The first pattern event of the new European season – the Group 3 Betway Winter Derby Stakes over 10 furlongs on polytrack at Lingfield – proved quite dramatic, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained favourite Clear Skies badly impeded and dropping back at a key point and then the David Simcock-trained Mr Owen veering to his right near the finish, causing interference and passing the post a head in front of the one he bumped, with just four lengths covering the first nine home.
The placings were inevitably reversed and so it is the David Elsworth-trained seven-year-old Master The World, a first-crop son of Coolmore Stud's classic sire Mastercraftsman (by Danehill Dancer), whose name goes into the record books.
He won the Listed Churchill Stakes over the same course and distance in mid-November, carried 9st 7lbs to victory in the valuable Betfred Mile Handicap at Goodwood in August, his blacktype placings include the runners-up spot to Zonderland in the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury in 2016 and he finished third in the valuable Balmoral Handicap over a mile at Ascot the year before.
He had an official handicap mark of 107 going into this afternoon's big race, has achieved a career-high of 108, and it seems likely that his pattern victory will remain a highlight for the talented grey.
Mastercraftsman's first crop also includes the Group 1 stars Amazing Maria, Kingston Hill and The Grey Gatsby, his second features US Grade 1 scorer Off Limits, and his current batch of three-year-olds includes several potential Group 1 candidates, notably the stakes-winning fillies Alpha Centauri and Wind Chimes.
Master The World is the second foal out of the two-year-old fibresand winner Zadalla (by Zaha), who is a half-sister to the juvenile Group 1-placed listed scorer Hearthstead Wings (by In The Wings), who later stayed two miles.
Their siblings also include Innishmore (by Lear Fan), who is the unraced dam of the Grade 1-winning hurdler Guitar Pete (by Dark Angel), and they are out of Inishdalla (by Green Desert), a Listed Athasi Stakes winner who was a three-quarter-length runner-up to Capricciosa in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, when it was still run over six furlongs.
That speedy filly was, in turn, a half-sister to Group 3 Gladness Stakes and multiple listed race scorer Great Lakes (by Lomond), to Listed Easter Stakes winner Severn Bore (by Corvaro) and to Group 3 Prix Chloe heroine Swept Away (by Kris), the latter also notable as being the grandam of Taisho (by Namaqualand), another winner of the Listed Athasi Stakes.
The third dam of Master The World is, therefore, Costly Wave (by Caro), the top-rated three-year-old filly in Italy in 1979 following her victory in the Group 2 Premio Ribot. She was also a triple stakes winner in France and the races in which she was placed included the Group 3 Prix du Calvados, Group 3 Prix Chloe, and Group 2 Prix de l'Opera.
She was out of Arctic Wave (by Arctic Slave), who finished third to Lupe in the Oaks at Epsom in 1970, and so was a half-sister to Icy More (by Ballymore), the winning dam of Group 3 Prix de la Grotte and Group 3 Prix des Chenes heroine Captive Island (by Northfields), who became a notable success at stud.
Her star son Single Empire (by Kris) took both the Group 1 Derby Italiano and Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, his classic-placed half-brother Court Of Honour (by Law Society) won the Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club and was also a Group 1-placed pattern winner in Australia, while Rubhahunish (by Darshaan) was third in the Group 1 Derby Italiano before going on to win the Grade 1 Champion Stayers' Hurdle at Punchestown.
Master The World, who made €38,000 in Goffs as a foal, €32,000 at that venue as a yearling, and just 15,000gns at the Tattersalls July Sale the following summer, has won six of his 50 starts and accumulated over £388,000 in earnings. He is a credit to his connections and there should be some more good prizes to be earned with him before he eventually retires.
Intercontinental travel has become a common feature in the careers of many racehorses and it has enabled the better ones to accumulate massive earnings totals as well as developing a wide fan base.
Folkswood is not a leading light among them but he is a talented performer with some good efforts in top company. Godolphin's five-year-old is trained by Charlie Appleby and his narrow victory in this afternoon's Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan was both his first pattern success and the run that pushed his earnings past the £500,000 mark.
It was his first start since finishing a two-length fifth to Tosen Stardom in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington in November, which was his third run in Australia in the space of a month. His first outing there saw him easily win a listed handicap at Cranbourne, his second was an honourable third to Winx and Humidor in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Moonee Valley – beaten by a half-length and four and a quarter lengths – and those races, like today's, were over 10 furlongs.
A seven-furlong Goodwood winner on the second of two starts as a juvenile, he won a mile handicap at Newmarket from four runs at three, and the first half of his four-year-old campaign was split between Dubai and England, featuring a neck second to Decorated Knight in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta and placings in both the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket and Group 3 Huxley Stakes at Chester.
Folkswood was bred in England by Hascombe & Valiant Studs and the 160,000gns Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 2 graduate represents one of that team's famous families.
The son of Darley's leading international sire Exceed And Excel (by Danehill) is the first foal out of Magic Nymph (by Galileo), an unraced daughter of Group 1 Coronation Stakes heroine Balisada (by Kris). His dam is, therefore, a full-sister to Group 2-placed 12-furlong stakes winner Galactic Star and also to the stakes-placed Irish Cesarewitch winner El Salvador, a Killack Stud stallion whose first crop are now two-year-olds.
A half-sister to the stakes-placed four-time scorer Stirring Ballad (by Compton Place), Balisada is the best of a string of winners out of Balnaha (by Lomond), a winning full-sister to the talented and influential Inchmurrin.
That small filly won the Listed Harry Rosebery Challenge Trophy at Ayr as a juvenile, went on to take the Group 2 Child Stakes (now Falmouth Stakes) at Newmarket, was runner-up in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot and fourth in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, and became the dam of Inchinor (by Ahonoora) and Ingozi (by Warning).
The former won the Group 3 Greenham Stakes and Group 3 Hungerford Stakes, he was runner-up in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, and although he was only 13 when he died, his progeny feature the Group 1 stars Cape Of Good Hope, Notnowcato, Silca's Sister and Summoner, and he has made an impact as a broodmare sire too.
