Frankel Pays Guineas Tribute to Sadler's Wells

In the week that saw the passing of the mighty Sadler’s Wells, it was appropriate that his grandson Frankel (TrueNicks A++) should produce a dominant performance in the first English classic of the year, the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I, video below). The son of Galileo was equipped with a pacemaker, but set such a rapid pace that he was soon alone in the lead. Around 10 lengths clear after a four furlongs, he did tire slightly in the second half, but still had six lengths to spare over Dubawi Gold (by Dubawi) and Native Khan (by Azamour), with the rest of the 13 horse field upwards of 17 lengths adrift. The winning margin was the greatest since Tudor Minstrel scored by eight lengths in 1947. That horse couldn’t stay the Derby trip, and we suspect that Frankel won’t be asked the question, with the St. James’s Palace Stakes (gr. I) at Royal Ascot being a more likely target. When things might get really interesting if we get to see Frankel over a mile against his elders Goldikova, Canford Cliffs, and Dick Turpin. On his running in the Guineas, you’d also have to wonder how he might fare if dropped back to six furlongs for a race like the July Cup (gr. I).

Frankel’s dam, Kind, broke her maiden at seven furlongs, but subsequently spent the rest of her career racing over shorter, and was a stakes winner at five and six furlongs. She did produce Bullet Train, group winner of a Derby Trial (gr. III) at 11½ furlongs to Sadler’s Wells, and she’s a half sister to Powerscourt (GB) (TrueNicks,SRO), a Sadler’s Wells son who was a top-class performer at up to 1½ miles. There is more stamina in the second dam, Rainbow Lake, who won the Lancashire Oaks (gr. III) and who is by a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) victor Rainbow Quest out of a mare by Belmont Stakes (gr. I, video) victor Stage Door Johnny. Here, however, it’s obviously the aptitude of Kind, and Frankel’s own enthusiastic nature, that are the deciding factors.

The Galileo/Danehill cross has now produced 60 starters, of whom 10 are stakes winners, seven group, and four group I. In addition to Frankel, they include Cima de Triomphe, who took the Italian Derby (gr. I) at 11 furlongs; undefeated champion 2-year-old Teofilo (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), successful in the Dewhurst Stakes (gr. I) and National Stakes (gr. I); and Roderic O’Connor, winner last year of the Criterium International (gr. I), but unplaced in the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I). By the way, earlier in the week, another example of the Galileo/Danehill cross, Golden Lilac, won the Prix de la Grotte (gr. III), a French 1,000 Guineas trial.

Godolphin’s undefeated juvenile filly White Moonstone, a daughter of Dynaformer (TrueNicks,SRO), skipped the 1,000 Guineas (gr. I), but the Godolphin/Dynaformer still took the classic courtesy of Blue Bunting (TrueNicks A++), who scored by ¾ length from Together with Maqaasid third. Although foaled in the U.S., Blue Bunting has a distinctly European pedigree, as she is out of Miarixa, a daughter of Linamix. The granddam, Mrs. Arkada (by Akarad), was a listed winner in France and took third in the Prix Saint-Alary (gr. I). She’s granddam of Marquix, a Linamix colt who won the Grand Handicap de Deauville. Remarkably, the third and fourth dams have also produced stakes winners by Linamix. The third dam, Mrs Annie, is dam of Manninamix, who won the Prix de Chenes (gr. III) and took second in the Grand Criterium (gr. I), as well as Mister Sicy (by Sicyos, a group/graded winner in Europe and the U.S.) and French group winner Mister Riv (by River River). The fourth dam, Miss Satin, is dam of Miss Satamixa, a Linamix filly who was group I-winning miler in France. Blue Bunting should have no problem in staying the Oaks trip, in fact it’s a little surprising that she was quick enough for the Guineas mile. Dynaformer is a strong influence for stamina, and the dam is a sister to a horse that was group-placed at nearly two miles, and three-parts-brother to a black type winner at 1½ miles.

