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Gutsy Godspeed prevails in Indian 1000 Guineas

By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)majsn1

[Link to video of Indian 1000 Guineas at end of post.]

Godspeed (Multidimensional – Almandine), despite wandering about a bit in the closing stages as she is wont to, held on determinedly by a neck to deny the odds-on favourite Maisha (Footstepsinthesand – My Pension) a victory in the New Hope Indian 1000 Guineas, Gr.1 today at the Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai. Almost six lengths behind the battling pair came Laurita (Ghostzapper – Champagne Cocktail), another imported ‘in utero’ filly like Maisha, who was just half a length ahead of Alexandra Mills (Ace – Caractere). The clock stopped at 1 min 35.52 for the mile race. Only one Indian 1000 Guineas has been run in a faster time in its long history of 73 years. That was just last year when Mariinsky, carrying the same colours as Maisha today, won the race comfortably.

Drawn 1, the usually front-running Godspeed this time opted to occupy a box seat on the rails, just behind the early pace. Maisha was drawn 16 of 17 runners but she was quickly into her stride and moved centre-field easily. Entering the last quarter, Suraj Narredu bustled Godspeed on the inside while Zervan cruised up on Maisha. They passed Laurita on either side and went after the long-time leader Polydences who fell away tamely. Narredu’s enterprise meant that Godspeed had a length’s break over Maisha. That proved to be decisive for Godspeed edged left away from the running rail and Maisha finished on well. However, Narredu out-rode Zervan in the final run-in.

Jockeys Mallesh Narredu and Pesi Shroff crossed swords many a time at Mahalakshmi during their riding days. Shroff hung up his boots ten years ago while Narredu followed suit a few years later. This year, Narredu has already won the Calcutta 2000 Guineas, Gr.2, with Quasar; Godspeed gave him his first Indian Classic as a trainer and he saddles the red-hot Be Safe on Sunday in the Indian 2000 Guineas, Gr.1. Shroff was looking to win his fifth Indian 1000 Guineas as a trainer with Maisha but had to settle for lesser honours. It was also the first Indian 1000 Guineas for the jockey Suraj Narredu, the trainer’s nephew, the owners Dr. Ram Shroff and Mr. Sameer Tapia and sire Multidimensional but 13th for the Usha Stud. Danehill’s son Multidimensional is, of course, the reigning Champion Sire in India. He has got off the blocks well this year, too, for his daughter Supreme Fairy had won the Deccan Bookmakers’ Golconda 1000 Guineas, Gr.2 earlier while his son Bold Majesty had bagged the Bangalore 2000 Guineas. Godspeed, Supreme Fairy and Bold Majesty are all out of daughters of Razeen as are several other good winners by Multidimensional.

Just after the day’s racing, Dr. Ram Shroff, in whose colours Godspeed ran, gave the announcement that he had retained his seat in the Managing Committee of the Royal Western India Turf Club, Ltd. whose annual election was hotly contested on Tuesday.

When the late Maj P.K. Mehra established the Usha Stud on the outskirts of Delhi in 1973, the first batch of mares that he imported included a grey Sea Hawk II (by Herbager) mare called C Major who is the fifth dam of Godspeed. Counting regional Classics also, Godspeed is the seventh Classic winner, all bred at Usha Stud, to descend from C Major. C Major traces to the great Sceptre through her daughter Maid of the Mist.

Click here to see the video.

[India is a Part 2 country for IFHA Grades, and her Graded races are listed here for informational purposes.The primary Indian Classics are the five contested at Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai.]

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International confusion

Last night on Twitter, a participant in the Japanese bloodstock industry tweeted a link to a Racing Post article about a Grade 1 race in Japan. Here it is:

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The race, however, is not a Grade 1 race by the body that adjudicates on such matters, the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA). The latter is a vocal and powerful organization whose heft to “internationally harmonize”—a favorite catchword for this crowd—has been felt here in the Lasix debate, for example.

The IFHA classifies the race in question, the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun, a dirt race outside the jurisdiction of the JRA, as a Listed Race (LR). However—and bear with me on the minutiae here—Japan’s races only became part of the highest level of IFHA classifications—a Part 1 country, as is USA, Europe, Australasia, South Africa, and parts of South America—fairly recently. Before that, Japan was a Part 2 country and its Grades were not internationally recognized and were listed by the IFHA for informational purposes only.

Below is the IFHA notation of the Zen-Nippon from 2007 when it was considered a “Japan Grade 1″ as opposed to an internationally recognized Grade 1 race.

