A TRIO of stakes races for two-year-olds in Ireland, England and Italy were run during the past week.

Porta Fortuna (Caravaggio) won the Group 3 Naas Juvenile Sprint Stakes, her second success and her second start. This is quite a family success story, as the winner is trained by Donnacha O’Brien, was owned by his mum Annemarie when she won her first start, is a son of Caravaggio (Scat Daddy) who was trained by his father Aidan, and is the first foal out of a mare, Too Precious (Holy Roman Emperor) who was trained by Joseph O’Brien.

Annemarie purchased the third dam of Porta Fortuna, Kantikoy (Alzao), 20 years ago at Goffs for €10,000, and the attraction was clear. She was an unraced half-sister to the Group 3 winner and classic-placed Kithanga (Darshaan), and she had a short time before that bred the Group 1 St Leger winner and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up, Milan (Sadler’s Wells).

Kantikoy was a disappointment as a broodmare herself, her only winner being Another Nation (Revoque), a chase and point-to-point winner who was second in a Grade 3 hurdle at Cork.

The family has been saved however by Kantikoy’s unraced daughter Delicate Charm (High Chaparral), as she has bred four winners, two worth special mention as they are both full-brothers to Too Precious.

Last weekend Numerian (Holy Roman Emperor) was runner-up in the Group 1 Doomben Cup, a position he also occupied in the Group 1 Australian Cup. In Ireland he won the Listed Devoy Stakes at Naas, and in Australia he was victorious in a Group 2.

High hopes

Perhaps Numerian can go one better yet and capture a Group 1, while Robert Ng might have high hopes for the three-year-old Montesilvano (Holy Roman Emperor). Last year he won a Leopardstown maiden and travelled to France where he was less than two lengths behind the winner when third in the Group 3 Prix Francois Boutin at Deauville. He was subsequently gelded and his future career could eventually be in Hong Kong or down under.

Too Precious has been well mated by Aidan and Annemarie O’Brien’s breeding entity, Whisperview Trading, and she has a yearling filly now by Ten Sovereigns (No Nay Never) and a filly foal by Sottsass (Siyouni).

Winner of the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at two and the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup the following year, Caravaggio sired the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes and Prix Jean Prat winner Tenebrism, the Group 2 Debutante Stakes winner Agartha and the Group 2 German 2000 Guineas winner Maljoom in his first crop. His tally of stakes winners now stands at a dozen.

Expressed hope

A few weeks ago, I commented on a debut success for a lovely grey filly, and expressed the hope that she would become a Royal Ascot challenger.

Now I am glad to say that she has also won the Listed Marygate Stakes at York on her way there, following on from her six-length debut win at Nottingham over five furlongs. Bought as a yearling by Aguiar Bloodstock for 52,000gns, Got To Love A Grey is a daughter of Dark Angel (Acclamation) and is winner number four for her stakes-winning Layman (Sunday Silence) dam Regatta, both of whose successes were in listed races, one at two. Regatta was bought carrying her stakes-winning daughter for only €31,000 at Arqana.

Regatta’s grandam Robertet (Roberto) won the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville and was many times placed at group level, on one occasion finishing third in the Group 1 Prix Royal Oak. She later bred Punctilious (Danehill), winner of the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes, and runner-up in the Group 1 Irish Oaks having placed third at Epsom in the Oaks.

Got To Love A Grey is the first stakes winner from the 13th crop of racing age for Dark Angel. The Yeomanstown Stud stallion is nearing a significant milestone, as Got To Love A Grey is stakes winner number 97.

Terry Boylan

Meanwhile, in Italy Folgaria, a €10,000 yearling purchase at Tattersalls Ireland last year, won her third race this year when successful in the Listed Premio Alessandro Perrone in Rome. Bred by Terry Boylan, she is the fourth stakes-winning juvenile sired by Whitsbury Manor Stud’s Due Diligence (Ear Front), and Folgaria is the second winner for her Azamour (Night Shift) dam, Full Moon Fever,

That mare was acquired for €2,000 – yes, that’s right – through BBA Ireland carrying Folgaria, and now Terry Boylan has a yearling colt out of the mare by Highland Reel (Galileo). It was not a surprise that Boylan got back involved with the family as he bred Full Moon Fever from Hasaiyda (Hector Protector), a mare he purchased in 2009 for €20,000, carrying Glorious Protector.

A dual winner, Full Moon Fever is an own-sister to the listed winner Glorious Protector (Azamour), while their half-sister Hassaya (King’s Best) also clicked with Azamour to produce the Group 2 winner Amore Hass.

Soldier’s Call fastest out of the traps

DOROTHY Lawrence races for Clipper Logistics, and the two-year-old was half a length second to Got To Love A Grey in the Listed Clipper EBF Marygate Fillies Stakes at York. On her only previous start she was also runner-up at Newmarket.

She is still a maiden, and therefore not one of the nine first-crop winners sired by Soldier’s Call (Showcasing), himself a champion at two. All the boxes were ticked when breeders were looking in 2020 at the new sires at stud, especially if their aim was to breed for speed and precocity. Now, the Ballyhane Stud sire is delivering.

It is probably shades of odds-on that by the time you read this Soldier’s Call will have added to his tally of winners, such is their regularity of success. He has already notched up nine individual winners, eight in Britain and his only runner in Italy. With more than 90 two-year-olds yet to see a racecourse, and one in three of his runners having already won, we will be hearing a great deal more about Soldier’s Call as the season goes on.

His sire Showcasing (Oasis Dream) was a Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes winner over six furlongs at York at two who, in an abbreviated three-year-old campaign, came within half a length of adding another Group 2 over that same course and distance, the Duke of York Stakes. He had also been placed in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes. The grandson of Green Desert (Danzig) has become one of the most sought-after stallions in Britain and already has several popular sons at stud.

His Group 1-winning sprinter Advertise is off the mark with his first crop, ace miler Mohaather has his first yearlings, while the speedy Tasleet sired last year’s Group 2 Coventry Stakes winner Bradsell. Cappella Sansevero sired the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes winner Pierre Lapin in his first crop. This all bodes well for Soldier’s Call.

The broodmare sire of Soldier’s Call was Iceman, a regally-bred Group 2 Coventry Stakes winning son of Polar Falcon (Nureyev), responsible for the outstanding broodmare sire Pivotal, and his fourth dam is the Flying Childers Stakes and Queen Mary Stakes heroine Abeer (Dewan).

Outstanding effort

Royal Ascot’s five-furlong Listed Windsor Castle Stakes was the second win of Soldier’s Call’s career, and he went on to add the Group 3 Prix d’Arenberg in France and Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster before failing by a head and a short head to catch Mabs Cross and Gold Vibe in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, with Battaash half a length behind in fourth. This was an outstanding effort for a two-year-old.

Soldier’s Call short-headed Mabs Cross when finishing third to Blue Point and Battaash in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes the following summer, and then chased home the latter in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York. He was beaten a total of two lengths when fourth in the Group 1 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh.