Ghanaati and the sport of Queens

The 1000 Guineas was meant to be a coronation for Rainbow View. She was the best two year old filly of her generation and the Guineas seemed to be at her mercy. Her most obvious challengers Fantasia and Proportional were both waiting for the French Guineas albeit for very different reasons. However Rainbow View never really looked like she was going to follow the script and in the end she finished a disappointing fifth, three lengths behind 20/1 shot Ghanaati. 

Ghanaati was also making her seasonal debut and indeed her first ever appearance on turf. Her two year old campaign was restricted to two appearances at Kempton -finishing third on her debut and then impressively winning her maiden by six lengths. In the Guineas she was always prominent and she could be called the winner two furlongs from home. Her victory was a surprise but with the benefit of hindsight, history and pedigree analysis it was an obvious outcome 🙂

 The family of Ghanaati has lots of links with the Newmarket Guineas. Both of Ghanaati’s parents contested a Guineas at Newmarket. Giant’s Causeway was second to King’s Best in 2000 and Sarayir finished 9th behind Sleepytime in 1997.  Coincidentally Sarayir also started at 20-1 in her Guineas which was a fair representation of what she had achieved to that point, winning both her starts at two including a listed race at Newmarket. She ran four more times after Newmarket including when last in both the Ribbesdale at Royal Ascot and the Sun Chariot at Newmarket before winning a handicap at Newcastle. Sarayir was trained by Dick Hern who enjoyed Guineas success with Sarayir’s outstanding half brother Nashwan in 1989. This was in keeping with the family tradition, for their granddam Highclere had provided him and Highclere’s owner the Queen, with success in the 1974 1000 Guineas. For good measure, Highclere was also successful in the French Oaks, just as Nashwan added a second classic in the Derby. Nashwan bettered his granddam in winning a King George whereas she was runner-up to Dahlia. Highclere was a daughter of Queens Hussar who is best remembered as the sire of Brigadier Gerard.

Ghanaati’s granddam Height of Fashion was a top class racehorse as well as a phenomenal producer. She was joint top rated two year old after winning the May Hill Stakes and the Hoover fillies mile back when they were both Group 3 events. At three she won a Princess of Wales stakes and she seemed destined to make a valuable addition to the Queens broodmare band. However she accepted a reputed £1 million pounds (did she need the money…. 🙂 ) from the representatives of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and thereby thoroughbred history was changed. 

 It’s not often that somebody pays a million for a piece of horseflesh and gets an absolute bargain but such was the case with Height of Fashion. Aside from Nashwan (by Blushing Groom), she produced Nayef (by Gulch) who won four Group ones including a Champion Stakes, a Juddmonte International,Sheema Classic and Prince of Wales Stakes. Better still he is a a very promising young stallion with the likes of Tamayuz and Lady Marian to his credit and he represents one of the few top class stallions in Europe free of Northern Dancer blood. Height of Fashion also produced Unfuwain (by Northern Dancer) who emulated his granddam by finishing second in a King George and emulated his mother in winning the Princess of Wales Stakes. He compiled a very respectable stud record before his death in 2002 siring the likes of Alhaarth and more especially a host of top fillies including classic winners Lailani, Lahan, Bolas, Petrushka and Eswarah. She also produced another Group winner in Alwasmi (by Northern Dancer) who won the John Porter stakes and finished fourth in an Irish Leger and Listed winner Mukddaam (by Danzig) who was also second in the King Edward Stakes at Royal Ascot. Another foal Bashayer a full sister to Sarayir achieved fame of a sort when finishing second in the Cheshire Oaks. Her rider that day Willie Carson dropped his hands prior to the line and rightfully earned the wrath of punters and the stewards. Another full sister Wijdan finished second in the 1994 Pretty Polly Stakes (run on Guineas day) where she was defeated by Wind In her Hair (by Alzao). Coincidentally Wind in her Hair was another granddaughter of Highclere and she did her bit for the family legacy by finishing second in the Oaks, winning a Group one in Germany and becoming dam of Japanese superstar Deep Impact (by Sunday Silence) who will be having his first runners next year. Wind in her Hair is also granddam of Jeremy (by Danehill Dancer) who won the Jersey Stakes and the Group 2 Betfred mile. He is now standing at the Irish National Stud.

