With so much attention focused on the classics at this time of the year it could be easy to miss some notable results happening at lower levels. The top stallions will continue to draw plenty of attention to themselves by churning out the big-race winners, but there are also horses further down the rankings who do well too, and one such horse has been enjoying a purple patch recently.
On May 16th the Christian Sprengel-trained three-year-old Boscaccio (dam by Medicean) showed classic potential when taking a listed Derby trial over 11 furlongs at Hanover by three lengths. Two days later the Keith Dalgleish-trained four-year-old Maleficent Queen (dam by Manila) gave her future paddocks value a tremendous boost with a near three-length score in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Tennent's Rothesay Stakes over 10 furlongs at Ayr, her fifth consecutive win from just six starts.
Last Sunday it was the turn of Highlands Queen (dam by Polish Precedent), a Yohann Gourraud-trained three-year-old who took the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre by five lengths at Saint-Cloud. This race is a leading trial for the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and her win came just weeks after the lightly-raced bay won a maiden at the same venue.
Then, on Thursday, David Taylor's homebred Elbereth (dam by Desert Prince), a five-year-old who was listed-placed in 2015, won the Listed EBF Stallions ToteExacta Nottinghamshire Oaks Stakes over 10 furlongs on fast ground, a fourth career victory for the Andrew Balding-trained mare.
What this quartet have in common is that they are all by Newsells Park Stud stallion Mount Nelson. He is a son of the prolific Group 1-winning miler Rock Of Gibraltar (by Danehill), one of that select group of stallions with over 100 individual stakes winners to their name.
Most of the Rock Of Gibraltar stallions are in earlier stages of their stud careers, but the Group 1-winning sprinter Seventh Rock, who raced and stands in South Africa, is the sire of dual Group 1 star Seventh Plain from his second crop.
Mount Nelson has not yet got a winner at the highest level, but his Timeform 139-rated relation Reference Point who, like most of the Mill Reef (by Never Bend) stallions disappointed, did achieve that feat; his daughter Ivyanna won the Group 1 Oaks d'Italia and his profile as a sire may have become stronger had he not died so early in his career.
Mount Nelson's double-digit tally is currently headed by the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and Group 3 Darley Stakes winner Berkshire (dam by Dr Devious), and Highlands Queen's recently victory added her name to that of Emerald Star (dam by Caerleon) and Purr Along (dam by Polish Precedent) as pattern winners for their sire.
Mohave Princess (dam by Fusaichi Pegasus) is a Group 1 South African Oaks-placed stakes winner and Volume (dam by Peintre Celebre) was placed in both the Group 1 Oaks at Epsom and Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh after her listed race success, so if he does sire a Group 1 winner then it won't have been the first time one of his progeny has performed well at the highest level.
Mount Nelson won the Group 1 Criterium International as a two-year-old, his only outing at three was in late October, but he bounced back at four to take the Group 1 Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and then finish third to Spirit One and Archipenko in the Grade 1 Arlington Million, both over 10 furlongs.
His half-brother Monitor Closely (by Oasis Dream), who is at stud in France, won the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes and finished third in the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster, and his dam is the Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes heroine Independence (by Selkirk).
She is a half-sister to the dams of three minor blacktype horses, she is the best out of Yukon Hope (by Forty Niner), and her grandam, Sahara Forest (by Green Desert), was an unraced half-sister to Reference Point. Winner of the Group 1 William Hill Futurity Stakes (now Racing Post Trophy) as a juvenile, he went on to win the Derby and St Leger, and the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and many believed that he would have become the first Triple Crown hero since Nijinsky had illness not kept him at home on 2000 Guineas day.
Mount Nelson's current fee is £5,000, half of what he started at in 2009. Two of his colts made 80,000gns at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale last October, his four recent stakes winners include both a colt and a filly with classic prospects, and so his profile could be set to rise before long.
MOUNT NELSON (GB) – b.2004 – Rock Of Gibraltar – Independence, 3 wins inc Coral Eclipse Stakes (Gr1), Criterium International (Gr1), 3rd Arlington Million (Gr1), Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord (Gr3). Sire in England, Australia & Argentina. First foals in 2010. 14 SW inc BERKSHIRE (Gr2), EMERALD STAR (Gr3), HIGHLANDS QUEEN (Gr3), PURR ALONG (Gr3), BOSCACCIO, ELBERETH, HOLY MOLY, MALEFICENT QUEEN, MOHAVE PRINCESS, NINJAGO, REINE MAGIQUE, SPECIAL MEANING, VOLUME, WELTMACHT, Hors De Combat (Gr2), Orsello (Gr2), Palawan (Gr2), Room Key (Gr2), Black Cherry (Gr3), Luly Nelson (Gr3), Romantic Settings (Gr3), Stroll Patrol (Gr3), etc.
