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.