Ingozi was a mile listed race winner at Sandown, her daughter Miss Keller (by Montjeu) took the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, and her grandson Harbour Law (by Lawman), who has been sidelined since taking third to Big Orange and Order Of St George in the Group 1 Gold Cup at Ascot last summer, won the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster in 2016.
Folkswood, who has now won five of his 16 starts, is a talented performer from eight to 10 furlongs and there should be plenty more good prizes to be earned with him on the international circuit, even though his official rating before this latest success was just 112.
Danzig (by Northern Dancer) was one of the world's all-time great stallions and a horse who had a profound and global influence on the breed. His tally of 198 stakes winners – 46 of whom won at the highest level – is among the highest ever recorded and yet he held court during a time when a stallion's full book was of a size that the industry would currently consider small. And, of course, he never shuttled.
Two major branches of his male line have established themselves – those extending from his classic-placed, Group 1-winning sprinters Danehill and Green Desert – and there are early indications that a third branch may be in its infancy, one headed by War Front.
It is a pity that the majority of the major male winners sired by the horse who has the distinction of being the final top-level winner by Danzig are geldings, but that stallion has only just turned 14, he commands a fee of $40,000 in Kentucky, and that he might come up with a few notable sons who could extend his legacy is not impossible.
That horse is, of course, Darley's Breeders' Cup and dual classic-placed Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes scorer Hard Spun, who stands at Jonabell Farm. He had 17 individual stakes winners in the northern hemisphere half of his global first crop, his overall tally has passed the 60-mark, his nine top-level winners include Wicked Strong, and that Spendthrift Farm resident will have his first yearlings on offer this year.
Three of his daughters have been Grade 1 winners in the USA – including three-year-old champion Questing – and the best of his European-trained runners is also female, the now four-time Group 2 heroine Promising Run.
Godolphin's homebred is a member of the Saeed bin Suroor team, she is five years old, and her latest victory was a short-head one in the Group 2 Balanchine over nine furlongs on turf at Meydan this afternoon.
She gave 3lbs to each of her rivals in that race, although in pipping 105-rated Furia Cruzada and with 102-rated Opal Tiara two and a half lengths back in third, the bare form of what she achieved is below what you would expect for the grade.
Last month she was more impressive when beating the Irish filly Rehana by four and a half lengths in the Group 2 Cape Verdi over a mile at the same venue, she took the Group 2 Al Rashidiya over nine furlongs there 13 months ago, and her fourth Group 2 win is the Rockfel Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket, which she took as a two-year-old.
Promising Run is a half-sister to the Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes runner-up Arabian Comet (by Dubawi) and she is both the sixth foal and sixth winner out of Aviacion (by Know Heights), a Brazilian Grade 1 heroine who was effective from eight to 12 furlongs.
That mare is a half-sister to the graded winners Cerutti (by Ghadeer) and Persane (by Tampero) and also to Tipsy (by Fort de France), the Grade 3-placed dam of Argentine Grade 1 juvenile scorer Eddington (by Contested Bid).
Those are the highlights of the first three generations of her pedigree, but if you take another step back then you will find that her fourth dam, Swansea (by Turn-To), was a full-sister to Sir Gaylord (sire of Sir Ivor, Habitat, etc) and half-sister to the great and influential Secretariat (by Bold Ruler).
This detail will not show up on the catalogue page of any future offspring of Promising Run that may appear in an auction, but that does not alter her potential to make an impact when she goes to stud.
Both her dam and grandam have achieved high strike-rates of winners to runners, her third dam had nine winners from 13 starters, and that also augurs well for her prospects, especially given the likelihood that she will join Godolphin's broodmare band and so have access to some of the best stallions in the world.
When you have a horse who has been placed in as many stakes and pattern events as Jungle Cat has, it comes as something of a surprise that a first win at that level comes so late in his career.
Godolphin's homebred six-year-old began his career in the Mark Johnston stable, winning a six-furlong Goodwood maiden and being placed in each of the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, Group 2 July Stakes, Group 2 Richmond Stakes and Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes – beaten just a nose by Muhaarar in the latter.
At three, and now with Charlie Appleby, he chased home Adaay in the Listed Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury from just three starts and he had been off the track for seven months when easily taking a six-furlong handicap at Meydan on his first start at four.
He was then beaten a nose in a Group 3 contest at the same venue, was fourth in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, runner-up to Profitable in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and then fourth behind that same horse in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Ascot.
Last year he won a conditions race over seven furlongs at Haydock and was multiple blacktype-placed, and when he took the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort over that same trip at Meydan at the start of the month, it was his first outing since August.
Jungle Cat is a son of Dalham Hall Stud's notably successful stallion Iffraaj (by Zafonic) and, like dual Group 1 star Rizeena, he is out of a mare from the Storm Cat (by Storm Bird) line.
His siblings include the dual Grade 3-placed six-figure earner Texas Wildcatter (by Monarchos) and his dam is Mike's Wildcat (by Forest Wildcat), a lightly raced and speedy juvenile stakes winner whose blacktype-placed dam, Mistyray (by In Reality), won seven times from two to four years of age.
There are some blacktype horses in the next generation of the pedigree, including Mistyray's listed-winning half-sister Speier's Hope (by Minnesota Mac) and a pair of South American graded scorers, but it would seem fair to say that Jungle Cat may be the best horse the family has produced in some time.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for him and, as an entire, that could include a berth at stud. He is effective from five to seven furlongs, has not yet been asked to go beyond that range, and looks a likely candidate to do well again in stakes and pattern events at those trips in Europe this coming season.
One of last year's prominent European three-year-olds, Benbatl, has already been back in action in 2018 and he has made a perfect to the campaign, signalling that he may be set to make an impact when he returns to Newmarket.