Classic-placed Group 1-winning sprinter Green Desert forged one of the two powerful branches of the Danzig (by Northern Dancer) sire line, and with more than 100 individual stakes winners to his name, and counting, Banstead Manor Stud's Group 1 sprint star Oasis Dream is one of his most successful stallion sons.
It is still somewhat early for him as a sire of stallions, and the early results are mixed. Aqlaam has had some stakes and pattern winners, but died young. Arcano and Approve have some blacktype scorers but they moved to Italy and Turkey respectively this year as their overall record is quite ordinary. Naaqoos has been disappointing and gets some successful handicappers, and Frozen Power's low strike-rate has led to him moving from Ireland to Italy.
Captain Gerrard has some blacktype horses but awaits his first stakes winner, but the Mickley Stud stallion has several prolific horses to his name. Italian Group 1 winner Querari stands in South Africa and his early runners include a Group 2 scorer, a recent 10-furlong listed winner, a Group 1-placed multiple winner, and various other blacktype horses, which is a promising start.
Oasis Dream has plenty of others sons who are at earlier stages of their career, including the sprint champion Muhaarar, who is in his first season at Nunnery Stud. Classic winner Power got his first stakes winner today from his first juveniles, and yesterday Showcasing's exciting daughter Quiet Reflection (dam by Haafhd) was an impressive winner of the Group 2 188Bet Sandy Lane Stakes over six furlongs at Haydock.
That Karl Burke-trained three-year-old has also won the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes, Group 3 Prix Sigy, and Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes, and she is one of the ante-post favourites for next month's Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Showcasing's oldest progeny are four years old, nine of them are pattern winners and four have won listed races, with one of the latter group being Raghu (dam by Zabeel) who was only beaten by a short-head and a head when third in the Group 1 BMW New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie in March. Group 2 scorer Showboy (dam by Thunder Gulch) was also bred in New Zealand, as were the Group 3 winners Caorunn (dam by Bertolini) and Cylinder Beach (dam by Rainbow Quest) and listed scorer Hardline (dam by Housebuster), and his southern hemisphere blacktype horses also include four who have been pattern-placed.
The rest all come from his service at Whitsbury Manor Stud, and in addition to Quiet Reflection they include the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes winner Toocoolforschool (dam by Hector Protector) and the Grade 1-placed dual US Grade 2 heroine Prize Exhibit (dam by Inchinor). Tasleet (dam by Cadeaux Genereux), who could join Quiet Reflection in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, was a Group 2-placed stakes winner last year and narrowly beat Knife Edge in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Chelmsford last month.
That pattern success came shortly after Conselice (dam by Diktat) won a mile listed contest at San Siro and eight days before she added the Group 3 Premio Regina Elena (Italian 1000 Guineas) at Capannelle. The best of Showcasing's progeny also include his first-crop son Cappella Sansevero, the Group 1-placed juvenile sprint pattern winner who stands as a stallion at Bridge House Stud in Co Westmeath.
Right now, Showcasing is the best stallion son of Oasis Dream and it is only a matter of time before his first Group 1 winner is crowned, probably the first of several. His fee was raised to £25,000 this year, which should lead to stronger books of mares than he got in his first few seasons, and so we could see even better results from him in a few years time.
He was bred by Juddmonte Farms, won the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes and finished third in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes as a juvenile, but did not go on to become the top sprinter that such form promised. He was a half-length runner-up in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes on his seasonal reappearance, an excellent effort from a three-year-old, but he was beaten out of sight in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes and in the Group 1 July Cup, both of which were won by Starspangledbanner, and did not run again after that.
Each of his first four dams won in blacktype company and all but one of them has Group/Grade 1 form to her name, which is not something that you see very often.
His fourth dam is the Grade 2 Kentucky Oaks heroine Bag Of Tunes (by Herbager), the races in which she was placed included the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and the Grade 1 Delaware Oaks, and her descendants, excluding Showcasing's branch of the family, include the Brazilian-born Grade 1 winner Inchatillon (by Inexplicable), the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile Stakes scorer Becrux (by Glen Jordan), and the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap winner Baritone (by Stravinsky).
