THE focus of attention for National Hunt enthusiasts last weekend, ahead of this week’s marvellous festival at Punchestown, was on racing at Ayr in Scotland, and Cheltenham in England.

Just seven days after the Randox Grand National at Aintree it was the turn of the Scottish equivalent, and this resulted in an emotional success for the seven-year-old Kitty’s Light, a son of Nathaniel (Galileo) and the winning Refuse To Bend (Sadler’s Wells) mare Daraiyna. This was a well deserved blacktype win for the gelding, trained by Christian Williams, and his sixth career success.

Kitty’s Light has been knocking at the door of a big race win, and last year was runner-up in the Grade 3 Scottish Grand National, while other placed efforts have come in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase and the Grade 3 bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park.

The potential of Kitty’s Light was first identified by JD Moore, and the astute agent bought him as a yearling for just 5,000gns. That was in 2017, the year that the first crop by the Newsells Park stallion were three-year-olds. Nathaniel’s initial crop included his outstanding daughter Enable, and at sale time she had won both the Oaks at Epsom and the Irish version at the Curragh. He is now the sire of a Derby winner in Desert Crown, and four other top-level winners.

Hugely popular

Of course, we now know that Nathaniel is proving hugely popular also with discerning National Hunt breeders, thanks to his success in that sphere. His winners over jumps are headed by the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle winner Burning Victory, Grade 2 winners Concertista, Zanahiyr and Navajo Pass, and now Kitty’s Light has become his second Grade 3 winner.

On the dam side of the pedigree, Kitty’s Light is from a famous Aga Khan family, well known for its plethora of top-class runners on the flat, while the occasional family member has shown ability when faced with a hurdle or fence.

Kitty’s Light is one of a pair of winners from Daraiyna, and the best of her seven winning siblings is Dariak (Highest Honor). He had three trainers, including Paul Webber, before joining Tom Foley who sent him out to win a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Tralee. Daralinsha (Empery) is the third dam of Kitty’s Light, and she was a Group 3 winner. However, it was as a producer that she was to make a greater mark.


Two stakes winners among her seven successful progeny is admirable, but Daralinsha’s daughters have ensured she remains a force in pedigrees. She is grandam of the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club-French Derby winner Darsi (Polish Precedent), third dam of the champion three-year-old filly Darjina (Zamindar), successful in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches-French 1000 Guineas, and fourth dam of Almanzor (Wootton Bassett), another classic winner when victorious in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club-French Derby, and now a sire.

Go back one more generation and it is full of racing stars on the level, but there are also a number of blacktype National Hunt winners who pop up. The best of these was Shaneshill (King’s Theatre), and he won the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Punchestown, but failed to add a big one over hurdles or fences, though he came close when runner-up in the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Grade 1 RSA Chase, both at Cheltenham.

THIS year was set to be an important one for Eqtidaar, being represented by his first two-year-old runners.

That first crop is not one of the biggest, numbering just 54, but there was hope that he would make an impact. Before he has had an opportunity to sire his first winner however, comes the news that he has died.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, their spokesperson said: “Shadwell are very sorry to have to announce that Eqtidaar, our Group 1 Commonwealth Cup winner and promising young sire, has been put down upon veterinary advice following complications from a recent health condition. In addition to his impressive performance at Royal Ascot, the homebred son of Invincible Spirit was also a winner on his debut at two years, with other strong performances in stakes company.

“This extremely sad news comes as his first two-year-olds hit the racecourse in 2023; meanwhile yesterday his filly out of L’Ile Aux Loups sold for £120,000 to Peter and Ross Doyle at the Goffs UK Breeze Up Sale.

“Shadwell would like to thank the many breeders who supported Eqtidaar during his all too brief stallion career. He will be sorely missed by all those who worked with him.” While he managed to attract a reasonably-sized book of mares in his first year at stud, in 2021 and 2022 he covered less than 60 mares in total. Given that he stood at a modest fee of just £5,000, this lack of support is perplexing.

Eqtidaar’s first two runners have both shown signs of ability, Mistress Teite finishing third at Redcar, and a week later Between Me And U running fourth at Pontefract.

Group 1 star

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Eqtidaar is one of the 21 Group 1 stars to date sired by champion sprinter Invincible Spirit, a son of Green Desert (Danzig) whose other sons include Kingman, Charm Spirit, National Defense, Profitable, Mayson, Vale Of York, Lawman, Cable Bay, Shalaa and Magna Grecia, in addition to the sensational Australian sire I Am invincible.

Madany, the dam of Eqtidaar, was a speedy daughter of Acclamation (Royal Applause) and she won twice at two. At stud she is dam of three other winners, notably the young Mickley Stud stallion Massaat (Teofilo) who won the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury and was second in both the Group 1 Newmarket 2000 Guineas and the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes. He made a promising start with his first runners in 2022, siring half a dozen winners, and this year he has added two more to that tally.

Also worth noting is Madany’s son Mujbar, a son of the former Shadwell stallion Muhaarar (Oasis Dream), and he scored in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury at two.

Madany is a half-sister to seven winners, among them Dolled Up (Whipper), a Group 3 winner in France, and Zeiting (Zieten). The latter mare won three listed events in France and the USA before becoming the dam of three group winners, Combat Zone (Refuse To Bend), Royal Empire (Teofilo) and Scottish (Teofilo). This is also the immediate family of Precieuse (Tamayuz) who won the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches-French 1000 Guineas, and the UAE Group 1 winner Hypothetical (Lope De Vega.

Very comfortable

Eqtidaar was a very comfortable winner first time out of a maiden race at Nottingham over six furlongs, scoring by two and a half lengths, and in his only other start that season he was fourth to the now Yeomanstown Stud sire Invincible Army in the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park.

This pair met again in the Group 3 Merriebelle Pavilion Stakes at Ascot at three, and Eqtidaar ran a close second to Invincible Army, before finishing fourth in the Listed Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury. However, at Royal Ascot he showed his true ability when winning the Group 1 Commonwealth Stakes in a huge field of 22 runners, coming home half a length clear of Sands Of Mali, with Emblazoned third and Invincible Army unplaced.

All Eqtidaar’s starts were over six furlongs. In their Racehorses of 2018 Eqtidaar was rated by Timeform on 117, equal with Invincible Army and Sioux Nation.