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.
Three Troikas (by Lyphard) was both Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old in Europe in 1979 following an outstanding season in which she swept the Group 1 series of Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Prix Saint-Alary, Prix Vermeille and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. She was also runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks).
The Timeform 133-rated filly easily beat Le Marmot and Troy in the Arc, she won the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt at four in a season that paled in comparison with her classic year yet earned her a Timeform mark of 128, and she went to stud with high expectations.
She produced only four winners from seven foals, headed by the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs winner and Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary runner-up Three Angels (by Halo), she is the grandam of the listed race winners Thames (by Fabulous Dancer) and Three Wrens (by Second Empire), but one of her great-grandsons played a starring role at Meydan this afternoon.
The Right Man, who is trained in France by Didier Guillemin, narrowly won the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments, beating 66/1 Long On Value by a nose in the six-furlong turf event and with big-race favourite Ertijaal one and a quarter lengths farther back in third, a nose ahead of Jungle Cat.
The five-year-old is a gelded son of Group 1 star and Ballylinch Stud stallion Lope De Vega (by Shamardal), he was bred by Anita Wigan and he is a €32,000 graduate of the Arqana October Yearling Sale in Deauville.
Today's win was his ninth, he was third to Jungle Cat in a six-furlong conditions event at Meydan on his seasonal reappearance earlier this month, and he rounded off 2016 with victories in the Listed Prix de Bonneval over five and a half furlongs and Group 3 Prix de Seine-et-Oise over six, both at Maisons-Laffitte.
The Right Man is the best of six winners out of one-time scorer Three Owls (by Warning), three of those siblings are multiple scorers, and two are blacktype earners, with the more notable of the latter being Listed Pretty Polly Stakes runner-up Three Moons (by Montjeu) because she is the dam of the Group 3-placed Listed Godolphin Stakes winner Tashaar (by Sea The Stars).
Three Terns (by Arctic Tern), the grandam of The Right Man, was one of Three Troikas' four winners on the track. Oregon (by Halo) was another, and he was runner-up in the Grade 3 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct, but one of their unplaced siblings deserves a mention too.
Three Secrets (by Secretariat) shared none of the considerable ability of her famous parents, but her granddaughter Thanks Note (by Sakura Bakushin O) won the Group 2 Keio Hai Spring Cup over seven furlongs at Tokyo as a five-year-old.
Today's victory makes The Right Man an interesting contender for Europe's top sprints of 2017 and it made him the third winner at the highest level for his young sire, following Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary heroine Jemayel and new Kildangan Stud stallion Belardo, who won the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes.
Ballylinch Stud stallion Lope De Vega (by Shamardal) has made an excellent start to his career and his success augurs well for the future of other sons of his classic-winning sire.
Father and son both won the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) and Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby), 14-year-old Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) is on track to reach the 100 mark for individual stakes winners some time this year, and the brightest star, so far, among the 14 by Lope De Vega is the now dual Group 1 scorer Belardo.
The Roger Varian-trained colt won the Listed Washington Singer Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes as a two-year-old, and although without success in his classic year, he was not disgraced when fourth behind Gleneagles in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas, showed promise when third to Cable Bay in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes, and then chased home Solow in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
First time out at four he was an odds-on winner against three rivals in the Listed Doncaster Mile, and although only fourth behind Toormore in the Group 2 Sandown Mile 20 days later, he bounced back in style to beat Euro Charline and Endless Drama (by Lope De Vega) in the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (British Champions Series) over a mile at Newbury this afternoon.
This victory will boost his prospects of attracting plenty of attention when he eventually takes up stallion duties.
Belardo was bred by Ballylinch Stud, he is a half-brother to the dual Scandinavian pattern winner Berling (by Montjeu) and to the lightly-raced Group 2 Debutante Stakes third Diamond Sky (by Montjeu), and the youngest of his registered siblings is a Nathaniel (by Galileo) colt born last year.
His dam is Danaskaya (by Danehill), who was runner-up in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes and third in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, and her siblings include the talented Modeeroch (by Mozart), a triple listed scorer who was second in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes.
Their half-sister Maskaya (by Machiavellian) is the winning dam of Drumbeat (by Montjeu), who was a half-length runner-up to Fame And Glory in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a two-year-old, and also of California (by Azamour). That John Gosden-trained four-year-old was unplaced in a listed contest at Goodwood on her seasonal reappearance but was a listed-placed dual winner from just four starts in 2015.
The grandam of Belardo is Majinskaya (by Marignan), who won the Listed Prix des Tuileries and was runner-up in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche, and as that mare was out of the stakes-placed Makarova (by Nijinsky), that made her a half-sister to Mabrova (by Prince Mab), the winning dam of French sprint star Kistena (by Miswaki).
She beat Anabaa by a neck in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp in 1996, her wins also include the Group 3 Prix de Meautry and Group 3 Prix de Seine-et-Oise, and the best of her progeny is the listed scorer Tompest (by Storm Cat), whose small number of offspring includes the juvenile sprint stakes winner Storm With Flair.
The first three generations of a pedigree make the biggest contribution to a horse, but some of Belardo's more distant relations deserve a mention.
His fourth dam, Midou (by Saint Crespin) was a dual stakes winner in France and placed in both the Prix de Sandringham and Prix de la Grotte, and her progeny included Vallee Secrete (by Secretariat), the winning dam of talented sprinter and successful sire Mujadil (by Storm Bird), and also of Fruits Of Love (by Hansel).
The latter won the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes and two editions of the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, and the string of blacktype events in which he was placed featured the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Grade 1 Canadian International, and the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden. He has sired winners, but his stallion record pales in comparison to that of his speedier brother.
Mujadil, who won the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes and Listed Roses Stakes as a two-year-old, spent his career at Rathasker Stud and his most notable progeny include the popular Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes hero Kingsgate Native, Group 2 winners Bouncing Bowdler and Galeota, Group 1-placed pattern scorer Lesson In Humility, and addition pattern winners Daunting Lady, Leggy Lou, Masta Plasta, Satri and Show Me The Money.
The fifth dam of Belardo was an outstanding filly whom Timeform rated 130 as a juvenile and 125 as a three-year-old. Midget (by Djebe) won the Coronation Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Prix de la Foret, Prix Maurice de Gheest, Cheveley Park Stakes and Prix de Meautry, she was runner-up to Honeylight in the 1000 Guineas, third to Apollonia in the Prix de Diane, and also placed in the Prix Morny.
In addition to being the dam of Midou, Midget was the dam of Cheveley Park Stakes winner Mige (by Saint Crespin) and grandam of 1983's Group 1 1000 Guineas winner Ma Biche (by Key To The Kingdom).
Belardo is the latest in a long line of talented horses who have represented this family, and although his relationship to Mujadil is quite distant, having a successful stallion in the family boosts his own prospects of success in that role, whenever the time comes for him.