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.