Stayers’ winner proves himself a Marvel

DECEMBER last saw the Masked Marvel (Montjeu) gelding Teahupoo gain his second success in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, and this proved to be the preparatory race for his successful tilt on Thursday at the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle.

A winner in France, he has now been successful eight times over hurdles in Ireland and once in England. Last year he was beaten a nose by Sire Du Berlais in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

He will forever be remembered, if not always forgiven, as the horse who lowered the colours of Honeysuckle for the first time. He is one of two winners at the highest level for the 2011 Group 1 St Leger winner Masked Marvel (Montjeu).

Bred by Haras du Hoguenet and partners, Teahupoo is one of three winners from the Sassanian (Roberto) mare Droit D’Aimer, and she was a precocious type who was successful four times over jumps in France as a three-year-old. One of her other winners, La Haute Couture (Montmartre), was runner-up in the Grade 3 Prix d’Indy Hurdle in March.

Droit D’Aimer and her full-sister Miss Lordy (Sassanian) were the only winners from Mago Less (Saumarez), and Miss Lordy’s winners at stud include Alix Pretty (Le Fou) who was runner-up in a listed chase at Cagnes-Sur-Mer. You have to go back a few generations to find the principal performers in the family, all of which descend from Teahupoo’s fourth dam, Belgaum (Dictus).

Top Notch

Most of the stakes performers have been flat runners, including the Group 2 German 2000 Guineas winner Poetic Dream (Poet’s Voice) and last year’s Group 3 winner Ocean Quest (Sioux Nation), trained by Jessica Harrington, but the best runner has arguably been Top Notch (Poliglote) who was second in both the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle and Fighting Fifth Hurdle. His nine wins over fences were headlined by his win in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices Chase.

Teahupoo is from the second crop of Masked Marvel, which also includes the Grade 1 Grand Steeplechase de Paris winner Sel Jem and Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup winner Heltenham. His first crop had a single blacktype winner, Maskada, the Cheltenham Festival Grand Annual Chase winner.

Saints go marching in for Sir Alex

HAVING waited a long time to have a first winner at Cheltenham, Sir Alex Ferguson along with partners managed to net a pair of them within the space of less than an hour.

The bigger of the wins was gained with Protektorat in the Grade 1 Ryanair Festival Chase, following Monmiral’s success in the Pertemps Hurdle Final. Both share the fact that they are French-bred sons of Saint Des Saints (Cadoudal).

His Ryanair victory was a third Grade 1 for Protektorat, already a Grade 1 winner at Aintree as a novice chaser before adding the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock. Protektorat has career winnings of almost £700,000 from one hurdle and six chase wins.

Bred by Guy Charel and Isabelle Pacault, the nine-year-old son continues a family tradition that stretches four generations. His dam, grandam, third and fourth dams all produced at least one blacktype winner, and three bred a Grade 1 winner.

Protektorat is the best of three winners from Protektion, a daughter of Protektor (Acatenango), and his dam was a smart racemare who won listed races over hurdles and fences, both at Auteuil. Protektion’s half-brother, L’Estran (Linda’s Lad), won the Grade 1 Gran Premio Merano Chase in Italy for the fourth time. He and Protektion are out of a Grade 2-placed chaser in France, Lesoquera (Lesotho).

Her half-sister, the unraced Saint Vigne (Saint Des Saints), bred the Cheltenham Grade 3 County Hurdle winner Saint Roi (Coastal Path), and he has since developed into a Grade 1-winning chaser. Finally, Protektorat’s fourth dam, Cartza (Carmarthen), bred just a single winner, but he was Batman Senora (Chamberlin) whose six wins over fences included the Grade 1 Prix La Haye Jousselin.

Bred in France at SARL Carion EMM, Monmiral is already a Grade 1 winner of the Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree, and the best of three winners to date for the winning hurdler Achere (Mont Basile).

In the next two removes of the family there are six blacktype winners, and four of them earned this distinction racing in Britain and Ireland.

