Quick Saga

With runners like multiple grade I winner Tale of Ekati and multiple graded stakes winner Gio Ponti carrying him to seventh on the leading sires list, Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO) enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2008. What might not be realized is that he is also currently a hot item Down Under.

In November, his son Tell A Tale (AUS) took the CJC New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas (NZ-I), the first NZ$1 million event to be contested in that country's south isle. Then, in the past couple of weeks, his Australian juvenile star Real Saga took an impressive victory in the colts and geldings division of the Blue Diamond Prelude (Aus-III).

Rated A++ by TrueNicks, Real Saga has an intriguing pedigree. He's out of a mare by the short-lived English miler Air Express (IRE) who is by Salse, a son of Topsider.

Real Saga is one of two stakes winners from only four foals sired by Tale of the Cat out of Topsider-line mares. One doesn't have to go too far to find why Tale of the Cat and Topsider combine so well. Tale of the Cat's third dam, State, is by Nijinsky II (by Northern Dancer) out of Monarchy (by Princequillo), a sister to Round Table. Thus, she's bred on very similar lines to Topsider, who is by Northern Dancer out of a mare by Round Table.

With Real Saga, the pedigree is actually somewhat more intense. Salse, the grandsire of the dam of Real Saga, is not only by Topsider (a Northern Dancer/Princequillo cross), but is out of a mare by Prince John (by Princequillo), so is a product of the same Northern Dancer/Princequillo cross. Air Express's damsire, Caucasus, is by Nijinsky II out of a mare by Princequillo, so is a close genetic relative to State (who, as we've said, is third dam of Tale of the Cat). So in this area of the pedigree we have four versions of the Northern Dancer/Princequillo cross, two involving a brother and sister (Monarchy and Round Table), and two involving the similarly-bred State and Caucasus.

For good measure, Tale of the Cat's grandsire, Storm Bird, is a genetic relative to Nijjnsky II. Adding to the Storm Bird/Nijinsky II combination seems to be a positive for Tale of the Cat, and at least seven of his stakes winners have a Nijinsky II duplication.

Editor's note:  Alan has written a comprehensive article about Real Saga on the Pedigree Consultants site if you would like to read further.

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