Dude proves a January sales bargain
Chris Hill with a bloodstock review of the racing week.
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January is traditionally the time of restraint after the Christmas excesses and whilst we were certainly spoilt with the high-quality NH fare over the Christmas period and Leopardstown in particular, the rescheduling of the Coral Welsh National on Saturday joined a Grade 1 card at Sandown that certainly couldn't be accused of being second-rate.
Monbeg Dude's success under Paul Carberry in the Welsh National at Chepstow highlighted the skills of not just his jockey who gave him a typically patient ride at which he excels, but also his trainer Michael Scudamore Jr. Grandson of Michael Scudamore Sr who rode the winner of this race in 1957, and son of former champion jockey Peter who also won the race 4 times, Scudamore Jr continued the fine family tradition with Monbeg Dude who was sold to former England Rugby Union captain Mike Tindall for £12,000 at the Brightwells Cheltenham January Sale in 2010.
Rule The World, a Sulamani half-brother to Venalmar followed in his brother's footsteps with victory in the Grade 2 Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas that continued the fine run of form for Gigginstown House Stud. On pedigree, Rule The World has the potential to go a long way as not only is he inbred to full-brothers Habitat and Northfields but he also carries a double strain of one of the most influential stallions in NH pedigrees, that of Relko all within 5 generations. Sulamani, who stands at Yorton Farm in Shropshire sired the 2009 St Leger winner Mastery from his first crop and now standing as a dual-purpose sire has already produced Irish Grade 1 hurdle winner, Cash And Go.
Gary Moore also had a good weekend with Well Refreshed (Nikos) completing a double on Sunday when taking the Sussex National under Joshua Moore a day after Knight Of Pleasure (Exit To Nowhere) made an exciting debut in a juvenile Hurdle at Sandown Park. This performance was particularly impressive as he was making his debut against experienced opponents. Nikos is best known as the sire of the dual Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Master Minded but Well Refreshed looked more of a future Grand National contender when relishing the stamina-sapping conditions at Plumpton.
The Aga-Khan's breeding operation advertised yet again its ability to produce useful hurdlers when Dalasiri, a Dylan Thomas 4-year old out of an unplaced sister to the top-class Daylami and Dalakhani, took a Maiden hurdle at Cork on Saturday for Sabrina Harty. Connections will surely be hoping that Dalasiri can follow in the hallowed footsteps of Zarkandar and Zaynar to name just a couple of the classy hurdlers produced from that top French stud. Dylan Thomas, who's first flat runners only made their debuts in 2011, looked likely to complete a Saturday double before Swnymor fell at the final hurdle when in control of the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Sandown Park. Interestingly both Dalasiri and Swnymor are out of Sadler's Wells mares so the Danehill (sire of Dylan Thomas)-Sadler's Wells cross continues to produce excellent results.
Finally, sad news emerged from Lanwades Stud who less than a year after their champion mare Alborada died when foaling a colt by Archipenko, lost their premier stallion, Selkirk. He was Champion 3 and 4 year-old miler in Europe in 1991 and 1992 and had been a stalwart of the breeding sheds for the last 20 years, most notably siring Group 1 winners Cityscape, Wince, Kastoria and Nahrain among his 15 Group 1 winners to date and was making a name for himself as a broodmare sire too having sired the dam of Group 1 winner and sire, Mount Nelson as well as Group 2 winners, Khawlah and Monitor Closely and recent Group 3 winner, Gatewood.
South Africa's quest to bring more stallions from the Mr Prospector line has come to fruition with the news that Crusade (Mr Greeley) has been sold to stand at Highdown Stud in South Africa. Formerly trained by Aiden O'Brien, the highlight of Crusades 6 race career was his victory in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. A trip to the USA then followed but he was disappointing behind Hansen in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile finishing 6th after which he made only one more appearance on the racecourse. Bred on the strong and successful nick of Gone West and Storm Cat, Crusade is out of a Grade 3 winning mare by Johannesburg and is a half-brother to Railway Stakes winner, Cristoforo Colombo (Henrythenavigator) and comes from the family of the useful Group 3 winning miler, Jack Sullivan (Belong To Me).
This is a relatively young family as the 3rd and 4th dams are by Devil's Bag and Miswaki (broodmare sire of Galileo). Kwa-Zulu Natal breeder Anton Proctor said: "Crusade is a handsome horse, well-balanced and athletic. He has a good head, a good eye and a lovely disposition - very nice natured and easy to work with. He is a correct, athletic walker with a very good speed pedigree." A fee has yet to be announced but Crusade will commence stud duties in late 2013 at the start of the southern hemisphere breeding season.