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).


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.


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

(FR) 1990
(USA) 1976
(CAN) 1967
Dancer (CAN) 1961
Page (USA) 1959
Hills (USA) 1971
Rolfe (USA) 1962
Easy (USA) 1967
(USA) 1984
(USA) 1978
Prospector (USA) 1970
(USA) 1971
(USA) 1979
(USA) 1969
A Glance (USA) 1971
(IRE) 1994
Heights (GB) 1975
Reef (USA) 1968
Bend (USA) 1960
Mill (USA) 1962
(GB) 1969
(GB) 1962
Cross (GB) 1952
(IRE) 1986
(FR) 1975
(GB) 1965
(IRE) 1969
(GB) 1979
(FR) 1971
(FR) 1969

Jim Bolger’s favourite sires- 3 out 4 ain’t bad

Jim Bolger is an opinionated man, often described as straight talking or as “not afraid of controversy”. As a trainer he has never found favour with Coolmore Inc, which is surprising as they owe him a great deal. Bolger deserves all the credit for moulding their greatest human asset in Aidan O’ Brien and their greatest current commercial asset in Galileo.

Bolger & Galileo/Galileo without Bolger:

Galileo’s fee is listed as private. WIthout the Bolger influence I think it would be around the same level as Peintre Celebre at 25k. That’s a difference of around 150k per mare which should entitle him to a few horses that APOB can’t accommodate.Then again I suppose Magnier has enough on his plate trying to keep Wachman’s yard full…

 Bolger’s success with Galileo is remarkable. He is trainer and sometimes owner or breeder of New Approach, Teofilo, Lush Lashes, Galatee, Heliostatic, Prima Luce and Cuis Gaire. He is the breeder of Soldier of Fortune. That is 8 of Galileo’s 20 Group Winners.If you take out the Bolger contingent you lose all his good two year olds and his 2 best middle distance colts making Galileo’s record look like that of a sire of stayers (first 3 in a St Leger, Allegretto, Mahler,Purple Moon). It was Teofilo and New Approach that pushed his fee to private, 2 year olds are what makes him so much more commercial. Its also easy to knock his other Group 1 winners, as Nightime won an Irish Guineas in bottomless ground, Cima de Triomphe’s win in the Italian Derby barely registered with anyone and Red Rocks win in the Breeders Cup was a once off.  Bolger saw Galileo as a star (geddit) and backed his judgement accordingly. Why he is so much more successful than any other breeder or trainer of Galileo’s is something that I can’t explain.

Galileo is not the first stallion he has made:- Remember Ahonoora?

Bolger can also take much of the credit for the Ahonoora success story. Back when neither stallion or trainer were that fashionable, he produced Park Appeal to win the Cheveley Park and Moyglare and gave Ahonoora the perfect start. And in a nice tie in with the Galileo story, she was sold onto Sheikh Mohammed just like New Approach and Teofilo. But of course he didn’t stop there and he trained other quality offspring including Park Express, Noora Abu, Topanoora (remember the Hardwicke anyone?) and Project Manager. In another twist Ahonoora ended up at Coolmore but alas died when still only 14. It was fitting that Ahonoora is the broodmare sire of New Approach.

Not Always Right- The Nordico disaster

Alas when people of conviction get it wrong,they often find it hard to admit they were wrong. I think this happened to Jim Bolger with Nordico. Nordico was a son of Northern Dancer from the family of Stephan’s Odyssey. Jim’s yard was full of them for about 4 years. He managed to win races with many of them but none of them were top class. Nordico ended up in Cyprus which seems about right.

Fillies by Mr Greeley

2 fillies Saoirse Abu and Finsceal Beo, 5 Group ones between them and counting. No wonder Jim is keen on them at the sales

Others to Mention

Jim is currently training quite a few by Lil’s Boy a Danzig horse he used to train. Early signs aren’t promising. In the past he also trained a lot by Project Manager (a son of Ahonoora mentioned earlier) and Erin’s Isle a son of Busted who he trained before he was sold to America.  Neither were successful but at least Erin’s Isle left him Affianced the dam of Soldier of Fortune and Heliostatic.