The strength of the form of this year's Listed Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes remains to be seen, but it would be hard not to have been impressed by the manner in which Maqsad cruised home in the 10-furlong contest, beating Shambolic by five lengths. She is now one of the ante-post favourites for next month's Group 1 Investec Oaks at Epsom.
The William Haggas-trained bay carries the colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum having been bought by Shadwell for €775,000 as a foal in Goffs at the Wildenstein Stables Ltd Dispersal. The daughter of Siyouni (by Pivotal) is the second foal of the stakes-placed middle-distance winner Amerique (by Galileo) and her grandam is the multiple Group 1 star Aquarelliste (by Danehill).
Maqsad is clearly a filly of considerable potential, one who looks likely to win at the highest level before long, but there is a slight doubt over her ability to stay the Oaks trip.
Her dam stayed, that mare's half-sister Ame Bleue (by Dubawi), a Group 1-placed stakes winner, was Group 3-placed over the distance, as was their half-sister Artiste Divine (by Peintre Celebre). Arc-placed grandam Aquarelliste won the Group 1 Prix Vermeille over 12, as well as the shorter Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 1 Prix Ganay, and she is a full-sister to dual US 10-furlong Grade 1 scorer Artiste Royal who was a blacktype-placed winner over the mile and a half.
So, you might ask, what's the problem?
She is a daughter of a leading French sire, one whose current fee at Haras de Bonneval stands at €100,000, but what we know of him so far is that he appears to be passing on the speed influence rather than a stamina one, and that could see his exciting young filly come there cruising a quarter-mile from home at Epsom only to falter in the final furlong.
Siyouni's classic and multiple Group 1-winning daughters Ervedya and Laurens are top milers, with the latter showing that she can handle 10 and a half furlongs when she landed last year's Group 1 Prix de Diane. Volta was third in another edition of that classic but is a Group 1-placed mile Group 2 scorer, Finsbury Square is a Group 2 winning sprinter, and notable offspring such as City Light, Le Brivido, Siyoushake, Souvenir Delondres, Spectre, and Trixia have all shown their speed somewhere in the five-to-eight-furlong range.
That is not to say that Siyouni will not get a top performer over 12 furlongs – and it should be noted that his son Hayabusa One (out of a Green Tune mare) was a three-quarter-length runner-up in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes over that trip last year – but just to note that the doubt is there.
With the consistent amount of middle-distance stamina in the distaff side of her pedigree, Maqsad could be the one to make the 12-furlong breakthrough for Siyouni, but if she's not then she could become one of the 10-furlong stars of her age group.
Sires & Winners