Cavalryman Charges to Glory

Since the change in distance of the Prix de Jockey Club, the Grand Prix de Paris has assumed the mantle of the ‘real’ French Derby. Run on Bastille Day, this years Grand Prix de Paris was a weak affair and the winning performance of Cavalryman would have to be rated well below the Derby winning performances of Sea the Stars and Fame and Glory. The field comprised only 8 runners, half of them were trained by Aidan O’Brien and there were no previous Group 1 winners in the field.

 In the end it was a triumph for Sheikh Mohammed who owned the winner and third and their respective sires.  It also served as a reminder of the glory days of Godolphin.

The winner Cavalryman is by Halling (the name of a Nordic folk dance according to wikipedia) who was an early star for Godolphin. Cavalryman is a belated first Group one winer for Halling who incredibly had 12 Group 2 winners before finally breaking through at the top level. Interestingly in his previous run in the Prix Greffulhe he was defeated by the unbeaten Cutlass Bay who is another son of Halling and may also prove Group one class.

Hallings pedigree and race record:

Halling was a sound, top class individual. His sire Diesis was a champion two year old who won the Middle Park and Dewhurst. Diesis was a full brother to an ever better horse in Kris. At stud Diesis’ earned a reputation as fillies sire and sired three Oaks winners in Diminuendo, Ramruma and Love Divine. Apart from Halling his best colt was Elmaamul who although a generally disappointing sire is responsible for Muhtathir who has started very promisingly in his stud career.

Halling’s dam Dance Machine was a winner of the Sweet Solera Stakes at two. Despite his parents precocity, Halling was unraced at two and made his debut in July 1994 for John Gosden. However it wasn’t until his fourth race, a lowly Ripon handicap that he got off the mark. He never looked back and by October 1994 he was an impressive winner of the Cambridgeshire. This victory saw him leave John Gosden for Godolphin. He wintered in Dubai notching 3 modest victories at Nad Al Sheba before he was next seen in July’s Eclipse Stakes. He caused a modest surprise by making all and leaving the likes of Singspiel, Red Bishop, Muhtarram and Eltish in his wake.  He followed up a month later in the Juddmonte International where he was impressive in defeating Bahri.  That victory represented his eight consecutive victory.

He was then targeted at the Breeders Cup Classic where he met another horse in the midst of a long winning streak- Cigar. However he totally failed to run to form and was eased up in the straight.

He wintered in Dubai and was Goldolphins primary hope in the Dubai World Cup. However he once more failed to handle dirt or mighty Cigar.

Back in Europe and on turf, he won a very weak renewal of the Prix D’Ispahan run on very soft ground. He went on to record a second win in the Eclipse defeating Bijou D’Inde and Pentire under another front running ride. He then won his second Juddmonte International again making all. His swansong was the Champion Stakes, where in a vintage renewal he was defeated by Bosra Sham with Timarida in third. He finished his career as the winner of 12 of his 18 starts including 5 Group ones. He had proven himself a top class, courageous performer, who could make all or come from behind. Surprisingly he was never asked to race beyond ten furlongs but there were grounds for suggesting that it would have been within his compass.

Halling’s stud record:

Halling’s stud career has been marked by misfortune and mismanagement but he has still compiled a very respectable record. From 480 foals of racing age he has had 361 starters (75%), 240 winners (50%) and 38 (8%) black type winners. His offspring average winning distance is 10.4 furlongs which clearly indicates the stamina that he transmits. Unsurpisingly precococity is not his forte but he has consistently delivered top runners without ever managing a superstar. His first crop included a pair of Group 2 winners in Dandoun and Chancellor as well Foodbroker Fancy who won the Lupe and finished second in the Sun Chariot.

He has sired classic horses including The Geezer who was second in the St Leger to Scorpion and Something Exciting who was second to Eswarah in the Oaks. Norse Dancer finished third in the 2000 Guineas and fourth in the Derby along with a host of other Group 1 placings. Along with Coastal Path he is probably the best son of Halling to date and he is now at Wood Farm Stud in the UK for £2500.

There are a number of top stayers to his credit primarily Coastal Path, Franklins Gardens, Mkuzi and Bauer who came within a nose of winning last years Melbourne Cup.

Halling was sent to stand in the United Arab Emirates in 2004 and spent three seasons there as part of an experiment by Sheikh Mohammed. He is now back in the UK standing at £8000 but such a move cannot have helped his prospects. Halling seems to work with horses from all backgrounds and he is no doubt is opened up to a huge number of mares by only having a single strain of Northern Dancer and that in his fourth generation (fifth generation of any foal). For those who believe in nicks it is worth noting his success with Danzig mares as this has produced the Group 2 winning brothers Boscobel and Cutlass Bay as well as Group one placed Age of Reason.


