At the end of 2011, the French-based sire, Turtle Bowl drew some attention to himself when his son French Fifteentook the Criterium International (gr. I) to propel Turtle Bowl to a position as Leading Freshman Sire and Leading Sire of Two-Year-Olds in France. Promising as that start was, it is the events of the last two weekends that have made it clear that Turtle Bowl is a new French stallion star.

After opening his season with a win in the Prix Djebel (gr. III), French Fifteen went down by just a neck to the favorite, Camelot, in the English 2,000 Guineas (gr. I), on May 5, and on the most recent weekend, another son of Turtle Bowl, Lucayan, captured the French 2,000 Guineas equivalent, the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (gr. I). With two classic standard group one winning colts in a first crop of only 43 foals, which was conceived at a very modest fee, it’s clear that Turtle Bowl is a stallion worthy of some serious attention.

So, who is Turtle Bowl? Well for a start, he seems to conform to something of a recent trend in France, that of throwing up good sires with relatively unfashionable pedigrees, other examples that come to mind including Linamix (by Mendez), Muhtathir (by Elmaamul) and Chichicastenango (by Smadoun). In the case of Turtle Bowl, he is a son of Dyhim Diamond. If that name doesn’t ring too many bells, we won’t be shocked. A sprinter, who won group three events in France and Germany, Dyhim Diamond initially stood in France, before moving on to Spain, where he died at the age of 18. Actually, despite attracting small books – he sired less than 90 foals in his first five French crops – Dyhim Diamond did have some merit as a sire, as he was responsible for Turtle Bowl, and another group one winner in the Prix du Cadran (gr. I) victor Bannaby, as well as Milanais, who was narrowly beaten in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (gr. I).

A brother to the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) victress, Creaking Board, Dyhim Diamond was by the Northern Dancer stallion, Night Shift, out of Happy Landing by Homing (a son of Habitat). Night Shift won only a maiden event at Monmouth Park in seven outings, but he was a not only a son of Northern Dancer, but also a brother to Fanfreluche, the best distaff runner, and most important broodmare sired by the great Canadian patriarch. In the mid-1980s those credentials were plenty good enough to earn a place at stud in England, and although he began his career at a relatively low stud fee Night Shift became an extremely successful sire, with nearly 90 stakes winners, nine of them group or grade one winners , including Champions Azamour (himself a successful young sire), In the Groove and Daryaba.

Like Montjeu, the sire of French Fifteen’s Newmarket nemesis, Camelot, Turtle Bowl is out of a mare by Top Ville, a French Derby (gr. I) winner, and very good broodmare sire. His dam, Clara Bow, also produced Turtle Bow, a multiple group winner in France, and also runner-up in the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. I), and Age of Aquarius, winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial (gr. III), and runner-up in the Ascot Gold Cup (gr. I) and Grand Prix de Paris (gr. I). The granddam, Kamiya, comes from a well-know Aga Khan family, which has also produced French Oaks (gr. I) heroine Caerlina (out of a three-parts-sister to the dam of Turtle Bowl), and other group one winners Kartajana  and Khariyda.

Turtle Bowl himself was a tough, consistent runner, best at a mile. He did win the Prix Jean Prat (gr. I) at three – although against a somewhat sub-standard field for a group one –  but probably ran the race of his life when going down by a pair of heads to Ramonti and Jeremy in the Queen Anne Stakes (gr. I) at Royal Ascot as a five-year-old. Rather intriguingly, Turtle Bowl’s two group one winners have notable pedigree similarities. French Fifteen is out of a mare by Ashkalani (by Soviet Star, by Nureyev, and a parallel Northern Dancer/Habitat cross to Dyhim Diamond, the sire of Turtle Bowl). Ashkalani offers some reinforcement of the pedigree of Turtle Bowl’s granddam, as his sire is out of a mare by Venture (sire of the third dam of Turtle Bowl) and his granddam is a half-sister to Zeddaan (whose son, Kalamoun is sire of Turtle Bowl’s granddam). Actually Kalamoun is by Zeddaan out of a mare by Prince Bio, where Ashkalani’s granddam is by a son of Prince Bio out of the dam of Zeddaan. This is another Aga Khan family, going back through the great mare, Petite Etoile, to the late Aga Khan’s foundation mare, Mumtaz Mahal.

