The Irish Derby- A source of great sires?

Federico Tesio famously said ” The Thoroughbred exists because its selection has depended, not on experts, technicians, or zoologists, but on a piece of wood: the winning post of the Epsom Derby”. If the fabled Italian was around today he might replace Epsom with the Curragh. The relative importance of Epsom has undoubtedly declined and that of the Irish Derby has increased . Due to the vagaries of the track the best horse doesn’t alays win at Epsom.  The best horse nearly always wins at the Curragh. The timing of the Irish Derby which allows it to bring together the winners of the Epsom and French Derbies also facilitates this. So what about its record as a source of leading sires. Well let’s stroll down memory lane and look at the stud records of the last 26 Irish Derby winners….

2008 Frozen Fire (Montjeu-Flamingo Sea by Woodman). Won an incident packed Irish Derby in which is stablemate and paternal half brother Alessandro Volta caused all sorts of mayhem. This was only his second win after a maiden but he was only beaten a short head in the Dante before disappointing at Epsom. He fetched €250000 as a yearling and his pedigree is solid rather than spectacular.  Given the circumstances of his Irish Derby win, he will probably need to add another Group 1 to his CV to make himself an attractive stallion prospect. (sire rating unknown)

2007 Soldier of Fortune (Galileo-Affinanced by Erins Isle). Soldier of Fortune recently added the Coronation Cup to his record. As a son of Galileo he is sure to be popular on  his retirement to Coolmore. (sire rating unknown)

2006 Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion by Diesis). Added 5 more group 1’s including an Arc and King George to his record at three and four. He became the second son of Danehill to triumph 9 years after Desert King. Currently standing at €50000 in Coolmore (sire rating unknown)

2005 Hurricane Run (Montjeu-Hold On by Surumu).  From the outstanding first crop of Montjeu (1999) went onto add 3 more Group 1’s to his record including an Arc and King George. Currently standing for €30000 at Coolmore.(sire rating unknown)

2004 Grey Swallow (Daylami-Style of Life by The Minstrel). From the first crop of Daylami, his career never really again reached the heights of his Curragh defeat of North Light. He did add another Group 1 in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at 4. He also picked up some Grade2 in the US at 5. He was shipped to Australia for the Cox Plate but picked up an injury. He has remained in Australia and stands at Woodside Park Stud for $16500, his fee perhaps a reflection of the fall from grace of Daylami who is now based in South Africa. He was the first sire since St Jovite in 1992 not to represent the Northern Dancer sire line, but he was still close up as his dam was by The Minstrel(sire rating unknown)

2003 Alamshar (Key of Luck-Alaiyda by Sharastani). Became the only horse to ever defeat Dalakhani when out-battling him at the Curragh. Initially sold to Japan, he is now in residence at the Irish National stud for €5000. I reckon this is good value (see earlier post on bargain basement sires)(sire rating unknown)

2002 High Chapparal (Sadler’s Wells-Kasora by Darshaan). One of six offspring of Sadler’s Wells to triumph, and at the time the fourth in five years. His oldest crop are now three year olds and although he got an Italian Guineas winner in Senlis he is so far disappointing. He is currently listed at €15000 but if he doesn’t get a few big winners soon, he will be sold on or will find himself operating as a NH sire.(sire rating 3/10)

2001 Galileo (Sadler’s Wells-Urban Sea by Miswaki). The hottest stallion in Europe. Having a fantastic season with his two, three and four year olds. So far he has had New Approach winning the Derby, Lush Lashes the Coronation, Cima de Triomphe an Italian Derby, Soldier of Fortune a Coronation Cup and Cuis Gaire the Albany stakes. To this roll call can be added previous stars Teofilo, Sixties Icon, Nightime, Red Rocks and Allegretto. His fee is listed as private and he is the annointed successor to his own sire Sadler’s Wells.(sire rating 9/10)

2000 Sinndar(Grand Lodge-Sinntara by Lashkari). An oustanding racehorse who later added the Arc to his Derby and Irish Derby triumphs. Retired to his owner the Aga Khans Gilltown stud he failed to get a lot of patronage from outside breeders. He was by far the best son of his inconsistent sire Grand Lodge, out of Sinntara who won an Irish Cesearwich.  He now stands at the Aga’s french stud Bonnveval for €20000.  He is a good sire for the money and has sired two outstanding runners in Youmzain and Shawanda. Hopefully he will get the patronage he deserves from French breeders.(sire rating 6.5/10)

