KODIAC (Danehill) has been at Tally-Ho Stud since he retired there in 2007 at a fee of €5,000.

Two years later, as is usually the case, his fee dropped to a low of €4,000 for two years, but then his first crop successes saw it rise, and that was the direction it continued in, going as high as €65,000 in 2019, and it remained at that level for four seasons. This year, his 17th season covering at his Co Westmeath base, it was reduced to €40,000.

In 2015, Kodiac’s covering fee jumped from €10,000 to €25,000, and this was on the back of the success enjoyed by his daughter Tiggy Wiggy the year before. She crowned her great juvenile season with victory in the Group 1 Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes.

Tiggy Wiggy was a member of Kodiac’s fifth crop.

It was to be a couple of years before Kodiac’s next Group 1 winners appeared, and all three have the distinction of being multiple winners at the highest level.

Best Solution won two Group 1 races in Germany and conquered Australia with his Caulfield Cup triumph. Fairyland became Kodiac’s second Cheveley Park Stakes winner, and Hello Youmzain won both the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Haydock Sprint Cup.

The eleventh crop by Kodiac, foaled in 2018, contained Campanelle, and she was successful in the Group 1 Prix Morny at two and the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup the following year. El Bodegon, born in 2019, continued the trend of Group 1 winning juveniles when he captured the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

Now, Kodiac’s current crop of three-year-olds contains his seventh Group 1 winner, Good Guess. He, like Fairyland, is out of a Pivotal (Polar Falcon) mare.


Bred by Cheveley Park Stud, Good Guess sold for 420,000gns as a yearling to Chauvigny Global Equine’s Sebastien Desmontils. He was acting for owner Hisaaki Saito, and in an interview after he bought the Kodiac colt, he told Gina Bryce that he had to go to more than he planned, explaining that “when you want to buy a good-looking yearling like him, you have to pay the price.”

While he has yet to win back his purchase price, Good Guess’ value has soared following his weekend victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat from a top-class field. This was by some way his best career performance, his previous efforts seeing him win and place at Group 3 level.

Good Guess is just the latest in a long line of Group 1 winners that descend from his fourth dam, Balidaress (Balidar).

Bred by the executors of the late Winston Churchill, Innocence (Sea Hawk II) was purchased as a yearling for 2,200gns at the Goffs September Yearling Sale in 1969 by Richard McCormick. The newly qualified veterinary surgeon had returned from a stint in America and decided to apply for a trainer’s licence.

Charles Haughey

With no owners, one of his first ports of call was to the offices of the then Minister for Finance, Charles J Haughey. Having made a successful pitch, McCormick left with his first owner and an order for a horse secured. Mr Haughey gave him a budget of £3,000 to spend on a yearling, but McCormick managed to spend somewhat less than that.

Innocence was offered in the draft from Airlie Stud, which was owned by Churchill’s aide-de-camp Captain Tim Rogers. She won twice at three years, at Mallow (giving McCormick his first winner with a full licence) and Gowran Park. Innocence was one of four winners from her dam who hailed from an influential female line.

However, at stud Innocence only produced one living foal, born 50 years ago in 1973, Balidaress. The second foal she was carrying, a colt, died after a road traffic accident along with the mare herself. Innocence was being driven to the Irish National Stud to give birth.

Balidaress was sold as a yearling to Richard McCormick. She was a useful racemare and won three times for Bill Brannigan, to whom McCormick sold her while she was in training.

Balidaress was placed on a number of occasions and was even placed over hurdles. At stud she became a sensation, producing eight winners, three Group 1 winners, and she is ancestress of many more.


Her trio of Group 1 winning daughters is made up of Park Appeal (Ahonoora), champion two-year-old filly in Ireland and England when winning the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Cheveley Park Stakes, Alydaress (Alydar), champion three-year-old filly in Ireland and winner of the Irish Oaks, and Desirable (Lord Gayle), another winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes.