Achere is a half-sister to the ultra-smart racemare La Landiere (Synefos). Over the larger obstacles she won the Grade 2 Cathcart Chase at Cheltenham. She and Achere had another winning half-sister in La Feuillarde (Nikos) whose best winner was the useful chaser Drop Out Joe (Generous).

Monmiral’s third dam Asania (Ace Of Aces) was group-placed on the flat, and her 12 winning offspring included a minor stakes winner on the flat in France. However, she has been the source of a number of talented winners over jumps, her son Astronomer (Fabulous Dancer) winning a listed hurdle race at Enghien, while her grandsons include the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle winner Lough Derg (Apple Tree) and Turf War (Sleeping Car), a Grade 3 hurdle winner at Listowel.

Flemensfirth adds more Cotswold glory

A TREMENDOUS week for Flemensfirth (Alleged), headlined by the magnificent Ballyburn, continued on Thursday when his progeny recorded a double, opening with Grey Dawning’s success in the Grade 1 Turners Novices’ Chase.

This was an eighth win in 12 starts for the Grange Stud-bred gelding. The seven-year-old, €40,000 graduate of the Derby Sale, along with a full-sister Blanketontheground (Flemensfirth), are two of the four winners for the unraced Lady Wagtail (Milan). The crossing of Flemensfirth with a Milan (Sadler’s Wells) mare has produced one other blacktype winner, the Grade 1 Drinmore Chase hero Coney Island.

Lady Wagtail is from a strong flat family, stars of which include the Group 1-winning sprinters Cadeaux Genereux (Young Generation) and Ya Malak (Fairy King), but there are a few jumpers of note close up. Lady Wagtail’s half-brother Teaatral (Saddlers’ Hall) won the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Ascot, while that gelding’s own-sister Richs Mermaid (Saddlers’ Hall) also crossed successfully with Flemensfirth, producing the listed chase winner Two Taffs.

Alex Ferguson was not the only football manager to have a winner on Thursday. Unlike the former Manchester United supremo who owned his winners in partnership, Harry Redknapp is the sole owner of Shakem Up’arry (Flemensfirth) who went two places better than last year when winning the Grade 3 TrustATrader Plate. Over hurdles he was runner-up in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle.

Bred by Robert McCarthy at The Beeches Stud, where Flemensfirth stood, Shakem Up’arry sold to Marsh Farm for €28,000 as a foal at Tattersalls Ireland. He is one of three winners out of Nun Better (Presenting), who joined the broodmare band in The Beeches after she was bought for €800. Her family traces back to the Topham Trophy winner and Grand National second Churchtown Boy (Arctic Slave).

Golden run shows no sign of abating

THE Group 1 Derby and Prix de l’Arc winner Golden Horn (Cape Cross) features almost every other week on these pages, and it makes no difference whether this is during the flat or the National Hunt seasons. Golden Ace, bred at the renowned Meon Valley Stud, is the latest to make headlines, successful for the fourth time in six starts after she was bought for 12,000gns as an unraced three-year-old. Last season she concluded with a second place finish in a Grade 2 mares’ bumper at Aintree, and now she has won the Grade 2 Ryanair Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

As you might expect, Golden Ace is bred in the purple. She is a daughter of the stakes-winning Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) mare Deuce Again. The latter’s grandam Top Of The League (High Top) bred 10 winners, most notably Group 1 winner San Sebastian (Niniski), Group 1 Oaks runner-up Noushkey), and the dual German Group 1 second Chesa Plana (Niniski) who went one better as a broodmare, her son Alkaased (Kingmambo) winning the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris and Japan Cup.

McManus homebred

Seven lengths behind Gaelic Warrior in a Grade 1 at Christmas meant that Inothewayurthinkin was many people’s choice of a banker at Cheltenham, and so it proved to be. Bred by Noreen McManus, this son of Walk In The Park (Montjeu) is not the only big race winner this season for his dam Sway (Califet). Inothewayurthinkin is a full-brother to Limerick Lace (Walk In The Park). This Grade 2 chase winner at Naas is one of five winners from Sway who was a multiple listed winners over hurdles in France at the age of three.