Reaching a total of 100 individual stakes winners is a huge landmark in the career of any stallion, and it is one that few will ever achieve. Kildangan Stud's classic hero and classic sire Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) is almost there, and the high-class sprinter Toscanini is among his tally of 99 blacktype scorers.
A Darley-bred, Godolphin's four-year-old is trained by Michael Halford, all five of his wins have come over six furlongs, he won a listed contest at the Curragh in June and, at the same venue on Sunday, he beat Eastern Impact by one and a quarter lengths to take the Group 3 Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes, a race in which he was short-headed a year before.
The Shamardal horse Lord Of The Land was another two lengths behind in third, one length of his grand-daughter Fort Del Oro. That filly is by the Ballylinch Stud stallion Lope De Vega, who is the sire of this year's Group 1 stars Belardo and Jemayel, and the first of the Shamardal stallions with runners. Others are Shakespearean and current freshman sire Casamento, and he has a growing number of other sons who are at earlier stages of their stud careers.
Initial runners for his daughters include the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas hero Awtaad (by Cape Cross) and the dual Group 2-placed dual Group 3 scorer Gifted Master (by Kodiac), so the early indicators are that Shamardal may be a force in pedigrees for a long time.
Toscanini, who chased home Gleneagles in the Group 1 National Stakes as a two-year-old, is a gelding. His string of other blacktype placings include the runners-up spot in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes, Listed Rochestown Stakes, last year's Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes, and the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes, and in each of those he was beaten by less than a length. Last month he was third behind Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 2 Friarstown Stud Minstrel Stakes over seven furlongs.
A half-brother to the Grade 2-placed miler Tybalt (by Storm Cat), Toscanini is out of Tuzla, a mare who was, on breeding, an unlikely candidate for stardom. Easily the best flat representative of her mostly jumps sire, Panoramic (by Rainbow Quest), she is out of the moderate mare Turkeina (by Kautokeino), who was inbred 2x3 to Relko (by Tanerko), and her grandam, Turquoise Bleue (by Blue Tom), was also unremarkable as a runner and producer.
Tuzla showed some promise as a three-year-old in France, but did not win until she crossed the Atlantic, and from then there was no stopping her. By the time she retired, just over two years after landing in the USA, she had won a dozen races, was a millionaire, Grade 1 star, and placed at the Breeders' Cup.
Her wins included the Grade 1 Ramona Handicap, Grade 2 Dahlia Handicap, Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap, Grade 2 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap and Grade 3 Palomar Handicap. She failed by a neck to beat Silic in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile, and by the same margin to beat Happyanunoit in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes, and those were her final two starts.
This half-sister to a multiple hurdles winner outran her pedigree and that was always going to make her a fascinating broodmare prospect. There is lots of Group 1 and Group 2 form in more distant branches of family, but there was no guarantee that the weak branch she represented could find renewed strength.
The aforementioned Turquoise Bleue was unplaced, but that made her the only unsuccessful runner for Prix La Rochette scorer Mia Pola (by Relko), the fourth dam of Toscanini. A daughter of the Prix du Bois winner Polamia (by Mahmoud), a filly who was placed in races such as the Prix du Gros-Chene, Prix d'Arenberg and Prix de Saint Georges in the late fifties, Mia Pola was a broodmare of considerable influence.
Her best son was Regal Bearing (by Viceregal), a prolific winner whose top results came in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap and Grade 3 Golden Gate Handicap in California, and her stakes-winning daughter was Keep In Step (by Dance In Time), later the dam of South African Grade 1 sprint star Super Sheila (by Last Tycoon) and grandam of Group 2 Goldene Peitsche scorer Stormont (by Marju).
Mia Pola's stakes-placed daughter Normia (by Northfields) became the dam of the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap winner Metamorphose (by Lord Avie) and the grandam of the European classic stars Sulamani (by Hernando) and Dream Well (by Sadler's Wells). The latter, who has sired blacktype winners on the flat and over jumps, won both the Group 1 Irish Derby and Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) in 1998, four years before his half-brother Sulamani won the same Chantilly classic.
