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Chasing a Mate for The Fugue

In its relatively short life as a premier race, the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) has an envious roll call of winners, with the likes of Sadler's Wells, Suave Dancer, Dr. Devious, Swain, Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks), New Approach (TrueNicks), Sea The Stars, High Chaparral (IRE) (TrueNicks), and So You Think (NZ) (TrueNicks) all victorious at Leopardstown (or Phoenix Park as the case may be).

Peppered in between these great colts are some magnificent racemares that managed to beat the boys, including a trio in the 1980s in Park Express (whose last foal was New Approach), Triptych, and Indian Skimmer, and more recently Snow Fairy (2012) and The Fugue (2013). It is the latter filly who we have decided to profile with our Key Ancestors Report with Analysis.

The Fugue is a daughter of Juddmonte stallion Dansili out of the group II-placed Sadler's Wells mare Twyla Tharp. The cross of Dansili with Sadler's Wells mares has been an extraordinarily successful one; tried 65 times to date, it has 17% stakes winners to runners including group I winners Passage of Time and Flintshire in addition to The Fugue.

There must also be some comment made on the quality of the ancestors in The Fugue's pedigree. While her sire failed to win a group or grade I race (the reality being that—as War Front, Distorted Humor, and Dansili are showing—there is just as much merit in a strong gr. II winner as a gr. I winner), Dansili has proven himself a wonderful sire. He is also royally bred, being by Danehill out of the great producer Hasili—that itself setting him up as a potentially good broodmare sire.

Twyla Tharp was a decent runner also, running second, beaten just a short head, in the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II). She is out of Sumoto, a daughter of Mtoto. Probably the weakest link of The Fugue's four grandparents in terms of racing ability, Sumoto made that up in production as the dam of two group I winners, Compton Admiral and Summoner, by two different sires.

Using the Key Ancestors Report with Analysis throws up some interesting pedigree considerations for The Fugue as well as focusing the selection of possible mates for her in Europe and North America. The mathematics and logic behind the Key Ancestors Report works a little differently to the standard TrueNicks report and rating in that it looks at the entire pedigree of the subject mare and uses the coefficient of relatedness to gather a group of "like-bred" mares. Some of the closely related mares to The Fugue include Canterbury Lace (by Dansili's sire, Danehill, out of a Sadler's Wells mare; 21.68% related to The Fugue) and Don't Tell Mum (by Dansili and carries Nureyev, a three-quarter relative to Sadler's Wells; 28.42% related to The Fugue).

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
The Fugue

In some ways, having both Sadler's Wells and Danehill in the pedigree—two of the most prolific and successful European stallions of modern times—makes The Fugue a difficult one to mate in Europe, with very few proven or commercial stallions not having those two strains in their pedigrees to start with. Thankfully for The Fugue, at least in terms of Sadler's Wells, we have seen that with horses such as Parish Hall (3x3 to Sadler's Wells; winner of the Dewhurst Stakes, Eng-I) closer inbreeding to him has not been deleterious.

The top 15 positive key ancestors in The Fugue's report are also illuminating. Danehill himself comes up as a key ancestor, as does his sire Danzig. This suggests that in the group of related mares to The Fugue, the sires of elite runners out of these mares carry a disproportionate high amount of Danzig or Danehill. Other key ancestors for the related mares include Storm Cat and his sire Storm Bird.

The Key Ancestor Score is generated by taking the positive and negative ancestors and weighting them in the pedigrees of each of the sires that we have selected as prospective mates for The Fugue. Looking for potential stallions with positive scores we find Sea The Stars, a son of Cape Cross and half brother to Galileo who has a positive Key Ancestor Score (+18.35) and a very strong A++ TrueNicks rating. He contains both Green Desert and Ahonoora as positive ancestors, although Urban Sea (independent of her son Galileo) is negative. (Sea The Stars—The Fugue TrueNicks Enhanced report)

Key Ancestors with Analysis statistics for Sea The Stars—The Fugue

The young rising star Teofilo is also rates well by Key Ancestor Score (+28.80). This is an intriguing pedigree and one that would raise a few eyebrows in terms of its closeness of inbreeding—the mating creates an inbreeding coefficient of 8.59% and coefficient of relatedness between sire and dam of 14.65%. It is 3x3 to both Danehill and Sadler's Wells, with Teofilo and The Fugue bred on the same cross in reverse. (Teofilo—The Fugue TrueNicks Enhanced report)

Key Ancestors with Analysis statistics for Teofilo—The Fugue

Along similar pedigree lines to Teofilo would be champion racehorse Frankel, who although yet unproven as a sire is also a Galileo/Danehill cross, and Frankel's pedigree brings in four positive ancestors and a +34.09 Key Ancestor Score. (Frankel—The Fugue TrueNicks Enhanced report)

Key Ancestors with Analysis statistics for Frankel—The Fugue

Another possible option for The Fugue's owners would be to have her served by proven Kentucky-based sire Giant's Causeway. An A rating on TrueNicks, Giant's Causeway himself is a key ancestor (as are his sire and grandsire). His group I-winning son Intense Focus is out of Daneleta, a closely related mare to The Fugue, and the aforementioned Canterbury Lace produced Matron Stakes (Ire-I) winner Chachamaidee to Giant's Causeway's son Footstepsinthesand. (Giant's Causeway—The Fugue TrueNicks Enhanced report)

Key Ancestors with Analysis statistics for Giant's Causeway—The Fugue

If you want to learn more about the Key Ancestors Report or order one for your own mare, check out this link that includes videos and sample reports.

We got a lot of opinions on our previous post about mating Royal Delta, so who do you think The Fugue should visit in her first season at stud?

P.S. Those who studied Latin in a former life may have got it straight away, but while fugue is more readily known as a musical term (music being what The Fugue's owner Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber is famous for), it is derived from the Latin word fugare, meaning "to chase," hence the cryptic title of the post.

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