If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. It's an often-quoted motivational statement, but even the most enthusiastic could be forgiven for calling a halt when the number of misses reaches double digits.
But Lightning Spear's connections persevered, they got within a short-head of taking the Group 1 Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May – pipped by Rhododendron – and just reward finally came at Goodwood on Wednesday, the entire's 16th attempt at the highest level.
He beat high-class three-year-old Expert Eye by one and a half lengths in the Qatar Sussex Stakes, with Lord Glitters another half-length back in third, a nose and neck ahead of Gustav Klimt and Beat The Bank.
The dual Group 2 Celebration Mile winner has six Group 1 placings to his name, including third to Accidental Agent in this year's Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot, but when he joins the stallion team at Tweenhills Farm & Stud he will do so as a Group 1-winning son of a leading international sire.
He was bred by Newsells Park Stud, is a good-looking horse who made 260,000gns from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, he is by the sire of multiple Group 1-siring stallions Kyllachy and Siyouni, and he comes from the family of a European champion sire – which makes him a likely candidate to get stakes and pattern-winning offspring at all levels, mostly in the six to 12-furlong range.
Lightning Spear was trained by Ralph Beckett when he won his only start as a juvenile – over seven furlongs at Kempton in August – and he was in the Olly Stevens stable when taking his only race at three – and eight-and-a-half-furlong contest at Nottingham. He won two more handicaps at four, lost his unbeaten record when chasing home Arod in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot, and was fourth to Esoterique in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville a month later, his first Group 1 attempt.
Timeform rated him 125 as a five-year-old, when he won his first Group 2 Celebration Mile – now trained by David Simcock – before taking third to Minding and Ribchester in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and that organisation had him on 124 for this year before his Goodwood success.
The best of four blacktype earners out of multiple stakes-winning sprinter Atlantic Destiny (by Royal Academy), the half-brother to 10-furlong listed scorer Ocean War (by Dalakhani) is out of a half-sister to Make No Mistake (by Darshaan), who did well for the Dermot Weld stable.
That talented colt carried the famous Moyglare Stud colours to victory in the Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes and Group 3 Meld Stakes at the Curragh, he was third in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the same venue, and was also a Grade 2-placed dual Grade 3 winner in the USA.
Grandam Respectfully (by The Minstrel) was unplaced in a single start in France, and third dam Treat Me Nobly (by Vaguely Noble) – who made a record 1,300,000 francs as a yearling – was unraced, but the latter was out of What A Treat (by Tudor Minstrel), the US three-year-old filly champion of 1965, and so she was a half-sister to Be My Guest (by Northern Dancer).
What A Treat, whose 11 wins included the Beldame Stakes, Alabama Stakes, and Gazelle Handicap, was out of the prolific Rare Treat (by Stymie) – which made her a half-sister to the dam of ill-fated Derby hero Golden Fleece (by Nijinsky) – and her star son was one of the early standout stallions for Coolmore Stud.
Be My Guest first came to prominence when setting a short-lived European record yearling price of 127,000gns when topping the Goffs Premier Yearling Sale in 1975. The Vincent O'Brien-trained, white-faced chestnut won the second of his two starts at two, kicked off his three-year-old campaign with an easy win in the Blue Riband Trial over eight and a half furlongs at Epsom, but was beaten twice when stepping up in trip – including in the Derby – before returning to a mile.
He easily won the Desmond Stakes at the Curragh before, on soft ground at Goodwood, he fought to hold off the challenge of Don in the Waterford Crystal Mile. A bruised foot denied him the chance to run in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and he went to stud as a Timeform 126-rated son of leading sire Northern Dancer (by Nearctic), whose growing list of major winners included that year's Derby hero, The Minstrel.
Be My Guest was crowned European champion sire in 1982 when his first crop of three-year-olds featured Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby), Group 1 Benson & Hedges Gold Cup (now Juddmonte International Stakes) and runaway Group 1 Irish Derby hero Assert, and star miler On The House, who took both the Group 1 1000 Guineas and Group 1 Sussex Stakes.
His career roll of honour also featured Group 1 aces Double Bed, Go And Go, Luth Enchantee, Pelder, Pentire, and Valentine Waltz, and Group 2 Lockinge Stakes winner and Group 1 Derby runner-up Most Welcome, and although his sons met with mixed success at stud, many of his daughters excelled in that role.