That colt also won the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, the Grade 1 Turf Classic Invitational, Grade 1 Canadian International Stakes, Grade 1 Arlington Million, and Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, and his progeny include the Group 1 St Leger scorer Mastery, several South American Grade 1 winners and this year's Grade 3 Grand National hero Rule The World.
Two of Mia Pola's other daughters also produced at least one stakes winner and the more notable of the pair is Midnight Lady (by Mill Reef). She won one of her two starts on the track, her son Kathmandu (by Kaldoun) won a listed contest at Nantes, but her juvenile stakes-winning daughter Party Doll (by Be My Guest) became the dam of two high-class offspring, one of whom has enjoyed some success as a stallion.
That son is Titus Livius (by Machiavellian), a high-class sprinter who won the Group 2 Criterium des 2 Ans and the Group 2 Prix du Gros-Chene, and his talented progeny include the Hong Kong mile Grade 1 winner Tiber and also the Group 2-winning German miler Sehrezad. The first crop by that former Andreas Lowe-trained bay includes Millowitsch, a Group 3 winner over eight and a half furlongs at Krefeld in April, shortly before finishing fourth (no blacktype) behind Knife Edge in the Group 2 Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (German 2000 Guineas) at Cologne.
Party Doll's other notable runner is Briseida (by Pivotal), who beat the subsequent Group 1 Preis der Diana (German Oaks) heroine Rosenreihe by two and a half lengths in the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas.
The classic scorer's three-year-old Orania (by Sea The Stars) was a neck runner-up in a 10-furlong Vichy maiden 15 days ago, a few days before her older half-brother Brisanto (by Dansili) finished out of the frame behind Elliptique in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis – Bayerisches Zuchtrennen at Munich. Listed-placed over the same trip at Compiegne the previous month, that colt was twice pattern placed in 2015 and he won the Group 3 Preis der Winterfavoriten over a mile at Cologne as a juvenile.
These are the plentiful highlights of the first four generations of the pedigree, and although we cannot know for certain what led to Tuzla's surprising level of talent, given how weak her branch of the family had become, it does look likely that she has passed on some speed that lay dormant for a while.
Also striking about Toscanini's pedigree is that his broodmare sire, Panoramic, is a half-brother to the top US filly Mariah's Storm (by Rahy) – he could even be described as being her three-parts brother – and she, of course, is the dam of the prolific Group 1 star and multiple US champion sire Giant's Causeway (by Storm Cat), the sire of Shamardal. The gelding is, therefore, inbred 4x3 to the Grade 3-winning mare Immense (by Roberto).
Perhaps that inbreeding has played a significant part in the emergence of Toscanini as a high-class racehorse, or maybe it has input nothing of direct relevance to his ability; it is impossible to know.
There is also something else about his pedigree that deserves mention, even though its relevance, beyond academic interest, has waned since he was gelded.
Polamia was a lot more than just his speedy fifth dam, as her offspring also included 1966 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches heroine Right Away (by Right Royal), Prix Maurice de Gheest scorer Tryptic (by Tyrone), blacktype winner Timolina (by Timmy My Boy), and 1964 French juvenile champion Grey Dawn (by Herbager).
He won the Prix Morny, Prix de la Salamandre and Grand Criterium that season, in the latter inflicting the only defeat that Timeform 145-rated great Sea Bird II ever met. Grey Dawn became a leading sire and his tally of 73 stakes winning progeny was complimented by one of more than 125 as a broodmare sire of stakes winners.
If you want to go back another generation of Toscanini's pedigree then you will find more sprinting speed because Polamia's half-sister Sly Pola (by Spy Song) won both the Prix Robert Papin and Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, and her half-brother Takawalk (by Native Dancer) won or placed in a string of good races from five to seven furlongs.
Toscanini's career may not have gone in the direction that might have been predicted after he chased home Gleneagles at the Curragh two years ago, but he is among the leading sprinters in the country. He holds an entry in next month's Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, a race in which he finished fourth to Sole Power in 2015, and it will be interesting to see how he gets on there as he has yet to win over the minimum trip.
As for Shamardal, sire of the 2016 Group 1 winners Dariyan and Tryster, this outstanding young stallion has a chance to bring up the century tomorrow as his daughters Orcia and Burma Star are among the entries for the Listed Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Hurry Harriet Stakes over nine and a half furlongs at Gowran Park.