He kicked off with a two-and-a-quarter-length defeat of Emotionless in the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes over nine furlongs on turf at Meydan in January – his first outing for four months – and then followed-up with victory in the Group 2 Al Rashidiya over the same course and distance, beating Bay Of Poets by three and three-quarter lengths.
These performances demonstrate his well-being and indicate that he is at least as good now as he was last year. He still has some progress to make if he is to be up to winning at the highest level in Europe, but with his connections and pedigree it would be no surprise if does that.
The son of Dalham Hall Stud's outstanding stallion Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium) did not make his racecourse debut until last April, and that seven-length score over seven furlongs at Doncaster was followed by three good efforts in defeat.
He was a two-length third to Eminent in the Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket, chased home three-quarter-length winner Permian in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York and then finished fifth to Wings Of Eagles in the Group 1 Derby at Epsom, beaten by just three and a half lengths.
Less than three weeks later he picked up his first pattern success with a half-length score against Orderofthegarter in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes over 10 furlongs at Ascot.
He was only fifth behind Enable in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the same venue and a disappointing favourite when unplaced in a mile Group 3 on heavy ground at Haydock in early September. The latter could have been due to the trip or the ground, or both.
Benbatl is the first foal out of the high-class Nahrain (by Selkirk), whom Roger Varian trained to win five of her 10 starts.
She was unraced at two, took the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera by a nose at Longchamp before losing her unbeaten record with a second-place finish to Perfect Shirl in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs, and added a win in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes over 10 furlongs at Belmont Park at four.
A half-sister to dual mile listed scorer Baharah (by Elusive Quality), she is out of Bahr (by Generous), who won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 3 Musidora Stakes. That talented chestnut also won the Listed Washington Singer Stakes, she was runner-up in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom and third in both the Group 1 Irish Oaks and Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap, making her one of the best representatives of her sire.
Bahr's half-sister Clerio (by Soviet Star) got her best win in the Group 3 Matron Stakes at the Curragh and, in addition to being the dam of a stakes winner, she is the grandam of Our Rokkii (by Roc De Cambres) who won the one-mile Group 1 Toorak Handicap in 2016.
Lady Of The Sea (by Mill Reef), who is the third dam of Benbatl, won just once but was out of New Zealand classic heroine and champion La Mer (by Copenhagen), which made her a half-sister to Listed Ballycorus Stakes winner Cipriani (by Habitat) and to Loughmore (by Artaius), the winning grandam of Group 1 Sires' Produce Stakes scorer Little Jamie (by St Jude).
The Group 1 Jebel Hatta would seem a likely next target for Benbatl, and should he win that and/or other top-level events in 2018, then his appeal as a prospective stallion would be enhanced.
There is no guarantee that a stallion who excels in one region of the world will prove as effective in another and there have been some notable examples of northern hemisphere sires who never really clicked 'down under', and vice versa.
As a multiple champion sire in Australia, there was a good chance that Fastnet Rock would do well in Europe too, especially as he's a son of Danehill (by Danzig) and out of a Royal Academy (by Nijinsky) mare, and with Group/Grade 1 stars such as Diamondandrubies, Fascinating Rock, Qualify, and Zhukova to his name he has proved beyond doubt that he's a leading sire both north and south of the equator.
His European offspring also include last year's juvenile Group 1 scorers Intricately and Rivet, plus a string who have won at stakes and pattern level, and they are coming over a wide variety of trips.
Globally, Fastnet Rock has sired 123 stakes winners and he got his 29th individual winner at the highest level when the Tony Martin-trained Laganore won the Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio over 10 furlongs at Capannelle yesterday.
This clear-cut defeat of A Raving Beauty and Absolute Beast came just over a month after she had taken the Group 3 Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Stakes over a half-furlong less at Gowran Park.
She won a listed contest at Newmarket last year and her string of pattern placings include third to Elizabeth Browning in the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh in July and third in the 2016 edition of Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio.
Like the aforementioned Fascinating Rock – who has completed his first season at Ballylinch Stud – Laganore is owned and bred by Newtown Anner Stud.
She is the second foal of her dam, Lady Bones (by Royal Applause), and is somewhat closely related to the other top-level performers that appear in the first few generations of her pedigree.
Her grandam, Leukippids (by Sadler's Wells), was also unraced and although she produced just one winner among four foals, that son is the Hong Kong star Blazing Speed (by Dylan Thomas) whose double-digit tally of wins includes the Group 1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup and Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup, both at Sha Tin.
He, in turn, is closely related to Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and Group 1 Gran Criterium scorer Spartacus (by Danehill) and to Group 2 Gallinule Stakes winner and notable Hong Kong performer Johan Cruyff – full-brothers out of Teslemi (by Ogygian) and so half-brothers to Leukippids.
Teslemi is also the dam of a Grade 3 scorer in South Africa and her descendants include both the New Zealand-bred Listed (local Group 1 only) Hong Kong Derby winner Super Satin (by Danehill Dancer) and this year's pattern-placed Irish stakes winner Orderofthegarter (by Galileo).
All of this makes Laganore an intriguing broodmare prospect, and with Royal Applause (by Waajib) and Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) as her maternal grandsire and great-grandsire respectively, it would be no surprise to see stallions from the Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Acclamation (by Royal Applause) lines among her future mates.
The Danehill (by Danzig) sire line has proved to be one of the most successful around the world and it added to its Group 1 tally yesterday when Librisa Breeze sprang a mild surprise in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.
The Dean Ivory-trained gelding was known to possess plenty of ability and, having finished fourth to The Tin Man in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and runner-up to Massaat in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes, he was clearly one with the potential to succeed at pattern level.
He had a Timeform rating of 120, which is excellent, but it put him well below his most illustrious and Group 1-winning rivals. Soft underfoot conditions no doubt played a part, adding a relative stamina emphasis to the six-furlong trip, but his one and quarter-length defeat of Tasleet still represents another big step forward.
This is a horse who, as was no surprise given his pedigree, began his career over a mile, got his first win over 10 furlongs, and has been gradually coming down in trip. Now the five-year-old has the potential for a rewarding season at six and seven furlongs in 2018, even if he may again need fortune to swing his way if he is to pick up another top-level win.
