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

Causeway (USA) 1997
Cat (USA) 1983
Bird (USA) 1978
Dancer (CAN) 1961
Ocean (USA) 1967
(USA) 1976
(USA) 1970
Saint (USA) 1969
Storm (USA) 1991
(USA) 1985
Groom (FR) 1974
Song (USA) 1976
(USA) 1979
(USA) 1969
(USA) 1967
(USA) 1994
Prospector (USA) 1970
A Native (USA) 1961
Dancer (USA) 1950
You (USA) 1946
Digger (USA) 1962
(USA) 1952
(USA) 1946
Of Fashion (FR) 1979
(GB) 1971
(GB) 1963
Yard (GB) 1963
(GB) 1971
Hussar (GB) 1960
(GB) 1958

Arc Weekend-winners and losers

With 7 Group Ones and four Group 2’s spread over the Saturday and Sunday, Arc weekend is as good as it gets in Europe. All age groups, all distances all sexes are catered for with championship honours up for grabs. This years results threw up a lot of surprises with plenty of items to debate.

A good weekend for

 1. French trainers- only two races went to overseas trainers with Paco Boy winning for Richard Hannon and Lady Marian for Germany. It probably emphasises that Arc weekend is the ultimate target for many French trained horses whereas it is often coming at the end of a long hard season for Irish and British trained horses who had peaked earlier in the summer

2. Juddmonte. A stellar weekend for Juddmonte stallions with Zamindar’s daughter Zarkava’s win in the Arc reinforcing her superstar status. For good measure Beat Hollow emerged from the doldrums with Proportional putting up a very impressive performance in the Prix Marcel Boussac to give him his first Group One winner. The jam on top was provided when Naaqoos won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere giving Oasis Dream his first Group One winner.

3. The Aga Khan’s methods. Zarkava represents a triumph for the Aga Khans belief in certain families. It is remarkable that her 10th dam is his grandfathers foundation mare Mumtaz Mahal and her fifth dam is Oaks and Guineas winner Petite Etoile a filly Lester Piggott regards as the best he ever rode. Despite a number of moderate non-entities since Petite Etoile the Aga Khan never loses faith in his families and got his just reward with a great performance from the best filly since Miesque.

4. Dyhim Diamond. The unherealded Dyhim Diamond had a sparkling weekend that emphasised his versatility. Firstly five year old Bannaby won the 20 furlongs Prix de Cadran defeating Yeats and on Sunday Milanais came within a neck of winning the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. Dyhim Diamond was a son of Night Shift who never won above Group 3 level, but previously gave notice of his ability to upgrade his mares with the exploits of Prix Jean Prat winner Turtle Bowl.  Dyhim Diamond stood in France for €2000 at Haras de la Tuilerie, but is now plying his trade in Haras de Ulzama in Spain. This weekends results might see efforts to repatriate him to France.

5. Nayef. Lady Marian’s win in the Prix de l’Opera caps  a fine year for the Shadwell stallion who has emerged as an important sire as earlier highlighted by Tamayuz’s Group 1 double and Spacious runner-up slot in the 1000 Guineas. His fee has been increased to £15000 for next year but that still represents tremendous value.

6. Desert Style.  Paco Boy provided Desert Style with his second Prix de la Foret winner in three years, following in the hoofprints of Caradak. He has always been an inconsistent sire but is well capable of getting a top class performer such as Mandesha and Bachir. At a fee of €12,000 he could no longer be considered cheap but this was a nice reminder of his ability.

Disappointing weekend

1. Coolmore. Amazingly Peintre Celebre’s son Trincot’s victory in the Group 2 Prix Dollar was the only pattern success for a Coolmore stallion at the weekend.

2. Ballydoyle/Aidan O’Brien. Before his horses left Tipperary Aidan O’Brien would have expected at least two Group One wins with hopes of adding another one or two. He left with none after odds-on defeats for Yeats and Mastercraftsman and disappointing runs by Duke of Marmalade and Moonstone. Only Soldier of Fortune performed with credit.  His odds of reaching the record of 26 Group ones in a season lengthened after the weekend.