Cavalryman’s dam Silversword was also trained by Andre Fabre for Sheikh Mohammed. She was talented and was placed second in the 12 furlong Group 3 Prix de Royaumont.  She was a daughter of recently deceased Highest Honor who like Halling won the Prix D’Ispahan. Silversword is already the dam of Finity (by Diesis) a three parts sister to Cavalryman who finished third in C L Weld stakes. Cavalryman’s granddam Silver Cobra is also the dam of Double Honour (a sister to Silversword) who finished second in a Goodwood Cup before embarking on a jumping career that saw him run in a Grand National. Silver Cobra is by the Roberto horse Silver Hawk who finished third in the Derby. Interestingly Halling has previously combined with Roberto to produce Mkuzi a multiple stakes winner for John Oxx. Cavalryman’s pedigree is an outcross for the first five generations. 


The Grand Prix de Paris was Cavalrymans’s first effort at 12 furlongs and he clearly improved for the step up in trip. He is still lightly raced and Andre Fabre has indicated that he may target him for the Prix de l’Arc. At the moment that may seem fanciful, but if he takes after Halling it would be unwise to rule out significant further improvement as he matures. Furthermore Fabre has an exceptional record in the Arc and on that basis he is a horse worth considering come Paris in October.


CAVALRYMAN (GB) 2006 c b

(USA) 1991
(GB) 1980
Up (GB) 1969
(USA) 1961
(GB) 1961
Sure (GB) 1971
(FR) 1962
Angels (GB) 1963
Machine (GB) 1982
Dancer (USA) 1972
(CAN) 1967
Valley (USA) 1967
A Lady (IRE) 1974
(USA) 1967
(IRE) 1969
(FR) 1993
Honor (FR) 1983
(FR) 1975
(GB) 1970
Of Ireland (GB) 1964
River (FR) 1978
(USA) 1969
(USA) 1970
Cobra (USA) 1986
Hawk (USA) 1979
(USA) 1969
Vitesse (USA) 1966
(USA) 1979
(SAF) 1964
(USA) 1972

Bastille Day- Mon Dieu it’s Montjeu again…..

Bastille Day is a France’s national day. It is very appropriate that the winner of the Grand Prix de Paris was called after Montmartre, a famous district in Paris and represents some of the best of French breeding endeavours. Montmartre races in the colours of the Aga Khan and is part of the Jean-Luc Lagardère package that he purchased on the death of the former French racing supremo. Inevitably whenever one talks about Jean-Luc Lagardère one name dominates that of Linamix and he is the broodmare sire of Montmartre. Montmartre’s dam Artistique was lightly raced, but she become one of the almost 40 Group winners sired by the dominant grey when she finished her career with a win in the Group 3 Prix Berteux at Chantilly over 15 furlongs. Montmartre is her fourth foal and her third winner.  Montmartre’s grand-dam Armarama was a high class filly who gained her finest hour winning a substandard renewal of the Ribbesdale Stakes.  There is further quality in the pedigree as she was a half sister to a superstar in Kalaglow who won a King George and Eclipse.

As for Montjeu, his season has sparked to life in the last few weeks with two new Group One winners in the past two weeks in the shape of Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire and now Montmartre.  Montmartre becomes his second winner of the Grand Prix de Paris as Scorpion also triumphed in the 2005 renewal. Montmartre looked very impressive and it isn’t hard to see him involved in the finish of this years Prix de l’Arc for which he has been installed as the new favourite.


MONTMARTRE (FR) 2005 c gr

(IRE) 1996
Wells (USA) 1981
Dancer (CAN) 1961
(USA) 1954
(USA) 1957
Bridge (USA) 1975
Reason (USA) 1968
(USA) 1969
(FR) 1985
Ville (IRE) 1976
Top (IRE) 1969
Ville (USA) 1968
Cy (FR) 1979
(FR) 1955
Toumignon (IRE) 1971
(IRE) 1996
(FR) 1987
(FR) 1981
(IRE) 1976
Carina (FR) 1975
(FR) 1972
(GB) 1967
(GB) 1966
(GB) 1989
Bold (IRE) 1975
Lad (IRE) 1964
(GB) 1968
(GB) 1970
Mall (GB) 1948
(GB) 1965