Librisa Breeze was bred by Newsells Park Stud, which is where his sire stood for eight seasons before moving to Boardsmill Stud in Ireland. He, Mount Nelson (by Rock Of Gibraltar), won the Group 1 Criterium International over a mile at two, added the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at four, and has sired a variety of blacktype horses over a wide range of distances.
These include Group 2 scorers Berkshire, Boscaccio and Highlands Queen, dual classic-placed Volume, stakes-winning sprinter Ninjago and promising young stayer Mount Moriah.
The Group 1 victory came 10 days too late to add extra gloss to the catalogue page of his Lawman (by Invincible Spirit) half-brother who made just 25,000gns in Newmarket. The pair are out of stakes-placed Bruxcalina (by Linamix) and that half-sister to Group 3 Prix La Force winner and Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) third Baraan (by Dalakhani) comes from a famous family.
Brusca (by Grindstone), the grandam of Librisa Breeze, won three times and, although out of an unraced mare called Chic Corine (by Nureyev), she is a half-sister to the Grade 1 Diana Stakes heroine Somali Lemonade (by Lemon Drop Kid).
She is also a half-sister to listed scorer Rasta Farian (by Holy Bull) and, as her name might suggest, she is a daughter of Chic Shrine (by Mr Prospector), the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes-winning full-sister to Grade 1 star Queena and both dam and grandam of several horses of note.
Her son Waldoboro (by Lyphard) won the Grade 2 True North Handicap over six furlongs at Belmont Park and her best daughter, Tara Roma (by Lyphard), took the Grade 2 Ladies Handicap over 10 furlongs at Aqueduct before going on to become the dam of Grade 1 Go For Wand Stakes heroine Serra Lake (by Seattle Slew) and third dam of shock Grade 1 Travers Stakes scorer Keen Ice (by Curlin).
Chic Corine's half-sister Flying Passage (by A.P. Indy) won only once but is the dam of the Grade 1-placed dual Grade 2 winner Hungry Island (by More Than Ready) and of Grade 3 scorer Soaring Empire (by Empire Maker), while unplaced sibling Enchanted Rock (by Giant's Causeway) is the dam Grade 1 star Verrazano (by More Than Ready) and his Grade 2-winning half-brother El Padrino (by Pulpit), both of whom are in early stages of their stallion careers.
Chic Shrine's aforementioned star sibling, Queena, won the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes, Grade 1 Maskette Stakes and Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap before becoming the dam of Grade 1 Hollywood Derby scorer and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile third Brahms (by Danzig), and of Grade 3 winner and blacktype producer La Reina (by A.P. Indy).
Their dam, Too Chic (by Blushing Groom), won the Grade 1 Maskette Stakes and she, the fifth dam of Librisa Breeze, was a granddaughter of Monade (by Klairon), 1962's winner of the Oaks at Epsom.
Now that Librisa Breeze has found his forte, it will be interesting to see how his career develops from this point and if he can find further improvement at the age of six.
Group 1-winning miler Tamayuz (by Nayef) comes from a branch of the famous stallion-producing family of Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) and he has had a tremendous season in 2017.
His string of stakes wins include classic victory for Precieuse in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Group 2 success for the talented stayer Desert Skyline and a Group 2 Middleton Stakes win for Blond Me, a five-year-old mare trained by Andrew Balding.
The latter then chased home Winter in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes over 10 furlongs at Goodwood, two months before she took the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes over the same trip on soft turf at Woodbine, in Canada, yesterday evening.
In all, she has won six of her 17 starts, earned over £700,000 in prize money, and that tally includes a Group 2 win in Turkey plus listed race success at Goodwood and Sandown, all three of those coming over a mile.
It has been a breakthrough season for Derrinstown Stud's stallion and his latest batch of yearlings have fetched up to 330,000gns and 325,000gns at the recent Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in Newmarket.
Blond Me was bred by Wardstown Stud Ltd and Balding had to go to 65,000gns to secure her from Book 1 of the 2013 edition of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. She is a half-sister to a couple of winners, her dam won her only start – over seven furlongs as a two-year-old – and they come one of the most famous families in the stud book.
Holda (by Docksider) cost Wardstown just 30,000gns as a three-year-old at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale, a price that would have been considerably higher had the transaction come several years later. Why? Because she is out of Spring Symphony (by Darshaan) and that makes her a half-sister to Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes winner Glass Harmonium (by Verglas) and his dual pattern-winning half-brother Arab Spring (by Monsun).
But Glass Harmonium was only a foal when the filly went through the ring, and it was just over three years before Arab Spring was even born. Spring Symphony's full-brother Hard Top had won the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes the year before, but her more famous sibling was just a yearling in 2006.
Like Hard Top, he was trained by Sir Michael Stoute, but whereas that older horse ultimately disappointed and was gelded, Conduit (by Dalakhani) won the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster, Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, and two editions of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita, retiring to stud with earnings in excess of £3.5 million.
Their dam, Well Head (by Sadler's Wells), was a half-sister to classic star and classic sire Spectrum (by Rainbow Quest) and his Grade 1-placed, Grade 2-winning full-brother Stream Of Gold, and also to Ballet Shoes (by Ela-Mana-Mou), the winning dam of Group 1 Irish Oaks, Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and Group 1 Prix de l'Opera heroine Petrushka (by Unfuwain).
This means that the fourth dam of Blond Me is listed winner, Group 1 Prix Morny runner-up and Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches third River Dancer (by Irish River).
In addition to being a half-sister to the ill-fated Group 1-placed pattern scorer Dancing Bloom (by Sadler's Wells) and also to Ballerina (by Dancing Brave) – the dam of classic star Millenary (by Rainbow Quest) – River Dancer was out of Dancing Shadow (by Dancer's Image), a half-sister to Group 1 Oaks, Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine and Group 1 producer Sun Princess (by English Prince) and her top-class half-brother Saddlers' Hall (by Sadler's Wells).
