The European turf season has begun again and Saint-Cloud hosted three blacktype events on Sunday, with the Group 3 Prix Exbury being the highlight. Cloth Of Stars, who was running for the first time in eight months, won the 10-furlong contest comfortably, giving 4lbs and a one and a quarter-length beating to Star Victory. Godolphin's four-year-old is trained by Andre Fabre.
He beat Vedevani by one and three-quarter lengths in the Group 3 Prix des Chenes over a mile at Longchamp and chased home Robin Of Navan in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a juvenile and was also a Group 1-placed dual winner from four starts at three.
That campaign began with an odds-on success in the Group 3 Prix La Force over 10 furlongs on heavy and then he beat Robin Of Navan by two and a half lengths in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe over the same course and distance, this time on good ground.
He was among the market leaders when finishing unplaced behind Harzand in the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom and then finished third to Mont Ormel (now known as Helene Charisma) and Red Verdon in the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, beaten by one and a quarter lengths and a neck.
Cloth Of Stars was bred by Peter Anastasiou and he is among 34 stakes winners that have come from the early crops of Timeform 140-rated champion Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross), whose offspring also include the aforementioned dual Derby hero Harzand plus additional Group 1 aces Sea The Moon, Taghrooda, Vazira, and Zelzal.
The Aga Khan-homebred Harzand has joined his sire at Gilltown Stud, Sea The Moon is at Lanwades Stud (yearlings in 2017) and it can be expected that a stallion role will be found for the dual Group 1-placed Group 2 winner Cloth Of Stars whenever his racing days come to an end.
He is a 400,000gns graduate of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, he is inbred 4x3 to Mr Prospector (by Raise a Native) and is the third foal of an unraced mare called Strawberry Fledge (by Kingmambo).
She is a full-sister to Light Shift, who beat Peeping Fawn by half a length in the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom, chased that star home in the Group 1 Irish Oaks and finished third to her in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes.
Light Shift was represented on the track last year by her Group 3 Gordon Stakes-winning son Ulysses (by Galileo), a Sir Michael Stoute-trained chestnut who was unplaced in the Derby but rounded off his year with an honourable fourth to Highland Reel in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.
The classic heroine is a half-sister to the Hector Protector (by Woodman)-sired pair Shiva and Limnos. The former was a champion older mare and Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup scorer, while the latter got his best wins in the Group 2 Prix Foy and Group 2 Prix Jean de Chaudennay.
Their non-winning dam Lingerie (by Shirley Heights) is also responsible for the Group 2-placed stakes winner Burning Sunset (by Caerleon), dam of the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt winner Smoking Sun (by Smart Strike), who was runner-up to Dan Excel in the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Stakes at Kranji, and also of the Group 2-placed stakes winner Zhiyl (by Henrythenavigator).
Burning Sunset is arguably better known as being the grandam of the Group 1 Derby runner-up and subsequent US champion and four-time Grade 1 star Main Sequence (by Aldebaran), a gelded son of her pattern-placed daughter Ikat (by Pivotal). The horse he chased home at Epsom was Camelot.
Lingerie is also the grandam of the Group 1-placed pattern scorer Magadan (by High Chaparral), a French-based stallion who is off the mark with his first crop, and she is a half-sister to the dam of the Brazilian Grade 1 stars Nonno Luigi (by Dubai Dust) and Jeune-Turc (by Know Heights), the latter a champion three-year-old.
The third dam of Sunday's Group 3 scorer is Northern Trick (by Northern Dancer), Europe's three-year-old filly champion of 1984 when she won the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 1 Prix Vermeille and was runner-up to Sagace in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
With such a strong middle-distance pedigree behind him, it is no surprise that Cloth Of Stars has done so well on the track. If he lives up to the potential he has shown so far then he could go on to success at the highest level, something that would give his prospects of a good future stud career another boost.