Dual classic star Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) has made a good start to his stallion career at Ballylinch Stud and his first three crops have so far yielded 28 individual stakes winners, headed by the Group 1 stars Belardo, Jemayel, and The Right Man.
They also include Steel Of Madrid, the Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old who won the Group 3 bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket this afternoon, beating Folkswood by half a length. A second-crop son of his sire, the colt is a 120,000gns graduate of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and this was his fourth win from a dozen starts.
Last year he won the Listed Fairway Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newmarket, beating Linguistic by one and a half lengths, and although he did not make the frame in any of his subsequent outings, he was not disgraced in pattern events won by standouts such as Hawkbill, Ulysees, and Almanzor.
Steel Of Madrid was bred by Jeddah Bloodstock, he is the second foal out of the one-time scorer Bibury (by Royal Applause) and his now two-year-old Born To Sea (by Invincible Spirit) half-brother made 52,000gns from Book 3 of last year's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
Bibury is a half-sister to the Group 1 Gold Cup and Group 3 Long Distance Cup star Rite Passage (by Giant's Causeway), who is spending his retirement as a 'Living Legend' at the Irish National Stud, and she is out of Dahlia's Krissy (by Kris S), a stakes-placed five-time winner whose listed-placed dam Dahlia's Image (by Lyphard) was a daughter of the great Dahlia (by Vaguely Noble).
Many top-class fillies disappoint at stud but Dahlia was an exception, a dual champion racehorse who Timeform rated 132 at three and 135 at four, and who went on to become of the most successful broodmares of all time.
Her 15 wins featured the Group 1 Irish Oaks, Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, Grade 1 Washington DC International, and two editions of both the Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Group 1 Benson & Hedges Gold Cup (now Juddmonte International Stakes), and of her eight winning offspring, four won at the highest level.
Dahar (by Lyphard) won the Grade 1 Prix Lupin, Grade 1 Century Handicap, Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap and Grade 1 San Luis Rey Stakes, Rivlia (by Riverman) won that latter contest plus the Grade 1 Hollywood Invitational Handicap and Grade 1 Carleton F Burke Handicap, and Delegant (by Grey Dawn II) got his top win in the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap.
Dahlia's Dreamer (by Theatrical) won the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap, Llandaff (by Lyphard) is the Grade 2 Jersey Derby-winning sire of Group 1 scorer Vespone, and Wajd (by Northern Dancer) won both the Group 2 Grand Prix d'Evry and Group 3 Prix Minerve before going on to a notable career at stud. She was also third in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks.
The best of Wajd's offspring is the Group 1 St Leger star and Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes runner-up Nedawi (by Rainbow Quest), who went on to sire Grade 1 winners in Brazil, and her sons also include the ill-fated Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes scorer Wall Street (by Mr Prospector).
Fitful Skies (by Dubawi) was her most notable daughter on the track, winning a Group 3 contest at Hannover and taking the runners-up spot in the Grade 1 E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, but her one-time winner Whist (by Mr Prospector) has contributed to the family's honour by being the grandam of the Australian-bred full-brothers Mission Critical and Brilliant Light.
The former won the Group 1 Whakanui Stud International Stakes over 10 furlongs at Te Rapa, in New Zealand, and the latter is a Group 2 Ajax Stakes winner who finished third in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick. They are sons of the top-class international performer Fantastic Light (by Rahy).
Dahlia is also the dam of Miss Dahlia (by Strawberry Road), the unraced dam of Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap winner and Grade 1 Gamely Stakes third Capital Plan (by Rock Hard Ten).
With family connections like these, there is no surprise that Steel Of Madrid made a six-figure sum as a yearling or that he has become a pattern winner. He was rated 106 before today's seasonal debut, he holds an entry in next month's Group 2 Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes over 12 furlongs at Newmarket, and it will be interesting to see how high in the rankings he can climb.
Juvenile champion and impressive Group 1 2000 Guineas star Zafonic (by Gone West) compiled a good record at stud and he has several sons getting stakes and pattern winners, including at Group 1 level – most notably international classic sire Iffraaj.
