Bloodstock Bites: Night's day

  • Last Updated: May 10 2014, 12:49 BST

Chris Hill brings us the latest from the bloodstock world and reflects on the action on track and in the sales ring.

Night of Thunder and Australia in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas
Night of Thunder and Australia in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas

In the 2000 Guineas, Night of Thunder (Dubawi) ridden by Kieren Fallon, reversed last month’s Greenham form to inflict a first defeat on the favourite Kingman (Invincible Spirit) and in the process bring trainer Richard Hannon a first Classic winner in his first season with a licence after taking over from his father.

The only foal out of Forest Storm (Galileo), who was a winner for Jim Bolger over seven furlongs and runner-up in the Listed Flame of Tara Stakes but who died in 2012, Night of Thunder was bought by Rabbah Bloodstock at the 2012 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale for 32,000 guineas and hails from the further family of the 1987 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Forest Flower.

With victory in the first Classic of the season, Night of Thunder became his Darley sire’s fifteenth individual Group One winner and second 2000 Guineas victor following the success of Makfi in the 2010 renewal.

On the 2000 Guineas undercard, the Cheveley Park-homebred Gospel Choir (Galileo) ran out a taking winner of the Group Two Jockey Club Stakes under Ryan Moore for Sir Michael Stoute.

Out of Cheveley Park’s Group One Pretty Polly Stakes winner Chorist (Pivotal), Gospel Choir is a half-sister to three other winners including Mark Johnston’s seven-time winner Sennockian Star (Rock of Gibraltar) and hails from the further family of the Italian Group One winner Faberger and two-time Grade One winning jumper Foreman as well as the European Group Two winners Sacrament and Friedrichsruh.

Sunday’s 1000 Guineas saw the Andre Fabre-trained Miss France (Dansili) under Maxime Guyon confirm last year’s Oh So Sharp Stakes placings with Lightning Thunder (Dutch Art) and claim the sole English Classic missing from the master French trainer’s resumé.

"Surprisingly for a stallion that has been responsible for 17 individual Grade/Group 1 winners, Miss France's win was a first Classic success for Dansili. Night of Thunder became Dubawi’s 15th individual Group 1 winner and second 2000 Guineas victor."

One of five winners out of the 1995 Prix Marcel Boussac winner and subsequent Champion French Two Year-Old filly Miss Tahiti, Miss France is a half-sister to the dual French Listed winner Mer de Corail (Sadler’s Wells) - the dam of the Listed Upavon Fillies’ Stakes winner Alsace Lorraine (Giant’s Causeway) – the French Listed-placed Maximum Security (Sadler’s Wells) and Miss Hawaii (Peintre Celebre), the unraced dam of the Listed Dance Design Stakes winner and Group One Pretty Polly runner-up Beach Bunny (High Chaparral).

Perhaps surprisingly for a stallion that has now been responsible for seventeen individual Grade/Group One winners, Miss France’s victory was a first Classic success for the Juddmonte sire.

Over in France, Saturday’s Group Two Prix Greffulhe was won in impressive fashion by last year’s Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Prince Gibraltar (Rock of Gibraltar) who was making his seasonal debut for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.

Owned and bred by Jean-Francois Gribomont, the Christophe Soumillon-ridden colt is one of three winners out of the French five-time winner Princess Sofia (Pennekamp) from the further family of U.S. Grade One winner Princess Karends and Italian Oaks runner-up Lady Catherine and was offered at the 2012 Arqana August Yearling Sale before being bought back by Gribomont for €40,000.

The Irish National Hunt season came to a close at Punchestown last weekend with Willie Mullins claiming champion trainer honours and J P McManus the leading owners title and both having their fair share of big race winners at the five-day festival.

Boston Bob (Bob Back) continued his jumping renaissance when following up his Aintree Melling Chase triumph and recording a fourth Grade One jumps victory for trainer Willie Mullins when landing the Punchestown Gold Cup under Ruby Walsh for owners Andrea and Graham Wylie.

A £150,000 purchase at the 2011 DBS National Hunt Festival Sale, the nine year-old gelding is a full brother to the dam of the 2013 Weatherbys Champion Bumper and Navan Novice Hurdle winner Briar Hill (Shantou) and half-brother to both the Grade Three INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle third Belle Away (Over The River) and the dam of the two-time Grade Three Chase- placed Belle Brook (Alderbroook) being out of the unraced mare Bavaway (Le Bavard).

Jessica Harrington’s six victories at the festival were immensely popular following the death of her husband last month and remarkably the two Grade One successes among them were recorded by a pair of half-brothers with J P McManus’ Jezki (Milan) following up his Champion Hurdle triumph with victory in the Racing Post Champion Hurdle and his three year-older brother Jetson (Oscar) claiming his first top-level success in the World Series Hurdle in the colours of breeder Gerard McGrath.

