Concerning the prime cuts of this weekend’s international group racing, let’s paraphrase a bit from The Bard: Age cannot wither nor custom stale their infinite variety. Of the three group I races for older horses in Ireland and Great Britain, all were won by horses who may be considered well past their prime in some racing jurisdictions (won’t say whose).
In a field of 13 runners whose ages ranged from 3 to 8 and whose average age was 5.2 years, 5-year-old Society Rock, a son of Rock of Gibraltar—High Society, by Key of Luck, defeated a solid field of sprinters to win Haydock Park’s group I Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) by three-quarters of a length over Gordon Lord Byron (Byron) and Bated Breath (Dansili). Australia-bred Ortensia (Testa Rossa), a 7-year-old mare who won the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) at York in August and the 5-2 favorite, finished next to last after striking herself during the running.
At 13, Rock of Gibraltar (Danehill—Offshore Boom, by Be My Guest), has proved quite a mainstay for the Coolmore flagship stallions, having sired 81 stakes winners, nine of the highest order, during his career.
In Ireland, Chachamaidee, 5-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand (Giant’s Causeway) took her first group I on the disqualification of Duntle (Danehill Dancer) in the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown. Always a consistent performer, the Henry Cecil-trained stablemate to Frankel, was winning her fifth black-type event in four years of racing. Chachamaidee, out of the unraced Danehill mare Canterbury Lace—a half sister to group I winner Virginia Waters (Kingmambo) and full to group III winner Alexander of Hales—has failed to be in the top three only five times in her 20 start career.
Also striking an Irish blow for the aging crowd was champion Snow Fairy, who won her second group I from two outings this year by taking the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I). Trained by Ed Dunlop, Snow Fairy is a 5-year-old daughter of Intikhab—Woodland Dream, by Charnwood Forest. The lone female in a field of six that included group I winners Nathaniel (Galileo) and St Nicholas Abbey (Montjeu), Snow Fairy was an easy winner of her seventh group I race.
Inbred 3x5 to Roberto through her sire Intikhab (by Roberto’s son Red Ransom) and her broodmare sire Warning, Snow Fairy also carries inbreeding to In Reality (5x5) and, of course, Northern Dancer (5x5). Her dam, Woodland Dream is a winning half sister to group III winner Big Bad Bob, whose sire Bob Back is a son of Roberto. The family seems to have a penchant for the Roberto line as Persian Fantasy, Snow Fairy’s third dam, produced to the cover of Sri Pekan (who like Intikhab is a son of Red Ransom) stakes winner Persian Lightning.
And then there is Famous Name. At age 7, he is the venerated senior citizen in the Dermot Weld barn. Now in his sixth year of racing, Famous Name (Dansili) has lost none of his verve: His latest exploit found him toting 138 pounds and showing his heels to a pack of upstart whippersnappers comprising five 3-year-olds, a 4-year-old, and a relatively young by comparison 6-year-old, who carried from five to 10 pounds less on much younger joints. The Juddmonte juggernaut rolled to his 20th win in 37 starts by taking the group III Refuse To Bend Solonaway Stakes Sept. 9 at the Curragh by nearly three lengths. The only missing entry from his CV is a group I win, although he has been well-placed in seven group Is across Europe, five of them seconds including the Prix du Jockey Club at Longchamp, two runnings of the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. And the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen at Munich.
Out of the winning Quest for Fame mare Fame At Last, Famous name is from a solid female family that has been a part of the Juddmonte family since Khalid Abdullah acquired Famous Name’s group-placed third dam Katsura (Northern Dancer—Noble Fancy, by Vaguely Noble) from Robert Sangster in the early 1980s. Fame At Last is also the dam of the 4-year-old stakes-winning Zamindar filly Zaminast.
On the day prior to Famous Name’s latest triumph, his juvenile full sister Big Break won a maiden race at Leopardstown in her second start for the same connections.
Twice the Success
Juddmonte stallions continued their winning ways as Oasis Dream (Green Desert) sired two black-type winners in Sunday racing in Europe and three on the week. In Italy, Sandreamer, a 2-year-old filly out of the Machiavellian mare Alsharq, won Milan’s listed Premio Eupili to become the 12-year-old stallion’s 60th stakes winner. Shortly after, his tally rose to 61 as his sophomore filly Waldtraut won the Grosser Preis der Metallbau Burckhardt GmbH, a listed race in Germany. Each of these winning fillies represents breedings that have performed well for Oasis Dream. Waldtraut, out of the Mark of Esteem mare Waldbeere, is bred on the same cross that produced multiple stakes winner Anne of Kiev, while Sandreamer is bred on the same cross of group I winner Naaqoos.
Other stallions to sire more than one stakes winner internationally include Hussonet (Mr. Prospector—Sacahuista, by Raja Baba) in Australia: His 3-year-old colt Tatra won the Ming Dynasty Quality Handicap at Warwick Farm. Tatra’s dam Slovakia is a full sister to Librettist (Danzig—Mysterial, by Alleged), who won two French group Is. At Flemington, Members Joy, a 3-year-old filly, took the listed Cap d’Antibes Stakes. Hussonet has 85 lifetime stakes winners.
India-based stallion Alnasr Alwasheek (Sadler’s Wells—Someone Special, by Habitat) also scored a Sunday double as his 4-year-old daughter In the Spotlight won the grade III President of India Gold Cup at Hyderabad and his 4-year-old son Star of Gibraltar the grade III Southern Command Gold Trophy at Pune. The 23-year-old Alnasr Alwasheek has sired at least 23 added money winners lifetime. Both In the Spotlight and Star of Gibraltar are out of Placerville mares. The cross should be a familiar one as it is a variation on the Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector nick. Group II winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot, Placerville, who died in 2011, was a U.S.-bred son of Mr. Prospector—Classy Cathy, by Private Account. The Alnasr Alwasheek cross with Placerville has accounted for at least 10 black-type winners from 72 (13.9%) foals of racing age.
Last of the Line
As international buyers congregate for the world’s largest yearling sale at Keeneland, they will have the last opportunity to buy yearlings from two of the breed’s noted stallions, both of whom had stakes winners on the weekend.
In France, Mr. Greeley (Gone West—Long Legend, by Reviewer) sired Ireland-bred What a Name to win the group III Prix La Rochette at Longchamp Sept. 9. The only filly in the field, What a Name is out of the Dayjur mare Bonnie Byerly, a tail-female descendant of DarbyDan foundation mare Soaring (Swaps—Skylarking II, by Mirza II). What a Name became her sire’s 60th stakes winners to date. Mr. Greeley’s last crop are yearlings of 2012.
Sire of 147 career stakes winners, pensioned A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew—Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat) strides into the sales on the success of his latest black-type winner Dreaming of Julia who won the Sept. 9 Meadow Star Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont Park by a widening 16 lengths. Out of the multiple grade I-winning Wild Rush mare Dream Rush, Dreaming of Julia races for her breeder Stonestreet Farm.
A.P. Indy has 15 yearlings cataloged to the Keeneland sale and Mr. Greeley, 45.