Think Again

It was generally considered that one of the absolute bankers of the meeting would be So You Think in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (gr. I, video below). The New Zealand-bred had become a superstar in Australia, and was a highweight in the long-distance category on the International Classifications, as well as being highly-rated at shorter distances. He’d scored runaway victories in his only two European starts, the most recent of which had been the Tattersalls Gold Cup (gr. I), over the Prince of Wales’s trip, and his vastly-experienced connections were hailing him as virtually unparalled talent.

When the son of High Chaparral (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) took over a quarter of a mile from home, the stage was set for him to produce another dominating performance, but instead Rewilding began to cut into So You Think's lead, eventually inching his way to the front in the shadow of the post. Afterwards, So You Think’s trainer, Aiden O’Brien, was inclined to blame himself for not having So You Think fit enough. There is certainly a logic to that as So You Think is a strapping colt who had been kept much busier in Australia (his last six runs coming in the space of nine weeks).

On the other hand, the lightly-made Rewilding needs time between his races, and was running for the first time since winning the Dubai Sheema Classic (gr. I) by 3¼ lengths back in March. Third to Workforce last year in the Epsom Derby (gr. I), Rewilding looked like a star in the making when winning the Great Voltigeur Stakes (gr. II) by four lengths next time out. However in his only other outing of the season he’d proved a disappointment as favorite in the St. Leger (gr. I).

Rewilding is a son of Tiger Hill, one of the better middle-distance stayers sired by Danehill. Winner of his first six starts, including the German 2,000 Guineas (gr. II), Tiger Hill suffered his first defeat when running tenth in the German Derby (gr. I). However he subsequently showed that the 1½ mile distance was not a problem, winning back-to-back renewals of the Grosser Preis von Baden (gr. I) and the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis (gr. I) over that trip. Retired to stud in Germany, Tiger Hill made a bright start, and was moved to England. Unfortunately he didn’t enjoy the expected measure of success with his English crops, and returned to Germany for the 2010 stud season. He has 33 stakes winners to his name, 16 group or graded, with Konigstiger and Iota – both from his second German-sired crop – preceding Rewilding as group/grade I winners.

Rewilding’s dam, Darara (by Top Ville), was a top-class runner, her victories including the Prix Vermeille (gr. I). However, she has been an even better broodmare. In addition to Rewilding, she is also dam another Sheema Classic (gr. I) winner in Dar Re Mi (also successful at the highest level in the Pretty Polly Stakes (gr. I) and Yorkshire Oaks (gr. I)), and of the Sadler’s Wells pair Darazari, winner of Prix Maurice de Nieuuil (gr. II) in France and the Ranvet Stakes (gr. I) in Australia, and Diaghilev, who took the Prix La Force (gr. III) in France and Queen Elizabeth II Cup (gr. I) in Hong Kong. Darara is also granddam of the Goodwood Cup (gr. II) and Prix Kergorlay (gr. II) victor Darasim. This is an Aga Khan – and formerly Boussac – developed female line and is also notable for having produced the French Derby (gr. I) winner Darshaan, a half brother to Darara. We can also note that the cross that produced Rewilding, that of Danehill and his sons over Top Ville mares has been a successful one with four stakes winners from 22 starters, the best prior to Rewilding being the group two winner Solskjaer.

It was actually a big day for Danehill, as two other stakes winners, Lolly For Dolly and Best Terms, were by his sons, and another, Rhythm of Light, is out of a Danehill mare. Lolly For Dolly, who took the Windsor Forest Stakes (gr. II, video below) over a mile, is one of seven stakes winners from the first two Northern Hemisphere crops sired by Oratorio (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) (three group, including group I winner Beethoven, and he also has three graded winners from his first Australian crop, one group I). Lolly For Dolly is out of a mare by the short-lived Chester House, and so bred on a Danehill/Mr. Prospector cross, which might be particularly appealing for Oratorio, whose second dam is by Mr. Prospector’s genetic relative, Alydar. Lolly For Dolly’s third dam is by Roberto, who is out of a mare bred similarly to the dams of Alydar and Mr. Prospector.

Best Terms (TrueNicks A) captured the Queen Mary Stakes (gr. II, video below) for 2-year-old fillies. She is a daughter of Exceed and Excel (TrueNicks,SRO), an Australian sprinting son of Danehill, who sired Best Terms from a shuttle crop. Exceed and Excel has been very solid with his first four Northern Hemisphere crops, siring 19 stakes winners, eight group. Three of his current 2-year-old crop are stakes winners, as are five of his 3-year-old crop. Exceed and Excel has 21 stakes winners from his first four Australian crops, including current juvenile star Helmet, and another group I winner, Reward For Effort (AUS) (TrueNicks). Best Term’s dam, Sharp Terms, a daughter of Kris, is a half sister to group winners First Charter, Anton Chekhov (also third German Derby (gr. I)), and Private Charter (also second Italian Derby (gr. I)). The granddam, stakes-placed By Charter, is a sister to group winner Zinaad, and is by Shirley Heights out of a genuinely great mare, Time Charter (whose victories included the Oaks (gr. I), Champion Stakes (gr. I), and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (gr. I). Best Terms is the product of a version of the very successful Danzig/Sharpen Up cross, that of Danehill line stallions with mares by Kris. The cross has 10 stakes winners from 101 starters, including one of Danehill’s early group I winners, Kissing Cousin.

Rhythm of Light (TrueNicks A), who took the listed Sandringham Handicap, is by Beat Hollow out of a Danehill mare, so is a product of a version of the Sadler’s Wells/Danehill cross that produced the first day’s St. James’s Palace Stakes (gr. I) winner, Frankel. Beat Hollow was a top-class runner on both sides of the Atlantic, winning the Grand Prix de Paris (gr. I) in France, and a trio of grade I events in the U.S. Out of the Irish Oaks (gr. I) victress Wemyss Bight (a sister to the dam of Oasis Dream), he hasn’t been a proflic stakes sire but has also been represented by French juvenile group I winner Proportional. The dam, Luminda, is a half sister to Little Treasure, a listed winner in France and multiple graded winner in the U.S. The third dam, Bageu Bleue, is a stakes-winning sister to the top-class miler, Bigstone. In addition to the Sadler’s Wells/Danehill cross, which has now produced 19 stakes winners from 201 starters, Rhythm of Light has a third dam by Last Tycoon (genetic relative to Sadler’s Wells, combines well with that horse, and also bred on the same Northern Dancer/Mill Reef cross as the dam of Beat Hollow).

The only non-Danehill influenced stakes winner on the day was Strong Suit (TrueNicks A++) who took the Jersey Stakes (gr. III, video below) for his first win since capturing the Coventry Stakes (gr. II) at this meeting last year. He is by Rahy, who has had several other good colts in Europe, including Fantastic Light, Noverre, and Rio De La Plata. The dam, Helwa (by Silver Hawk), is a sister to European listed winner Silver Colours (dam of stakes winner Silver Pivotal), and to Japanese group winner God of Chance (by Cozzene). The granddam, Team Colors, is by Mr. Prospector out of Private Colors (sister to the great mare Personal Ensign).

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