Given the international nature of the event, there couldn’t have been a much more appropriate winner of the Dubai World Cup (gr. I) than Animal Kingdom (TrueNicks A++). Representing Australia – where he’s headed to stud for the second half of the year – he is U.S.-trained and foaled, by a Brazilian-bred sire, from a German mare, whose family arrived in that country via Hungary.
Animal Kingdom’s sire, Leroidesanimaux started only three times in Brazil, for a maiden win and a third in a grade one, but won won eight of ten starts in the U.S., earning a title as Champion Turf Horse as a five-year-old. He was a graded winner from 6½ to 8½ furlongs, his victories including the Atto Mile (gr. I) and Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. I). He is by Candy Ride, a Blushing Groom son who never won a stakes, but did get second in the French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I), moved up from third on a dq. Candy Ride was a very successful sire in South America, and he’s previously appeared in the sire line of a Dubai World Cup (gr. I) winner in the shape of his son, Invasor.
Animal Kingdom’s dam, Dalicia, was a smart performer in her native county, winning the Gr. 3 Preis der Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe at 11 furlongs, and the ten furlong Professor Hans Merkt-Rennen. She is by Acatenango (by German Derby winner, and outstanding sire, Surumu), a three-time Horse of the Year in Germany, whose triumphs included the German Derby (gr. I), Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (gr. I), the Grosser Preis von Berlin (gr. I), and back-to-back renewals of the Grosser Preis von Baden (gr. I). Subsequently Acatenango became a highly-successful sire, his offspring winning three German Derbies and a French Derby. Dalicia’s full-sister, Darwinia, is dam of the Black Sam Bellamy mare, Daveron, a listed winner in Germany, who also carried same Team Valor colours as Animal Kingdom, and gave her owners a remarkable double by taking the Beaugay Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park, on the same afternoon as Animal Kingdom’s Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory.
Dynamis, the dam of Dalicia is by Dancing Brave (by Lyphard), and is half-sister to both Champion German Two-Year-Old Filly Desidera, and to German 1,000 Guineas (gr. I) victress Diacada. The third dam, Diasprina, was another juvenile champion in German, and the female line has been a very solid one in Germany for several generations. The sixth dam was foaled in Hungary, where the family arrived from England in the early 1900s, and goes back to a mare called Scene (1895), a fairly close relative to Bromus, the dam of Phalaris (the horse to whom the majority of the breed now trace in male-line).
Animal Kingdom is a product of the Blushing Groom/Acatenango cross that has already produced three stakes winners from only 12 starters. The closest duplication in the pedigree is to Northern Dancer’s son, Lyphard. He is a Nearco/Court Martial (Fair Trial) cross, and Blushing Groom is bred on a cross of Nearco with Wild Risk (a horse who does very well with Court Martial), with a dam by Fair Trial’s genetic relative, Tudor Minstrel. For good measure, Aggressor II, the broodmare sire of Acatenango, is by Combat (granddam, a three-parts-sister to Fair Trial), out of a mare bred on an identical Nearco/Hyperion cross to Nearctic, the grandsire of Lyphard.
The Sheema Classic (gr. I) went to St. Nicholas Abbey (TrueNicks A++) – best known in the U.S. as winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) – who outstayed Japanese wonder-mare, Gentildonna. St. Nicholas Abbey is another star for the late Sadler’s Wells stallion, Montjeu, whose established himself as an outstanding classic stallion through such as Pour Moi, Motivator, Hurricane Run, Scorpion, Authorised, Nom du Jeu, Frozen Fire, Fame and Glory and Camelot. He is out of Leaping Water, a daughter of Sure Blade, who has also produced the Sunset Handicap (gr. II) and San Gabriel Handicap (gr. II) victor Grammarian. St. Nicholas Abbey’s granddam, Flamenco Wave is a daughter of the U.S.-raced Desert Wine, and won the Moyglare Stud Stakes (gr. I) at two. Perhaps because of the Never Bend strain that has done so well with Sadler’s Wells – he appears as broodmare sire of Desert Wine – Flamenco Wave proved to have quite an affinity with Sadler’s Wells producing Canadian International (gr. I) and Criterium de Saint-Cloud (gr. I) winner Ballingarry, and Racing Post Trophy (gr. I) winner Aristotle (she did also breed two-time group one winning miler Starborough to Soviet Star, and group winner Spanish Falls, a daughter of Belmez). St. Nicholas Abbey is the only group winner for Montjeu out of a Sharpen Up line mare, but Sharpen Up also appears in the pedigree of six other Montjeu stakes winners, including classic scorers Motivator and Hurricane Run. He’s also inbred 5 x 5 to Forli, through the similarly-bred Special and Home Guard.
King’s Best very nearly had a Dubai World Cup (gr. I) winner to his credit, his son Allybar having come with a nose and a short-head of taking victory in 2010. This year, he did get a major winner on World Cup, his daughter, Sajjhaa (TrueNicks A+), defeating South African star The Apache, to take the Dubai Duty Free (gr. I), her fourth win in four starts this year. A 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) winner, by Kingmambo, and three-quarters related to Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) victress Urban Sea, subsequently a super-producer, most notably of Galileo. Given that level of performance and pedigree, King’s Best has not been the dominant sire one might have hoped for, and he is now in Japan, after having previously stood in England (or Ireland) and France. That said, he does have eight group or grade one winners to his name, and in 2010 completed an international Derby double with Workforce, who scored at Epsom, and Eishin Flash, who took the Japan Derby (gr. I).
Now six, Sajjhaa, is out of the Darshaan mare Anaamil. The second dam, Noushkey (by Polish Precedent), was an accomplished middle-distance runner, winning the Lancashire Oaks (gr. III) and taking second in the Epsom Oaks (gr. I). Nouskey is half-sister to San Sebastian, who took the Prix du Cadran (gr. I), and to German highweight and multiple group winner Chesa Plana, who subsequently produced the Japan Cup (gr. I) and Grand de Paris (gr. I) captor Alkaased to King’s Best’s sire, Kingmambo. The fourth dam, Home and Away, is a half-sister to Champion Irish Two-Year-Old Filly Welsh Garden, and to Galaxy Libra, successful in the Sunset Handicap (gr. I) in the U.S. Home and Away is also a granddaughter of Mesopotamia, Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in England and Ireland, and ancestress of several major stakes winners, including Halling, a top-class older horse in Europe at around ten furlongs.
A very impressive winner at Churchill Downs on his debut at two, Reynaldothewizard turned out to be something of a disappointment over the balance of his U.S. career. Beaten around 7½ lengths when third as favourite in the Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II) on his second start, Reynaldothewizard’s only other placing from six starts stateside was a third in a Churchill Downs allowance at three. Sent to Dubai, Reynadlothewizard showed useful form as a sprint handicapper, and won three times in nine starts over three seasons (although he failed to hit the board in four starts last year). At the age of seven, and wearing blinkers for the first time, Reynaldothewizard showed considerably improved form first time out this term, defeating a strong field for a six furlong conditions sprint on January 24, at odds of 20-1. Similarly-equipped, the gelding then defeated last year’s Golden Shaheen (gr. I) scorer Krypton Factor, by four lengths in the Maban Al Shimaal (gr. III). The Maban Al Shimaal form turned out to be the key to the Golden Shaheen (gr. I), as Reynaldothewizard was chased home by the Al Shimaal third Balmont Mast with Krypton Factor third.
Reynaldothewizard is from the first crop five crops to run to date for Champion Sprinter Speightstown, and follows Haynesfield, Lord Shanakill, Jersey Town, Poseidon’s Warrior, Golden Ticket and Mona de Momma, as his seventh group or grade one winner. Holiday Runner, the dam of Reynaldothewizard, has produced another talented runner in Seventh Street, a Street Cry daughter who won five of her ten starts, including the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) and Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I), as well as being multiple grade one placed. A daughter of Meadowlake, Holiday Runner herself was a very precocious two-year-old, winning the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes and Fashion Stakes. She was the only stakes winner produced by either her dam, Dixie Holiday, or her granddam, the Anoakia Stakes (gr. III) victress Really Fancy, but Really Fancy’s dam, Native Fancy won a trio of black-type events, including the Hollywood Lassie Stakes (gr. II), and produced the multiple graded stakes winner Blushing Heiress.
It wasn’t easy, but South African Champion Two-Year-Old Soft Falling Rain took his record for seven-for-seven with a gutsy victory in the Godolphin Mile (gr. II), in the process becoming the first three-year-old to defeat his elders in this contest. Soft Falling Rain is a son of National Assembly. By Danzig out of the Buckpasser mare, Renounce, and from the same family as Leading Sire What a Pleasure, National Assembly was $2,500,000 yearling purchase by Robert Sangster. Sent to Ireland to be trained by Vincent O’Brien, National Assembly was prevent from running at two by a virus, and chipped his knee before he could be raced at three. He retired to stand at Highlands Stud in South Africa in 1988, and enjoyed a very successful career, getting nine other grade one winners, including National Emblem (of whom more later).