There are many other stakes and pattern winners to be found in the various branches of this famous family and it is clear that newly crowned Grade 1 star Blond Me has tremendous potential as a future addition to the broodmare ranks.
Taareef has not yet won at the highest level but there is no doubt that he has the ability to do so. Nine days ago he became a dual winner of the Group 2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein over a mile at Chantilly, just three weeks after he was a three-quarter-length runner-up to Ribchester in the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp over the same course and distance.
From just five starts this year, he has also won the Group 3 Prix Bertrand du Breuil Longines – beating Zelzal by one and three-quarter lengths – and the Group 3 Prix Messidor, in which he beat Al Wukair by two lengths.
Last year, in addition to his aforementioned Group 2 success, he took the Group 3 Prix Daphnis over nine furlongs, and his only runs as a two-year-old resulted in wins at Bordeaux Le Bouscat and Deauville.
He has an official rating of 122, a Timeform one of 125, and that places him among the most highly ranked sons of his sire to have raced in Europe.
Ramsey Farm's homebred star Kitten's Joy is a son of former Vincent O'Brien-trained Group 1 scorer El Prado (by Sadler's Wells), the stallion who also gave us the outstanding racehorse and sire Medaglia d'Oro.
He is well-established as one of the best sires of turf horses in North America and, in addition to Taareef, his runners in Europe include Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes star Hawkbill and young Lanwades Stud stallion Bobby's Kitten, a Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint hero who was Grade 1-placed at a mile before coming to Ireland where he ran away with a listed sprint at Cork on his only start for the Dermot Weld stable.
Taareef was bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms Llc and he is a $675,000 graduate of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is the best of three winners out of stakes-placed five-time scorer Sacred Feather (by Carson City) and he has a two-year-old half-brother in training with John Gosden – a first-crop Point Of Entry (by Dynaformer) colt named Momtalik, who made $140,000 at the same venue as a yearling and 390,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale in Newmarket in April.
The mare has made a good start to her stud career yet has a long way to go to match the record of her dam. That's because she is one of 13 winners from 15 foals out of Grade 3 scorer Marianna's Girl (by Dewan) and so is a half-sister to five stakes winners, including the Grade 2-placed Grade 3 winners Marastani (by Shahrastani) and Christine's Outlaw (by Wild Again).
Marianna's Girl's success surpassed that of her dam, Marianna Trench (by Pago Pago), who produced 10 winners from 17 foals, notably Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap victor and Grade 1 Whitney Stakes runner-up Bold Style (by Bold Commander).
The next generation of the family includes plenty of winners too, including prolific sprinter Pocket Boy (by Full Pocket) and one-time scorer Go Feather Go (by Go Marching), the latter notable as being the dam of classic star Mutafaweq's (by Silver Hawk) multiple Irish stakes-winning dam The Caretaker (by Caerleon).
Taareef's pedigree is an outcross – a term that means no duplicated ancestors within the first five generations and yet is often misused – and he is among the most talented milers in Europe. This will make him an interesting stallion prospect, should he get that chance. Before then, however, there is every reason to hope that he can win a Group 1 on the track.
You know a flat horse very well by the time he reaches the age of six and don't expect him to take his career in a new and upward direction, yet Suedois's profile has undergone a dramatic change in 2017.
He was a Group 3 winning sprinter in his native France in 2015, gelded at the end of that four-year-old season – after finishing down the field behind Make Believe in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret – before moving to England to join the David O'Meara team.
He continued performing with credit in the sprinters' division in 2016, chasing home Limato in the Group 1 July Cup and Magical Memory in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes, finishing third to Quiet Reflection in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock and to Limato in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Chantilly, and fourth to Signs Of Blessing in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest.
He was clearly talented, but just below top class and unlikely to hit the top.
His first three starts of 2017 were over six furlongs – yielding one third and two unplaced efforts – but then he was a half-length third to Breton Rock in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes over seven, beaten by a similar margin when third to Talaayeb in the Group 3 City of York Stakes over the same trip, before trying something he had not done since October of his two-year-old season.
That first attempt at a mile as a mature horse came at Leopardstown a month ago and he beat True Valour and Psychedelic Funk by half a length and a head, with Sir John Lavery a short-head back in fourth.
It is true that this was a weak contest for the grade, but now that Suedois was a winner over a mile, his options had opened. Yesterday he notched up his first win at the highest level with a half-length defeat of Heart To Heart in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland.
Suedois is the third top-level winner for Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) winner and Haras de la Cauviniere stallion Le Havre (by Rahy), the stallion whose other big pair are the dual classic heroines Avenir Certain and La Cressonniere.
He is the first foal out of the two-time Swedish winner Cup Cake (by Singspiel) and she is a granddaughter of Deauville listed scorer Gold Script (by Script Ohio), the mare who gave us Honours List (by Danehill).
He was a talented member of the Ballydoyle juvenile team 17 years ago when he won the Group 3 Railway Stakes at the Curragh, was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre and third in the Group 1 Grand Criterium.
He sired some blacktype horses at stud, and his stakes-placed half-sister Zina La Belle (by Mark Of Esteem) did her part for the family by coming up with 2014's Group 2 Oaks d'Italia runner-up Schighera (by New Approach).
Quiet Thoughts (by Thatching), the fourth dam of Suedois, won the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at the Curragh in 1985 and she was a granddaughter of Fleet Wahine (by Fleet Nasrullah), the Timeform 121-rated winner of the Yorkshire Oaks and Ribblesdale Stakes of 1971.
With what he had achieved in the first few years of his career, Suedois was a somewhat unlikely candidate to succeed at the highest level, but the move from sprinting to competition at a mile has brought about a positive change in direction and it would be no surprise to see him perform with credit over that trip in Europe next year, at the age of seven.
Prolific pattern winner Soldier Hollow (by In The Wings) won four Group 1s over 10 furlongs, the last of them a three-length score in the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen at Munich as a seven-year-old, and he has gone on to become one of the leading sires in Germany.
