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Dalakhani Holds Out Hope For the Mill Reef Line

It's just 35 years since Mill Reef stamped himself as one of the best horses to race in Europe during the 20th century. Paul Mellon's son of Never Bend went on to prove himself an outstanding sire, too, so it's something of a surprise to find that his male line is already in danger of extinction. Recent weeks, however, have indicated that the line may have a representative who could save the day in the shape of the French Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (both Fr-I) victor Dalakhani (by Mill Reef's grandson, Darshaan).

With his first crop now 3, Dalakhani is sire of the Prix Hocquart (Fr-II) winner Democrate; Centennial, who took the Sandown Classic Trial (gr. III); and the Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes winner Chinese White.

Chinese White - who was TrueNicks A rated prior to his win - is bred on a cross that might have been expected to work, as he is out of a Sadler's Wells mare. This reverses the hugely successful Sadler's Wells/Mill Reef cross, which gives inbreeding to the important mare Lalun through Never Bend and through Bold Reason, the broodmare sire of Sadler's Wells. We can note that Dalakhani already has two group placed horses out of Sadler's Wells mares. Centennial, who is out of a mare by Lure (by Danzig) was also A rated even before his win. He is also interesting for being linebred to Raise a Native through the genetic relatives Mr. Prospector and Alydar.

Democrate represents something a little different. He is out of a mare by Silver Hawk (by Roberto, by Hail to Reason). Darshaan, Shirley Heights - and for that matter, Mill Reef - have had a desperate record with Roberto and Hail to Reason. In fact, prior to Democrate, there had never been a stakes winner by a Shirley Heights-line stallion out of a Roberto-line mare, and only one stakes winner bred on a Darshaan/Hail to Reason cross. This suggests that Dalakhani's broodmare sire, Miswaki, might be a modifying factor. He is by Mr. Prospector, a genetic relative to the dam of Roberto. There are at least 12 other stakes winners with Miswaki and Roberto combined, two grade I. We can also note that Miswaki sired grade I winner Papal Power out of a half-sister to Silver Hawk.

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