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Brothers in Arms

Throughout the history of the Thoroughbred there have been a number of occurrences where full brothers have performed very well at stud - the European foundation stallions Pharos and Fairway, the North American duo Bull Dog and Sir Gallahad, the Australian stallions Todman and Noholme. More recently, the Thoroughbred gene pool has been blessed with the brothers Kris and Diesis and Sadler's Wells and Fairy King.

The Royal Ascot meeting highlighted the fortunes of two young full brothers - namely Dr Fong and Lucky Story - both of whom show pretensions to be more than useful sires in Europe. Dr Fong and Lucky Story are sons of the high class Roberto stallion Kris S. As often is the case with stallions that start their careers at lower fees and work their way up to the top, the first few sons of Kris S to retire to stud proved abject failures, but in more recent years success from the likes of the Claiborne stallion Arch and now Dr. Fong and Lucky Story may yet redeem his reputation as a sire of sires.

Owned by the Thoroughbred Corporation, Dr. Fong proved successful in the St James's Palace Stakes (gr. I) at Royal Ascot and Prix Eugene Adam (gr. II) at Maisons-Laffitte. He was also a half-length second to Desert Prince in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (gr. I) at Ascot before he left for America where he never really captured his form. He was retired to stud at Highclere Stud in England, where he has proven a more than useful stallion, especially for one that does not stand with the mega stallion operations of Coolmore or Darley and is also outside the confines of Newmarket. For the second year running, Dr Fong sired the winner of the seven-furlong Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot with Free Agent, racing for owner/breeder Her Majesty the Queen, landing the race from Seaway, also by Dr Fong. Following hot on the heels of the Chesham stakes winner, 3-year-old filly Classic Remark gained more stakes success for her sire a few days later when she ran on well to win the EBF Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle for owner and breeder Hesmonds Stud. 

Lucky Story was a slightly more precocious horse than his full brother and in fairness had his career not been compromised through injury, may have proved the more talented of the two. A high class 2-year-old, he won the Champagne Stakes (gr. II) at Doncaster before missing his classic engagements through injury. Returning late in the year he was an excellent second to the high-class Rakti in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (gr. I) at Ascot but he ran as if amiss in the Champion Stakes (gr. I) at Newmarket. He was subsequently purchased by Godolphin and retired as a Darley stallion to stand at David Redvers' Tweenhills Farm in Gloucestershire without starting again. At stud, Lucky Story has done very well with his first runners this year in a crop that would not have contained anywhere near either the class or number of mares afforded more illustrious first-season sire colleagues. He is of course the sire of the most impressive 2-year-old seen out to date in the shape of the Coventry Stakes (gr. II) winner Art Connoisseur.

While all three stakes winners - Free Agent, Classic Remark and Art Connoisseur - are out of Northern Dancer-line mares, it is worth looking at how TrueNicks rates each of them. Free Agent, who is out of her Unfuwain mare Film Script, is rated A++ based on the Dr Fong/Unfuwain nick. This cross has already produced the Prix Saint-Alary winner Ask For the Moon prior to Free Agent, and is clearly one that is worth trying again. Classic Remark is out of the Caerleon mare Claxon (interestingly her next dam is by Bustino who also features as the broodmare sire of Unfuwain). She is rated A+ by TrueNicks on the basis of the Dr Fong/Nijinsky II cross that has now produced four stakes winners in the shape of Spotlight, Classic Remark, Tarakala, and Adorabile Fong. With Dr Fong being out of a mare by Miswaki and the next dam being by the interestingly-bred Coco La Terreur, the blood of Nijinsky II might prove most profitable over time. Finally, Art Connoisseur is rated an A by TrueNicks but on different grounds than the first two again. With his sire only having his first crop of runners there is not enough evidence to suggest how he would operate at stud so Lucky Story is treated as a son of Kris S. and Art Connoisseur is actually calculated on the rule of Kris S. and his sons when bred to mares by Danehill. Surprisingly this has been tried enough to generate a rating, with Kris S.'s underachieving son Brocco and the aforementioned Dr Fong receiving some Danehill mares at stud and producing a few stakes performers from these mares including the ultra consistent Australian galloper Mr. Trickster.

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