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, Chesham Stakes and St Hugh's Stakes, became the dam of 1963's 2000 Guineas and King Edward VII Stakes winner Only For Life (by Chanteur), sire of the Timeform 124-rated Observer Gold Cup (now Racing Post Trophy) scorer The Elk.
Her half-brother Double Bore (by Borealis) was a talented middle-distance and staying horse in England, who won the Goodwood Cup in 1955 and was Timeform-rated 123, before going on to sire the prolific Australian big-race winner Scotch And Dry and also 1965's Caulfield Cup hero Bore Head.
The connection between those horses and Postponed is remote, but should he or his Irish-based relative sire big race winners then they will not be the first ones in their family to do so.
Before then, however, there are more races to be run, and with over £4.36 million already to his name, he is among the highest-earning European-trained horses of all time.
Postponed is one of a glittering array of stars with an entry in next month's Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, he is one of the ante-post favourites for the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October, and so there is a good chance that he could pass the £5 million mark so narrowly missed by the ill-fated pair St Nicholas Abbey (£4,954,590) and Red Cadeaux (£4,998,408) before he embarks on the next phase of his career.