1999. Montjeu (Sadler’s Wells-Floripedes by Top Ville). Outstanding racehorse and now outstanding sire. I obviously have a soft spot for him given the name of this blog. His outstanding first crop had one,twos in the Epsom and Irish Derby’s with Motivator, Walk in the Park, Hurricane Run and Scorpion. Has since added another Epsom winner with Authorised and just after writing this article Frozen Fire gave him another Irish Derby. His fee at €125000 marks him as the second most expensive stallion at Coolmore after his paternal half brother Galileo. interesting his % of stakes winners was slightly better than Galileos. (sire rating 9/10)

1998 Dream Well (Sadler’s Wells-Soul Dream by Alleged). Followed up his French Derby success with victory at the Curragh. His subsequent career was somewhat disappointing. Another son of Sadler’s Wells his dam Soul Dream later produced another French Derby winner in Sulamani. He was sold to Japan where he left behind nothing of note. Similarly his time as a shuttler to Australia left behind nothing of note. He now stands at Haras de Fresney-le- Buffard in France for €2000 and is in essence a dual purpose sire. His oldest European crop are only three year olds, but nothing of significance has emerged.  (sire rating 2/10)

1997 Desert King( Danehill-Sabaah by Nureyev).  A horse who helped to establish two reputations. Firstly that of his sire Danehill who until Desert King was well short of supersire status in the Northern hemisphere. Secondly he was the first important colt trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore axis. He was a tough and versatile colt winning the National stakes at two, impressively winning the Irish Guineas at three and recovering from a disappointing run at Ascot to win the Irish Derby. Ironically the colt he defeated at the Curragh was Dr Johnson owned by former Ballydoyle maestro Vincent O’Brien and trained by Charles O’Brien who it was assumed would take over Ballydoyle.  At stud he surprised many by proving to be an influence for stamina. He sired an Ascot Gold Cup winner in Mr Dinos and one of the great racemares of the modern era down under in Makybe Diva. His stud career started in Coolmore from where he shuttled to Australia. He was then banished from the Coolmore roster to Japan and last year he was transferred to Scarvagh House who are marketing him as a dual purpose sire for £4000/€5800. He has sired six group one winners which alongside those already mentioned includes Chelsea Rose who won a Moyglare and Desert War who is a multiple Group 1 winner in Australia. (sire rating 5/10)

1996 Zagreb (Theatrical-Sophonisbe by Wollow). Zagreb was a 20-1 shot when winning Dermot Weld’s first Irish Derby by 6 lengths. It provided compensation for the narrow defeat of his sire Theatrical (also trained by Weld) in the 1985 renewal. He only ran once more when unplaced in the Arc and in total his career lasted only four races. He also ended up in Japan where he did leave behind some runners of note in Group 1 winners in Cosmo Bulk and Cosmo Sunbeam. However he obviously didn’t do enough and he now earns his oats as a National Hunt sire at Beechbrook stud covering for €1500 (sire rating 3/10)

1995 Winged Love (In the Wings-J’ai Deux Amours by Top Ville). This son of In The Wings was the first grandson of Sadler’s Wells to triumph when he shortheaded Definite Article, with hot favourite and his Chantilly conqueror Celtic Swing unplaced. He never won again after the Curragh but arguably ran even better when a close fourth behind Lammtarra in the King George. He was retired to stud in Germany and got a number of stakes winners but nothing above Group 2 level. He is now in Scarvagh House stud for £2500/€3500 where he is marketed as a National Hunt sire and should attract lots of support after the success of Twist Magic. (sire rating 3/10)

1994 Balanchine (Storm Bird-Morning Devotion by Affirmed. The Oaks winner easily accounted for subsequent King George winner King’s Theatre to give Frankie Dettori his first success.  As a broodmare the daughter of Storm Bird has proved a disappointment. (sire rating- N/A)

1993 Commander in Chief (Dancing Brave-Slightly Dangerous by Roberto). The undefeated Epsom derby winner had to work hard to defeat the French Derby winner Hernando. His only subsequent run was a slightly disappointing third in the King George.  Like so many Derby winners of the nineties he was sold to Japan. He was the best son of Dancing Brave but not the best son of his outstanding dam Slightly Dangerous who also produced the great miler Warning, along with an Irish Derby runner up in Deploy, Grade 1 winner Yashmak and Derby runner-up Dushyantor. He spent his entire career at Yashun stud in Japan until his relatively early death last year. He sired 15 stakes winners including a champion Japanese two year old in Ein Bride, but it is fair to say that overall his career was disappointing. (sire rating 2.5/10)

