N’GOLO Kanté is a French professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Chelsea and the France national team. Considered by many to be one of the world’s best midfielders, he joined Leicester City for a fee of £5.6 million in 2015, was integral to their Premier League victory, and the following year he joined Chelsea for £32 million and again won the league.
N’Golo is also a seven-year-old grey gelding by Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) out of the unraced Dame Again, a daughter of Danehill (Danzig). Now we all know how successful the Galileo\Danehill cross has been, producing Group/Grade 1 winners of the calibre of Frankel, Teofilo, Highland Reel, Japan and Search For A Song, among many others.
Over jumps it is responsible for Supasundae who had earnings of £770,000 and won three Grade 1 races, the Irish Champion Hurdle, the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown and the Aintree Hurdle.
Last weekend we saw another big race win for the cross when N’Golo landed the competitive Grade 3 Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, trained by Ann Duffield for owner Kevin Jardine and friends. In so doing he netted some £57,000 for connections, more than justifying the £14,500 that Jardine paid for the gelding last autumn at Goffs UK.
N’Golo started his career in France with Nicolas Clement, the youngest trainer to saddle a winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and after three placed efforts he won a maiden at Clairfontaine.
Despatched to the Arqana Sale held on the eve of the Arc, N’Golo sold for €100,000 to Harold Kirk and moved to join Willie Mullins. However, it was to be some two years before he made a winning reappearance over hurdles.
In fact, he won three of his first four starts over the smaller obstacles, culminating with victory in the Grade 3 For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan.
N’Golo looked set for a fine career, and lost little in finishing just two lengths behind Ballyadam next time out in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse. Sadly, it was pretty much downhill from there, and while the records how that he was also third in the Grade 1 Tickell Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, it was a four-runner race and he was well-beaten when last of the three finishers.
No real surprise that last year, after two disappointing runs on the flat in the autumn, N’Golo was sent to the sales, and there it was that Jardine got him. He has made five starts for new connections and his best three runs have all come at Haydock. He looks sure to give his owners some fun in the months ahead.
Aga Khan family
N’Golo’s full-brother Successor (Galileo) won on the flat, over hurdles and fences, while their half-brother, Ace Again (Ghostzapper), was a minor stakes winner in the USA. Their dam Dame Again is a half-sister to the stakes winner Daltawa (Miswaki), responsible for Group 1 winners Daylami (Doyoun) and Dalakhani (Darshaan), but there was plenty of evidence from the family that N’Golo might well prove able under National Hunt rules.
Daltawa is also the dam of Dawalan (Azamour), winner of both the Colonial Cup and the Grand National Hurdle in the USA, while another half-sister, Damerela (Alzao), has made a mark in the jumping sphere.
She is the dam of the Grade 1 French hurdle winner Strangely Brown (Second Empire), also a Grade 2 winner in Ireland and at the Cheltenham Festival, and she is grandam of the Grade 2 hurdle-winning siblings William Henry (King’s Theatre), another who was a Cheltenham Festival hero, and Sesenta (King’s Theatre).