Highlight of day one at Royal Ascot was the St. James’s Palace Stakes (gr. I) which brought a rematch between the upset 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) victor, Night of Thunder, and the third in that race, Kingman, who had since taken the Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I).
Night of Thunder (Dubawi) set out to make the running, and certainly proved his classic triumph was no fluke, but he had no answer for the finishing burst of Kingman. That said, virtually nothing else would have done either as Kingman scorched the last – slightly uphill – two furlongs in :22.6 seconds, which is according to the august Timeform organization, the fastest closing quarter to be found in their annals.
Kingman is by Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert, by Danzig), a top-class sprinter, who has been an even better sire, and has nine group/grade one to his credit, among them the French Derby (gr. I) winner and successful young sire, Lawman, Moonlight Cloud, Fleeting Spirit, Hooray, Mayson, and Vale of York, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I), and a stakes sire with his first crop this year.
Kingman’s dam, Zenda (by Zamindar) won the French 1,000 Guineas (gr. I), and is also dam of the Dansili filly, Remote, who took the Tercentary Stakes (gr. III) at Royal Ascot. Zenda is half-sister to Oasis Dream, a Champion Two-Year-Old and Sprinter, who is now one of Europe’s best sires. Since Oasis Dream is by Green Desert, his sire and dam are grandsire and granddam of Kingman, which underline’s Kingman’s status as red hot stallion prospect.
Kingman is one of 18 stakes winners by Invincible Spirit out of Mr. Prospector line mares. Invincible Spirit is a Northern Dancer/Sharpen Up cross, and Kingman’s broodmare sire, Zamindar is a Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer cross. Sharpen Up’s sire, Atan, is by Native Dancer out of Mixed Marriage, where Zamindar’s sire, Gone West, is by a son of Native Dancer out of a granddaughter of Mixed Marriage.
Another major mile event on the first day was the Queen Anne Stakes (gr. I), which went to last year’s co-world-leading three-year-old Toronado, who held on by three-quarters of a length from the ex-U.S. Verrazano (More Than Ready), with Anodin, a brother to former Queen Anne winner, Goldikova, in third.
Toronado is by Sadler’s Wells’ son, High Chaparral, and would vie to be recognized the best European runner among that horse’s nine group or grade one winners, with So You Think, who added five European group one events to the five grade one contests that he won in Australia. Other notables for the sire include Descorado, (It’s A) Dundeel, Monaco Consul and Shoot Out in Australia, and Redwood, Wigmore Hall and Wrote from his Northern Hemisphere crops.
Toronado’s dam, Wanadoo (by Grand Slam), is a half-sister to the Racing Post Trophy (gr. I) captor Casamento. The second dam, Wedding Gift (by Danzig son, Always Fair), was a listed winner and group placed in France. The fourth dam, Regal Lady, is a half-sister to the great runner and sire, Vaguely Noble.
Toronado is one of six stakes winners for High Chaparral out of Mr. Prospector line mares, the others including grade one winner Redwood, whose dam is by Woodman, a horse who like Toronado’s broodmare sire, Grand Slam, combines Mr. Prospector and Buckpasser. The Sadler’s Wells/Grand Slam cross has also produced grade one winners Admiral Kitten and Kitten’s Dumplings, both by Kitten’s Joy.
In the five furlong King’s Stand Stakes (gr. I), Sole Power, who won the race last year scored by 1¼ lengths from Stepper Point to credit their sire, Kyllachy, with a 1-2. A son of Pivotal, Kyllachy himself snagged a group one five furlong event in the Nunthorpe Stakes (gr. I), and has been a good sire of sprinters, and in addition to Sole Power, who also has a Nunthorpe to his name, they include the Golden Shaheen (gr. I) victor Krypton Factor, and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (gr. I) captor Dim Sum.
A half-brother to a couple of black-type placed horses, Sole Power is out of the Distant View mare, Dermerger. The second dam, Merida (by Warning) is a half-sister to Tychonic, a winner of six stakes events in the U.S., two of them grade two. A complete outcross at five generations, Sole Power is TrueNicks A on the basis of the Kyllachy/Mr. Prospector cross, which has produced four stakes winners from 55 runners (a 7% stakes winners to runner strike-rate, against a 3% strike-rate for Kyllachy’s starters out of all other mares).
There was also a pair of black-type events for two-year-olds. The Coventry Stakes (gr. II) went to The Wow Signal, a son of freshman sire, Starspangledbanner. An Australian-bred son of Choisir (by Danehill Dancer, also sire of Mastercraftsman, last year’s leading European freshman sire, and a classic sire with his first crop in 2013), Starspangledbanner won the Caulfield Guineas (gr. I) and Oakleigh Plate (gr. I) in his own country, and the Golden Jubilee Stakes (gr. I) – at Royal Ascot – and July Cup (gr. I) in Europe. Unfortunately, Starspangledbanner proved to be sub-fertile, and had only 37 first crop foals . Eight of these have started, and four have won, also including Anthem Alexander, who took the Queen Mary Stakes (gr. II) on Royal Ascot’s second day. Starspangledbanner is not completely done, however, as he stopped around half of the 50 mares bred to him at Rosemont Stud in Australia last year.
The Wow Signal is out of the High Chaparral mare, Muravka, making him another example of a version of the Danehill/Sadler’s Wells cross, that has already produced five group or grade one winners for Danehill Dancer line stallions, among them Mastercraftsman’s 2014 French Derby (gr. I) hero The Grey Gatsby, Ave and Obviously. Muravka is a half-sister to black-type winner Tolpuddle. The second dam, Tabdea, a daughter of Topsider, was a two-time stakes winner at two in England, and was group placed at three in France, and is half-sister to French 1,000 Guineas (gr. I) victress, Ta Rib.
The other juvenile test, the five furlong Windsor Castle Stakes was dominated by U.S. trained Hootenanny, who scored by 3½ lengths while recording a very fast time. Hootenanny is from the first crop of Elusive Quality’s sometimes brilliant son, Quality Road. His dam, More Hennessy (by Hennessy), is a three-quarters sister to the Prioress Stakes (gr. I) victress Cat Moves. The second dam, Dance Move, is a Capote half-sister to another Storm Cat line runner, multiple stakes winner Intentional Fever (by Stormin Fever), and out of the Ladies Handicap (gr. I) victress Dance Teacher. The cross with Storm Cat line mares was the number one recommendation for Quality Road by Pedigree Consultants in a report for the late Edward P. Evans, who owned Quality Road when in training, and whose Spring Hill Farm also owned More Hennessy at the time that Hootenanny was conceived (the mare was subsequently sold as part of the Spring Hill dispersal). The sire of the second dam, Capote, was also recommended as a very positive influence.