Giant’s Causeway

Ghanaati’s sire Giant’s Causeway is a sire that divides opinion. What is not in dispute is that he has been an incredibly profitable sire for Coolmore. He is now standing at $125,000 having reached a high of $300,000. He has over 1100 foals of racing age and he also shuttled to Australia but made a limited impact down under. With typical hyperbole Coolmore describe his as ‘the best young sire in the world’. He certainly made the right start to his career getting Shamardal who won a Dewhurst, French Guineas, French Derby and the St James Palace Stakes, Footstepsinthesand who won the 2000  Guineas and Maids Causeway who won the Coronation Stakes from his initial crop who were conceived in Ireland. His second crop conceived in Ashford contained First Samurai who was dual Grade 1 winning two year old and had Coolmore hope that Giants Causeway was that most valuable of commodities, a sire who could get top class dirt and turf runners. Interestingly considering his own reputation for toughness Shamardal, Footstepsinthesand,Maids Causeway and First Samurai all had truncated careers due to injury.

Giant’s Causeway went through a bit of a barren patch in Europe and wasn’t represented by another Group 1 winner until Intense Focus battling win in last years Dewhurst and now Ghanaati’s Guineas victory. In the meantime he had a number of top performers in the States such as Aragorn, Heatseeker and My Typhoon. Interestingly many of his US performers need time to produce their best and Aragorn was best at 4, Heatseeker at 5 and My Typhoon at 5. Giants Causeway has also benefitted from the move to synthetic surfaces and his runners seem to like both very fast ground or synthetic surfaces. He works well with Mr Prospector line mares and aside from Ghanaati, Aragorn is out of a daughter of Mr Prospector and Shamardal ,My Typhoon, Carriage Trail and Heatseeker are all out of Mr Prospector line stallions. Giant’s Causeway is well capable of siring a top class performer at up to 10 furlongs but his percentages are such that he was massively overpriced at 300k and even at 125k another price reduction might be in order. He is still a young stallion but he needs a top dirt performer to retain his position in the elite of US stallions. My view is that he should be returned to Ireland where his most successful first crop was conceived.

Conclusion. Ghanaati’s pedigree is nicely balanced with no duplication in the first five generations. Giant’s Causeway may not be the best young sire in the world but he is a capable sire and he works well with Mr Prospector line mares. Sarayir is a representative of one of the most successful European classic families of the past two decades.  Ghanaati is merely upholding a fine family tradition.

 

GHANAATI (USA) 2006 f b

Giant’s
Causeway (USA) 1997
Storm
Cat (USA) 1983
Storm
Bird (USA) 1978
Northern
Dancer (CAN) 1961
South
Ocean (USA) 1967
Terlingua
(USA) 1976
Secretariat
(USA) 1970
Crimson
Saint (USA) 1969
Mariah’s
Storm (USA) 1991
Rahy
(USA) 1985
Blushing
Groom (FR) 1974
Glorious
Song (USA) 1976
Immense
(USA) 1979
Roberto
(USA) 1969
Imsodear
(USA) 1967
Sarayir
(USA) 1994
Mr
Prospector (USA) 1970
Raise
A Native (USA) 1961
Native
Dancer (USA) 1950
Raise
You (USA) 1946
Gold
Digger (USA) 1962
Nashua
(USA) 1952
Sequence
(USA) 1946
Height
Of Fashion (FR) 1979
Bustino
(GB) 1971
Busted
(GB) 1963
Ship
Yard (GB) 1963
Highclere
(GB) 1971
Queen’s
Hussar (GB) 1960
Highlight
(GB) 1958

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