Danehill son Dansili had a weekend double. His daughter Epic Love (TrueNicks A++) won the Prix Vanteaux (gr. III) French Oaks trial. She is out of a Diesis mare, so is yet another example of the Danzig/Sharpen Up cross. His other stakes scorer was the Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) winner Dandino (TrueNicks A+). He is out of a mare by Generous (by Caerleon, by Nijinsky II). Dansili is out of a Nijinsky II line mare, so this doubles Nijinsky II, along with his frequent partner in crime, Blushing Groom.

In Italy, the Premio Regina Elena (gr. III) went to Stay Alive, a daughter of last year’s record-breaking European first year sire Iffraaj (GB) (TrueNicks,SRO) She’s the fourth first crop stakes winner for the sire and third group scorer. Stay Alive is out of a Pursuit of Love (by Groom Dancer, by Blushing Groom) mare, and has five crosses of Northern Dancer. Two of those are through The Minstrel (in the pedigree of Zafonic, sire of Iffraaj), his three-parts-brother Nijinsky II, and there are at least 16 stakes winners with Zafonic or his brother Zamindar in the sire, and Nijinsky II in the dam, nine group or graded, and four group or grade I.

There were several other classic trials in Europe last week. In France, Selkirk had the first and second in the one mile Prix de Fontainebleu (gr. III), as Glaswegian (A++) beat Rosanabad in a blanket finish. Glaswegian is one of five stakes winners from 23 starters by Selkirk out of mares by sons of Roberto. The dam is a half sister to the Prix de la Foret (gr. I) heroine Etoile Montante, and out of Willstar, a Nureyev mare, who is a sister to Viviana (French stakes winner; dam of multiple grade I winners Sightseek and Tates Creek; granddam of Special Duty, winner of the 2010 renewals of the English and French 1,000 Guineas (both gr. I)). Willstar is also a half sister to stakes-winning and grade I-placed Hometown Queen (dam of Bowman’s Band; granddam of Pollard’s Vision). The fourth dam is the great mare Chris Evert.

Still in France, Derby trial Prix Noailles (gr. II) saw a first group winner for second crop sire Shirocco (by Monsun out of a mare by The Minstrel) in the shape of Grand Vent (TrueNicks A++). The dam, Housa Dancer (by Fabulous Dancer), was a stakes winner on both sides of the Atlantic, and bred previous group winner Bushman (by Maria’s Mon). She’s also a half sister to the dam of U.S. grade I winner Alexander Tango. The third dam is Hail to Reason’s champion French 2-year-old filly Hippodamia.

In England, the Sandown Classic Trial (gr. III) went to the very well-bred Genius Beast (TrueNicks A++). He is by Kingmambo out of Shawanda (by Sinndar), heroine of the Irish Oaks (gr. I). Another Derby trial, the Newmarket Stakes was taken by Ocean War (TrueNicks A++), who was making only his third start. He is by Dalakhani out of Atlantic Destiny, a winner of four black type events in England and the U.S. By Royal Academy, Atlantic Destiny is out of a mare by The Minstrel, a three-parts-brother to Royal Academy’s sire, Nijinsky II. The third dam is a three-parts-sister to Nijinsky II’s English Derby winner Golden Fleece. Ocean War is also the sixth stakes winner from only 25 by Dalakhani from Nijinsky II line mares.

The Pretty Polly Stakes, frequently an Oaks Trial, went to Dorcas Lane (TrueNicks A+), who will skip the classic and head to Royal Ascot. She was initially going to be targeted at 3-year-old hurdle races in France until an impressive maiden score! She is from the first crop of her sire Norse Dancer (by Halling, by Diesis). Her dam is a half sister to the 1,000 Guineas (gr. I) heroine Harayir, and is by Riverman, also the sire of Norse Dancer’s broodmare sire (giving Riverman 4x2). The third dam, Give Thanks, won the Irish Oaks (gr. I).

In Germany, Black Sam Bellamy (a brother to Frankel’s sire, Galileo, who now stands in England) was represented by Earl of Tinsdal (TrueNicks A+) who took the Fruhjahrs-Preis des Bankhauses Metzler-Stradtrat Albert von Metzler-Rennen (gr. III), a German Derby trial. He is out of a mare by Dashing Blade, who in turn is by Elegant Air, a son of Shirley Heights, so this is a version of the Sadler’s Wells/Shirley Heights cross.

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