Mafaaz Wins -- And Is In

England's Kentucky Derby Challenge, a nine-furlong test on the all-weather track at Kempton Park that guaranteed the winner a place in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was run on Wednesday night. In a frantic finish, the winner was Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Mafaaz (GB), who held to by a neck from the fast-finishing Spring of Fame, with early pace-setter Sohcahtoa (IRE) the same distance back in third.

This was only the third lifetime start for Mafaaz, who won on his September debut as a 2-year-old and then finished unplaced in the Tattersalls Timeform Million. Mafaaz is likely to be seen next in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).

Mafaaz, who was TrueNicks rated A++ prior to the win, is by Medicean (GB), the best European stallion son of Machiavellian, also sire of Street Cry (IRE). Winner of the Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at a mile and the Coral Eurobet Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) at 10 furlongs, Medicean has sired 10 stakes winners in his first three crops, including group I winners Dutch Art (GB), Nannina (GB), and Almerita (GER). In the U.S., he is best known as sire of Medici Code (GB), winner of the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) and runner-up in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT).

Mafaaz' dam, Complimentary Pass (GB), is by Danehill, and is a half-sister to the Danzig mare Dream Ticket, dam of the Machiavellian graded scorer Magic Mission (GB). The granddam, Capo di Monte (IRE), a graded winner in the U.S. and a listed winner in England, is out of Burghclere (GB), a daughter of HRH The Queen's One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and Prix de Diane (Fr-I) heroine Highclere (GB) and a similarly-bred half-sister to English champion juvenile filly Height of Fashion (FR), dam of six stakes winners, including champions Nayef and Nashwan.

The Medicean/Danehill cross that produced Mafaaz is also responsible for Nannina and graded winner Regional Counsel (GB). It gives a 4 x 4 cross of Northern Dancer, along with a 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 inbreeding pattern to his dam, Natalma, with the addition of two half-sisters to Northern Dancer.

Runner-up Spring of Fame would probably have won in another stride or two. The U.S.-bred colt is by Grand Slam out of Bloomy, a daughter of Polish Numbers out of champion older mare Late Bloomer. This is rather an interesting pattern, as Grand Slam is out of a mare by El Gran Senor (by Northern Dancer out of a Buckpasser mare), and Polish Numbers is by a son of Northern Dancer out of a Buckpasser mare.  

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