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Royal Ascot Day 4: Sky Crowned Miler Queen

Day four at Royal Ascot kicked off with the six-furlong Albany Stakes (Eng-III) for 2-year-old fillies. The winner, Kiyoshi, looked to travel nearly as far sideways as forwards in the last couple of furlongs, but still scored impressively from favorite Sandiva (by Footstepsinthesand), with Frankel's half sister Joyeuse third.

Kiyoshi is by Dubawi, who we covered in depth following the victory of Al Kazeem earlier in the week. The dam, Mocca (by Sri Pekan, a son of Red Ransom), was stakes-placed in Germany and won at up to 10 1/2 furlongs, so one wouldn't think that Kiyoshi would have much trouble with a mile. Kiyoshi is the first stakes winner under the first three dams, although things do improve under the fourth dam, La Tuerta. She is also dam of the Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) winner Ya Malak and stakes winner Dominio (also dam of Dominica, who took the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot). La Tuerta is out of Sharpen Up's good sprinting daughter Smarten Up, also dam of the July Cup (Eng-I) winner Cadeaux Genereux, subsequently a very good sire of sprinters and 2-year-olds.

Kiyoshi is 5x5 to Raise a Native and 5x4 to Roberto, but the pattern is a little more complex than that. Dubawi has Raise a Native in his sire line through Mr. Prospector. Dubawi's Roberto strain comes through classic runner Slightly Dangerous, who is the dam of Dubawi's broodmare sire, Deploy. She is out Where You Lead (by Raise a Native). Kiyoshi's broodmare sire, Sri Pekan, is a Roberto/Raise a Native cross (like Slightly Dangerous). For good measure, Roberto's dam is a bred on very similar lines to the dam of Mr. Prospector.

The King Edward VII Stakes (Eng-II)—the old Ascot Derby—went to the progressive Hillstar, who ran down an aggressively ridden Battle of Marengo (Galileo son coming off a fourth in the Epsom Derby (Eng-I)). Hillstar, who was making his stakes debut, was coming off a second in a 10-furlong handicap at Newbury and wasn't the most obvious pick to take a step forward over 1 1/2 miles on the score of pedigree. His sire, Danehill Dancer, was champion Irish 2-year-old after winning the Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) and National Stakes (Ire-I), and won the Greenham Stakes (Eng-III) at seven furlongs at 3. Sixth in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), Danehill Dancer ran his best subsequent race when third to Anabaa in the seven-furlong Prix Maurice de Gheest (Fr-I). He's been a very effective sire in both Europe and Australia, his offspring including group/grade I winners Again, Alexander Tango, Alfred Nobel, Arapaho Miss, Atomic Force, Ave, Choisir (TrueNicks), Dancing Rain, Light Fantastic, Lillie Langtry, Mastercraftsman, Miss Beatrix, Planteur, Private Steer, Speciosa, and Where Or When.

Hillstar's dam, Crystal Star, is by miler Mark of Esteem (who won the Two Thousand Guineas in which Danehill Dancer was sixth). She won the Radley Stakes at 2, and was second in the seven-furlong Dubai Duty Free (Eng-III) at 3. Despite this, when bred to miler Cape Cross (like Danehill Dancer, a grandson of Danzig), she came up with English highweighted older mare Crystal Capella, a four-time group winner, three at group II level, and another who stayed 12 furlongs. Hillstar's granddam is by another miler, Be My Guest, and is a half sister to the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French One Thousand Guineas, Fr-I) victress Rose Gypsy (by Green Desert, a son of Danzig). The third dam, Krisayla, is by Kris (a miler again), but we do arrive at a stamina source with the fourth dam, Sassalya, who was by the stayer Sassafras out of French middle-distance stakes winner Valya. Sassalya bred four stakes winners, including the Prix d'Ispahan (Fr-I) captor Sasuru (by a son of Be My Guest, so similarly-bred to the granddam of Hillstar), and is granddam of the excellent, but ill-fated, Tuscan Evening (by Green Desert son Oasis Dream), a grade I winner in the U.S. who was successful at 10 furlongs. The family goes back to Quick Change, whose granddaughter, the Epsom Oaks winner Steady Aim, is the third dam of Danzig. From a nuclear/mitochondrial DNA interaction standpoint, it's interesting to reflect on the fact that four of the best horses from the immediate family are Danzig line, and three of the four significantly outstay a superficial reading of their pedigrees.

