Hurricane Fly and Noble Prince

Leopardstown today almost witnessed a Grade 1 double for Montjeu. Hurricane Fly was impressive in the Irish Champion Hurdle and Noble Prince came within a short head of winning the Arkle chase. Noble Prince is similar to Hurricane Fly in that he was more than useful on the flat. In fact he was a Listed winner for Andre Fabre and he was a Group 2 placed.

Noble Prince comes from a very decent German family and was sold as a yearling for €90000 at Baden Baden in 2005. That proved to be a very good investment as he sold for 230,000 guineas at the April 2006 Tattersalls breeze up sales. His subsequent prowess on the flat meant that he fetched €150000 at Arqana sales on the 4th October 2008. Interestingly the 4th October (Arc day) saw him finish a disappointing last in the Prix de Cadran. This was his last run run for Fabre before joining Paul Nolan’s stable. In total he ran 13 times for Fabre (7 times at 3, 6 times at 4) winning twice over 10 furlongs and a listed race over 15 furlongs. His best run was probably when a close second to Coastal Path over 15 furlongs in October 2007. He ran well at four without winning before his final disappointing run in the Cadran.

Noble Prince was not an immediate success over hurdles and took three runs before breaking his duck at Gowran in April 2009. Since then he won twice more over hurdles but showed gradual improvement without winning including when he ran a good third in a Grade 2 hurdle at Leopardstown at the Christmas 2009 meeting. He also ran well to be fifth in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham after meeting some interference and finished last season with a fine fourth in the Grade 1 world series hurdle at Punchestown over 3 miles.

Sent Novice chasing he made an impressive reappearance at Punchestown in November, before finishing a 5 length second to Realt Dubh in a Grade 1 at the Christmas meeting.

That margin was reduced to a short head today and he should pick up a top prize sooner rather than later. He was versatile regarding ground on the flat and he has run well at up to three miles over hurdles so there are plenty of options regarding upping in him trip over fences.

Pedigree

Noble Pearl, the German trained dam of Noble Prince won only twice but signficantly she went to the paddocks as a Group 1 winner. The highlight of her career came on her second start in the 1998 Gran Criterium at San Siro where she caused an upset at 26-1 when she defeated Zindabad. She failed to add to her tally at three, running without success including when well beaten in the Poule D’Essai des Pouliches behind Valentine Waltz. At stud she started promisingly by producing Noble Stella (by Monsun) who was a five time winner between Italy and Canada including at Grade 3 level. She subsequently visited other lesser German sires such as Acatenango, Kornado and Sholokov without comparable success.

She is a daughter of Dashing Blade who was a dual Group 1 winner in 1989 winning the National Stakes at the Curragh and a rather substandard Dewhurst (in which Royal Academy disappointed). At three he disappointed in the Guineas, ran somewhat better in the St James Palace and then won the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam. His form was then inconsistent before finishing his career with an easy Group 1 success in the 12 furlong Gran Premio D’Italia. As a three time Group 1 winner he obviously deserved a place at stud but his pedigree was unfashionable and he was retired to Germany. At stud he has done well and is the sire of 50 Black type winners from 896 foals or a respectable 6%. His best offspring include Proudwings (ex Peraja by Kaiseradler) who won the Falmouth Stakes (Gr 2) and was a disqualified from first place in the Prix Jacques le Marois and Group 1 winners Lord of England (ex Loveria by Los Santos) and Faberger (ex Friedrichslust by Caerleon). Dashing Blade was a son of Elegant Air who won a Group 3 Horris Hill stakes at 2 and the Group 2 Tattersalls Rogers Gold Cup at 4. Elegant Air died after only 5 seasons at stud but he also sired Air de Rien who won the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary in 1990. However his overall record of 6 stakes winners from 173 foals is unremarkable.

Elegant Air is a son of Shirley Heights so Noble Prince is a representative of the famed Sadler’s Wells- Shirley Heights cross that has given us the the likes of In the Wings and Alexandrova and Montjeu has sired Fame and Glory and Montare out of Shirley Heights mares. Noble Pearl’s second dam Noble Girl was a four time winner in Germany. She was a daughter of Esclavo who was a fast German son of Northern Dancer’s first crop son Vice Regal (brother to a much better sire in Vice Regent) who was exported to France after making little impression as a sire in Canada.

Conclusion

Noble Prince was high class on the flat and looks top class over jumps. Montjeu is following his sire Sadler’s Wells in becoming an exceptionally useful National Hunt stallion. Noble Prince seems effective from 2-3 miles and on varying ground conditions. With his German background there are some unfamiliar pedigree elements but it is also another example of the very familiar Sadler’s Wells Shirley Heights cross.

NOBLE PRINCE (GER) 2004 c

Montjeu

(IRE) 1996

Sadler’s

Wells (USA) 1981

Northern

Dancer (CAN) 1961

Nearctic

(USA) 1954

Natalma

(USA) 1957

Fairy

Bridge (USA) 1975

Bold

Reason (USA) 1968

Special

(USA) 1969

Floripedes

(FR) 1985

Top

Ville (IRE) 1976

High

Top (IRE) 1969

Sega

Ville (USA) 1968

Toute

Cy (FR) 1979

Tennyson

(FR) 1970

Adele

Toumignon (IRE) 1971

Noble

Pearl (GER) 1996

Dashing

Blade (GB) 1987

Elegant

Air (GB) 1981

Shirley

Heights (GB) 1975

Elegant

Tern (USA) 1971

Sharp

Castan (GB) 1977

Sharpen

Up (GB) 1969

Sultry

One (GB) 1961

Noble

Girl (GER) 1987

Esclavo

(FR) 1976

Viceregal

(USA) 1966

Esclave

(FR) 1964

Novenka

(GER) 1973

Waidmannsheil

(GER) 1957

Nordica

(GER) 1966

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