St Nicholas still flying flag for Montjeu
Chris Hill brings us our weekly bloodstock review of the global racing scene along with news from the sales ring.
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Coolmore enjoyed a great weekend courtesy of the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair Ruler of The World (sired by Galileo) in the Derby and ever-reliable St Nicholas Abbey (Montjeu) in the Coronation Cup, with the Andre Fabre-trained Intello (Galileo) completing an English-French Derby double for the multiple Champion sire when landing the Prix du Jockey Club on Sunday.
Galileo continued to burnish his already phenomenal reputation with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Ruler of The World's victory in the Epsom Derby becoming the Coolmore multiple Champion sire's second victory in the race following New Approach, and he was also responsible for the third placed Galileo Rock, as well as being grandsire of the runner-up Libertarian - the Elaine Burke-trained runner being by the aforementioned 2008 victor.
The Champion European three-year-old of 2001 is having the same influence on the thoroughbred breed as his own sire Sadler's Wells who many thought on his retirement was unlikely to be seen to such an extent again. The now unbeaten-in-three Southern Bloodstock homebred is out of the 8f Group 3-placed mare Love Me True, herself by Kingmambo who was also the sire of last year's Derby hero Camelot and a half-sister to US Grade 2 winner Bite The Bullet and Listed winner Shuailaan. He is therefore a half-brother to the five-time Group 1 winner and 2008 Champion Older Horse in Europe, Duke of Marmalade (Danehill) who O'Brien trained to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Juddmonte International where New Approach was one of his victims, and to the U.S. Grade 3-placed Countess Lemonade (Storm Cat), as well as being from the further family of Grade/Group 1 winners and leading sires Wolfhound, Summer Squall, A P Indy and Lemon Drop Kid.
A day earlier, New Approach had his day in the sun when his daughter Talent sprang somewhat a surprise when winning the Oaks at 20/1, in the process beating Secret Gesture (Galileo) into second to lead home a Ralph Beckett-trained 1-2 with The Lark (Pivotal) a close third. Bred and owned by James Rowsell's Ashbrittle Stud and Mark Dixon, Talent is a half-sister to the Listed race runner-up Skilful (Selkirk), being out of the Cheshire Oaks third Prowess (Peintre Celebre). Trainer Barry Hills had particular success with the family for as well handling Prowess, he trained her Listed-placed half-sisters Genoa and Clipper - all three having gone on to produce black-type winners themselves - as well as their dam, the Group 3 juvenile winner Yawl. Talent's victory on Friday means there are now two Epsom fillies Classic winners in the close family as Yawl's dam is the 1980 Oaks winner Bireme, and New Approach has now sired two classic winners from his first crop following Dawn Approach's 2000 Guineas success last month. Darley must surely be hoping he can go some way to emulating his own sire and judging by the start he has made having produced a further four Stakes winners it doesn't look inconceivable.
St Nicholas Abbey (Montjeu), in winning a third consecutive Coronation Cup at Epsom and his sixth Group/Grade 1 in total, became the highest-earning European horse in training and stands top of the performers sired by the former Coolmore-based stallion by number of victories achieved at the top level. A 200,000 guineas purchase by Demi O'Byrne on behalf of Coolmore at the Tattersalls October Yearlings Sale in 2008, the six year-old entire is a half-brother to the dual-Grade 2 winner Grammarian (Definite Article), being out of the unraced Sure Blade-mare Leaping Water. His grandam is the Group 1 winning mare Flamenco Wave who landed the Moyglare Stakes for John Oxx and has produced five black-type winners from six winners including the Group/Grade 1 winners and sires Ballingarry, Starborough and Aristotle, whilst St Nicholas Abbey's victory continues his late sire's fantastic record at Epsom having been responsible for four Derby winners.
Intello (Galileo) returned to winning ways after his luckless third in the French 2000 Guineas when impressively landing the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly under Olivier Peslier, in the process recording a third win in the race for trainer Andre Fabre. The Wertheimer et Frere homebred is out of the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham winner and French 1000 Guineas runner-up, Impressionnante (Danehill) and becomes the seventh Group 1 winner bred on the Galileo-Danehill cross that has also produced the great Frankel as well as Cima de Triomphe, Golden Lilac, Maybe, Roderic O'Connor and Teofilo. Intello's grandam is the Champion Older French mare and two-time Group 1 winner Occupandiste (Kaldoun), who as well as Impressionnante has produced the dual-Group 3 winner Only Answer (Green Desert) and therefore Sunday's Classic winner is also from the family of July Cup winner Elnadim and Irish 1000 Guineas winner Mehthaaf.
On the sales scene, the Brightwells Cheltenham May Sale saw a 1% increase in aggregate from 2012 with a total of £2,260,500 being grossed from a smaller number of lots with the average of £41,100 and median of £21,000 being significant improvements on 12 months ago. From the 56 lots that changed hands, five did so for six-figure sums with the joint sale-toppers Stellar Notion (Presenting) and Red Devil Lads (Beneficial) both selling for £140,000.
Stellar Notion was purchased on Wednesday by Cheltenham regular Roger Brookhouse but had been through the Tattersalls Ireland Sales ring twice before, first when making €14,000 as a foal and then €45,000 as a 3 year-old at their Derby sale when bought by Wednesday's vendors, Willie Codd's Lingstown Stables. Codd trained the son of Presenting to be runner-up in his sole point-to-point start at Bartlemy last month and the five year-old gelding is from the same French family that has produced Listed Hurdles winner Dioscoride (No Pass No Sale), and more distantly, the Listed Flat winners Belle Tempete and Dansant.
Another Cheltenham stalwart, Gearoid Costelloe signed the ticket for the other lot to make £140,000, Red Devil Lads, and the son of the recently-crowned Champion NH sire will, like many of Costelloe's purchases, go into training with his partner Rebecca Curtis.
The winner of a Templemore point-to-point on his sole start to date is the second winner produced by the two-time winner Welsh Sitara (Welsh Term) following dual-hurdles winner Im A Witness (Witness Box) and is more distantly related to Listed Bumper runner-up Supreme Hill (Supreme Leader) and Imperial Cup hurdle winner Prayukta as well as Irish 2000 Guineas winner Turtle Island. Interestingly, the only black-type performer bred along the same lines as Red Devil Hill is One Term, the Cheltenham Listed National Hunt Flat race winner and three-time novice hurdle winner, who is also trained by Curtis.
Finally there were quite a few stories relating to the superstar Frankel this past week, starting with the news that the eight-time Australian Group 1 winning mare More Joyous (More Than Ready) has been retired and will be booked to be one of the mares covered by the ten-time Group 1 winner to Southern-Hemisphere time. Close relations to the outstanding colt were also in the news with it being announced that Frankel's Group 3-winning, three-parts older brother and admirable pacemaker Bullet Train (Sadler's Wells), fresh from spending his first season at Wintergreen Stud in Kentucky will stand the Southern Hemisphere season at Bowness Stud in Australia. Joyeuse (Oasis Dream), a 2 year-old half-sister to Frankel, easily won for the same connections on her racecourse debut last Tuesday and at this early stage looks to have a serious chance of adding to her dam Kind's record of having produced three Group winners from just her five foals to have raced.