He stands at Gestut Auenquelle, his fee for this year was €25,000, and his 36 stakes winners include the classic stars Pastorius and Serienholde, as well as additional Group 1 winners Our Ivanhowe and Dschingis Secret.
The latter is the most recent of the quartet to achieve that feat and he beat Hawkbill by a length in last month's Group 1 Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin over 12 furlongs at Hoppegarten. This came after a three and three-quarter-length defeat of Iquitos in the Group 2 Hansa Preis over the same trip at Hamburg.
In early May he beat Sirius by six lengths in the Group 2 Gerling-Preis over a mile and a half at Cologne and last year, when he was a half-length third to Isfahan in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby, he was a seven-length winner of the Group 3 St Leger Italiano over 14 furlongs at San Siro.
It is his most recent effort, however, confirmed his status as a serious contender for the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as this Timeform 126-rated bay beat Cloth Of Stars and Talismanic by a length and a half and a neck in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy over the 12 furlongs at Chantilly. Satono Diamond was fourth and Silverwave fifth.
Dschingis Secret is a full-brother to the dual pattern-placed filly Diana Storm, he is a €200,000 graduate of the BBAG September Yearling Sale, and his mid-March-born yearling full-brother made €500,000 at the most recent edition of that auction.
His dam, Divya (by Platini), won three times at four and five years of age and she is a full-sister to Deva, the dual 10-furlong Group 3-winning dam of Devastar (by Areion), who won the 10-furlong Group 3 Preis der Deutschen Einheit last year.
Deva is also the grandam of 2015 Group 3 Preis der Winterkonigin heroine and German juvenile filly champion Dhaba (by Areion), she is a half-sister to the stakes winners Duke D'Alba (by Monsun) and Dragon Fly (by Acatenango), and out of Diana's Quest (by Rainbow Quest), a winning daughter of the Canadian-born Diana Dance (by Northern Dancer).
That Windfields Farm-bred mare also raced in Germany, where she was a Group 3 scorer over 10 and a half furlongs, runner-up in the Group 2 ARAG-Preis (German 1000 Guineas) and third in the Group 2 Preis der Diana (German Oaks).
A half-sister to Canadian juvenile filly champion Deceit Dancer (by Vice Regent) and to Grade 2 scorer and Japanese stallion Nagurski (by Nijinsky) – the sire of ill-fated champion Hokuto Vega –Diana Dance died young but was also responsible for the prolific gelding Dorlando (by Kris) whose double-digit tally of wins was backed up by several blacktype placings in sprints.
Deceit (by Prince John), the fourth dam of Dschingis Secret, was a prolific stakes winner from five and a half to nine and a half furlongs, with a tally that featured the Acorn Stakes, Mother Goose Stakes, and Matchmaker Stakes, and others of note in the family include the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes heroine Magical Allure (by General Meeting), who was out of a half-sister to Deceit.
Dschingis Secret is among the best German horses of recent years and this Group 1-winning great-grandson of Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) is likely to prove a popular addition to the stallion ranks whenever his racing days come to an end.
There was a time when the Gold Cup at Ascot was one of the most prestigious races of the year and a natural target for the previous year's classic stars. It was the first race at the Royal meeting to get Group 1 status when the pattern system was introduced, but the attribute required to win it – stamina – has since become something of a dirty word.
That is a pity because not only are the top stayers' races an important and popular part of the racing calendar, but the shifting trend towards early speed and precocity is greatly reducing the number of stallions with the potential to sire Derby and Oaks stars plus, of course, St Leger and Gold Cup horses.
Order Of St George is one of the best stayers of the modern era, a horse who is as effective at 12 furlongs as he is over a mile farther, and so something of a throwback to those days of old when a Derby hero would remain in training to tackle the Ascot feature, a race that, as Timeform pointed out again in their 2016 essay on this Aidan O'Brien-trained champion, does not include the word Ascot in its title (Racehorses of 2016, p.740).
He began his career in July of his two-year-old season, finishing fourth in a mile maiden at Leopardstown and ran away with a similar contest over the same course and distance the following month. He was runner-up to Parish Boy over a furlong less at Naas 10 days before and it was that same colt who beat him in the Listed Eyrefield Stakes over nine furlongs at Leopardstown that October.
Order Of St George missed the early season classics and was short-headed by Bondi Beach on his return to action in the Group 3 Curragh Cup in late June. He then posted wide-margin wins in Her Majesty's Plate at Down Royal and the Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial Stakes at the Curragh, and that seven and a half-length defeat of Sea Moon was followed by an 11-length drubbing of Agent Murphy in the Group 1 Irish St Leger.
Timeform rated him 129 that season, just 5lbs behind Horse of the Year, Derby and Arc hero Golden Horn, and although the Gold Cup was the obvious target, it was hoped by some that this exciting colt might also drop back to 12 furlongs at some point.
He ran six times as a four-year-old, duly landing the Group 1 Gold Cup at Ascot, in which he beat Mizzou by three lengths. A shock half-length defeat by Wicklow Brave in the Group 1 Irish St Leger was, however, followed by what was arguably the best performance of his career to that point.
Order Of St George chased home Found and Highland Reel in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over 12 furlongs at Chantilly, beaten one and three-quarter lengths and one and a half lengths, and securing for his trainer an historic one-two-three in Europe's most prestigious race.
He was a warm favourite for the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup, over two miles at Ascot, 13 days later but, on this occasion, he disappointed, finishing only fourth to Sheikhzayedroad.
His five starts in 2017 have yielded three wins and two seconds, and having been short-headed by Big Orange in the Gold Cup and beaten Rekindling easily when taking a third edition of the Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh, he goes into tomorrow afternoon's Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe off the back of a nine-length score in this month's Group 1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger.
Order Of St George is, of course, among 70 Group 1 winners sired by Coolmore Stud's prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells). He is a $550,000 graduate of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and, as that fact might suggest, he comes from a top US family, which is part of why it would be fascinating to see how he might fare if given the chance as a flat sire.