The influence of Balidaress on the thoroughbred breed can be summed up by a simple listing of some of the influential runners that descend from her, not including Good Guess and her three outstanding daughters! In alphabetical order, they include:

  • Cape Cross (Green Desert), winner of the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and champion sire of many outstanding runners including Sea The Stars and Ouija Board
  • Diktat (Warning), champion sprinter, winner of the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup and a successful sire
  • Hot Snitzel (Snitzel), won the Group 1 BTC Cup in Australia
  • Iffraaj (Zafonic), won the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and a multiple Group 1 sire
  • Kukeracha (Night Of Thunder), winner of the Group 1 Queensland Derby
  • Que Fenomeno (Northern Afleet), a Group 1 winner in Brazil
  • Russian Rhythm (Kingmambo), won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, Group 1 Nassau Stakes and Group 1 1000 Guineas, and the grandam of Good Guess
  • Shadayid (Shadeed), champion filly at two in Europe, and winner of the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac and Group 1 1000 Guineas
  • Takaful (Bernardini), winner of the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes in the USA
  • Russian Rhythm

    This brings us back to Russian Rhythm, a 440,000gns purchase by Chris Richardson on behalf of the Thompson family as a yearling in 2001. After her outstanding racing career, she was perhaps, at first sight, underwhelming as a broodmare. However, she only had six foals, four of which were winners, one was placed, and the unraced Zykina (Pivotal) is the dam of a Group 1 winner.

    Zykina’s own-sister Safina (Pivotal) was the sole runner from Russian Rhythm to earn any blacktype. At stud, she has since gone on to breed a pair of Group 3 winners, Potapova (Invincible Spirit) and Marenko (Exceed And Excel), and last month her granddaughter Makarova (Acclamation) won a listed race. Another full-sister, the placed Barynya (Pivotal), is the dam of Zonderland (Dutch Art) and grandam of Positive (Dutch Art), both Group 3 winners.

    Another winning daughter of Russian Rhythm is Russian Finale (Dansili), her last foal, and she too has kept up the family tradition and given us a Group 3 winner, Bashkirova (Pivotal) who was successful in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom last year, beating her close relation Potapova.

    Good Guess is the best of the five winners to date for Zykina, and his siblings include the Group 3 winner Spangled (Starspangledbanner), and the stakes-placed, nine-time winner Jumira Bridge (Invincible Spirit).

    Notable landmark

    There was a notable landmark reached with the victory of Good Guess on Sunday at Deauville. He gave Pivotal his 30th Group 1 winner as a broodmare sire. What an influence he has been, and he can be described as the foundation for the successes enjoyed on a global scale by Cheveley Park Stud.

    Pivotal’s last two-year-olds are his 24th crop of racing age, and number about 14 or so. He died two years ago at the age of 28, after a long and distinguished career in which he delivered at every turn. Whether as a top-class stallion, a champion broodmare sire, or as a sire of sires, he has never let breeders and owners down.

    Some current facts. Pivotal is sire of 91 pattern winners, 163 stakes winners, of which 32 became Group or Grade 1 winners, His daughters have bred 30 Group or Grade 1 winners, while at least seven of his sons have sired Group 1 winners, notably Siyouni and Farhh.

    As a racehorse Pivotal won two of his three juvenile starts when in the care of Sir Mark Prescott, a maiden over six furlongs and a conditions race over five, and he repeated the success ratio at three, but this time his victories over the minimum trip were in the then Group 2 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York. He was champion sprinter of his year.

    Truly extraordinary

    At the time of his death, Cheveley Park’s managing director, Chris Richardson, said: “The story associated with the ‘mighty’ Pivotal is truly extraordinary, considering he was the result of the very first covering his sire, Polar Falcon, was given.

    “Thankfully, as a yearling, it was decided to retain him to race, rather than offer him for sale, as we did with the other yearling colts by Polar Falcon that year. Pivotal truly put Cheveley Park Stud on the map, giving owners David and Patricia Thompson their first Group 1 winner in the stud’s famous red, white and blue colours. Having covered a relatively small book of mares in his first year [at a fee of £6,000], his resulting progeny excelled and inspired at all levels, which they have continued to do throughout his career, both domestically and internationally.”