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.