Lucayan is out of a mare by Grand Lodge, another Northern Dancer/Habitat cross, and his second dam is by Soviet Star, who we’ve just met as grandsire of the dam of French Fifteen. So both group one winners have broodmare sires bred on the Northern Dancer/Habitat cross, and both have Soviet Star. Lucayan’s third dam is by L’Emigrant, a son of the The Minstrel (and inbred to Northern Dancer’s granddam, Almahmoud). The Minstrel is bred on very similar lines to Night Shift, and Night Shift sired group one winner Night Style with a second dam by The Minstrel. Lucayan’s granddam is also bred on similar lines to the great mare, Miesque, as she’s by a son of Miesque’s sire, Nureyev, out of half-sister to Miesque.

European breeders are likely to be taking a far more serious look at Turtle Bowl when planning the matings for 2013, and there certainly appear to be plenty of options. It’s firmly established that Night Shift does well with Danzig, the great-grandsire of the dam of Lucayan, and you can expect the Green Desert (another Northern Dancer/Sir Gaylord cross) branch to do well here. The Danehill branch is also worth thinking about, with Holy Roman Emperor (granddam, Fanfreluche, the sister to Night Shift) intriguing. Turtle Bowl’s dam worked under Sadler’s Wells (through Galileo) and Fairy King, and of course Turtle Bowl has already scored over their three-parts-brother Nureyev. The Nijinsky II (three-parts-brother to The Minstrel) and Storm Bird (especially Bluebird) branches of Northern Dancer should also be effective. From the Mr. Prospector line, Zafonic and Zamindar are both out of mares by The Minstrel. Mill Reef influenced mares should suit (actually the Nasrullah/Princequillo influence in general, which also includes Riverman), and from other branches of Nasrullah, both Blushing Groom and Grey Sovereign (either Caro, who is in French Fifteen, or doubling up the Zeddaan/Kalamoun influence) are also likely to be positive.




  1. Joseph Dotters says:

    Hello Alan, I am called Joseph Dotters, I do not know if you remember me but I am the fellow who claimed to have made great discoveries in the world of racehorse pedigrees.
    The last email I sent you was posted on the 2011 and since then I have tried to get my ideas across to several other parties without success I might add, it now appears to me that one would nearly have had to devote their lives to the studying of greyhound and racehorses pedigrees to have a chance of taking this onboard, Alan what is so easy for me to understand seems to make to impact on other people.
    So what I now intend to do is to release a little book which I shall call Steps Along the Enduring Sire Line and I wonder if you could sum up my plans and offer advice on the viability of the project.
    Well I am going to say that after reading an article in the Thoroughbred Times in June 2000 called Drawing the Lines by Rommy Faversham which looked at why some sire lines fade and others flourish.
    I shall write that I thought to myself after reading the article that if I could find good reason for making certain animal’s specific starting points or animals that are thought of as being at the start or beginning of sire lines it might simplify my understanding of thoroughbred bloodlines.
    I shall say that I hunted for these reasons for several years and just when I was on the point of conceding that no such reasons existed I discovered the reasons that I was looking for and they indeed did simplify my understand of thoroughbred bloodlines and have greatly advanced my understanding of the relationship between the sire lines over the last 250 years.
    This has left me in a position to make bold predictions on how these bloodlines will unfold over the next 80 years.
    I shall write that only many years of extensive studying of the subject would leave somebody with the slightest of chance of understanding these reasons but I hope that the information that I shall supply in this little book will give the average man a sense that these reasons exist.
    I shall also write that 90% of al thoroughbreds alive today descend from the Darley Arabian and if the world is not destroyed by nature or ourselves by 100 years time and we still have horse racing as we have it now this same situation will still pertain.
    So I am sure that lots of pedigree analyst alive at that time will be thinking in terms of some branch of the Darley Arabian sire line as being the most enduring branch of this most celebrated sire line.
    I shall write that by understanding of the relationship between the sire-lines over the last 250 years has enabled me to know or maybe I shall write has given me clues as to the stallions that make up this most enduring sire line so far.
    I shall write that 26 stallions make up this line so far and I shall chronicle a little piece about 10 of them.
    I shall then compile sire line tables based on the stallions that I have found good reason for making specific staring points and seeing how these tables fluctuate over 23 years of thoroughbred evolution in Europe from 1988 to 2011.
    Alan over the 23 years from 1988 to 2011 15 specific starting points have been responsible for all the sires who featured in the top 100 sires in Europe in each of those years, so I shall give you 15 stallions and would you be kind enough to email me back your idea of what stallion in each of their tail male line could be considered a specific starting point and I shall email you back to say if our selections matched or not.

  2. Joseph Dotters says:

    The 15 stallions.


    Also Alan could you give me your opinion of my decision to release a little book centred on the facts that I have given you.
    Cheers Joseph Dotters

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