Azamour (by Night Shift) was a top-class performer. He won both his starts at two, including the Group 2 Beresford Stakes over a mile at the Curragh, and took third and second respectively in the 2000 Guineas and Irish 2000 Guineas on his first two outings the following spring before going on to a string of major wins.
Victories in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes and Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes preceded a third-place finish in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, and when he returned to action at the age of four he added two more top-level wins: the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes, run that year at York, and the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, run at Newbury. His final start was in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park, and after finishing third there behind Shirocco, he retired to Gilltown Stud.
Sadly, Azamour died two years ago, when only 13 years old, but those he left behind include the Group 1 stars Covert Love (Irish Oaks, Prix de l'Opera), Dolniya (Dubai Sheema Classic) and ill-fated Valyra, who died shortly after her Prix de Diane (French Oaks) victory.
In 2016, his representatives include the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas heroine Hawksmoor, Group 3 Bonham Thoroughbred Stakes scorer Thikriyaat, mile Group 2 second Irish Rookie (previously a classic-placed stakes winner), and Thursday's Group 3 Markel Insurance Fillies' (Lillie Langtry) Stakes winner California.
The latter is trained by John Gosden, she carries the well-known Denford Stud colours and, like the colt (Mehmas) who won the Group 2 Richmond Stakes that same day, she was bred by Epona Bloodstock Ltd. That is Denis Brosnan's Croom House Stud in Co Limerick, the filly was bred in partnership with Patsy Byrne, and she made 75,000gns in Newmarket as a yearling.
California made a winning debut over 10 furlongs at Wetherby a year ago, followed-up at Doncaster two months later and, two starts after that, was runner-up in a listed contest over 13 furlongs on the artificial track at Lingfield. She won a 12-furlong Ascot handicap three weeks ago, and her first pattern success, which came over a quarter-mile farther, has given her future paddocks value a tremendous boost. So have the recent exploits of her Group 1-winning 'cousin'.
A half-sister to the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud runner-up Drumbeat (by Montjeu), California is out of the now deceased Maskaya (by Machiavellian). Her two-year-old half-brother Poseidon (by Born To Sea) made €320,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale, and her dam's final foal is a yearling So You Think (by Montjeu) filly. The mare's best half-brother, Chinese Whisper (by Montjeu), was placed in the Group 1 Gran Criterium, Group 3 Prix La Force and Group 3 Prix de Guiche, but two of her half-sisters are more notable.
Modeeroch, a representative of the only crop of ill-fated sprint champion Mozart (by Danehill), won the Listed Fairy Bridge Stakes, Listed Knockaire Stakes and Listed Tyros Stakes, and her eight pattern placings included the runners-up spot in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes. She is the dam of winners but, as yet, it is the other sister who has made an impact at stud, one that could become stronger when her star son takes up stallion duties.
Danaskaya (by Danehill) was runner-up in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes and third in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, she was placed in two listed contests, and the lesser of her two prominent sons is the Scandinavian ace and multiple pattern scorer Berling (by Montjeu), a full-brother to Group 2 Debutante Stakes third Diamond Sky.
The other brother is, of course, 2014's juvenile champion Belardo, the first-crop son of Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) who, at Newbury in May, added the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes to his earlier Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes victory.
He has also won the Listed Doncaster Mile and the Listed Denford Stud (Washington Singer) Stakes, he was runner-up Solow in last year's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, third to Cable Bay in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes, finished fourth (no blacktype) to Gleneagles in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas, and at Royal Ascot last month he chased home US champion Tepin in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, only beaten by half a length.
The Roger Varian-trained colt was bred by Ballylinch Stud, he made €100,000 at Deauville as a yearling, and he joined the Godolphin team before the start of this season. And he is not the only Group 1 winner in California's immediate family.
Majinskaya (by Marignan), the grandam of the newly crowned pattern race heroine, won a listed contest at Deauville and was placed in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche, she is out of the stakes-placed Makarova (by Nijinsky), and that makes her a half-sister to the dam of the French sprint star Kistena (by Miswaki).
A Wertheimer brothers-homebred, that flying grey won the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, the Group 3 Prix de Meautry and the Group 3 Prix Seine-et-Oise, she was placed in a string of other pattern events, and earned a Timeform rating of 123. Belardo is Timeform-rated 126.
Kistena's best runner is the US listed scorer Tompest (by Storm Cat), and from small numbers, he has been represented on the track by the stakes-winning juvenile filly Storm With Flair.
The fourth dam of California is the dual blacktype scorer Midou (by Saint Crespin) and the most influential of that mare's progeny is Vallee Secrete (by Secretariat), the mare who gave us Fruits Of Love (by Hansel) and Mujadil (by Storm Bird). The former won the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes and two editions of the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, and he was multiple Group/Grade 1-placed, although disappointing at stud.
Mujadil, on the other hand, won the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes and went on to become a hugely successful stallion for Rathasker Stud, with the popular Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes hero Kingsgate Native the standout among his string of pattern-winning offspring.
Midou's siblings included her Cheveley Park Stakes winning full-sister Mige, who became the grandam of Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine Ma Biche (by Key To The Kingdom), and if you go back another generation then you will find the brilliant Midget (by Djebe).
The fifth dam of California, she was placed in the Prix Morny and won the Cheveley Park Stakes as a two-year-old, earning a Timeform of 130, and although dropping to 125 the following year, she won the Coronation Stakes, Prix de la Foret, Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Prix Maurice de Gheest, and was placed in both the 1000 Guineas and Prix de Diane (French Oaks).
Those stars are remotely connected to California, and they will not appear on the catalogue listing of any of her future progeny that may turn up at the sales, but as a Group 3-winning relation of the Group 1 stars Belardo and Kistena, she has more than enough attractive detail on her page to warrant the best of opportunities at stud, and to give her the potential to become a broodmare of considerable note in the years to come.