Monday, May 30, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: Sirelines in the 2016 Investec Oaks

Fastnet Rock (Coolmore photo)
After staying in Australia and skipping the 2015 northern hemisphere breeding season, Fastnet Rock seems to be making sure he won’t be left off the shuttle plane in coming years.

A number of Fastnet Rock’s runners won at least one stakes race in Europe in 2015 while he was taking the season off, headlined by Group 1 Investec Oaks winner Qualify and QIPCO Champion Stakes winner Fascinating Rock. This year, Fascinating Rock gave him his first Group 1 winner of the flat racing season when winning last weekend’s Tattersalls Gold Cup. Four fillies are trying to set him up to become the first stallion to sire back-to-back Investec Oaks winners since Diesis in 1999/2000 (Ramruma and Love Devine).

Not surprisingly, three of the Fastnet Rock runners are owned by at least one Coolmore partner, including Qualify's full sister who is partially owned by Mrs. Richard Henry, and are out of mare by their flagship sires Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer) and Galileo (Sadler’s Wells). While the fourth filly isn’t a Coolmore runner, she does have more connections to the operation than just her sire as her broodmare sire Barathea is by Sadler’s Wells as well.

The Sadler’s Wells cross seems to have been a successful one with Fastnet Rock so far as his Group 1 winning daughter Diamondsandrubies is out of a Sadler’s Wells mare, another Group 1 winning filly in Australia is out of a Sadler’s Wells granddaughter and two others – including Qualify – are out of Galileo mares. Not surprisingly, many of his Group 1 winners also come from other branches of the Northern Dancer line. Fastnet Rock himself is bred on a 3 x 4 cross to Northern Dancer, giving those runners a heavy dose of the influential stallion’s blood.

Not surprisingly, Coolmore stallions dominate the entries of this race with six of the seven sires represented as of Sunday's entry stage standing for the operation. Galileo holds the second most entries with champion Minding headlining his runners and Seventh Heaven making her first start in a classic after two straight victories.

This Oaks provides a promising view of the future for Coolmore as three of their first crop sires are represented here in Zoffany (Dansili), Canford Cliffs (Tagula) and Pour Moi (Montjeu) while third crop sire Mastercraftsman (Danehill Dancer) also has a runner. Fastnet Rock’s first European crop was born in 2011 so technically he could also fall in this list but the stallion’s oldest runners are 10 in Australia and he is well established there so he’s already a proven commodity.  

Earlier this month, Zoffany secured his first classic win as a sire when Knife Edge won the Group 2 Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (also known as the German 2,000 Guineas) in Germany. The leading first crop-sire in Europe last year, Zoffany is still waiting for a first Group 1 win. Mastercraftsman is looking for his third classic win in this race with sons Kingston Hill and The Grey Gatsby both winning classic races in 2014.

The one stallion to challenge the Coolmore contingent is Galileo’s rival, Dubawi (Dubai Millennium). Dubawi has had multiple classic winners in his stud career, but he has never had an Investec Oaks winner. His closest came last year when his daughter Lady of Dubai was only 2 ½ lengths off of Qualify to finish third. This year, Dubawi’s participation came down to a last minute supplement when Skiffle’s connections paid £30,000 (approx. €39,475/$43,821) to get her in the race after she won the Height of Fashion Stakes.

Skiffle i
King's Best (Darley photo)
s out of a King’s Best mare, one of three mares not sired by a stallion from Northern Dancer’s stallion line. A son of classic winner Kingmambo, King’s Best won the 2000 edition of the 2,000 Guineas and is the only broodmare sire from Mr. Prospector’s line here.

The second most represented line by the broodmare sires is Blushing Groom's. While Fantastic Light is three generations removed from that stallion, Blushing Groom's son Rainbow Quest is the broodmare sire of Canford Cliffs’ Harlequeen.

While Sadler’s Wells and two of his sons give Northern Dancer a healthy boost on the female side of pedigrees in this race, other sons of the Kentucky Derby winner also keep him in the thick of things. Danehill plays a part as both a grandsire and a broodmare sire while Nureyev’s son Fasliyev is the broodmare sire of Zoffany’s runner. The final line that Northern Dancer runs through is that of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Johannesburg, whose Northern Dancer is almost off his pedigree in the fourth generation. 

It is worth noting that none of the broodmare sires from Northern Dancer’s sireline have more than one cross to him.

In this century, Galileo and Sadler’s Wells are the only two stallions who have both sired a winner of the Investec Oaks and sired the dam of an Investec Oaks winner. Danehill Dancer is the only horse who can join them on that list in the 2016 edition of the race.

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