1992 St Jovite (Pleasant Colony-Northern Sunset by Northfields). St Jovite put up a stunning performance to defeat Dr Devious and smash the course record in the process. I rank it as perhaps the best middle distance performance I have ever seen and if you want a reminder go to the ‘photos and videos’ sections.  As a son of Pleasant Colony he was one of the rare examples of a winner that isn’t from the Northern Dancer line but his dam was by Northfields so the great Canadian wasn’t too far away.  He followed up with another impressive performance in the King George before a slightly controversial defeat in the Leopardstown Champion stakes. His final run was in unsuitably soft ground in the Arc.  Unfortunately for his career he was retired to stud in North America, where perhaps he wasnt sent the right type of mares or he wasnt appreciated by American breeders.  Nevertheless he proved a major disappointment with Equerry his only performer of note in Europe. He was recently repatriated and is standing as a jumps sire for the Bowes in Greentree stud at an advertised fee of €5000 (sire rating 1/10)

1991- Generous (Caerleon-Doff the Derby by Master Derby). Very impressive at Epsom and then defeated another colt in Suave Dancer at the Curragh. Followed up impressively in the King George. He was retired with great expectations to Bansted Stud. However in 1996 he was sold to Japan for a reported $16million. From his initial UK crops he left behing plenty of Group winners including Catella,Blueprint, Corteous and Oaks runner-up Bahr. However he lacked a real superstar and it is fair to say that his departure wasn’t considered too big a blow. He was subsequently repatriated and spent time at the Plantation Stud but he is now in situ at Scarvagh stud for £4500. Since his return he has sired a German classic winner in Mystic Lips. He is also developing a reputation as a promising broodmare sire, notably with the brothers Golan and Tartan Bearer. His percentage of stakes winners is impressive and I have previously written that I think he is now a good value sire. (sire rating 5.5/10)

1990 Salsabil (Sadler’s Wells-Flame of Tara by Artaius). Became the first filly since Gallinaria in 1900 to triumph. One of the outstanding fillies of the modern era she also won a Prix Marcel Boussac, 1000 Guineas,Oaks and Prix Vermeille. She was also a good broodmare producing stakes winners in the lazily name Bint Salsabil (Bint is Arabic for daughter) and Alabaq and she left behind a decent stallion son in the recently deceased Mr Prospector horse Sahm (sire rating N/A)

1989 Old Vic (Sadler’s Wells-Cockade). From the outstanding first crop of Sadler’s Wells, his Curragh victory was his second Derby as he had earlier won at Chantilly.  Retired with big expectations to Dalhalm stud he was hugely disappointing. He was eventually banished to Japan before returning to the UK and eventually ending up as a jumps sire in Sunnyhill Stud in Kildare. He is now established as an oustanding jumps sire and has already sired a Gold Cup winner in Kicking King and a Grand National winner in Comply or Die. Covering huge books for the past few years he is certain to have a huge influence on  the jumping scene for the next decade. (sire rating flat 1/10), (sire rating jumps 9/10)

1988 Kahyasi (Ile de Bourbon-Kadissya by Blushing Groom). Completed the Epsom/Curragh double when defeating Insan at the Curragh. He was never too popular with Irish breeders at Gilltown and was eventually transferred to the Aga Khans French stud. His best runners were Zainta who won a French Oaks and Enzeli who won an Ascot Gold Cup. However it is as a broodmare sire that he will be best remembered. He is the sire of the phenomenal Hasili who has produced Banks Hill. Intercontinental,Heat Haze, Cacique, Champs Elysses and major sire Dansili. He is also broodmare sire of this years star French filly Zarkava, and Promising Lead who is out of Hasili’s sister Arrive. (sire rating 5/10)

1987 Sir Harry Lewis (Alleged-Sue Babe by Mr Prospector). Sir Harry Lewis improved upon his fourth place at Epsom to defeat Naheez and Entitled at the Curragh. Kept in training at four he failed to add to his record. He was sent to stud in the US which probably wasn’t the best choice for a turf loving son of Alleged. I can’t recall any major winners by him but he did crop up as the broodmare sire of Volponi the 2002 Breeders Cup Classic winner. Like many sons of Alleged he has ended up as a National Hunt sire and now stands at Wood Farm stud for £1500. He is compiling a creditable record with the likes of Mighty Man and Burnt Oak boy (sire rating 2/10)