Soft Falling Rain is out of the U.S.-bred Giant’s Causeway mare, Gardner’s Delight, a minor winner in South Africa. She is out of Highbury, a Seattle Slew half-sister to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) victress, Gal In A Ruckus, and to the dams of Clean Sweep, who took the New Zealand 2,000 Guineas (gr. I), and Habibti, who was successful in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) and Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I), and subsequently produced the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. III) and Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) captor Eldaafer. The fourth dam, Quillopoly, is also fourth dam of two-time U.S. Leading Sire, Smart Strike.
National Assembly’s sire line completed a World Cup Day day double when Shea Shea (TrueNicks A), a son of the previously mentioned National Emblem took the five furlong Al Quoz Sprint (gr. I) lowering his own five furlong course-record. National Emblem was a grade one winner at ten furlongs at five – at which age he was Champion Older Horse in South Africa – but has sired several other grade one winning sprinters.
The dam, Yankee Clipper, who is by the Blushing Groom stallion Jallad, was a stakes winner at a mile in South Africa, and she is half-sister to Melting Moments, and to the dam of Leeward, both black-type winners in that country. The granddam, Georgie Gorgeous, is by Northfields (a half-brother to Habitat who enjoyed a very successful stud career in Ireland before being exported to South Africa), and is half-sister to South African sprint ace Fov’s Favourite. Shea Shea’s third dam, Queen’s Favourite, is inbred 2 x 4 to Bride Elect (winner of the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, and dam of the St. Leger winner Hethersett). The family has been in South Africa since the early 1950’s but goes back to a half-sister (actually closer, since the sires are siblings) to the 1943 2,000 Guineas hero, Kingsway.
In the two-mile Dubai Gold Cup (gr. III), Cavalryman had way too much finishing speed for his opponents at the business end of a slowly-run race. The seven-year-old is by the veteran Diesis stallion, Halling, who himself had very good form in Dubai, and also took back-to-back runnings of the Eclipse Stakes (gr. I) and Juddmonte International (gr. I). Halling’s only been represented by two group one winners, Cavalryman –who took the much shorter Grand Prix de Paris (gr. I) earlier in his career – and the Prix Ganay (gr. I) victor Cutlass Bay, but he’s been a very consistent stakes sire, with a total of 48 stakes winners, 26 of them group or graded.
Cavalryman’s dam, Silversword (by Highest Honor), gained a group place with a second in the Prix de Royaumont (gr. III), and is a sister to a good long distance performer in Double Honour, a listed scorer in Germany who was also second in the Goodwood Cup (gr. II). Cavalryman’s granddam, Silver Cobra, is a sister to the U.S. grade one winner Silver Ending, and half-sister to Fiery Copper, the granddam of South African grade one laureate Copper Parade. Silver Cobra is by Silver Hawk, and the mating of Silver Hawk with a half-sister to Silver Cobra’s dam came up with Magnificent Style. She won the Musidora Stakes (gr. II), but is now far more famous as the dam of no less than eight individual stakes winners, including Great Heavens, Nathaniel, Playful Act, Changing Skies, Percussionist and Echoes in Eternity.
Last seen finishing a troubled seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I), Irish-trained Lines of Battle (TrueNicks A+) qualified himself for an automatic berth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) – where he is apparently now headed – with a victory in the UAE Derby (gr. II). Lines of Battle is from the third crop of War Front (Danzig), a who did his best work as a sprinter on the dirt, who continues to show the impact of Forli and Round Table as the sire of his second and third dams, throwing a lot of mile/nine furlong ability, and a number being effective on turf and all-weather.
Lines of Battle is out of the Arch mare, Black Speck, a minor winner in France, and previously dam of the Prix de Sandringham (gr. III) winner Homebound; of Blue Exit, a Pulpit colt who was a listed scorer in France and grade two placed in the U.S.; and of the Grand Criterium (gr. I) runner-up Battle Paint. Black Speck is out of the Top Flight Handicap (gr. I) winner Andover Way, and since Black Speck is by a grandson of Roberto, she is closely related to Andover Way’s Roberto son, Dynaformer. The cross of Roberto’s son, Red Ransom, with Andover Way produced another close related to Black Speck, in My Annette, the dam of the stakes winning and multiple group one placed sprinter U S Ranger, who is very similarly-bred to Lines of Battle, as he is by Danzig. Of course this is also the family of Monarchos, Sunshine Forever, Brian’s Time, Air Shakur and Offlee Wild. As Arch, his broodmare sire, is out of a mare by Danzig, Lines of Battle has Danzig 2 x 4 in his pedigree, and he’s the second Danzig line stakes winner from only 14 starters out of Arch mares.