It is encouraging to see classic trials won in good style but exciting when a horse produces the sort of demolition job that Sir Dragonet did at Chester this afternoon. The Aidan O'Brien-trained second-crop son of Camelot (by Montjeu) made his six rivals look ordinary in the Group 3 MBNA Chester Vase Stakes, yet the eight-length runner-up was his stakes-winning stablemate Norway, who could be a St Leger horse.
The Coolmore Stud stallion came up with Group 1 Irish Derby winner Latrobe and Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes heroine Athena in his first crop and his second one features the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud scorer Wonderment.
Sir Dragonet would need to be supplemented for the Group 1 Investec Derby, but surely after this performance the fee will be paid. He's not engaged in the Curragh's classics either but is in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot.
Yet another good horse bred by Orpendale, Wynatt & Chelston, the early-February-born bay only began his track career in late April, winning a 12-and-a-half-furlong maiden by three lengths at Tipperary on ground described as yielding-to-soft. It was good-to-soft this afternoon but there is no reason to presume that an ease in underfoot conditions is a requirement for him.
It is not just an exciting pattern-winning effort and a young proven classic sire that Sir Dragonet has to recommend him as a potential Group 1 horse. Indeed, one could say that this colt was bred with Epsom in mind, that the classics at that unique venue are a family tradition.
He is the first foal of the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes third Sparrow (by Oasis Dream) and so is out of a half-sister Wonder Of Wonders (by Kingmambo), the filly who chased home Dancing Rain at Epsom before finishing a half-length third to Blue Bunting in the Group 1 Irish Oaks. Their dam is All Too Beautiful (by Sadler's Wells), the listed and Group 3 scorer who chased home Ouija Board at Epsom, and that filly is, of course, a daughter of Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine and phenomenal broodmare Urban Sea (by Miswaki).
This makes Sir Dragonet, who is inbred 3x3 to Sadler's Wells (by Northern Dancer), the grandson of a talented full-sister to Derby hero Galileo and half-sister to Derby hero Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross) – both of whom have sired Epsom classic winners of their own. Her siblings also include Oaks third Melikah (by Lammtarra), whose great-grandson Masar (by New Approach) won the Derby last year, whereas Sparrow's "niece" Alluringly (by Fastnet Rock) was an Oaks third.
This is not just an Epsom family – it is the Epsom family.
If you widen the net to include Urban Sea's descendants who have won or been placed in Group 1 classics at other venues then you bring in Irish Oaks heroine Bracelet (by Montjeu) and Irish Derby runner-up Born To Sea (by Invincible Spirit). And if you take a step back to her dam, Allegretta (by Lombard), then there are also 2000 Guineas star King's Best (sire of Derby hero Workforce), Prix du Jockey Club scorer Anabaa Blue (by Anabaa), and Irish 2000 Guineas third Mustajeeb (by Nayef) on the page.
Right now, Sir Dragonet is just a Group 3 winner, albeit one who was impressive in achieving the feat, but if judged on everything we know about them so far, there are few members of the current European classic generations with as much potential to hit the top as this colt showed at Chester.
Sires & Winners