I have selected a number of unraced three-year-olds from Irish and UK stables that still hold an entry for Ireland’s first Classic due to be run at the Curragh on Saturday, 26 May 2018. Whilst I am not predicting that they have this latent Classic ability, it generally can be relied upon as an indication of the regard in which these unraced colts are held at home either presently or when in their paces as two-year-olds last season. From a personal punting perspective, the lower the profile of the trainer of these unraced colts and fillies, the better!
Amhran Na Gealai – 2015 c by Vocalised ex Oiche Ghealai (Galileo) J S Bolger
The sire was disappointing as a track runner after a good spring campaign at three: won three 7f stakes including Greenham and Tetrarch on soft and heavy ground. As Jim Bolger often claims, he is doing his bit to keep the Bold Ruler line alive in Europe with Vocalised. Bolger has been responsible for virtually all his runners to date with four horses rated in excess of 100 all trained by him including last year’s National Stakes winner Verbal Dexterity.
Dam is an unraced sister (by Galileo) to Soldier Of Fortune (2007 Irish Derby & 2008 Coronation Stakes), Heliostatic (2006 10f Meld Stakes) and Carraiglawn (by Rock Of Gibraltar: 2010 10f Silver stakes) out of 7f Listed winner Affianced who also won a Curragh handicap off 94.
The home-bred Amhran Na Gealai is the dam’s third foal with little or no information available on her earlier progeny – a 2014 filly by Intense Focus never raced – and her 2016 half-sister (by Dawn Approach) failed to turn up at Goffs last September.
I shall keep me eyes and ears peeled for stable updates.
Astrospeed – 2015 c by Choisir ex Angel Stevens (Hawk Wing) J A Stack
A €30,000 foal who subsequently delivered a decent £90,000 return on investment at Tattersalls in October 2016 just a few weeks before the dam’s half-brother, Obviously (by Choisir) won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita. In fairness, the ability of Obviously was apparent prior to this victory as after winning twice for Peter Fahey as a three-year-old he was sold to continue his career in the US and prior to his Breeders Cup win had already two Grade 1 victories in the bag.
This was a real uplift for a fairly ordinary pedigree perhaps best exemplified by the failure to sell Astrospeed’s dam (by Hawk Wing) for just €7,000 as a yearling. She subsequently went into training with Paul Flynn in Longford but proved of little account.
Astrospeed is her third foal and her 2014 full-sister seemed a modest performer for Richard Hughes while her Johnny Murtagh-trained 2013 half-brother also disappointed.
Receiving a Guineas entry is something of a surprise given the sprinting history in the family although Choisir’s best northern hemisphere representative to date has been Olympic Glory who won two Group One’s (QEII & Lockinge) over one mile.
Astrospeed is the second horse the Stack’s have handled for Hong Kong-based owner K M Chiu and his first runner, Thunder Speed, won a 2016 Dundalk maiden as a two-year-old and seemed to pay the handicapping price for that victory ever since.
The Stack Thomastown stables traditionally have their horses ready early each season so keep an eye on three-year-old maidens over the coming month.
Cloak Of Darkness – 2015 c by Iffraaj ex Cape Of Night (Cape Cross) M Halford
He was bought as a foal for £62,000 by John Ferguson and will race in the colours of Godolphin. This is a family that was closely associated with the Tsui family and John Oxx prior to that particular relationship waning in recent years. He is the second produce of a well-related unraced dam whose Royal Applause 2014 half-sister fetched just €1,000 as an unraced 4yo.
Winning siblings to the dam include an Invincible Spirit Group 2 winning sprinter, a one-mile maiden winner and a 7f Group 3 winner (at two) – My Titania (by Sea The Stars) at the Curragh for John Oxx in 2013. The second dam was successful over an extended 7f in a Tipperary Listed event and she was a half-sister to Dress Rehearsal who won a 12f Listed race for David Wachman before transferring to the US and winning a Grade 2 over the same trip.
This pedigree certainly has potential to deliver.
Dark Pool – 2015 c by Dark Angel ex Kermana (Selkirk) Darren Bunyan
From an unraced dam, being by the very successful Dark Angel encouraged Darren Bunyan – doing very well with Hit The Bid – to part with £60,000 at the Goffs Doncaster yearling sale in 2016. I’m sure connections are disappointed that he has yet to race although by the time he was bought his £50,000 2014 full-brother had only managed a couple of modest placings and he subsequently failed to improve.
His dam is an unraced half-sister to the very useful 1m-2m winner in Ireland and Australia Kerdem, out of 1m Listed Brownstown Stakes winning daughter of 6f 2yo Group 3 Anglesey Stakes winner in 1993, Keraka, for John Oxx.
A preview I wrote some time ago found Hit The Bid prior to him winning a Curragh 2yo Group 3 at 50/1 so significant race entries from this stable should be heeded.
Falcon Eight – 2015 c by Galileo ex Polished Gem (Danehill) Dermot Weld
Falcon Eight is a half-brother to Free Eagle (10f G1 Prince of Wales Stakes winner and Irish National Stud stallion), Sapphire (12f Group 1 winner at Ascot) and Custom Cut (winner of nine stakes races over one mile) out of a winning daughter of a 1,000 Guineas winner (Trusted Partner), is owned by Moyglare Stud so will need no assistance from his pedigree in search of success. He also holds an entry in the Irish Derby. Even without the impressive distaff line, being by Galileo he would be of major interest.