1986 Shahrastani (Nijinsky- Shademah by Thatch). Shahrastani got almost no credit for his Epsom Derby victory as everyone focused on Greville Starkeys ride on Dancing Brave. At the Curragh Shahrastani was the undoubted star when he put up a superb performance, so good that I feel he would have again beaten Dancing Brave. That was the year that Nijinsky also sired Ferdinand winner of the Kentucky Derby and Shahrastani was sold to stud in the US. He proved to be a really, really, really bad sire. He is now back in the UK and stands at Walton Fields Stud for £1250 (sire rating 0/10)

1985 Law Society (Alleged- Bold Bikini by Boldnesian). Law Society was well beaten by Slip Anchor at Epsom but without that rival to contend with at the Curragh he just held off Theatrical to give Vincent O’Brien his sixth Irish Derby. At the time of his retirement the bloodstock boom was just winding but he was still valued at a reputed £13 million. Despite the best efforts of the Coolmore marketing machine Law Society never did enough to justify a lofty stud fee despite some successes such as Homme De Loi, Right Win, Approach the bench and Anzillero. He now stands in Germany for €6000 (sire rating 3.5/10)

1984 El Gran Senor (Northern Dancer- Sex Appeal by Buckpasser). A champion two year old, brilliant winner of the Guineas, agonisingly defeated by Secreto at Epsom, El Gran Senor was odds on at the Curragh and duly obliged. It proved to be his last run and he was syndicated at $40 million dollars. It was said the defeat at Epsom had knocked $20 million off his valuation. Alas his stud career was hindered by fertility problems and in the course of his career he had less than 400 foals. He sired 55 stakes winners or a whopping 14% stakes winners before he was pensioned in 2000. Amongst his 12 group 1 winners were  Rodrigo de Triano, Lit de Justice, Saratoga Springs, Al Hareb and Toussaud.  Toussaud went on to become a remarkable broodmare and to date is dam of 4 grade 1 winners including Empire Maker and Chester House. Other daughters of El Gran Senor have produced Ramonti and Le Vie dei Colori. (sire rating 9/10)

1983 Shareef Dancer (Northern Dancer-Sweet Alliance by Sir Ivor). Shareef Dancer cost $3.3 million as a yearling and was synicated for $40 million after defeating the French Derby winner Caerleon and Epsom winner Teenoso. He never ran again and it was said at the time that ‘he was too valuable to race’. He retired to Dalhalm Hall for £100,000 fees that quickly became unsustainable given the ending of the bloodstock mania and his own relative lack of success. He did sire some decent runners in Possessive Dancer, Rock Hopper and Glory of Dancer but overall he had to be classified as a disappointment. He also gets some credit as the broodmare sire of Sheikh Mohammeds favourite horse Dubai Millennium, (sire rating 3/10)

Royal Ascot Reflections

Big Winners:

1.Coolmore/Ballydoyle. It couldn’t have gone any better for Ballydoyle/Coolmore. 6 Winners, 4 Group 1 winners, all colts, all eligible for a place on the stallion roster. Another 5 winners were by Coolmore stallions.The only surprise was their lack of two year old firepower . Maybe this a reflection of a tweaking of the training regime by Aidan O’Brien or maybe this years crop just aren’t precocious. 

2. Jim Bolger.

After Royal Ascot he trains arguably the best three year old filly miler in Europe in Lush Lashes and the best two year filly in Cuis Gaire. Both are daughters of Galileo the stallion he made (see earlier article), which added jam to Coolmores bread. For good measure he trained Finsceal Beo to be third in the Queen Anne and Intense Focus to finish second in the Coventry. And these were his only 4 runners at the Royal Meeting. He may not be well liked but he sure can train horses.

3. Lucky Story. A very impressive Royal Ascot winner in the shape of Art Connoisseur (tipped in my earlier article about Lucky Story) is great exposure for any new sire. The fact that his brother Dr Fong sired the first (Free Agent) and third (Markyg)in the Chesham stakes is an added bonus.

4. Exceed and Excel. Flashmans Papers won the Windsor Castle stakes and Spin Cycle was a close second in the Norfolk Stakes. These results justify some of the big prices paid for his offspring and might have provided some cheer to the Darley boys.

Disappointing Week:

1. Godolphin. One winner from thirteen winners is very disappointing for an operation that often dominated the Royal meeting. The fact that there were such celebrations about Campanologists Group 2 win is in itself indicative of the trough they are now experiencing.