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Here is an IFHA description of the Grades of Part 2 countries:

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Here is the current IFHA classification of the Zen-Nippon (2014):

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When questioned about the status of the race on Twitter last night, the Japanese participant, who agreed that the race is a LR by international standards and not a G1, suggested the paper should have “called it a JPN1 or domestic G1 but it isn’t wrong based on class of race.”

Which brings up yet another issue: that Japan is the only Part 1 country that apparently has local G1 races that, according to the Japanese participant, “carry G1 blacktype.”

So much for “harmonization.”

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Elusive Quality as a broodmare sire

Darley’s Elusive Quality got his 19th unrestricted black type winner as a broodmare sire today when Japanese-bred two-year-old filly Shonan Adela (by Deep Impact from Always Willing) won the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, the year-end championship defining race in Japan.

The Hanshin Juvenile Fillies is a 1600-meter race on turf, the surface on which 11 of the 19 black-type winners produced from daughters of Elusive Quality have succeeded. More eye-catching though, is this: eight of the 19 are grade/group winners, and each is a turf winner. Each has also won grade/group races outside of North America, meaning that the seven dirt black-type winners and one all-weather winner in North America are not of the same racing class.

Elusive Quality, a foal of 1993 by Gone West from Touch of Greatness, by Hero’s Honor, has a turf-oriented bottom side to his pedigree, and not surprisingly he won his only two black-type races on turf, at seven and eight furlongs, though he was placed in graded sprints on dirt. At stud, he’s sired more than 100 black type winners in two hemispheres (he’s shuttled to Australia and Brazil) on all surfaces, including the Derby hero Smarty Jones, champion female sprinter Maryfield, and Met Mile, Woodward, Florida Derby, and Donn winner Quality Road. But those three are his only G1 winners on dirt from a total of 13 that includes three top Brazilian three-year-olds of 2014.

It appears, then, that Elusive Quality’s daughters are following his example, with the cream rising on turf. And they’re coming on late, too.

As recently as 2009, Elusive Quality hadn’t been represented by a single black type winner as a broodmare sire when Shonan Adela’s breeder, Shimokobe Farm, paid $310,000 for Always Willing, in foal to Hard Spun, at the Keeneland November sale.

Since, the best produce of his daughters are No Nay Never (winner of the G1 Prix Morny in France); Shooting to Win (G1 Beck Caulfield Guineas in Australia); Guelph (G1 1000 Guineas at Caulfield plus three other G1 wins in Australia); and now Shonan Adela in Japan.

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The Speightstown effect

This post was originally published at werkhorse.com
Munnings, a first-crop sire by Speightstown at Ashford Stud for Coolmore, had two stakes winners a week ago, bringing his total to three so far as he makes a late-season impression with his first two-year-olds. He already has an impressive 25 winners—tops in North America among freshman sires—and coupled with the 14 first-crop winners in Europe for Lord Shanakill, another son of Speightstown, they are shining the spotlight on their sire’s abilities as a potential sire maker, particularly of early-developing stock. This wasn’t Speightstown’s own profile, but it may bode well for his other young sons at stud waiting in the wings, such as Central Banker, Haynesfield, Jersey Town, and Poseidon’s Warrior.

By Gone West from Silken Cat, by Storm Cat, Speightstown, a foal of 1998, was a $2 million yearling from a family that included several good two-year-old stakes winners (SWs). His dam, for instance, won all three of her starts at two, including the 1 1/16-mile Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine, and raced only once more at three. Silken Cat’s half-sister Meadow Silk (by Meadowlake) produced the two-year-old SW Run Production (by Saint Ballado), a winner of three of five starts at two and a good regional sire in Louisiana. Further back in the family, there’s Copernica (by Nijinsky), a two-time G1 winner at two, and her son Crusader Sword (by Damascus), also a G1 winner at two.

Moreover, Speightstown’s broodmare sire, Storm Cat, won three of six starts, including a G1, at two, and he wasn’t much at three. Because Gone West and Storm Cat were produced from Secretariat mares, Speightstown, a copper chestnut, is inbred 3×4 to that iconic chestnut who was Horse of the Year at two in addition to his considerable exploits at three.

With that in mind, consider this: Speightstown was last in his only start at two (“raced greenly, tired,” says the chart of the $2.45-1 favorite), was plagued by injuries thoughout his career (didn’t race from 8/3/2001 at three when hurt as runner-up in the G2 Amesterdam to 5/9/2003 at five), but nevertheless blossomed as a top-class older horse, winning five of six starts at six, including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, two other graded races, and the Eclipse Award for champion sprinter.