The third dam of Showcasing is Andaleeb (by Lyphard), she won the Group 3 Lancashire Oaks, she was fourth in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks, and she was the dam of the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Prophecy (by Warning). That speedy filly is, in turn, responsible for the triple Australian Group 1 star Foreteller (by Dansili), for Group 2 Prix de Sandringham winner Modern Look (by Zamindar), and for two daughters that have made an impact at stud.
Stakes-winning sprinter Arabesque (by Zafonic) is one of them, and in addition to Showcasing and the blacktype-placed fillies Bouvardia (by Oasis Dream) and Tendu (by Oasis Dream), she is also the dam of Camacho (by Danehill). He won the Listed Sandy Lane Stakes, was runner-up in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes, and his 11 stakes-winning progeny include pattern scorers Green Door (dam by Pips Pride), My Catch (dam by Barathea) and Puff (by Most Welcome) as well as Group 1-placed dual listed race heroine Winning Express (dam by Open Forum). Camacho is at Yeomanstown Stud.
The other one of Prophecy's notable daughters is Destined (by Danehill), dam of the Group 1 South African Derby runner-up Galileo's Destiny (by Galileo) and of the excellent filly Fix (by Iffraaj) whose trio of Group 2 wins are complemented by her runners-up spot in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby and her third place finish in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas.
Showcasing's Group/Grade 1-winning male relatives are all geldings, but he and his talented half-brother are achieving good results at stud, and with the start he has made to his career it looks a shade of odds-on that he will get his first winner at the highest level before the year is out. In the long term, he promises to become a good source of talented sprinters and milers.
SHOWCASING (GB) – b.2007 – Oasis Dream – Arabesque, 2 wins inc Gimcrack Stakes (Gr2), 2nd Duke of York Stakes (Gr2), 3rd Middle Park Stakes (Gr1). Sire in England & New Zealand. First foals in 2012. 13 SW inc PRIZE EXHIBIT (Gr2), QUIET REFLECTION (Gr2), SHOWBOY (Gr2), TOOCOOLFORSCHOOL (Gr2), CAORUNN (Gr3), CAPPELLA SANSEVERO (Gr3), CONSELICE (Gr3), CYLINDER BEACH (Gr3), TASLEET (Gr3), ACCIPITER, HARDLINE, MAXIMUM AURELIUS, RAGHU, Cavallucci (Gr2), Dream Destination (Gr3), Fame Seeker (Gr3), Kasseopia (Gr3), La Mouline (Gr3), Showmeamoneyhoney (Gr3), etc.
Acclamation was not an obvious candidate to make a long-term impact as a stallion. As a son of Group 1-winning sprinter Royal Applause (by Waajib) and of juvenile pattern scorer Princess Athena (by Ahonoora), he was bred for speed and precocity. As a Group 1-placed, Group 2-winning sprinter he fully earned his place at stud.
The Rathbarry Stud stallion has built a solid reputation as a source of talented sprinters and juveniles, some of his progeny are effective at up to a mile, and he has also become sought-after as a source of stallion sons. The latter was unexpected.
Most good sires will, of course, end up with one or more sons who earn a place in the covering shed, but those who get a high rate of successful sire sons are fewer in number. They also tend to come from among those with strong Group 1 relations and from families that have a history of producing successful stallions.
The first few sons of Acclamation have made a good start. One has excelled, one looks like getting his first Group 1 winner before long, and a third looks like getting lots of winners, talented handicappers, and some occasional blacktype horses. The fourth is a freshman who is off the mark with his first winner.
This does not justify the accolade 'sire of sires', which is more conservatively reserved for those stallions who get at least half a dozen sons with Group 1-winning progeny and overall decent records to their names, but it does represent an emerging trend. Although it is still quite early for him in this role, the signs are that the Acclamation stallions can enjoy plenty of success at stud.
Dark Angel is the standout among them and Yeomanstown Stud's grey has shown himself to be better than his sire, as a sire of racehorses. It will be a while yet before we can assess and judge his earliest stallion sons, but four of his pattern winners are already working in that role.
Equiano, who stands at Newsells Park Stud, is Acclamation's best racing son, and the oldest progeny of the Group 1 July Cup runner-up and dual Group 1 King's Stand Stakes winner are four.