My only comment of a negative tone would suggest that it is not unusual for Dermot Weld (and a number of other trainers) to retain very high profile entries for unraced horses that often fail to appear on the track at any stage. However, it would be very interesting to see maiden entries for this colt from one mile upwards.
Jassaar – 2015 c by Dansili ex Rasmeyaa (New Approach) Dermot Weld
Weld trained this colt’s dam to win a 7f Leopardstown maiden and pick up a Group 3 placing over an extended 7f. Jassaar is her first foal. She was a €350,000 yearling purchase at Goffs in 2011 by which stage her 2008 Hurricane Run half-sister had just won the Group 3 one-mile Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown. Both Coventry Stakes winner Verglas and Kings Stand winner Cassandra Go also feature close-up in the pedigree.
Jassaar is also by Champion sire Dansili and owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum. Again, it would not be the greatest-ever surprise if this fellow never runs in public but he has a pedigree to promise good things if he does.
Mayaadeen – 2015 c by Invincible Spirit ex Rose De France (ex Diktat) Dermot Weld
The third unraced colt of a quartet housed in Rosewell House is the Invincible Spirit colt Mayaadeen who cost Shadwell €750,000 as a yearling. This was just part of an ongoing exponential, bonanza return on investment for the breeder, Irish National Stud, who bought the dam from Darley as a maiden 3yo in 2008 for just €55,000. Mayaadeen is a full or half-brother to four winners including Sea Wolf (by Amadeus Wolf) a winner of two valuable Curragh handicaps (rated 95 & 101) and Cable Bay (by Invincible Spirit) winner of two Group races over 7f. The afore-mentioned dam is a half-sister to six winners of 21 races and is out of the 1995 Haydock Sprint Cup winner. All in all, a very nice pedigree that is creating tremendous value for INS.
We can only watch and listen for any hints from D K Weld that this colt is something special too.
Mujid – 2015 c by Frankel ex Bethrah (Marju) Dermot Weld
Bethrah won the 2010 1,000 Guineas for Weld and Shadwell so the pedigree is once again top-class. Mujid is a half-brother to a winner in the US over one mile and Bethrah cost Shadwell €160,000 at the Goffs Million sale in 2008 and she is out of a half-sister to five winners.
As mentioned above already, it is not uncommon to see lingering entries for horses that may never run but it is illuminating to see the quality of potential “failures” that the top Irish trainers handle.
Aidan O’Brien retains just two entries for unraced colts which are well down on previous years’ experience.
North Face – 2015 c Declaration Of War ex Queen Titi (Sadler’s Wells) A P O’Brien
This colt is home-bred by Anne Marie O’Brien (Whisperview Trading) and is now listed as jointly-owned with John Magnier. The dam was extensively raced by Aidan for his wife and perseverance certainly paid off on when on her fifteenth start she signed off her racing career with success in a one-mile Listed event at Naas in 2005. North Face is her fifth foal and she has already produced two winners including the 2009 Dewhurst winner Beethoven (by the relatively disappointing Oratorio). Queen Titi is herself a sibling to five winners from the family of Henrythenavigator, Listen, Sequoyah and Saffron Walden.
Clearly, Aidan will be trying harder than ever to make sure that North Face is a success!
Prepare For Battle – 2015 c Declaration Of War ex Red Carpet Miss (Malibu Moon) A P O’Brien
A $400,000 purchase for the Coolmore Partners at Keeneland in September 2016 Prepare For Battle is the first foal of an unraced dam who is a half-sister to a one-mile dirt performer in the US. The fourth dam features a 9f Grade 3 winner who is a sister to a French 1,000 Guineas winner trained by Francois Boutin.
The sire of both Ballydoyle colts is Declaration Of War (by War Front) who retired to stud in 2014 after a career that featured wins in the 2013 8f Queen Anne Stakes and the 10f Juddmonte International. These 3yo’s represent his first crop from 2015 and it is interesting to note that his 2018 fee will be half of his original cost in 2014. His best runner to date was second in a French Group 1 last season (Olmedo). If either of these colts can prove to be very useful they would be a big help to the sire. Aidan has trained his best filly so far, Actress, who won the Anglesey Stakes last season and was third in the Phoenix Stakes.
The final unraced entry from the Irish colts’ Guineas hails from England and is trained by Amanda Perrett:
Cogital – 2015 c Invincible Spirit ex Galaxy Highflyer (Galileo) Amanda Perrett
Bred by Meon Valley who have a superb collection of mares, Cogital is a grand-daughter of Colorspin who won the 1986 Epsom Oaks. She in turn produced some fantastic winners such as Opera House, Kayf Tara, Zee Zee Top and Highland Dress. Galaxy Highflyer was born when the Colorspin was 21 and never raced.
Cogital is a sixth foal from Galaxy Highflyer although she has only produced one previous winner in the shape of Oklahoma City who cost the Coolmore Partners £675,000 and won two races as a 2yo (OR 104) and failed to re-appear thereafter.
Perrett’s owners parted with £280,000 to secure Cogital at Tattersalls in October 2016 and they will be hoping that he gets to see the racecourse in 2018.
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