Out of the fantastic broodmare La Noire Phardante), a half-sister to the Grade One winners Strong Run (Strong Gale) and Leading Run (Supreme Leader), who sadly passed away last December, Jezki and Jetson themselves are half-brothers to the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle winner Jered (Presenting) whilst Jezki is a full-brother to Jenari (Milan), a Grade Two hurdle winner for Harrington.

"Al Kazeem, has gone back into training after reportedly only getting around 25 mares in foal his owner/breeder John Deer has bought back the six year-old colt with the hope that he will later stand successfully at his Oakgrove Stud near Chepstow."

Another uplifting victory was achieved on the opening day when the Henry de Bromhead-trained twelve year-old Sizing Europe (Pistolet Bleu) claimed his eighth Grade One with a second victory in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase.

Bought as a foal by Hugh Bleahen at the 2002 Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale, the Alan Potts-owned gelding is a half-brother to The Spoonplayer (Accordion), a four-time winner under National Hunt rules and third in the Listed Guinness Handicap Hurdle, being out of the unraced mare Jennie Dun (Mandalus).

Across the Atlantic, Churchill Downs played host to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks where the Art Sherman-trained California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) claimed the first leg of the colt’s fabled Triple Crown under Victor Espinoza and the Rosie Napravnik-ridden Untapable (Tapit) landed Friday’s Oaks for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Owned and bred by Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, California Chrome is the first foal out of the winning mare Love The Chase (Not For Love) who’s grandam Chase The Dream was a dual Listed Restricted winner and third dam La Belle Fleur a half-sister to the Grade One Vanity Handicap winner and Champion U.S. Older Mare, Cascapedia.

A Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred out of the Grade Two Buena Vista Handicap winner Fun House (Prized), Untapable is a half-sister to the Grade One Secretariat Stakes winner Paddy O’Prado (El Prado) from a family full of top class performers including this year’s La Troinne Stakes winner On Fire Baby and the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar.

Prior to the Guineas meeting getting underway, Tattersalls played host to the Guineas Breeze Up and Horses in Training Sale where the strong trade seen at last month’s Craven Sale continued with trade totalling 3,955,328 guineas, an increase of 43% on the 2013 renewal, whilst the average of 27,278 guineas and median of 16,000 guineas were improvements of 18% and 14% respectively.

Gaybrook Lodge Stud were consignors of the top two breeze up lots with David Redvers Bloodstock purchasing their two year-old War Front filly out of Pastel Gal (Lemon Drop Kid) for 270,000 guineas and an Invincible Spirit filly out of Golden Flyer (Machiavellian) going to Shadwell Estate Company for 215,000 guineas.

The Horses in Training section was headed by the four year-old colt Great Hall (Halling), a dual winner for Brian Meehan last season who was purchased by Sean Quinn on behalf of Carl Hinchy for 140,000 guineas.

Trade at last Thursday’s Goffs Punchestown Sale was also strong with eight lots changing hands for six-figure sums and the aggregate totalling €1,537,000, an improvement of 40% on the 2013 renewal.

The sale topper was the recent Loughbrickland point-to-point winner Birch Hill (Kalanisi) who is out of a sister to the 2008 Grand National winner Comply Or Die and will join Nicky Henderson after being purchased by Highflyer Bloodstock for €160,000.

Aqua Dude (Flemensfirth), an impressive winner of a Ballyarthur point-to-point last month ended the sale as the second priciest lot when selling to Evan Williams for €150,000 whilst Kieran McManus paid €145,000 to secure the winning pointer and last month’s Fairyhouse point-to-point bumper third Rock On Fruity (Fruits of Love).

Last season’s three-time Group One winner, Al Kazeem (Dubawi), has gone back into training at Roger Charlton’s Beckhampton Stables having proved sub-fertile at stud. The winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Eclipse Stakes had originally been retired to stand at The Royal Studs after being bought by H M The Queen, but after reportedly only getting around twenty-five mares in foal his owner/breeder John Deer has bought back the six year-old colt with the hope that he will later stand successfully at his Oakgrove Stud near Chepstow.

Finally, Al Bahathri, Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum’s Champion Three Year-Old Irish filly in 1985 and leading broodmare has passed away at Derrinstown Stud in Ireland at the age of thirty two. The winner of six races in all including the Irish 1000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Lowther Stakes, on retirement to the paddocks she produced thirteen foals, eight of which were winners including the 2004 Champion English Three Year-Old and two-time Group One winner Haafhd and the Listed winner Hasbah, whilst other daughters of the great broodmare have produced the Group One winners Military Attack and Gladiatorus.

Chris Hill

Chris is a Pedigree Researcher for Weatherbys Ltd, the company that provides the majority of pedigrees for thoroughbreds sold at public auction in Britain and Ireland and who offer a range of products and services to suit your Bloodstock needs.

For further information please visit http://www.weatherbys.co.uk/bloodstock