His first crop includes the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes winner Dark Reckoning (dam by Oasis Dream), recent Listed Weatherbys Leisure Stakes scorer The Tin Man (dam by Bishop of Cashel), and also Strath Burn (dam by Irish River). That Charles Hills-trained four-year-old was beaten by half a length when runner-up to Kool Kompany in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin as a juvenile, he won the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes last year, was short-headed by Twilight Son in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock, and not disgraced when fourth in a listed contest at Windsor on his seasonal reappearance.
That was the race won by The Tin Man, a James Fanshawe-trained gelding who was fourth in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October, and both of them hold entries in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Group 1 Darley July Cup.
Equiano's second crop includes the juvenile listed scorers Belvoir Bay (dam by Rock Of Gibraltar) and Waipu Cove (dam by Noverre), last year's Group 3 Prix du Bois and Italian listed race winner Fly On The Night (dam by Green Desert), and also Baciami Piccola (dam by Danehill Dancer), a filly who was stakes-placed in France and Italy as a juvenile and won the Grade 3 Florida Oaks over eight and a half furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs in March.
He has also had a juvenile stakes winner in Australia, two pattern-placed runners and a listed-placed filly, and a long list of non-blacktype horses who have won at least once. Overall, he has made a promising start to his stallion career.
Equiano is the best of several winners out of Entente Cordiale, a mare who was placed once as a four-year-old and who is by Ela-Mana-Mou (by Pitcairn), a middle-distance star who is usually associated with stamina rather than with speed. The mare's two-year-old is a full-brother to her sprint star, that young colt made 220,000gns at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, and the best of her other progeny is Evita Peron (by Pivotal), a pattern-placed dual stakes-winner who was successful over seven furlongs and at a mile.
Equiano's grandam, Mirmande (by Kris), is an unraced full-sister to stakes-placed Aljood. His third dam, Secala (by Secretariat), was blacktype-placed in the USA, the best of her offspring is the Listed Ulster Harp Derby scorer Sir Simon (by Sir Ivor), and her descendants include a trio of listed scorers, best of whom would be the triple six-furlong stakes winner and Group 3 Renaissance Stakes runner-up Artistic Jewel (by Excellent Art).
These are not the sort of pedigree credentials that one expects to see in a promising blacktype sire who looks likely to get a first Group 1 winner before long.
The fourth generation of a family is distant and makes little contribution to the horse we see in front of us, but its highlights can illustrate the depth of the family's success, or lack thereof. And if its members include any successful stallions, especially ones who had limited opportunities and/or represented less successful male lines than does the subject horse, then their presence can augur well for his prospects; the precedent for stallion success has been established.
The fourth dam of Equiano is the Grade 2 Firenze Handicap winner and Grade 1 Top Flight Handicap third Aladancer (by Northern Dancer), but although her Grade 1-winning son Vigliotto (by Blushing Groom) and graded-winning descendants such as Wixim (by Diesis), Run Softly (by Deputy Minister), Latin American (by Riverman) and Minister Eric (by Old Trieste) feature among her representatives at stud, none has achieved anything of note.
Her female descendants include the New Zealand Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine and champion King's Rose (by Redoute's Choice), classic-placed New Zealand Group 1 winner Anabandana (by Anabaa), triple US Grade 1 star Devil May Care (by Malibu Moon), and also Candarliya (by Dalakhani), the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu heroine who chased home Treve in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille in September. Those notable performers are too distantly related to Equiano to have any real connection to him or to his progeny.
His racing talent and early sire results suggest that Equiano is more like his sire than typical of the distaff side of his family, and his early achievements suggest that he will become a good source of sprinters and of some who will also be effective at a mile.
With horses such as Strath Burn and The Tin Man among his first crop, he has already demonstrated his ability to get horses who can do well at the highest level, and there is no reason why that that pair should remain their sire's only Group 1 performers.
EQUIANO (FR) – b.2005 – Acclamation – Entente Cordiale, 7 wins inc King's Stand Stakes (Gr1-twice), Palace House Stakes (Gr3), Abernant Stakes (L), 2nd July Cup (Gr1), Temple Stakes (Gr2), Prix du Gros-Chene (Gr2), Abernant Stakes (L), 3rd Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (Gr2). Sire in England & Australia. First foals in 2012. 8 SW inc BACIAMI PICCOLA (Gr3), DARK RECKONING (Gr3), FLY ON THE NIGHT (Gr3), STRATH BURN (Gr3), BELVOIR BAY, THE TIN MAN, VALLIANO, WAIPU COVE, Blood Moon (Gr3), Lola Beaux (Gr3), etc.
