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.