If you go back farther on the page then you find that the sixth dam of Lightning Spear was the speedy stakes winner Rare Perfume (by Eight Thirty), which made his fifth dam a half-sister to 1962's Belmont Stakes winner and US three-year-old champion Jaipur (by Nasrullah), whose progeny included dual Group 1 scorer and sprint champion Amber Rama, and Timeform 120-rated sprint juvenile Mansingh (sire of Petong).
Lightning Spear, currently the winner of seven of his 24 starts and over £1.3 million in prize money, has a pedigree that could see him do well as a sire, and he will be among the brightest prospects joining the stallion ranks in 2019.
Sprint star Pivotal (by Polar Falco) is now 25 years old but still an active and hugely popular member of the team at Cheveley Park Stud, the farm where he was bred. He gets his top horses over a wide variety of trips and his tally of over 140 stakes winners now includes 27 Group/Grade 1 stars following the victory of Blair House in the Jebel Hatta at Meydan.
Godophin's homebred five-year-old is trained by Charlie Appleby and he seemed to be no more than a smart handicapper before this first step into blacktype company. He beat Benbatl by three-parts of a length in the nine-furlong feature, with Janoobi a head back in third and another length back to the talented mare Promising Run.
It remains to be seen if this gelding can duplicate this improved form and go on to add further pattern race success to his tally, but there is no doubt that he is bred to be a high achiever. Not only is he by one of Europe's best stallions, but he is out of Patroness (by Dubawi), a placed full-sister to mile Group 1 star and Dalham Hall Stud stallion Poet's Voice.
That Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner has not yet sired as many stakes winners as might be hoped at this point of his career, but his double-digit tally includes Group 2 Mehl-Mulhens Rennen (German 2000 Guineas) scorer Poetic Dream and also Poet's Word, the Group 3 winner who was runner-up in both the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes and Group 1 Champion Stakes in 2017.
Patroness and Poet's Voice are out of Bright Tiara (by Chief's Crown) and their siblings include three notable broodmares. Best Boot (by Storm Boot) is the winning grandam of Japanese classic-placed Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup heroine Mozu Katchan (by Harbinger), Queen's Park (by Relaunch) is the stakes-winning dam of Grade 1-placed US Grade 3 scorer Gemswick Park (by Speightstown), and Japanese star Gold Tiara (by Seeking The Gold) is the grandam of the multiple Grade 1-placed pattern winner Staphanos (by Deep Impact).
Bright Tiara got her only win as a two-year-old but her full-brother Chief Honcho improved with time, getting his best success in the Grade 1 Brooklyn Handicap at the age of five. Also placed in a string of Grade 1 contests, he had some success at stud, as did his 'nephew' American Chance (by Cure The Blues).
That Grade 1-placed Grade 2 Forego Handicap and Grade 2 Jersey Derby winner was out of Bright Tiara's half-sister American Dance (by Seattle Slew) and her siblings also include Dance To Dawn (by Louiz Quatorze), the dam of Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes heroine Dance To Bristol (by Speightstown).
Expressive Dance (by Riva Ridge), the third dam of Blair House, won a dozen races, including the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes, Grade 3 Comely Stakes and Grade 3 Ballerina Stakes, and that daughter of Prioress Stakes winner Exclusive Dancer (by Native Dancer) was a half-sister to classic-placed Grade 1 star and blacktype sire General Assembly (by Secretariat).
She was also a half-sister to Mime (by Cure The Blues), who is the third dam of Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes scorer R Heat Lightning (by Trippi), and to the more notable Ten Cents A Dance (by Buckpasser), a Grade 2 Firenze Handicap runner-up who was influential at stud.
The best of that mare's offspring was the multiple Grade 1 star Versailles Treaty (by Danzig), winner of the Alabama Stakes, Test Stakes, Gazelle Stakes and Ruffian Handicap. That celebrity later became the dam of Grade 1 winner and young French stallion George Vancouver (by Henrythenavigator) and of Grade 1-placed Grade 2 scorer Saarland (by Unbridled).
Arabian Dancer (by Damascus), who was runner-up in the Grade 1 Matron Stakes, was also a daughter of Ten Cents A Dance and, in addition to being the dam of Grade 3 scorer and successful sire Out Of Place (by Cox's Ridge), she was the grandam of Grade 1 star and stallion Gold Fever (by Forty Niner), third dam of Grade 1 winner Boisterous (by Distorted Humor), and fourth dam of Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes scorer Bellamy Road (by Concerto).
Blair House is a gelding, so obviously there's no future stud career for him, bu there should be some more good prizes to be won with him before he eventually retires from the track.
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.