Prior to his win, Hillstar was TrueNicks rated A+ on the basis of the Danehill Dancer/Darshaan cross, which has four stakes winners from 18 starters including earlier group I winner Lillie Langtry. He is also 3x5 to Danehill Dancer's broodmare sire Sharpen Up (Danehill Dancer and Hillstar's second dam, Crystal Cavern, are both Northern Dancer/Sharpen Up crosses). Danehill Dancer has eight stakes winners with a double of Sharpen Up, six group/graded, and there are also three stakes winners by his sons with that pattern.

In the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) for 3-year-old fillies at a mile, the One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) heroine Sky Lantern proved much too good, coming from last to first to score by four lengths, emphasizing what a loss the premature death of her sire Red Clubs was. A son of Red Ransom, Red Clubs won the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot (run at York that year) at 2, but gained his most prestigious win in the Haydock Sprint Cup (Eng-I) as a 4-year-old. Without covering the best of mares, Red Clubs has sired five stakes winners from two crops, including, in addition to Sky Lantern, the Premio Presidente della Repubblica (Ity-I) victor Vedelago and group winners Ceiling Kitty and Roger Sez.

Sky Lantern's dam, Shawanni, a daughter of Shareef Dancer, has been a very successful producer, as she is also dam of the Queen's Vase (Eng-III) victor Shanty Star, group winner Arctic, and stakes winner Hinton Admiral. The second dam, Negligent, a daughter of Ahonoora, was Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in England, and also took third in the 1,000 Guineas (gr. I), and Negligent is also dam of Blatant, a group winner in Dubai and group I-placed in Italy, and the French group scorer Songlark. Eventually, the family goes back to the great tap-root mare Dalmary (dam of Rough Shod II, ancestress of Sadler's Wells, Nureyev, et al.), but through Rough Shod II's half sister Jennydang, probably best known as ancestress of Nijinsky II's Champion Stakes conqueror Lorenzaccio. As Lorenzaccio is sire of Ahonoora, Sky Lantern's granddam, Negligent, is linebred to Jennydang. It might be interesting to see Sky Lantern bred back to horses carrying Sadler's Wells or Nureyev when she retires to stud, in fact it would be no surprise to see her in the court of Galileo in a few months time.

Danehill Dancer came up with a second stakes winner on the day when Forgotten Voice won the Wolferton Handicap over 10 furlongs. An 8-year-old, Forgotten Voice won the one-mile Royal Hunt Cup (non-black type) at Royal Ascot in 2009, but last raced over hurdles in April, having won a grade II hurdle over two miles in February, and hadn't run on the flat since 2010.

Forgotten Voice is a half brother to the group-winning Sadler's Wells filly Australie, and to the dam of French stakes winners Private Jet and Princedargent. The dam, Asnieres, is a daughter of Spend a Buck and a half sister to Arcangues, who memorably upset the 1993 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). She is also a half sister to group winner and French One Thousand Guineas (Fr-I) second Agathe, who to Fogotten Voice's grandsire, Danehill, produced a trio of stakes winners, including Prix de Diane Hermes (French Oaks, Fr-) victress Aquarelliste and Artiste Royal, a multiple grade I winner in the U.S. The second dam, Irish River's group-placed daughter Albertine, is also granddam of One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) heroine Cape Verdi; Angara, a multiple grade I winner in the U.S.; and ancestress of numerous other good winners.

The two-mile Queen's Vase (In Memory of Sir Henry Cecil, Eng-III) for emerging 3-year-old stayers saw Leading Light tally over several who flattered turning for home but didn't see out the trip.

Leading Light is by Sadler's Wells' much-missed stallion son Montjeu, out of Dance Parade, a Gone West daughter who won the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT), Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT), and Autumn Days Handicap (gr. IIIT) in the U.S., and the Fred Darling Stakes (Eng-III) and at Royal Ascot the Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-III) in England. Dance Parade is a half sister to Ocean Queen, a filly who beat colts in the Bay Meadows Derby (gr. III); stakes winner Jig; and to the dam of the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) victor Toylsome. The second dam, River Jig (by Irish River), was a listed scorer in Italy, and did win at up to 12 furlongs. She is most notably a half sister to Miranda, dam of the Underwood Stakes (Aus-I) scorer Always Aloof, and third dam of Australian group I sprinter winner Bel Sprinter. The third dam, Baronova, is by Nijinsky II out of a daughter of Round Table's sister Monarchy, so is three-quarters related to State, ancestress of Pulpit, Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks), and Johannesburg to name a few. Leading Light is bred on an identical cross to Montjeu's Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Motivator and that horse's group-winning brother Macarthur, and there are three stakes winners and a total of six stakes horses from 24 starters by the sire out of Gone West mares (TrueNicks A).

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