Gone but not forgotten

Danehill. Sire of arguably the best winner of the week in Duke of Marmalade. Multidimensional returned to form by running second in the Hardwicke, Sugar Ray won one of the big handicaps The Duke of Edinburgh stakes and as if to remind us of his sires versatility, old stager Distinction finished second in the marathon Queen Alexandra.

Gone and soon to be forgotten?

Storm Cat? With the fast ground at Royal Ascot you would have expected the Storm Cat line to thrive but only Colony, a son of Statue of Liberty made the winners enclosure and that was after a handicap. Giant’s Causeway was the sire of Intense Focus runner up in the Coventry. However you would have expected a much greater showing from the Storm Cat sireline.

 

 

 

Eurosavers- Best Bargain Basement sires in Ireland

With so many stallions in Ireland, I thought it would be easy to compile a list of five or six of the best value sires in Ireland standing for less than €7000. I was wrong and I’m not sure why. Maybe it is just my methodology that is suspect, as I define bargain basement sires as those standing for a published fee of less than €7000. I would imagine that with the right mare and cash in my hand I would gain access to a great many sires with a published fee much greater than 7k.

Maybe Irish breeders are more commercially astute than some of their European counterparts and there is very little discrepancy between price and value, with studs correctly pricing their stallions. Coolmore in particular are expert at stallion pricing and while you could argue that some of their stallions are slightly over-priced it is very hard to think of one that is underpriced. The best I could manage is as follows:

Proven Stallions under €7000

None, nada,nil, zip,zilch. I went through the full list of stallions in Ireland standing in Ireland and could not honestly recommend one of those stallions as being a proven and reliable source of quality offspring. If I’m missing one, please let me know.

Promising Start- 1. Redback at €6500 Tally-Ho stud

Redback was a decent racehorse winning the Solario Stakes at 2 and the Greenham at 3. He also finished 3rd to Rock of Gibraltar and Hawk Wing in a very good 2000 Guineas. He went to stud without great expectations. His own sire Mark of Esteem was seemingly in decline at the time but Sir Percy has since restored some credibility to his record. His dam Patsy Western is by Precocious, by Mummys Pet and would be associated with cheap speed. . His results to date are very promising. His first crop included Gilded who won a Queen Mary, backed up by Sonny Red who won a listed race. His second crop is headed by Redolent who has won at listed level and looks up to Group level. Redbacks pedigree has only one cross of Northern Dancer in the fourth generation so he should have no problem crossing with mares with Northern Dancer close-up. However Interestingly all 3 of his best runners are out of mares from other sire lines with Gilded being out of an Aragorn mare, Sonny Red being out of a Petong mare, and Redolent out of a Highest Honour mare. Whether this is a reflection of the opportunities afforded to him or evidence of bias is too early to say. We can however categorise Redback as a useful sire of tough, speedy types and he is capable of upgrading his mare. His results should also improve as he benefits from the better mares sent after his very promising first season. At €6500 he represents good value. Incidentally Tally-Ho stud obviously don’t believe in the internet as a means of promoting their stallions as their website http://www.tallyhostud.net/ is an embarrassment and badly needs an upgrade. (Note since this article was written tally-ho stud have notified me of their bright new shiny website at www.tallyhostud.com )

Promising Start 2:- er, nobody else springs to mind.

I was going to write about Modigliani who sired group winner Magritte and sales race winner Sudden Impact in his first crop but Greentree Stud have pushed his price up to €7500 which takes him out of the bargain basement and to be honest might be too much too soon.

Unproven but might prove cheap.

Trying to pick winners from amongst the ranks of new stallions is a foolish activity but it won’t stop me trying…. If I had to spend my own money on nominations to some unproven stallions in Ireland I would choose the following; Alamshar at €5000 and Indian Haven at €6000 both at the Irish National Stud.