He is the best of four stakes winners out of Another Storm (by Gone West), those siblings include the mile Group/Grade 3 scorers Angel Terrace (by Ghostzapper) and Asperity (by War Chant), and his dam is a daughter of 1996's US juvenile filly champion Storm Song (by Summer Squall).
She won the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes, Grade 1 Frizette Stakes and Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, she is the grandam of the top Singapore mile to 10-furlong runner Better Life (by Smarty Jones), and she is a half-sister to the ill-fated Grade 2 Oak Leaf Stakes winner Diamond Omi (by Giant's Causeway).
Her siblings also include the unraced Happy Tune (by A.P. Indy), who is the dam of 12-furlong Grade 3 scorer Symphony Kid (by Unbridled) and of Grade 3-winning miler High Cotton (by Dixie Union).
Hum Along (by Fappiano), whose offspring included the $6.8 million yearling purchase Tasmanian Tiger (by Storm Cat), is the third dam of Order Of St George. She was only placed once as a two-year-old but each of her next three dams was a multiple stakes winner.
Minstress (by The Minstrel) was a Grade 3-placed dual listed scorer, Fleet Victress (by King Of The Tudors) won the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap and was a track record setter over eight and a half furlongs at Belmont Park, and Countess Fleet (by Count Fleet) – the sixth dam of the young Ballydoyle star – won the prestigious Milady and Vanity Handicaps, setting a new track record for nine furlongs in the latter.
On pedigree, Order Of St George had the potential to prove best in the mile to 12-furlong range and so, with the right mares, it is entirely possible that he could sire top-class performers over those distances, in addition to the stayers that he will surely get.
He will, of course, attract considerable attention from the National Hunt sector, but at a time when so many new flat recruits are good sprinters or milers, or even precocious sorts who retire early, aiming him solely at the jumps market could be a missed opportunity.
Breeding the best to the best and then hoping for the best is an oft-quoted strategy, but even when sending the cream of the broodmare band to the elite stallions there are no guarantees of success.
There are many expensively produced disappointments and many pattern winners who have come from comparatively humble origins. Even so, those supposedly lesser members of the annual foal crop tend to be by stallions who are covering at least small to medium-sized books of mares.
On rare occasions a notable performer can come from one of the most unlikeliest sources – offspring of a teaser. Many stud farms use ponies or part-bred horses for this mostly thankless yet invaluable role, but sometimes the job goes to a thoroughbred, perhaps one who was himself a talented racehorse and/or who has a good pedigree, but was not selected to stand or remain as an active stallion on the farm.
In 1989, Call To Arms was runner-up in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, splitting Dashing Blade and Anshan in a three-way photo and earning a Timeform rating of 116. He was by the well-bred teaser North Briton (by Northfields), a son of 1975's dual Oaks heroine Juliette Marny (by Blakeney).
This afternoon, the Alain Couetil-trained Tiberian made it four wins from five starts in 2017 with victory in the Group 2 Lucien Barriere Grand Prix de Deauville, his third pattern success of the year. He was Group 2-placed at three and four years of age, and now the five-year-old is set to bid for Group 1 glory in the Melbourne Cup in November.
Tiberius Caesar (by Zieten) was a talented racehorse, a mile Group 3 scorer in Germany who was multiple blacktype placed, winning a total of five of his 47 starts. He retired to Haras du Logis, but as a teaser, and he was rewarded for his efforts by the chance to cover stakes-placed Toamasina (by Marju). Tiberian was the result.
He is also the sire of the four-year-old gelding Magnentius – a winner who has twice been fifth in listed company – and the three-year-old filly Yellow Storm, who won over 11 and a half furlongs shortly before finishing eighth of 16 in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) in June, beaten 10 and a half lengths by Senga.
With a Group 2 and two Group 3 wins to his name, Tiberian – a talented great-grandson of Danzig (by Northern Dancer) – could have a stud career in his future, and should he succeed at the highest level then, despite his apparently humble origins, he would be the third to do so within the first few generations of his family.
Toamasina is a half-sister to the stakes-placed Lady Weaseley (by Zieten) and her winning dam, Top Speed (by Wolfhound), is a half-sister to Group 1 Deutsches Derby scorer All My Dreams (by Assert).
Their dam is the dual stakes-placed French winner Marie De Beaujeu (by Kenmare), a half-sister to a multiple blacktype-placed horse in Belgium and with a few minor stakes winners in her family. That might not sound particularly promising, but that mare was also responsible for Summer Dreams (by Sadler's Wells), and that placed filly has produced two offspring of particular note.
Moudez (by Xaar) has been a prolific winner and he was Group 3-placed at Ascot before going on to blacktype success in the USA. His half-sister I'm A Dreamer (by Noverre) is the David Simcock-trained bay who was an easy winner of the Group 3 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket and later won the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes at Arlington.
Her placed form includes a head second to Miss Keller in the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine and third to Izzi Top in both the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh and Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York. Her first foal, named Dream Warrior (by Dubawi), is a Godolphin-owned and Derby-entered juvenile who made 575,000gns in Newmarket as a yearling.
The circumstances that led to his birth may be somewhat unusual, but there is no doubt that Tiberian is a talented middle-distance racehorse. He was bred by the partnership of Heiko Volz, Julian Ince and Stefan Falk, he achieved a Timeform rating of 111 at three and 115 at four, and it is fair bet that he will finish the current year on a higher figure.
Talented sprinter Showcasing (by Oasis Dream) has made a promising start to his stallion career. His first crop includes the Group 1 star Quiet Reflection, his second features Tasleet, and, to date, he has come up with 18 individual stakes winners, including several from his time shuttling to New Zealand.
Tasleet was bred by Whitsbury Manor Stud – where his sire stands – he made £52,000 in Doncaster as a yearling, and he is trained by William Haggas for Hamdan Al Maktoum.
