You won't find many handicapping tips on the MarketWatch Blog -- we're more associated with the breeding shed and the auction ring than with the bettor's window -- but we're so excited by one entry in an upcoming race that we wanted to share our thoughts with you. More on that in a second.
The April edition of MarketWatch -- currently on the presses and coming soon to subscribers' mailboxes -- is the annual Broodmare Sire AEI issue. In it, Tom Hall has a profile of the late Kahyasi, who repeats as leading damsire after wresting the title away from Quiet American in last year's review. Now, for those of you who aren't as up on European bloodlines as you'd like to be, Kahyasi is a son of the Nijinksy II stallion Ile de Bourbon and is the damsire of Dansili, Cacique, Zarkava, and Champs Elysees. It has become evident during the past several years (and is illustrated by a chart in this month's print edition) that Northern Dancer's male line in general has exceled as broodmare sires, and Nijinsky II's branch has been particularly strong. Kahyasi earns the top status this year with a broodmare sire AEI that is 28% higher than the next-closest stallion on the list... who happens to be Northern Dancer himself. Grandsire Nijinsky is also still in the top 10.
You'd think a stallion like Kahyasi -- who's the leading broodmare sire and who comes from a male line of top broodmare sires -- would have a slew of sons standing at stud, churning out great daughters and carrying on the broodmare sire legacy. But check the Stallion Register: no sons listed. Check Weatherby's Stallion Book: none. Check Bluebloods: zilch.
While he was preparing to write his Kahyasi pedigree analysis, Tom and I got to talking about the pity of Kahyasi's dearth of stallion sons. "Why" is easy to answer -- many of his top runners were fillies; early standout colts were often gelded; and the Ile de Bourbon line wasn't in vogue commercially. Harder is "Is an heir apparent still in the wings?" Kahyasi died in 2008, leaving behind a small crop of 2009 foals. Will one of those colts, or another young son, establish himself as Kahyasi's successor?
And Tom had the answer. While we were talking about it earlier this month, he told me that a Kahyasi colt named World Heritage showed promise last year with a trio of group-placings at France's top tracks, and was likely still in training despite having last raced in September 2009.
World Heritage is out of the Zafonic mare Imbabala, who already has produced the French classic-winning Zambezi Sun (to the cover of Dansili) who now stands in France. World Heritage is from the family of 2010 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IT) winner Proviso; 2009 Charles Wittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) winner Midships; 1996 Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) winner and champion turf mare Wandesta; 1976 Coronation Cup (Eng-I) victor Quiet Fling; and other group/grade I winners. It's not a family to be overlooked, as it is capable of producing a top sire.
Interestingly, Tom points out that World Heritage is bred on a reverse cross to the 2008 European Horse of the Year and multiple French classic-winning filly Zarkava. Where Zarkava is by Zamindar out of a Kahyasi mare, World Heritage is by Kahyasi and out of a mare by Zamindar's full brother Zafonic. Patterns in thir pedigrees go much deeper, including the fact that Kahyasi descends from Nijinksy II (out of Flaming Page), while Zamindar and Zafonic have The Minstrel (out of a daughter of Flaming Page) as broodmare sire. Zarkava and World Heritage also share Habitat as a broodmare sire down the line (second for World Heritage, fourth for Zarkava).
So where does this handicapping tip I mentioned come in? Well, if you're willing to bet on a pedigree and some promise displayed last year, there's an interesting stakes race being run April 30. World Heritage is on the cards: he's declared for Friday's Le Vase d'Argent, a 2,000-meter (10-furlong) listed event at France's Toulouse track.
If racing gods are smiling tomorrow and World Heritage scores his first black type victory, we may witness the emergence of Kahyasi's long-awaited heir. And if he wins... well, we'll be following his every move.