Massaat: the Hungerford Stakes winner is an intriguing sire prospect for Shadwell
A sire-line branching off from the great Galileo strengthened considerably over the weekend, as his son Teofilo notched a notable double and Teofilo’s son Havana Gold continued to shine with his debut two-year-olds.
It is, clearly, far too soon to be talking about who BetVictor Hungerford Weekend – Newbury will carry the baton for Galileo in the tail-male line in decades to come, but Havana Gold is ensuring the perennial champion sire is appearing in the third generation of winners, many of them useful, while he still covers his own brilliant books of mares at Coolmore.
Havana Gold is certainly putting in better early work than the other paternal grandson of Galileo with first runners this year, New Approach’s son Dawn Approach who, despite being a precocious performer himself, has mustered only four winners compared with the Tweenhills resident’s 14.
Seeing the Galileo sire-line start to bud and sprout in such a way reiterates one of the great ironies of modern breeding. Thanks to Sheikh Mohammed’s private purchases of Teofilo and New Approach from Jim Bolger despite not sending mares to Galileo or buying the sire’s stock at auction, it is his Darley operation that has the head start on developing what will surely become an important wellspring of stallion talent. Coolmore might have the kingmaker himself, but the four sons on its Irish roster are all yet to have runners.
Frankel – who has knocked in six stakes winners in August, including Cracksman in the Great Voltigeur Stakes on Wednesday – looks likely to become a popular conduit of his sire Galileo’s influence, too. Expect a race between stallion masters to announce the first son of Frankel to retire to stud.
For now, though, it is Teofilo who is fully deserving of his turn in the spotlight.
Massaat, a son of the Kildangan Stud resident who finished second in last year’s 2,000 Guineas but had been off the track for more than 12 months, came back with a bang with an impressive victory in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. He now looks a force to be reckoned with in the top mile contests, especially if he gets his favoured soft ground.
A day later Ajman Princess, another for Teofilo, was a game all-the-way winner of the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.
Those results came hot on the heels of Teofilo’s daughters Eziyra and Bloomfield finishing first and second in the Give Thanks Stakes at Cork this month, and in a season when the sire’s much-missed son Permian displayed such magnificent ability and toughness in winning the Dante and King Edward VII Stakes and finishing second in the Grand Prix de Paris within weeks of each other.
Teofilo now has 13 top-level winners to his credit, as well as many others who did not quite achieve that honour but ran admirably well in Group 1s – not least Permian but also Arod, Scottish and Tarfasha. He has covered three-figure books in each of the last three seasons and his recent exploits should guarantee him solid support next year again.
It is the flying start at stud made by his second-crop son Havana Gold, winner of the Somerville Tattersall Stakes at two and Prix Jean Prat at three, that is making breeders look at Teofilo in a different light this season, though: not just as a rich source of stakes winners but also as a potential breed-shaper.
Havana Gold has been ticking over nicely with winners all season, his tally of 14 in Europe beaten only among the first-season sires by Society Rock – on the mark with Unfortunately in the Prix Morny on Sunday – and matched by Red Jazz.
He is evidently able to transmit class, as Sunday’s Group 3 Curragh Stakes winner Treasuring and Prix Morny runner-up Havana Grey, previously successful in three stakes races this season, have proved. Headway, a narrowly beaten second in the Coventry Stakes, could meanwhile give a much better account of himself than he was able to when a disappointing sixth on soft ground in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood last time out if he lines up for the Gimcrack Stakes on Saturday.
Havana Gold is out of Jessica’s Dream, a dual Group 3 winner over the minimum distance, and the fact he is passing on speed and precocity as well as that all-important class is a lethal cocktail that will firmly endear him to commercial breeders. Those who secured his services for £7,000 at Tweenhills this year probably bagged themselves a bargain, as that price will surely surge next season.
So in Massaat, a horse who many might have written off but has risen from the ashes just as his sire-line reaches peak popularity, Shadwell find themselves with a rather seductive stallion prospect.
It helps that the colt’s two-year-old half-brother Eqtidaar was the taking winner of a Nottingham maiden on debut for Sir Michael Stoute on Friday, and that the siblings are out of Madany, a six furlong-winning daughter of Acclamation, another growing force in the stallion ranks. It is also a family buzzing with relevance: Madany is a half-sister to the granddam of this season’s Poule d’Essai des Pouliches heroine Precieuse.
Havana Grey (another with potential to become a stallion – let’s hope after he has raced at three at least) is, intriguingly, bred on a next-generation version of the cross responsible for Massaat, as he is out of a mare by Acclamation’s prolific son Dark Angel.