His Group 3-winning full-brother Zamindar also got a chance at stud, and although he is without a sire son to carry on his line, he did some up with with Group 1-winning daughters.
One of those is Zenda, the classic-winning dam of brilliant miler and popular young Banstead Manor Stud stallion Kingman (by Invincible Spirit), but his standout performer was the undefeated Arc and classic heroine Zarkava, and she is the dam of the classic-placed pattern winner Zarak (by Dubawi).
Zamindar's sons of note include the prolific Air Pilot, and Lady Cobham's homebred is now a triple Group 3 scorer following his narrow defeat of Success Days in the Dr Vincent O'Brien Centenary Alleged Stakes at Naas eight days ago.
He got up on the line to score by a head from the talented grey and had the classic-placed US Army Ranger three and a quarter lengths farther back in third, with Stellar Mass also performing below expectations in fourth.
All four of his blacktype victories have come over 10 furlongs, two of them on good ground, last week's one on was on yielding, and last summer he beat subsequent Group 1 scorer Elliptique by two lengths in the Group 3 La Coupe on soft at Chantilly. The 113-rated gelding is trained by Ralph Beckett and his career earnings stand at just over £260,000.
Air Pilot is the best of several winners out of one-time scorer Countess Sybil (by Dr Devious), a mare whose string of successful siblings includes Mint Crisp (by Green Desert). That five-time winner stayed a little farther than most by her famous sire, getting her top win in the Group 3 Grand Prix de Vichy over 10 furlongs.
The best of her offspring, however, was the Undeterred (by Zafonic), whose 11 wins included the Listed Rockingham Stakes over six furlongs. In fact, nine of his wins came over that trip and, although his form deteriorated, he stepped up in trip later in his career and was successful over eight and a half furlongs at Wolverhampton and in an 11 and a half-furlong handicap at Windsor, both at the age of 10.
Group 3 Park Stakes heroine Countess Candy (by Great Nephew) is the grandam of Air Pilot, she was a half-sister to listed scorer and Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes third Countess Tully (by Hotfoot) and also to Intimidate (by Formidable), who was runner-up in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes and Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes as a juvenile and third to Prince Of Birds in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas the following spring.
Countess Tully went on to produce six winners at stud, most notably Russian Countess (by Nureyev), the stakes-placed dam of the Group 1-placed stakes winners Alboostan (by Sabrehill) and Crown Of Light (by Mtoto). The Group 1s in which the latter was placed were the Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks.
Russian Countess is also the grandam of multiple Group 2-placed stayer, dual listed scorer and prolific gelding Balkan Knight (by Selkirk) and of Charlie Farnsbarns (by Cape Cross), the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy runner-up whose five wins included the Group 3 Darley Stakes at Newmarket.
Countess Tully, on the other hand, is also the grandam of Orange Sunset (by Roanoake), who won the Listed Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran Park before going on to become a Grade 2-placed stakes winner across the Atlantic.
Zepha, a three-time winning full-sister to Countess Tully, also did her part for the family as her descendants include the speedy pattern-placed Irish stakes winners Sunset Reigns (by Taufan) and Irish Jig (by Celtic Swing).
If you go back farther then you find that the fifth dam of Air Pilot is Kandy Sauce (by Hard Sauce), the Queen Anne Stakes and Atalanta Stakes heroine of 1956, a three-year-old campaign for which Timeform rated her 129.
Regular racegoers could be forgiven for underestimating the prospects of Diamond Fields in Sunday's Group 3 Gladness Stakes at Naas as last time she had been seen in action in Ireland was when finishing a four and a half-length fourth behind Divine in a Group 3 sprint at the Curragh in early June.
Before then she had won just once from six starts, chased home Washington DC in a six-furlong listed contest at Navan, and been well-beaten on her only attempt over seven. But all of that was before she began to travel abroad.