Speightstown, a muscular, compact, and attractive horse, entered stud in 2005 at WinStar for a $40,000 fee, where it remained until dropping to $35,000 in 2009 and 2010 during the first two years of the global recession.

Now, if you’d thought that Speightstown would revert back to pedigree and sire top- class two-year-olds or early season three-year-olds because the only reason he himself wasn’t one was due to the injuries, you were wrong.

Take a look at the records of his 11 G1 winners to date and a distinct pattern—one similar to his own racing record—emerges.

Speightstown had five first-crop G1 winners (foals of 2006) but none of them won their top-level races before July of their three-year-old seasons and most won at four and up. Most were sprinters or milers like him.

*Reynaldothewizard won the Dubai Golden Shaheen at seven in 2013.
*Haynesfield won the Jockey Club Gold at four in 2010.
*Lord Shanakill won the Prix Jean Prat at three in 2009, in July.
*Jersey Town won the Cigar Mile at four in 2010.
*Mona de Momma won the Humana Distaff at four in 2010.

Speightstown didn’t have any G1 winners in his second crop, and only one from his third crop (foals of 2008).

*Poseidon’s Warrior won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at four in 2012.

Speightstown had three G1 winners in his fourth crop (foals of 2009).

*Golden Ticket won Travers at three in late August in 2012.
*Dance to Bristol won the Ballerina at four in 2013.
*Argentine-bred She’s Happy won the Estrellas Sprint at the end of the SH year at three in 2013, in June.

Speightstown has had two G1 winners to date from his fifth crop (foals of 2010).

*Seek Again won the Hollywood Derby at three at the end of the year in 2013.*Lighthouse Bay won the Prioress at three in 2013, in late July.

So, no two-year-old G1 winners for Speightstown, and none before July at three, around the time Speightstown himself first hit the board in a stakes race, running second to City Zip in the Amsterdam in early August of his three-year-old season.

In 2011 and 2012, with the G1 winners coming, Speightstown’s fee went back up, to $50,000, and in 2013 it was $60,000. In 2014 and 2015, his fee was and is $80,000—double that of his initial fee.

What all this means for Munnings—and Lord Shanakill in Ireland—is that perhaps the best is still to come. Despite selling for $1.7 million as a two-year-old, Munnings didn’t win his first stakes race until June of his three-year-old season, in the G2 Woody Stephens, and he also won a G2 race at four. Even considering the two-year-old successes of his first crop, he may also be influenced by the Speightstown effect.

Munnings stands for $10,000 in 2015.

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Bloodstock news from Twitter: 12/7/2014

First-crop sire Munnings on a roll:

Leading first-crop European sires:

Yoshida battle at Arqana:

New stakes winner for Into Mischief:

Journeyman Stud Open House Saturday:

New Sires for 2015:

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Amazing Grace slams Signature Indian St. Leger field

majsnBy Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

[Indian St. Leger video below] Dr. Vijay Mallya’s Amazing Grace (Hurricane Run – Efrhina[IRE] by Woodman) slammed champion Alaindair (Multidimensional- God’s Grace) by seven long lengths without breaking into a sweat to win the Signature Indian St. Leger, Gr.1 at Pune on Sunday. They say “it’s better to travel hopefully than arrive” and while all those who looked forward to a thrilling contest between the filly and the gelding would be disappointed, most were elated at the unveiling of a new star.

Coming into this race, Alaindair had won five Gr.1 races including the rare treble of the Kingfisher Derby Bangalore, the McDowell Signature Indian Derby, and the President of India Gold Cup, the last of them three weeks ago. Amazing Grace, on the other hand, had yet to win a Gr.1 race though she was on a sparkling upward curve that saw her unbeaten in her last six starts. Alaindair had not tasted defeat under Y.S. Srinath and the filly has only been ridden by Trevor Patel so the main contenders had their favourite riders on board. There were two other runners — Starry Eyes and Montreal — both hailing from the same yard.

Alaindair found himself in front and fighting for his head till, soon after crossing the winning post for the first time, Starry Eyes shot ahead as they swung right handed, and led by a street down the backstretch. Starry Eyes was reeled in as they approached the final turn and Alaindair was first into the straight. Before his supporters could shout his name, Amazing Grace had passed him in the twinkling of an eye and it was a procession thereafter. The final verdict was 7l, dist and dist and the time of 2.59.83 was good but not exceptional.