3. Gallic Farce: The failure of Fleeting Spirit’s stalls to fully open in the Prix de l’Abbaye led to a false start. Unfortunately a number of jockeys didn’t notice the false start flag and Hungarian superstar Overdose ran flat out for the five furlongs ‘winning’ the race in a time just outside the course record.  Had he triumphed it would have been a real fairytale success for an unwanted son of Starborough who cost just £2000

Sunday with a difference

Sunday saw the running of the Irish Oaks and the Prix Jean Prat. The results credited two stallions with Group One winners from their first crops and refreshingly both stallions are free from Northern Dancer. Moonstone was still a maiden going into the Irish Oaks, but after finishing runner-up in the Epsom Oaks she was probably the highest rated maiden in training.  She had cost 700000 guineas at Tattersalls so it is no surprise that her pedigree lacks nothing. The most obvious credential is that she is a three part sister to L’Ancresse who was trained by Roger Charlton at two but ended up with Aidan O’Brien at three. L’Ancresse ran 9 times as a three year old. She won just once in a Listed race, but she had some impressive placings including when she finished second to Vintage Tipple in the Irish Oaks and her final run when she finished second to Islington in the Breeders Cup. That run saw her rated champion three year old filly. Moonstone’s third dam Arctique Royale was also a classic winner at the Curragh when she won the 1981 Irish 1000 Guineas for Kevin Prendergast. Further back this is a family that provided success to Coomore through Scorpion who shares a fourth dam with Moonstone in Arctic Melody a winner of the Musidora stakes and the Athasi Stakes. This is also the family of Ardross.  It was a good Oaks for Dalakhani who also sired the fourth home in Chinese White. His fillies have proved popular at the sales as owners see him as ready made replacement for his sire Darshaan who has compiled a very impressive reputation as a broodmare sire and one who nicked very well with Sadler’s Wells and his sons. It is probably an odds-on shot that Moonstone will be sent to either Galileo or Montjeu when she retires to the paddocks.

Tamayuz already had three victories to his name including a Group 3, however he was on something of a redemption mission having disappointed in the French Guineas. And he certainly redeemed himself. This year saw the best field assembled in the Prix Jean Prat for many a year and Tamayuz was impressive in beating the held up Ravens Pass and Rio de Le Plata. The winning distance was one and a half lengths which interestingly was double the distance by which Henrythenavigator defeated Ravens Pass. It will be interesting to see him take on Henrythenavigator. Tamayuz never passed through the sales ring but he certainly would have been demand as his dams side is dripping under the weight of black type. His own dam Al Ishq cost 280000 Ir guineas but won only one minor race. However her second dam Allez les trois is dam of a French Derby winner in Anabaa Blue, whereas third dam Allegretta is the dam of an Arc winner in Urban Sea who is now almost more famous as dam of Galileo. For good measure she is also dam of other Group 1 winers in  Black Sam Bellamy and My Typhoon as well as group winners in All too beautiful and Urban Ocean. Incidentally her two year old colt by Green Desert Sea the Stars was a promising fourth in the first race maiden at the Curragh.  Allegretta is also dam of Guineas winner Kings Best and this family is amongst the most succesful in the modern era. Nayef came close to a classic success earlier in the year when Spacious finished runner up in the 1000 Guineas and Shadwell will have no trouble in filling his book at a bargain fee of £10000.

With breeders so fickle and with the demand for immediate success these Group One successes will be warmly welcomed by the Aga Khan and by Shadwell.  Both can now point to promising young stallions capable of delivering quality horses and almost just as importantly they are stallions free from Northern Dancer who have delivered success with mares from his line. European breeding needs these stallions.

TAMAYUZ (GB) 2005 c ch

(USA) 1998
(USA) 1984
Prospector (USA) 1970
A Native (USA) 1961
Digger (USA) 1962
(USA) 1976
(USA) 1960
Mary (USA) 1969
Of Fashion (FR) 1979
(GB) 1971
(GB) 1963
Yard (GB) 1963
(GB) 1971
Hussar (GB) 1960
(GB) 1958
Ishq (FR) 1997
(USA) 1977
Dancer (CAN) 1961
(USA) 1954
(USA) 1957
(USA) 1969
(ARG) 1963
(USA) 1964
Les Trois (USA) 1991
(USA) 1969
Bend (USA) 1960
Lady (USA) 1963
(GB) 1978
(GER) 1967
(GER) 1969


MOONSTONE (GB) 2005 f b

(IRE) 2000
(GB) 1981
Heights (GB) 1975
Reef (USA) 1968
(GB) 1969
(FR) 1972
(FR) 1959
(FR) 1965
(IRE) 1989
(USA) 1978
Prospector (USA) 1970
(USA) 1971
(FR) 1981
Palace (FR) 1974
(FR) 1973
De Lune (IRE) 1990
Society (USA) 1982
(USA) 1974
The Flag (USA) 1968
Pout (USA) 1966
Bikini (USA) 1969
(USA) 1963
(USA) 1960
Special (IRE) 1985
(USA) 1980
(CAN) 1967
(USA) 1969
Royale (IRE) 1978
And Regal (USA) 1970
Melody (GB) 1962