He was fourth over six furlongs at York on his juvenile debut, was a three-length winner over the same trip at Chepstow 17 days later, and then added the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury before chasing home subsequent Group 1 star Shalaa in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.
Three weeks later he took the valuable DBS Premier Yearling Stakes at York and then, on his final outing of the year, he stepped up to seven furlongs at Newmarket, failing by just a nose to beat Sanus Per Aquam in the Group 3 Somerville Tattersall Stakes.
The colt's three-year-old season was cut short due to a setback after his narrow winning reappearance in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes, which was run at Chelmsford, but the horse he short-headed that day was Knife Edge, subsequent winner of the Group 2 Mehl-Muhlens-Rennen (German 2000 Guineas). That rival was later gelded, sent to Hong Kong and renamed Encounter.
Tasleet's only other start came in October, when he finished down the field behind Aclaim in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket, also over seven furlongs, but his four-year-old debut was in the Listed Leicestershire Stakes over the same trip in late April and, having chased home Home Of The Brave, he showed enough to suggest that he could be set for a good year.
Since then he had run three times, all over six furlongs. First he beat Magical Memory by two and a half lengths in the Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, then failed by a neck to beat The Tin Man in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
On the strength of those two efforts, the Timeform 125-rated bay was sent off at 9/1 for the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket but this time he disappointed, coming home last behind Harry Angel. He holds entries in both the Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup Stakes at Haydock and the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.
Tasleet is the best of three winners out of Bird Key (by Cadeaux Genereux), a mare who was unplaced on her only start. Two of her half-brothers and two half-sisters are blacktype horses, including the Group 2 Champagne Stakes winner and Group 1 July Cup third Etlaala (by Selkirk), but the relation who catches the eye is the son of one of her lesser siblings.
Anna Law (by Lawman) ran a few times as a juvenile, without troubling the judge, but her three-year-old son Battaash (by Dark Angel) is one of the most exciting sprinters we have seen in recent years.
Also owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, the Charles Hills-trained bay is a triple blacktype scorer in 2017, earned a massive Timeform rating of 135+ after an impressive victory in the Group 2 King George Stakes over five furlongs at Goodwood, and tomorrow is due to take on the brilliant filly Lady Aurelia for what could be a Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes for the ages.
These most recent generations of the family are all about speed and yet this is a branch of one that is also associated with a different type of talent.
Krakow (by Malinowski) is the fourth dam of both Tasleet and Battaash, she earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Montrose Handicap at Newmarket, her son Adam Smith (by Sadler's Wells) was a multiple Grade 3 scorer in the USA, and his full-brother Braashee was a stayer who took both the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak and Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.
Krakow's daughter Ghariba (by Final Straw) was speedier, winning the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes and finishing fourth in the Group 1 1000 Guineas, and her descendants include the Group 3 Autumn Stakes winner and Group 1 Racing Post Trophy runner-up Fantastic View (by Distant View), plus the Group 1-placed and pattern-winning sprinter High Standing (by High Yield).
Tasleet is a highly talented sprinter from the Green Desert branch of the mighty Danzig (by Northern Dancer) line, which will make him an attractive prospect as a future stallion, especially as his 'cousin' Battaash is a gelding with the potential to continue advertising the family's talent for the next few years.
Teofilo was an undefeated Group 1 star as a two-year-old and although he did not run again after that championship season, he differs from most of the increasing number of those tried only at two but then go to stud.
Whereas they are typically horses who were withdrawn from training at the end of their first season, he was one of the major classic market leaders at three, missed the campaign due to a setback and so covered his first book at Kildangan Stud at the age of four.
He has been a tremendous success in that role, he is 13 years old and his current tally of 68 stakes winners worldwide includes 13 who have won at least once at the highest level. The most recent addition to that baker's dozen was Ajman Princess, a Group 2-placed stakes winner who put up the performance of her career in the Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville on Sunday.
This was a third win from 11 starts for the Roger Varian-trained four-year-old, with all of those victories coming this season. Last year she was still a maiden when chasing home Even Song in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot and, in 2017, she has been third to The Black Princess in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks and to Bateel in the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes.
Ajman Princess is the fourth foal out of stakes-placed triple winner Reem Three (by Mark Of Esteem), she is a half-sister to three winners, and her dam is a half-sister to Afsare (by Dubawi), the Group 2 Celebration Mile scorer who was runner-up in both the Grade 1 Arlington Million and Group 1 Premio Presidente della Republica.
Jumaireyah (by Fairy King), dam of that smart pair, is out of the placed mare Donya (by Mill Reef) and that makes her a half-sister to a string of successful runners of whom Lost Soldier Three (by Barathea) is most notable. He won the Listed Silver Cup Handicap at York and his multiple blacktype placings include third in the Group 3 City of Gold Stakes at Nad Al Sheba.
Stakes-placed Altaweelah is a full-sister to Jumaireyah and, although she is the dam of just one winner from five foals, that sole scorer is Qasirah (by Machiavellian), the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes third whose string of winning progeny features the listed race scorers Toolain (by Diktat) and Tantshi (by Invincible Spirit).
Donya is also the grandam of the Group 3 Huxley Stakes winner Danadana (by Dubawi) – out of the lightly raced one-time winner Zeeba (by Barathea) – and, as one might expect of a daughter of Mill Reef (by Never Bend), she has some very notable immediate relations.
Her half-brother French Glory, among the early runners by the late, great Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer), won the Grade 1 Rothman's International Stakes at Woodbine and Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Maisons-Laffitte, and her dam is the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud heroine Dunette (by Hard To Beat).
Norland (by Gay Mecene), a half-sister to Dunette, was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary before becoming the dam of dual US Grade 2 scorer Ampulla (by Chief's Crown), while Godille (by Bolkonski) – another sibling of the classic star – is the grandam of two-mile South African Grade 1 winner Desert Links (by Kahal).
With a new Timeform rating of 119, Ajman Princess still has some way to go if she is to prove herself to be a top-class filly, although it is possible that she can improve again before the year is out.
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.