It is breeze-up sales time here again and the victory of Stormy Antarctic in this afternoon's Group 3 Prix Edmond Blanc was a timely reminder of the sort of horse who can emerge from those auctions. Three years ago he made 200,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale in Newmarket.
The Ed Walker-trained chestnut won twice from five starts at two, rounding off that campaign with a head second to Johannes Vermeer in the Group 1 Criterium International over seven furlongs at Saint-Cloud, and he kicked off his three-year-old season with a three and a half-length defeat of Foundation in the Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket.
He was well-beaten in the 2000 Guineas but bounced back from that to chase home Zelzal in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat over the same trip at Chantilly. Since then, however, he has had his limitations exposed while remaining a high-class performer.
Twice he has been short-headed in listed races, and he was only third to Spirit Of Valor in last year's Group 2 Minstrel Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh.
He was an easy winner of a mile listed contest on soft ground at Chantilly in mid-October, then unplaced on the polytrack at Kempton, and his all-the-way success on heavy ground at Saint-Cloud today came on his first start since then. He benefitted from an enterprising ride by Christophe Soumillon to beat Nice To See You by a length, with Jimmy Two Times another half-length back in third.
Stormy Antarctic is a son of sprint stakes winner and veteran Hill 'N' Dale Farm stallion Stormy Atlantic (by Storm Cat), who does not have many runners in Europe but has a global tally of over 100 stakes winners, including Grade 1 scorers Get Stormy, Stormello, Stormy Lucy, Victor Security, Up With The Birds, and last year's Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint star Stormy Liberal.
He was bred by East Bloodstock Ltd, is the first foal out of Bea Remembered (by Doyen) – a dual winner whose blacktype placings featured third in the Group 3 Meld Stakes over nine furlongs at Leopardstown – and his siblings include the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes and Group 2 Prix Robert Papin runner-up Al Johrah (by Bated Breath).
The mare is a daughter of triple winner Leinster Mills (by Doyoun), who is a half-sister to the stakes winners and blacktype producers Alalja (by Entitled) and Cheviot Amble (by Pennine Walk), and the next dam is Group 3 C L Weld Park Stakes third Miss Turnberry (by Mummy's Pet), who won at two and three years of age.
Alalja got her listed success in the Debutante Stakes at the Curragh as a juvenile and her star son is the prolific Italian colt Absolut Taft (by King's Theatre) whose double-digit tally of wins included a listed contest.
Cheviot Amble was also prolific, her eight wins featured the Listed Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh, and her daughter Amalia (by Danehill) notched up five, including the Listed Hoppings Stakes over 10 furlongs at Newcastle.
If you go back farther on the page then you will find that the fifth dam of Stormy Antarctic is Blue Galleon (by Alycidon), the Timeform 110-rated triple winner who was runner-up in each of the Yorkshire Oaks, Nassau Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes in 1957, three years after her half-brother Blue Sail (by Tehran) took the Great Voltigeur Stakes.
There may be a perception among some that breeze-up sales are all about precocious two-year-old talent, but Stormy Antarctic, a five-year-old with an entry in next month's Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, had an official handicap rating of 111 going into today's race – down from a career peak of 114 – and the dual Group 1-placed, dual Group 3 scorer has earned over £315,000, and counting.