The weekend saw New Approach, become the first European-based freshman sire of 2012 to be represented by a group one winner, his son Dawn Approach taking the Vincent O’Brien Stakes (formerly National Stakes) (gr. I) by 4¾ lengths. This was the fifth win in five starts for Dawn Approach, who had taken the Coventry Stakes (gr. II) at Royal Ascot on his previous outing. European Champion Two-Year-Old and Three-Year-Old, New Approach, had a new standard for freshman at Royal Ascot, with Dawn Approach being joined as a black-type winner by the ill-starred Albany Stakes (gr. III) victress Newfangled, and Tha’ir, who took the Chesham Stakes. Given that he won an Epsom Derby (gr. I), it will one would expect some of the offspring of New Approach to stretch out, but Dawn Approach is out of a mare by Phone Trick, and exceptional sprinter, and generally a speed influence, and the seven furlongs of his weekend victory might be approaching the limits of his stamina, although another furlong might not be beyond him.
While New Approach is by Galileo – a Sadler’s Wells/Mr. Prospector cross – the second on the list, Henrythenavigator, is bred on a reverse of that nick. A son of Kingmambo – Sequoyah by Sadler’s Wells, Henrythenavigator was a talented two-year-old winning the Coventry Stakes (gr. III), but was better at three when he took the English and the Irish 2,000 Guineas (both gr. I), the St. James’s Palace Stakes (gr. I) and Sussex Stakes (gr. I). With that in mind, it’s very encouraging that Henrythenavigator already has five stakes horses, including the Phoenix Stakes (gr. I) winner Pedro the Great (out of a mare by Rainbow Quest). His black-type placers include the Prix Morny (gr. I) runner-up George Vancouver (dam by Danzig), and group placed Afonsa de Sousa (dam by Nureyev, so inbred to that horse, along with his three-parts-brother Sadler’s Wells).
Third on the list is Sageburg (a Prix d’Isapahan (gr. I) winner by Johannesburg), who has been battling for the leadership of the French freshman with the French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) victor Falco (by Pivotal). Sageburg, has four winners from 11 starters, headed by Peace Burg, who took the Prix d’Aumale (gr. III) at the weekend, and also has a group placed horse. Falco has five winners, including the Prix du Bois (gr. III) victor Snowday (out of a Forest Wildcat mare, from the family of Forest Wildcat’s grandsire, Storm Bird, and with both the sire and dam bred on the Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector cross), and Melodique (dam by Diesis) winning the Criterium de Lyon.
The Prix Jacques Le Marois Stakes (gr. I) and Prix Jean Prat (gr. I) victor, Tamayuz, has plenty to live up to as he is from the immediate family of Galileo, and classic sire King’s Best, not to mention Sea The Stars. The son of Nayef is certainly shaping up well, as he’s already been represented by seven European winners, including Sir Prancealot (out of a mare by the Storm Cat horse Catrail), who took the National Stakes and at the weekend the Flying Childers Stakes (gr. II), as well as Meiner Eternel (dam by Piccolo, from the In Reality line) a grade three winner in Japan.
In fifth place is another son of Galileo, the surprising Sixties Icon, who is defying a race-record that shows his most import victory as the 1¾ mile plus St. Leger (gr. I), as he already has nine winners, headed by Chilworth Icon (Premio Primi Passi (gr. III) and Woodcote Stakes), who is out of a mare by Acclamation (from the male line of El Gran Senor’s brother, Try My Best) and has the three-parts-brothers Sadler’s Wells/Nureyev 3 x 4, both crossed over the Raise a Native line.
The Criterium Internatonal (gr. I) and Eclipse Stakes (gr. I) winner, Mount Nelson (by Rock of Gibraltar) has seven winners, and he too has a group winner on the board, his daughter Purr Along taking the Prix du Calvados (gr. III). She is out of Purring, who is by the Storm Cat horse, Mountain Cat, out of a daughter of Memory Lane, a group winning sister to Mill Reef.
We’ve already mentioned Henrythenavigator, and his old rival Raven’s Pass (by Elusive Quality), is also among the top ten freshman in Europe. Winner of the Solario Stakes (gr. III), and third to New Approach in the Dewhurst Stakes (gr. I) at two, Raven’s Pass really peaked at the end of his second season, ending his career with wins in the Celebration Mile (gr. II), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (gr. I) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). His runners include stakes placed Lovely Pass, and the Stardom Stakes winner Steeler (out of a mare by Darshaan).
Ninth on the table is Spirit One (by Anabaa’s classic winning son, Anabaa Blue), a group wtinner at two and four in France, and successful in the Arlington Million (gr. I) on a trip to the U.S. He has 12 starters and three winners. Like Spirit One, July Cup (gr. I) victor Sakhee’s Secret (by Sakhee, from the Riverman line), doesn’t have a black-type winner yet, but his offspring certainly appear precocious, as he already has 44 starters, and 14 winners, making him the only European freshman with double digit scorers.
Two other European freshman with stakes winners to their name are the French-based pair, Literato and the under-the-radar Hannouma. Literato, a Champion Stakes (gr. I) winner by Kendor (from the Kalamoun line), is sire of Criterium de l’Ouest scorer, Alterite (out of a mare by Dream Well, with a second dam, by Anabaa, and rather unusually inbred to Gay Mecene). Hannouma never won a black-type race, but did finish second in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (gr. I). A son of Anabaa, he is sire of Grafelli (dam by the Seattle Slew stallion, Septieme Ciel), who has won his last three starts, including the Tyro Stakes (gr. III).