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.