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.