There is an often-quoted line that you wait all day for a bus and then three come at once. This quip can be applied to many things, even to a stallion's record of stakes winners.
Bushranger was popular from the moment he went to stud, and why not? He was a dual juvenile Group 1 winner by Danetime, a son of Danehill (by Danzig) whose star was on the ascendant at the time of his premature death. He is inbred 3x4 to Danzig (by Northern Dancer), his early progeny looked the part and won favour in the sales ring, but although they were also winning on the track, they came up short when it came to stakes races.
As his contemporaries grew their tallies of blacktype winners, Bushranger's total in this part of Europe remained zero and so the inevitable happened last year; he was sold abroad.
It is remarkable how often a stallion's best results appear when he is no longer available, either due to export or to death, and Bushranger is another example of that 'Murphy's Law of Thoroughbred Breeding'.
Mobsta won the Listed Abernant Stakes over six furlongs at Doncaster in early April, Ridge Ranger took the Listed Kilvington Fillies' Stakes over the same trip at Nottingham a month later, and the next day Now Or Never impressed in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial over a mile at Leopardstown.
We waited three years for a Bushranger stakes winner in Ireland or Britain and then three came together. But he has not stopped there.
Another five days passed and then Ross Castle, a three-year-old, won the Group 3 Prix Texanita over five and a half furlongs at Maisons-Laffitte. Then, in the space of 24 hours, Mobsta added the Group 2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes over six furlongs at the Curragh, Ridge Ranger was a half-length runner-up in a listed contest at Haydock, and Now Or Never finished third in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas.
Several of his two-year-olds are already winners this season, his final crop conceived at Tally-Ho Stud have been arriving this spring, and the 10-year-old stallion now stands at the Jockey Club of Turkey. It is in that country that two of his other stakes winners have emerged, a pair of colts who were born there, imported in utero. Serseri won a local Group 1 contest in 2015, as a juvenile, and Inferno has twice won at local Group 3 level; these count only as listed status as per the International Cataloguing Standards.
Bushranger's Australian-born progeny include Jerilderie Letter, an Adam Trinder-trained gelding who won the Listed Tasmanian Guineas, Listed Hobart Guineas, and Listed Tasmanian Derby earlier in the year, and that talented three-year-old cost just Aus$11,000 as a yearling.
Bushranger is the best of several winners out of Danz Danz (by Efisio), an unraced half-sister to two winners out of the three-times scorer Darcey Bussell (by Green Desert). That mare is, in turn, out of Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes fourth Docklands (by On Your Mark) and that makes her a half-sister to Port Helene (by Troy). That filly won the Listed Oaks Trial Stakes at Lingfield, was placed in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes, in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes and in the Group 3 Lancashire Oaks, and in addition to being the dam of the Group 1-placed Group 2 Prix de Pomone scorer Helen Of Spain (by Sadler's Wells), she is the grandam of the Group 1-placed multiple pattern-winning sprinter Catcall (by One Cool Cat).
If you go back another generation then you find that the fourth dam of Bushranger is the Horris Hill Stakes winner Persuader (by Petition), and in addition to being the ancestor of the Grade 1 scorers Trade Storm (by Trade Fair), Super Moment (by Big Spruce) and Flying Continental (by Flying Paster), she was the dam of Night Off (by Narrator), the Cheveley Park Stakes winner and England's juvenile filly champion of 1964 who went on to add the 1000 Guineas the following spring.
Bushranger is no longer available to breeders here, but he should be well-represented at the yearling and foal sales this year, and given how his results have been so far in 2016, it seems a fair bet now that some of those he has left behind are future stakes or pattern winners in waiting. His recent run of success also makes it seem more likely that at least one of his progeny will manage to win at the highest level.
BUSHRANGER (IRE) – b.2006 – Danetime – Danz Danz, 4 wins inc Middle Park Stakes (Gr1), Prix Morny (Gr1), Anglesey Stakes (Gr3), 2nd Windsor Castle Stakes (L), 3rd Phoenix Stakes (Gr1). Sire in Ireland, Australia & Turkey. First foals in 2011. 7 SW inc MOBSTA (Gr2), NOW OR NEVER (Gr3), ROSS CASTLE (Gr3), INFERNO, JERILDERIE LETTER, RIDGE RANGER, SERSERI, Faithful Creek (Gr3), Fox Trotter (Gr3), etc.