Maybe this is a sign that the Irish National Stud is taking seriously its obligations to small Irish breeders. Alamshar and Indian Haven are both Irish classic winners and both seem competitively priced. I fondly remember watching Alamshar win his maiden at Listowel and he is certainly the best flat horse to ever win there. He followed up by winning the Beresford. At three he finished third in the Derby but subsequent event showed he was the best horse in the field. He became the only horse to ever beat Dalakhani when out-battling him in the Irish Derby. He followed up by routing the field in the King George where his Derby conqueror Kris Kin was over five lengths in arrears. His career fizzled out when he was unplaced in both the Irish and Newmarket Champion Stakes. However he had proved himself to be an outstanding middle distance horse. At the end of his career the Aga Khan accepted an offer from Japan and it was surprising that he found his way back to these shores before his Japanese offspring had a chance to fully prove themselves. His fee is probably a reflection of the fact that he is by far the best offspring from his sire Key of Luck. As is typcial with Aga Khan families you don’t have to go far to find some class and his granddam is Aliysa who won the Oaks only to be controversially disqualified later for drug infringements, a disqualification that prompted the Aga Khan to withdraw all his horses from Britain.  Aliysa was already the dam of Desert Story who earned a berth at stud with wins in the Horris Hill at two and the Craven at three. His stud career in these parts never really got off the ground and he is now exiled to Alamshars former home of Japan. It might not be what everyone looks for in a stallions pedigree but given his race record he is certainly not overpriced.

Indian Haven is the Irish National Studs hope to continue the successes they enjoyed with his sire Indian Ridge and his grandsire Ahonoora. Indian Ridge has yet to sire a stallion son as good as himself despite some promise from Compton Place and Namid. However Indian Haven seems to have a better chance than most. He was at as best in the Spring of his three year old season when he won the Free Handicap, got crucified in the Newmarket Guineas and then won well in the Irish Guineas. His form then tapered off and a decision to keep him in training at four failed to add to his record. His dam Madame Dubois won the Park Hill Stakes and she is also dam of Count Dubois (by Zafonic) who is doing well at stud in South Africa.  His first two year olds have now hit the track and at the moment he has one winner from 7 runners. However although this is hardly an exciting start it wouldn’t be a surprise if his progeny took after his example and improved markedly between two and three. At €6000 it might be worth taking a chance that he could be the one to continue the Ahonoora success story at the Irish National Stud.

Bargain Basement British Sires- Best of the Rest

There is a difference between price and worth. Bargains can be found by recognising that difference. Browsing through a list of stallions in Britain at fees of under £5000  there were a few surprising names. Some of these are older stallions who have fallen out of fashion, some are stallions facing into difficult second, or third seasons and others just seem cheap to me. In no particular order my selections as the best value bargain basement sires are as follows:

1. Proven Sire standing in the UK= Generous at £4500.

Ok his sales figures are terrible and he is being marketed as a dual purpose sire. However he is a very good sire of racehorses and that should count for something. He is the sire of 37 stakes winners from 599 foals of racing age which is a very respectable 6%.  He started his career with huge expectations and a fee to match. When early results were solid rather than spectacular, it was impossible to resist a big money offer from Japan where his sire Caerleon was very popular. On his return to these isles he was being marketed as a dual purpose sire and covering very moderate mares. He still managed to sire a classic winner in Mystic Lips (2007 German Oaks) from one of the mares covered since his return.  He is also achieving success as a broodmare sire and Tartan Trader came within a length of giving him a Derby success as a broodmare sire to go with the Guineas victory of his brother Golan.  To these can be added Tungsten Strike and High Accolade who are also out Generous mares. 

2. Promising UK based sire= Lucky Story at £4000

It’s very early days for Lucky Story but he has made a bright start. He has sired Art Connoisseur who is unbeaten in two runs and will be well fancied in whatever engagement he takes up at Royal Ascot. He has also sired Caranbola who is a winner and was second in a Listed race. That isn’t a lot to go on but its a better start than anyone would have predicted. Lucky Story is a son of Kris S out of a Miswaki mare and is a full brother to the St James Palace winner Dr Fong (who stands for £9000). Although he never won a group 1, Lucky Story was the equal of his brother and he won two Group 2 races at two in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. At three he put up a fine performance in the QEII at Ascot running Ratki to half a length with Refuse To Bend, Soviet Song and Antonius Pius in his wake.  With a pedigree free of Northern Dancer and two promising performers in his first crop he offers value to British breeders.

3. Unknown but seems cheap- Zafeen at £3000
Zafeen won the Mill Reef Stakes at 2 and was second in the Prix Morny. At three he was runner up to Refuse to Bend in the 2000 Guineas and won the St James Palace.  He was rated the champion European three year old miler. He is a son of supersonic Zafonic, who to date has not left a major sire son (although Count Dubois is doing well in South Africa and Ifraaj has just started his career). His dam Shy Lady was by Kaldoun and was a 6 furlong listed race winner in Germany from the family of Diffident.  Northern Dancer is buried far back in his pedigree at 4sx6d so there should be no problem breeding  to stallions from his line. Zafeen looks good, he was a top class racehorse at two and three, his pedigree is respectable and he looks very reasonably priced to me.

