Hernando’s new heroine

There is always some aspect of a pedigree that can be used to explain why a horse won a particular race- after the event. Tipsters have a much more difficult job and yet they are regarded with far more suspicion than ‘expert’ bloodstock writers.  Most writers would wait until after the Derby and Oaks to provide pedigree reports on the winners.  Here at Montjeu.com we are putting our necks on the line and offering up this information two weeks in advance!

St Nicholas Abbey

The Derby is still at the mercy of St Nicholas Abbey. If he wins, he will become an incredible third son of Montjeu to triumph in the Racing Post Trophy and the Derby since 2005. His run in the 2000 Guineas, (6th beaten just over three lengths) was considered disappointing by many who had hoped to witness the first leg of a triple crown assault.  His price for Epsom lengthened and people seemed to write him off . However had he not been the even money favourite, with such a weight of expectation, then I think people would have considered it a a perfectly satisfactory run. Allied to the fact that so many of Aidan O’Brien’s horses come on considerably for their first run, I still see as by far the most likely winner at Epsom. For more detail on his pedigree, you can see this earlier post .

The Oaks

Oaks favourite Rumoush ~(Rahy- Sarayir by Mr Prospector) is a half sister to last years 1000 Guineas winner Ghanaati from the remarkable Height of Fashion family. I don’t expect her to stay and from a betting perspective she is worth opposing. A similar stamina concern applies to Aviate (Dansili- Emplane by Irish River) and the third favourite Timepiece (Zamindar-Clepsydra by Sadler’s Wells) although she has better prospects of staying and is highly regarded by Henry Cecil has disappointed so far this season and she does not represent value.

Next in the betting is Akdarena and she is still available at around 14-1 on betfair. This is a a very good price for a filly who has improved with every run and was very impressive in the Blue Wind Stakes at Navan. The form received a boost of sorts when the 7 length runner-up Indiana Gal subsequently ran well to be second to Shamwari Lodge on 2000 Guineas day.  Jim Bolger made his reputation as a trainer of fillies and he previously won the Oaks with Jet Ski Lady (whom I fondly remember backing at 50-1).

Akdarena’s Pedigree

Hernando a top-class but underrated sire

Akdarena is a daughter of Hernando.  Hernando’s published fee at Lanwades is £12000 and in my view he is the best sire standing for under £15000 in the UK or Ireland. He is now 20 years of age, so he doesn’t have many more years left and breeders should use him while they still can. He is a proven classic sire, who imbues stamina and he has consistently delivered a very good ratio of winners to runners. In addition, although he is a great-grandson of Northern Dancer his fillies can be crossed with most of the Danzig and Sadler’s Wells line stallions that dominate the European stallion scene. He already has an Oaks winner in Look Here (Hernando-Last Look by Rainbow Quest). In addition he has sired a Derby 3rd in Casual Conquest (Hernando- Lady Luck by Kris), a Derby 4th in Mr Combustible (Hernando- Warg by Dancing Brave ) and he is broodmare sire of a Derby runner-up in Dragon Dancer (Sadler’s Wells- Alakananda by Hernando) so he has had plenty of success at Epsom. In addition he has 2 French Derby Winners in Sulamani and Holding Court.  Hernando’s offspring improve with age and this is not surprising since he himself was unraced at two before winning the Prix Lupin and French Derby and three and running well to be second in the Irish Derby. He maintained a high level of form for the next two seasons His final career stats saw him credited with a runner-up spot in the Arc and his soundness was obvious from the fact that he competed in 13 Group 1 contests for his trainers Francois Boutin and John Hammond (who took over when Boutin retired).

Akdariya

Akdarena’s dam Akdariya was a useful filly for John Oxx. She ran only five times winning once, but her merit can be gauged from the fact that she ran in and was runner-up (albeit well beaten by Yashmak) in the Ribbesdale Stakes. She was a daughter of noted broodmare sire Shirley Heights out of Akishka.  Akishka produced two other stakes winners in Akhiyar (8 furlong listed winner) and Akbar (Group 2 winner of the Henry II stakes over 2 miles). Both of these winners were by Doyoun who like Shirley Heights was by Mill Reef. It is also worth noting that Hernando has sired group winner Asian Heights and Listed winners Portal and La Hernanda out of daughters of Shirley Heights.

Akdarena’s pedigree comes alive when we look at her third dam Akiyda. She gained her place in history by winning the 1982 Prix de l’Arc from Ardross and Awaasif. In addition she was runner in the Vermeille and the French Oaks. She was a daughter of the Busted horse Labus and she represented an early return on the Aga Khans purchase of the Boussac bloodstock. She was also a half sister to French Derby winner Acamas (by Mill Reef) so that is another reason why the family returned to Mill Reef line stallions.

Conclusion:

Akdarena is almost guaranteed to stay the 12 furlongs of the Oaks. She is by a sire who is potent classic sire and her female family has some very classy antecedents. At the currently available odds she is a fair bet for Epsom glory. Regardless of the outcome of that race she is another reminder of the merits of Hernando as a top class and great value sire.

AKDARENA (GB) 2007 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
Akdariya
(IRE) 1994
Shirley
Heights (GB) 1975
Mill
Reef (USA) 1968
Never
Bend (USA) 1960
Milan
Mill (USA) 1962
Hardiemma
(GB) 1969
Hardicanute
(GB) 1962
Grand
Cross (GB) 1952
Akishka
(IRE) 1986
Nishapour
(FR) 1975
Zeddaan
(GB) 1965
Alama
(IRE) 1969
Akiyda
(GB) 1979
Labus
(FR) 1971
Licata
(FR) 1969

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