Galileo is still the daddy – see the one-two for sons Ulysses and Churchill in the Juddmonte International on Wednesday – and Frankel might hog the headlines. But Teofilo and Havana Gold might just be the true big story now and in the next breeding season when it comes to this august dynasty.
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The Lowdown On The Ebor Meeting At York
I remember the first time I went to the Knavesmire to watch the Ebor, on a Wednesday of course, was to see the three-year-old Kneller, trained by the great (Sir) Henry Cecil land the prize under Paul Eddery – yes, not his brother Pat – carrying just 8st 1lb back in 1988.
Times have changed however, and the last winner from the classic generation was Aidan O’Brien’s Mediterranean back in 2001.
The lowest weight carried this afternoon will be 9st 2lb and the highest 9st 10lbs. Hardly a handicap, more a conditions event, but it is still a fascinating race and no quarter will be given with such a lucrative first-prize. The stewards will need to be on their toes that is for sure.
My two against the field are Mekong and Mustajeer (3.40) with preference for the Irish raider who looks to have been laid out for the race since finishing fourth in the corresponding race 12 months ago from the same mark.
Trained in Ireland by Ger Lyons the selection has had a low-key preparation and I expect him to be ridden more prominently than last year from a good draw in stall two. The each-way selection is 16/1 at BetVictor who are betting each way five places.
The opening Group 3 Strensall Stakes can see last year’s Cambridgeshire winner Wissahickon (1.50) make a winning return to turf having spent a lucrative winter on the all-weather before disappointing in the Winter Derby – not Frankie Dettori’s finest hour – back in the spring.
The selection – 2/1 from 13/8 at BetVictor – was pulled out of a recent run at Newbury on account of the heavy ground, but there’s no such concerns this afternoon.
There are several potential improvers for the step up to 1m 6f in the Melrose Handicap for the classic generation including market leader First In Line.
The each way vote, however, goes to Starczweski (2.25) who improved for the step up to today’s trip when scoring at Chelmsford last time and a 6lbs rise should not prevent the selection from running a big race from the foot of the weights. Hollie Doyle keeps the mount on David Simcock’s gelding who is 12/1.
The Group 2 City Of York Stakes is a cracker with multiple Group 1 winner Laurens taking on the boys under a 5lbs penalty for winning the Prix Rothschild at Deauville on her last start. Sir Dancealot will be more at home on this surface than he was at Newbury in the Hungerford last weekend, but he carries a 3lbs penalty for his Lennox Stakes success. I am convinced seven furlongs is the right trip for Le Brivado although he ran poorly in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last time.
Back in fourth in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood was Joseph O’Brien’s Speak In Colours (3.00) who met trouble in running on the Sussex Downs and meets winner Sir Dancealot on 3lbs better terms.
The selection has an excellent draw in stall one and I feel connections can race him more prominently today safe in the knowledge that their four-year-old gets the trip.
The selection is 7/1 and another each way recommendation.
Last year’s Commonwealth Cup winner Eqtidaar has had his wind operated on since making a moderate reappearance back in the spring. A check of the market is advised.
Galway Hurdle winner Tudor City looks well treated back on the flat for Tony Martin and he is well drawn in stall three in the Valuable 10f handicap. He is worth more than a second glance but Forest Of Dean (4.45) could be another winner for the Frankie Dettori/John Gosden combination on the Knavesmire.
The selection ran away with a Goodwood handicap last time from a 7lbs lower mark and he looks a most progressive three-year-old. He looked a Cambridgeshire type when scoring last time, but connections are clearly not worried about preserving his current mark.
Note the yard’s Wissahickon won the Cambridgeshire from a mark of 107 last season. Forest Of Dean is currently rated 100.
Over at Goodwood and Happy Power finished fourth in the Sussex Stakes last time although I didn’t feel that was the strongest renewal of that Group 1 contest. Duke Of Hazzard (2.05) was an impressive winner of a Group 3 contest over course and distance in a fast time on his latest start and I feel Paul Cole’s three-year-old – 11/4 with BetVictor – can take this step up in class.
The form of Dal Horrisgle’s Gordon Stakes fourth is not working out well and preference in the March Stakes is for Mark Johnston’s Sir Ron Priestley (3.50) who has won four of his last five starts and won a valuable handicap over 12f here last time. Today’s additional quarter-mile is considered a plus.
At Newmarket, Moraawed (2.45) is clearly going the right way and he is only 4lbs higher than when scoring at Sandown last time. The second horse home on that occasion has won twice since and the handicapper may not have yet caught up with Roger Varian’s three-year-old.