 

Hernando-time for another look

It was a big weekend for Hernando. Firstly he sired Last Look who powered home in the Oaks at 33-1 and 24 hours later Casual Conquest ran a fine race to finish third in the Derby.  It enhances his status as a reliable source of quality staminain a pedigree. He has now sired 2 French Derby winners(when it was a 12 furlong derby) in Sulamani and Holding Court and he has sired an Epsom derby 3rd (Casual Conquest) and 4th (Mr Combustible).  Since the death of Caerleon, and Royal Acadamy’s return to the States, he is now one of the very few credible representatives of the Nijinksy line still standing in Europe (the others are Lomitas and potentially Hernando’s son Sulamani).

The aforementioned Sulamani can take most of the credit for the upsurge in Hernando’s fortunes. He won 6 Group ones over 3 seasons including 4 in 2003.  His successes led to larger books in 2003 and 2004 and Last Look and Casual Conquest are among the outcomes. No doubt next year will see an increase in quality and quantity for Hernando and I wouldnt be surprised if in 2013 I am again writing about what was to many a surprising upsurge in his fortunes. He is in danger of becoming a yo-yo sire whose success comes in 5 year cycles.  He was reduced to crops in the 40’s of mostly owners breeders. The commercial breeders have never warmed to Hernando, mostly because of the stamina ‘issue’ but perhaps partly because of the reputation that Lanwades home of Hernando are less willing to make a deal than the likes of Coolmore and Darley. Alas the commercial breeders failed to realise that Hernando is and was the real deal and at 10k was amongst the best value stallions in Britain. His stats back this up and from 532 foals of racing age he has had 247 winners (47%) and 32 stakes winners (6%).

Last Look the dam of Look Here was unraced but is by Rainbow Quest who was already the broodmare sire of 2 Derby Winners in North Light and Kris Kin.  On pedigree and in hindsight her chance at Epsom was obvious. Those looking for quality in the family will find it under the third dam Dance Quest who is the dam of Pursuit of Love (by another Blushing Groom horse in Groom Dancer. Pursuit of Love finished 3rd in a Guineas and 2nd in a July Cup and had a reasonable stud career until his recent death.

Ralph Beckett has said that he might avoid the Irish Oaks to give Look Here more time to recover from her exertions as she is not a robust filly who needs time between her races. The obvious next target then becomes the St Leger. Her pedigree gives plenty of comfort on that score. Hernando’s was never tried over further than 12 furlongs but his sire Niniski won 2 St Legers (an Irish and French) and Nijinsky as the last triple crown winner, won the Doncaster original. For good measure Look Here’s third dam, Dance Quest is by Green Dancer another son of Nijinsky.  Roll on Doncaster… 

LOOK HERE (GB) 2005 f b

Hernando
(FR) 1990
Niniski
(USA) 1976
Nijinsky
(CAN) 1967
Northern
Dancer (CAN) 1961
Flaming
Page (USA) 1959
Virginia
Hills (USA) 1971
Tom
Rolfe (USA) 1962
Ridin’
Easy (USA) 1967
Whakilyric
(USA) 1984
Miswaki
(USA) 1978
Mr
Prospector (USA) 1970
Hopespringseternal
(USA) 1971
Lyrism
(USA) 1979
Lyphard
(USA) 1969
Pass
A Glance (USA) 1971
Last
Look (GB) 1995
Rainbow
Quest (USA) 1981
Blushing
Groom (FR) 1974
Red
God (USA) 1954
Runaway
Bride (GB) 1962
I
Will Follow (USA) 1975
Herbager
(FR) 1956
Where
You Lead (USA) 1970
Derniere
Danse (GB) 1987
Gay
Mecene (USA) 1975
Vaguely
Noble (GB) 1965
Gay
Missile (USA) 1967
Dance
Quest (FR) 1981
Green
Dancer (USA) 1972
Polyponder
(USA) 1974

 

 

Vision D’Etat- Distinctively French

Vision D’Etat kept his unbeaten record when just holding off Famous Name and 18 others at Chantilly. His pedigree is intriguing and a refreshing change from the norm. In these days of globalisation it is a pedigree with a very regional feel and includes lots of relatively unfamiliar names that trace back to Grey Sovereign via Caro. His sire Chichicastenango (the name of a town in Guatemala) stands at Haras de Victot in Calvados for €3500, a fee that clearly indicates he is not ‘a la mode’. As a two year old Chichicastenango made his debut in May but took 5 runs before opening his account. However he improved markedly in his final two runs of that campaign and signed off with a win in the group 3 Prix Thomas Byron over a mile on heavy ground. Behind him that day were two subsequent Group 1 winners in Denon and Domedriver. As a three year old it again took him a few runs to find his form but on his third run he landed the Group 1 Prix Lupin denying subsequent classic winners Anabaa Blue and Milan in a close finish. The next logical step was the Prix de Jockey Club back when it was still over 12 furlongs. He ran a fine race to beat all bar Anabaa Blue. He was obviously a tough horse as he ran again three weeks later in the Grand Prix de Paris (back when that race was over 10 furlongs) and he landed his second group one in defeating Mizzen Mast and three others in a weak field for a Group 1. He was dropped back to a mile when tried in the Jacques le Marois and ran respectably only beaten about 2 lengths behind the subsequently disqualified Proudwings. His career ended in the Prix Niel when he finished third behind Golan and Anabaa Blue. His career stats ended as 14 runs , 4 wins (a maiden,2 Group 1’s and a Group 3 as a two year old). He was competitive in Group 1 company from a mile to 12 furlongs and had in a sense written his own pedigree and truly earned his place at stud. To date he has sired 3 black type winners from only 95 foals. It will be interesting to see how the success of Vision D’Etat impacts upon his fee and upon the level of support that he receives. He is clearly capable of upgrading his mares and aside from Chichicastenango he has had group 3 winner in Chinandega and Chichi Creasy.

His grandsire Smadoun had also run 14 times but in his case it yielded a solitary listed win in Toulouse. It would be difficult to envisage him finding a berth at stud in Ireland or the UK. He currently stands for €2000 and is producing dual purpose types but still manages to find the occasional stakes performer. Smadoun is by Kaldoun who has sired some top class performers such as Occupandiste (winner of Prix Maurice de Gheest and Prix de La Foret) ,Spadoun who was a group 1 winning two year old and Kaldounevees. Smala the dam of Chichicastenango is by Antheus (by Northern Dancer) who is described as a champion older horse in Italy after winning a Gran Premio del Jockey club. To the best of my knowledge he never achieved anything of note as a sire. Chichicastenango also has another cross of Northern Dancer through Fabulous Dancer but being in the fourth and fifth generations for Vision D’Etat they are hardly significant.

The source of Vision D’Etat’s class is not easily found. His dam Uberaba is by the Mill Reef horse Garde Royale who sired Carling, winner of Prix de Diane and Prix Vermeille. Uberaba has to date had 9 foals with 3 winners. None have shown anything remotely like classic form and most ended up running over jumps including Milan de Mille who eventually finished a remote 15th in this years Grand National.  His granddam Ile D’amour was unraced and managed only 2 minor winners from 11 foals. Given his modest pedigree he must have been a good looking colt to fetch nearly €39000 when Eric Libaud purchased him at the December 2006 Arqana sale. No doubt it also crossed his mind that the horse would have residual value as a jumps horse if he failed to make the grade on the flat. We can now safely rule out the possibility of gelding him and selling him to a jumps trainer:) The French revolutionaries took a dim view of royalty and instead sought to promote egalité. In equine terms Vision D’Etat comes from a plebian background but he doesn’t know that. Many of the sires in his background would not have been afforded a place at stud in Britain or Ireland where there is now a distinct lack of variety in sire lines.  Maybe it’s time for another revolution…….

VISION D’ETAT (FR) 2005 c b

Chichicastenango (FR) 1998 Smadoun(FR) 1990 Kaldoun(FR) 1975 Caro(IRE) 1967
Katana(FR) 1970
Mossma(FR) 1982 TipMoss (FR) 1972
Ticma(IRE) 1968
Smala(FR) 1993 Antheus(USA) 1982 NorthernDancer (CAN) 1961
Apachee(FR) 1975
SmallPartie (FR) 1988 FabulousDancer (USA) 1976
SummerParties (USA) 1982
Uberaba(FR) 1986 GardeRoyale (IRE) 1980 MillReef (USA) 1968 NeverBend (USA) 1960
MilanMill (USA) 1962
RoyalWay (FR) 1969 Sicambre(FR) 1948
RightAway (FR) 1963
IleD’amour (FR) 1974 Montevideo2nd (GB) 1963 Honeyway(GB) 1941
FairNicolle (GB) 1957
OldEngland (FR) 1958 WildRisk (FR) 1940
FolieDouce (USA) 1949