Already off to a good start, Raven’s Pass (Elusive Quality—Ascutney, by Lord At War) added a little gilding to his reputation: a first black-type winner from his first crop of 2-year-olds. At Goodwood on Sept. 4, his son Steeler, won the listed Peter Willett Stakes at seven furlongs for the team of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, trainer Mark Johnston, and jockey Kieren Fallon.
The 7-year-old chestnut stallion has sent out 25 runners who have earned 10 wins, nine seconds, and 6 thirds from 47 starts. Included among his eight winners are two black-type runners: Steeler, who also ran a close second to record-setting Dundonnell in the group III Acomb Stakes at York; and Lovely Pass, who finished third in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
After winning his first added-money event at 2, Raven’s Pass spent the first part of his 3-year-old season knocking on the group I door, having finished second in the St. James’s Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes in England and the Prix Jean Prat in France. Persistence paid off and the door opened wide in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot and stayed open for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
As expected for a great grandson of Mr. Prospector, Raven’s Pass has done well with Northern Dancer-line mares, with five of his eight winners being bred on that cross. In fact, seven of the eight juveniles carry inbreeding to E.P. Taylor’s venerable stallion.
One of the more interesting pedigrees among Raven’s Pass’ winners belongs to Snowboarder. He is a son of the Distorted Humor mare Gaudete, whose dam is a Holy Bull daughter of the grade I-winning Lord At War mare La Gueriere. Snowboarder carries 3x4 inbreeding to Lord At War in addition to inbreeding to Mr. Prospector, Secretariat, and Northern Dancer.
Bred by Airlie Stud,
Steeler is out of the group III-winning Darshaan mare Discreet Brief, whose dam Quiet Counsel is a half sister to Aston Upthorpe Yorkshire Oaks (Eng.-I) winner Key Change. This family traces in tail female to Qurrat-al-Ain, a source of many classic winners in the silks of the late Aga Khan.
Raven’s Pass has some competition for carrying the Elusive Quality standard in Europe: Elusive City. From just five crops to race, the France-based stallion out of the Dayjur mare Star of Paris (from an established Tartan Farm family) has sired 18 stakes winners.
In a rather odd twist of events, also on the Goodwood card, Snow Rose, a 2-year-old full sister to Raven’s Pass, was a two-length winner of the EBF Racing UK Maiden Fillies’ Stakes over a mile for Godolphin in her second outing.