This was a second Indian Classic victory for Trevor Patel — he had earlier won the Indian 1000 Guineas, Gr.1 — and the decision to persist with him is paying handsome dividends. It was also the second Indian St. Leger for trainer Pesi Shroff, third for the Kunigal Stud and the fourth for the owner. Dr. Mallya’s first winner of the race — Adler — won a race in the U.S.A.; his second — Saddle Up — raced with distinction in Malaysia-Singapore and Hong Kong while the third — Storm Again — died before he could venture abroad. Amazing Grace neither has a worthy foe in India nor a suitable mate and one would dearly like her to spread her wings, perhaps in USA.

Amazing Grace’s dam Efrhina was purchased for 30,000 euros at Goffs November 2009 sale in foal to Hurricane Run. The son of Montjeu started his stud career at Coolmore but now stands in Germany after failing to come up to expectations. He does, though, have Ectot, winner of the Prix Niel, Gr.2 and among the well-backed ones in the ante-post betting for next Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Efrhina won four races from 2200 to 2800 m. in England but the attraction to Zeyn Mirza, Dr. Mallya’s racing manager, was the fact that she was inbred to La Troienne with half-sisters Playmate and Special Account 2×4. Amazing Grace herself has half-brothers Bold Reason and Never Bend 5×4. Incidentally, the Arc hopeful Ectot has Bold Reason and Never Bend 5×5!

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Mushka fam has ties to big prices, stamina, Darley

The Bernardini filly from Mushka that topped the first day of Keeneland September at $1.2 million has long ties to big commercial prices at Kentucky auctions stretching back to the 1980s. Price is usually tied to performance, and there’s plenty of high-class classic form in this family tracing back to the 1976 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Bold Forbes, a brother to Mushka’s fourth dam, Priceless Fame—a mare purchased by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley for a world record price of $6 million in 1984. Some of this is not readily apparent in the reading of the catalog page.

Consider:

Mushka, a first-crop daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker from Sluice, by Seeking the Gold, herself was a $1.6 million Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase by Zayat Stables in 2006. Two years later, in the midst of reported financial turmoil, Zayat sold her as a G2 winner to Elizabeth Moran’s Brushwood Stable for $2.4 million as a racing/broodmare prospect at the Keeneland November sale, and the following year she became a G1 winner for her new owner. She acted on dirt, turf, and all-weather, and she was a two-turn racehorse.

Brushwood sold her first foal, a Distorted Humor colt, for $1.65 million to Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Estate Company at the Keeneland September sale of 2012. Subsequently named Heyaarat and now three, the colt recently won a maiden race at Belmont in his fourth start over 1 1/4 miles on turf, reflecting the essence of this family: stamina on all surfaces.

Take a look at the high-class stamina sires stacked upon each other through the tail-female line of descent to Priceless Fame: the $1.2 million yearling is by Belmont winner and stamina influence A.P. Indy’s son Bernardini, a Preakness winner; Mushka is by Belmont winner Empire Maker, a son of Derby winner Unbridled; Sluice, Mushka’s dam, is by Seeking the Gold, who stayed 1 1/4 miles; Sluice’s dam is Lakeway, by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew; Lakeway’s dam Milliardaire is by Alydar, runner-up in the Triple Crown; and Milliardaire is from Priceless Fame, the sister to Bold Forbes.

Sheikh Mohammed was in the early stages of the Darley operation when he purchased Priceless Fame for $6 million in 1984, but he did so as he’d won the G1 William Hill Futurity with her Grey Dawn son Dunbeath in 1982—the same year the mare’s Alydar yearling Saratoga Six made $2.2 million at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale; subsequently, in the summer of 1984, Alydar’s yearling filly Milliardaire made $2.7 million.

Sheikh Mohammed didn’t have much luck breeding from Priceless Fame after he purchased her, getting only one winner from seven foals. Her last foal, however, was the Machiavellian mare Headline, who produced the A.P. Indy filly Jilbab—winner of the 12-furlong G1 Coaching Club American Oaks for Godolphin in 2002.

Milliardaire, who’d been purchased for $2.7 million by Mike Rutherford, got the multiple G1 winner Lakeway, a daughter of A.P. Indy’s sire, Seattle Slew. Rutherford raced Lakeway himself but sold Milliardaire’s last foal, an A.P. Indy colt named Monarchoftheglen, to Demi O’Byrne on behalf of Coolmore for $1.5 million.

Sluice, Lakeway’s daughter by Seeking the Gold, was bred and sold by Rutherford for $1.5 million to Guy and Diane Snowden at the Keeneland July sale of 1999.

The Snowdens bred and sold Mushka from Sluice for $1.6 million as well as her 2011 brother Prominence, purchased for $1.1 million by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.

 

 

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