THE king is dead, long live the king. This might well be the appropriate message after two of last weekend’s Group 1 contests for juveniles, the champion-making Vertem Futurity at Doncaster, and the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.
Described by his trainer Aidan O’Brien as “probably the most exciting horse we have ever had”, this is some commendation for the Vertem winner Auguste Rodin, a son of the late Deep Impact (Sunday Silence) and out of one of the best daughters of Galileo (Sadler’s Wells), while the French winner, Proud And Regal (Galileo), trained by Donnacha O’Brien, led home a one-two for the sire.
In winning at Saint-Cloud, the Coolmore homebred Proud And Regal became his multiple champion sire’s 97th Group 1 winner, and this was win number 202 at that level for a son or daughter of the dual Derby winner.
Bloodstock agent Demi O’Byrne spent 220,000gns to acquire Proud And Regal’s dam Simply Perfect (Danehill), and she more than repaid that investment when she won the Group 1 Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile at two and the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes the following year. She was classic-placed, running into third place behind Finsceal Beo in the Group 1 Stan James 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
As a dual Group 1-winning daughter of Danehill (Danzig), Simply Perfect was an ideal mate for Galileo, and this very cross has previously been responsible for Frankel (10 Group 1 wins), Highland Reel (seven Group 1 wins), Kyprios (four), Golden Lilac (three), Noble Mission (three), Japan (two), Mogul (two), Roderic O’Connor (two), Search For A Song (two), Teofilo (two), and eight others who won once at the highest level.
That is not to mention how well the cross has worked with Galileo on mares by sons of Danehill, the outstanding example being Minding, whose dam is by Danehill Dancer.
Proud And Regal is a full-brother to Mekong River (Galileo), a listed juvenile winner who added the Group 3 International Stakes at three, the multiple group-placed Simply Beautiful (Galileo), and the winning mare Really Lovely (Galileo) whose six winners include a pair of stakes winners.
Simply Perfect was the best winner among four from Hotelgenie Dot Com (Selkirk). That mare never won a stakes race but was placed in both the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Group 1 Fillies’ Mile. Her half-sister Bianca Nera (Salse) went one better and won the Moyglare Stud Stakes before going on to become the grandam of the European champion Postponed (Dubawi).
Born four years after Galileo, Deep Impact was twice champion racehorse in Japan, won their Triple Crown, and has been champion sire many times.
His 12 wins included the Group 1 Japan Cup, and Auguste Rodin became his 57th Group 1 winner, and the third out of a daughter of Galileo. The others are the English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks winner Snowfall, and Coolmore’s first-season sire, Saxon Warrior.
Auguste Rodin is the latest Group 1 winner to appear on a pedigree page with plenty of others. He is the first foal of the triple Group 1 winner Rhododendron, and she has since visited Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) on three occasions, but sadly her colt born last year subsequently died.
Rhododendron won a Group 1 race in all three seasons she raced, the Fillies’ Mile at two, the Prix de l’Opera at three and the Lockinge Stakes in her final season. As admirable as her achievements were, Rhododendron was eclipsed by her full-sister Magical (Galileo).
Born a year after the dam of Auguste Rodin, Magical’s seven Group 1 wins, among a dozen lifetime victories, puts her among the elite trained at Ballydoyle. Aidan O’Brien has also saddled Highland Reel, Magical, Minding, Rock Of Gibraltar and Yeats to win seven times at the highest level on the flat.
Rhododendron and Magical, along with their group-winning own-brother Flying The Flag (Galileo) are the best of the five winners from Halfway To Heaven (Pivotal), a three-time Group 1 winner following victories in the Irish 1000 Guineas, Nassau Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes. She, in turn, is the best of 10 winners produced by Group 2 (now Group 1) winner Cassandra Go (Indian Ridge).