Day 1 at Royal Ascot was a big day for milers. The meet kicked off with the Queen Anne Stakes (gr. I) for older horses over the straight mile, and saw history made as U.S. invader Tepin (by Bernstein) became the first horse trained outside of Europe to capture this event. The five-year-old mare was prominent throughout, and battled away on the soft ground to hold on as Belardo (Lope de Vega) closed to within ½ length to make it a Storm Cat line 1-2.
Bernstein was at one time rated as a coming Ballydoyle superstar, but never recaptured his best form after a hard race in soft ground at two, although he did take a pair of group three events. With his shuttle crops he was a sensation in Argentina, where he was twice Champion Sire, and he also did well in the U.S. although he didn’t really have the consistent commercial support to really establish himself. From his Northern Hemisphere crops, Tepin apart, he’d been best known as sire of Karakontie – like Tepin a winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) – and grade one winners Dream Empress and Miss World.
Tepin is half-sister to another very smart performer in the multiple graded stakes winning millionaire, Vyjack (by another Storm Cat line horse, Into Mischief). Her dam, the Stravinsky mare, Life Happened, is half-sister to the speedy Disco Ricco, a useful sire in the North East. The second dam, Round It Off, a stakes placed daughter of Apalachee, is half-sister to graded winner Miss Slewpy, and from the same Maryland family that produced Champion Sprinter Smoke Glacken. Tepin is the product of a cross of Bernstein with a Nureyev line mare, and Nureyev appears in nine other Bernstein stakes winners, eight of them graded, and four grade one, also including Karakontie and Miss World. Since Apalachee’s dam, Moccasin, is a sister to Thong, the granddam of Nureyev, Tepin’s dam has a double of this family.
The St. James’s Palace Stakes (gr. I) for three-year-olds on the round mile brought together the winners of the English, Irish and French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I). Galileo Gold winner of the English classic prevailed over The Gurkha (Galileo), hero of the French version, who suffered a very lackluster ride here, with Awtaad (Cape Cross), who had defeated Galileo Gold for the Irish Guineas in third.
Galileo Gold is from the second crop of Paco Boy, a top-notch miler who took eight group events, including the Prix de la Foret (gr. I), Queen Anne Stakes (gr. I) and Lockinge Stakes (gr. I). Despite his excellent race-record, his pedigree was not exactly the stuff of which dreams are made, as he’s by the Green Desert horse, Desert Style, who despite being a very useful stallion, never carried much commercial heft, and his dam is by the very disappointing Sandhurst Prince. Despite this, Paco Boy made a very promising start with six first crop stakes winners, including group scorers Beacon and Smaih.
Interestingly, Galileo Gold’s dam, Galicuix,is by Galileo, and Smaih out of a mare by Galileo’s brother, Black Sam Bellamy, so suggesting an early affinity for Paco Boy. Galicuix ran just twice, both over ten furlongs, finishing dead-last both times, but she is half-sister to crack sprinter Goldream (by Oasis Dream, a son of Paco Boy’s grandsire, Green Desert), winner of the King’s Stand Stakes (gr. I) and Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (gr. I). The granddam, Machiavellian’s daughter Clizia, is half-sister to Mont Rocher, a listed winner in France and England. Clizia is out of a half-sister to Montjeu, a super-star son of Sadler’s Wells, hence Galicuix comes from the same sire and female line as that horse.
In the five furlong King’s Stand Stakes (gr. I), the much improved four-year-old Profitable won his third group race in three starts this year. He is by Green Desert’s veteran son, Invincible Spirit out of Dani Ridge by Indian Ridge, so is one of seven stakes winners on that direct cross. Dani Ridge is a sister to group three scorer Blomberg, but the family, which goes back to a sister to Champion U.S. Two-Year-Old Hurry To Market.
On the two-year-old front, Carvaggio impressed in winning the Coventry Stakes (gr. II) by 2¼ lengths. He is by the late Scat Daddy, who had previously been represented by brilliant Royal Ascot juvenile winners, No Nay Never and Acapulco. A half-brother to the Fusaichi Pegasus grade two winner, My Jen, Carvaggio is out of the stakes winning Holy Bull mare, Mekko Hokte (a Pedigree Consultants recommended mating). The second dam, Aerosilver, is by Relaunch out of the stakes winning Silver In Flight, from the family that also produced U.S. turf standout, Bien Bien, and other good horses like Spring At Last and Sharp Lisa.
The five furlong Windsor Castle Stakes fell to 20-1 shot Ardad. He’s another smart runner for Kodiac (a stakes placed Danehill three-quarters brother to Invincible Spirit, who has risen through the ranks from modest initial opportunities). Ardad’s dam is by the short-lived Red Ransom horse, Red Clubs, and is half-sister to three stakes winners, including Ruby Rocket, later the dam of the top-class sprinter Maarek.