First stop was Royal Ascot where, at 33/1, she chased home the subsequent Group 1-placed pattern winner Persuasive (rec. 2lbs) in the Listed Sandringham Handicap over a mile on soft ground.
Then it was off to Saratoga where, on her second run, she was third to Time And Motion in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes over nine and a half furlongs on firm turf, and, a month later, she chased home On Leave in the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes over the same trip at Belmont Park, again on firm ground.
Sunday's win was both her first start since that mid-September run, and her first for new trainer Fozzy Stack, and she claimed a notable scalp with her half-length defeat of Alice Springs (gave 5lbs).
It seems unlikely that she could beat that chestnut Group 1 star again, especially over the latter's favoured mile trip, but Diamond Fields has plenty of ability and is good enough to win again at least at the same level.
The four-year-old was bred by Sweetmans Bloodstock and she is a daughter of the Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock (by Danehill) whose handful of shuttle-years at Coolmore Stud resulted in the Group 1 stars Qualify, Diamondsandrubies, Intricately, Rivet, and, best of all, Fascinating Rock.
Her dam, Question Times (by Shamardal), earned her blacktype when runner-up in the Listed Bosra Sham Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket as a juvenile, and the mare is a half-sister to Sunday Times (by Holy Roman Emperor), a Group 3 Sceptre Stakes winner who was a half-length runner-up to Lightening Pearl in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes.
Their dam, Forever Times (by So Factual), won six times from five to seven furlongs and is a half-sister to three sprinters of note. Brave Prospector (by Oasis Dream) is a Group 3-placed prolific winner, Majestic Times (by Bluebird) got his best win in the Listed Abergwaun Stakes over the minimum trip at Cork, and the third sibling is Welsh Emperor.
That gelded son of Emperor Jones (by Danzig) won 13 times including the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes, Group 3 Bentinck Stakes, and two listed events, and his string of pattern race placings featured twice taking the runners-up spot in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret, to Caradak and Toylsome respectively.
These are among the 10 offspring of the once-raced maiden Simply Times (by Dodge), one of those rare mares with a 100% record of winners to foals born.
Her dam, Nesian's Burn (by Big Burn), was a listed-placed five-time winner from two to four years of age in the USA, and her siblings include the listed scorer Bucky's Baby (by Buckaroo) and Nesian's Dancer (by Sovereign Dancer), the unraced dam of dual listed race winner Sejm Run, a gelded son of the unraced Danzig (by Northern Dancer) stallion Sejm.
Nesian's Burn, in turn, is out of the unraced Marnesian's Cross (by Sun Cross), which makes her a full-sister to the 22-time US winner Catch If You Can and half-sister to Aristocratic Cross (by An Eldorado), a grandson of Vaguely Noble (by Vienna) whose impressive tally of 33 wins from 106 starts included several listed events.
This is a family that has an established history of producing blacktype horses and also of coming up with some who are both durable and prolific. All of this boosts the prospects of Diamond Fields doing well at stud, whenever her current and admirable racing career comes to an end.
The new Irish flat season, on turf, got underway recently at Naas and the opening meeting hosted the country's first pattern event of the year, the Group 3 Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes over a mile.
The ground was on the heavy side of soft, the time slow in comparison to the other races over the same trip that day, and so the form may be unreliable, but the winner's performance gave her future paddocks value quite a boost.
Czabo was already valuable before this success. A winner on the second of her two starts as a juvenile, she announced her blacktype potential first time out at three when taking the one-mile Esher Cup (handicap) at Sandown by two and a quarter lengths.
She was a well-beaten fourth on her next two starts, the latter of which was the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, won by Jet Setting, but then won a listed contest over a mile on soft ground at Deauville in early June.
She came home last behind Qemah in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Ascot on her only other start last season and beat just one home in a listed race at Saint-Cloud on her first outing of 2017.
Czabo has had her limitations well-exposed, and her half-length defeat of Somehow at Naas and her official rating remained at 99 following this success, but she is a good advertisement for her sire and has the potential to produce one or more offspring who could surpass her achievements on the track.
Czabo was bred by Norman Court Stud, in whose ownership she raced at two and three, and it is at that farm that her classic-winning sire stands.
Sixties Icon, the Group 1 St Leger-winning son of classic stars Galileo (by Sadler's Wells) and Love Divine (by Diesis), has produced a surprising number of offspring who excel in the six to 10-furlong range and although awaiting his first top-level winner in the northern hemisphere, has supplied the dual Argentine Grade 1 star Sixties Song.
Czabo is the first foal out of Fiumicino (by Danehill Dancer), a one-time scorer who earned her blacktype when runner-up in the Listed Masaka Stakes over a mile at Kempton. The mare's second produce is a two-year-old full-brother to her talented daughter: he has been named Billy Ray.
Fiumicino is the best of three winners from nine foals out of the unplaced Valhalla Moon (by Sadler's Wells) and that mare is, in turn, a half-sister to four blacktype earners produced from Akuna Bay (by Mr Prospector), a winning relation to a string of Group 1 performers.
It is the first three generations of her family tree that, obviously, make the greatest contribution to the genetic make-up of Czabo – who is inbred 3x3 to Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer) – but what's in the fourth and fifth ones cannot be ignored, even if just for pure academic interest.
They show that the roots from which her somewhat unremarkable recent distaff line comes are strong, and with the opportunities that her new owners are likely to give her at stud, she may be capable of giving her branch new strength.
Dark Lomond (by Lomond) is the fourth dam of Czabo and she was the champion three-year-old stayer in Ireland in 1988 after her victory in the Group 1 Irish St Leger over 14 furlongs at the Curragh. She also won the Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs at the same venue, plus a listed contest at Phoenix Park, and she was runner-up in the Group 3 Meld Stakes.
Dark Lomond only had five foals and, in addition to Czabo's third dam Akuna Bay, they included Gothic Dream (by Nashwan). That John Oxx-trained bay didn't win a stakes race but she was runner-up in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 2 Europachampionat, and third in the Group 1 Irish Oaks.
Gothic Dream's best son is the Curragh and Fairyhouse listed scorer and Group 1 Irish St Leger runner-up Pugin (by Darshaan), and her stakes-winning daughter Chartres (by Danehill) is the dam of Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup victor Certerach (by Halling). She is also responsible for Sogno Verde (by Green Desert), who is the winning dam of Lilbourne Lad (by Acclamation).
He showed notably different aptitudes to those of his best-known relations, possessing his sire's speed rather than the family's stamina, but failed to make the grade at stud. On the track he was a leading juvenile who won the Group 2 Railway Stakes and Listed Rochestown Stakes and was runner-up in both the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes and Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes.
Each fifth-generation member on the pedigree chart contributes only 3.25%, which is why going back that far, or farther, is of little meaning beyond academic interest, and when the fifth dam of Czabo is a mare as well-known as Arkadina (by Ribot) then it would be remiss to fail to mention her.
She won the Athasi Stakes, was placed in each of the Oaks, Irish Oaks, and Irish 1000 Guineas, and in addition to her Group 1-winning daughter Dark Lomond, she was the dam of Group 2 Blandford Stakes winner South Atlantic (by Mill Reef), Group 3 Silken Glider Stakes winner Forlene (by Forli), and Listed Ulster Derby scorer Encyclopedia (by Reviewer).
She was out of champion three-year-old and US Broodmare of the Year Natashka (by Dedicate), was a full-sister to the pattern-winning stayer Blood Royal, and half-sister to Group 1 Joe McGrath Memorial Stakes winner Gregorian (by Graustark), and her siblings also included the Grade 2 winner Truly Bound (by In Reality), Grade 3 scorer Ivory Wand (by Sir Ivor; dam of Group 1 star Gold And Ivory, by Key To The Mint), and Tash (by Never Bend) who was the winning dam of Group 1-placed Group 2 scorer and somewhat successful sire Mukaddamah (by Storm Bird).