New Approach Heads European Freshmen

The weekend saw New Approach (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) become the first European-based freshman sire of 2012 to be represented by a group I winner when his son Dawn Approach took the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (Ire-I) by 4 3/4 lengths. This was the fifth win in five starts for Dawn Approach, who had taken the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot on his previous outing. European champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old, New Approach had a new standard for freshman at Royal Ascot, with Dawn Approach being joined as a black-type winner by the ill-starred Albany Stakes (Eng-III) victress Newfangled, and Tha'ir, who took the Chesham Stakes. Given that New Approach won an Epsom Derby (Eng-I), one would expect some of his offspring to stretch out, but Dawn Approach is out of a mare by Phone Trick, an exceptional sprinter and generally a speed influence, and the seven furlongs of his weekend victory might be approaching the limits of his stamina, although another furlong might not be beyond him.

While New Approach is by Galileo—a Sadler's Wells/Mr. Prospector cross—the second on the list, Henrythenavigator (TrueNicks,SRO), is bred on a reverse of that nick. A son of Kingmambo—Sequoyah, by Sadler's Wells, Henrythenavigator was a talented 2-year-old, winning the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II), but was better at 3 when he took four group I races: the English Two Thousand Guineas, Irish Two Thousand Guineas, St. James's Palace, and Sussex Stakes. With that in mind, it's very encouraging that Henrythenavigator already has five stakes horses, including the Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) winner Pedro the Great (out of a mare by Rainbow Quest). His black-type placers include the Prix Morny (Fr-I) runner-up George Vancouver (dam by Danzig) and group-placed Afonsa de Sousa (dam by Nureyev, so inbred to that horse, along with his three-parts-brother Sadler's Wells).

Third on the list is Sageburg (a Prix d'Ispahan (Fr-I) winner by Johannesburg), who has been battling for the leadership of the French freshmen with the French 2,000 Guineas (Fr-I) victor Falco (by Pivotal). Sageburg has four winners from 11 starters, headed by Peace Burg, who took the Prix d'Aumale (Fr-III) at the weekend, and also has a group-placed horse. Falco has five winners, including the Prix du Bois (gr. III) victor Snowday (out of a Forest Wildcat mare, from the family of Forest Wildcat's grandsire, Storm Bird, and with both the sire and dam bred on the Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector cross), and Melodique (dam by Diesis) winning the Criterium de Lyon.

The Prix Jacques Le Marois Stakes and Prix Jean Prat (both Fr-I) victor Tamayuz has plenty to live up to as he is from the immediate family of Galileo and classic sire King's Best, not to mention Sea The Stars. The son of Nayef (TrueNicks,SRO) is certainly shaping up well, as he's already been represented by seven European winners, including Sir Prancealot (out of a mare by the Storm Cat horse Catrail), who took the National Stakes and at the weekend the Flying Childers Stakes (Eng-II), as well as Meiner Eternel (dam by Piccolo, from the In Reality line) a group III winner in Japan.

In fifth place is another son of Galileo, the surprising Sixties Icon, who is defying a race-record that shows his most import victory as the 1 3/4-mile plus St. Leger (Eng-I), as he already has nine winners, headed by Chilworth Icon (Premio Primi Passi (Ity-III) and Woodcote Stakes), who is out of a mare by Acclamation (from the male line of El Gran Senor's brother, Try My Best) and has the three-parts-brothers Sadler's Wells/Nureyev 3x4, both crossed over the Raise a Native line.

The Criterium Internatonal (Fr-I) and Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) winner Mount Nelson (by Rock of Gibraltar) has seven winners, and he too has a group winner on the board, his daughter Purr Along taking the Prix du Calvados (Fr-III). She is out of Purring, who is by the Storm Cat horse Mountain Cat out of a daughter of Memory Lane, a group-winning sister to Mill Reef.

We've already mentioned Henrythenavigator, and his old rival Raven's Pass (by Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO)) is also among the top 10 freshman in Europe. Winner of the Solario Stakes (Eng-III) and third to New Approach in the Dewhurst Stakes (gr. I) at 2, Raven's Pass really peaked at the end of his second season, ending his career with wins in the Celebration Mile (Eng-II), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I), and Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), defeating Henrythenavigator in the final two. His runners include stakes-placed Lovely Pass and the Stardom Stakes winner Steeler (out of a mare by Darshaan).

Ninth on the table is Spirit One (by Anabaa's classic winning son Anabaa Blue), a group winner at 2 and 4 in France, and successful in the Arlington Million (gr. I) on a trip to the U.S. He has 12 starters and three winners. Like Spirit One, July Cup (Eng-I) victor Sakhee's Secret (by Sakhee (TrueNicks,SRO), from the Riverman line), doesn't have a black-type winner yet, but his offspring certainly appear precocious, as he already has 44 starters and 14 winners, making him the only European freshman with double-digit scorers.

Two other European freshman with stakes winners to their name are the French-based pair of Literato and the under-the-radar Hannouma. Literato, a Champion Stakes (Eng-I) winner by Kendor (from the Kalamoun line), is sire of Criterium de l'Ouest scorer Alterite (out of a mare by Dream Well, with a second dam by Anabaa, and rather unusually inbred to Gay Mecene). Hannouma never won a black-type race but did finish second in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I). A son of Anabaa, he is sire of Grafelli (dam by the Seattle Slew stallion Septieme Ciel), who has won his last three starts including the Tyros Stakes (Ire-III).

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