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.