ROYAL ASCOT: DAY 2 – THE FUGUE TOO FAST

Highlight of the second day at Royal Ascot was the ten furlong Prince of Wales’s Stakes (gr. I). The odds-on favorite was last year’s co-world champion Treve (Motivator), despite having her unbeaten record when going down to the redoubtable Cirrus Des Aigles on her reappearance this year. However, Treve was never travelling well, either because of the firm ground, or because something was amiss, and she could do no better than to stay on for third, behind the five-year-old mare The Fugue, and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) victor Magician. With the field being taken along by a very determined pacemaker, and on very livley ground, a new course mark was established.

The Fugue is by the 18-year-old, Danehill stallion, Dansili. He has been  firmly established among the top echelon of European sires for some time, and from his first ten Northern Hemisphere sired crops has 87 stakes winners, 55 group or graded. Although his sons including the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (gr. I) victor Harbinger, and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) hero Rail Link, as well as two-time Australian grade one scorer Foreteller, at the highest level his daughters, who in addition to The Fugue, also include this year’s 1,000 Guineas (gr. I) heroine Miss France, Proviso, Laughing and Dank, out-represent them 12 to six.

The Fugue is out of the Sadler’s Wells mare, Twyla Tharp, and is one of 11 stakes winners from 69 starters on the cross (nearly 16%), the others including group one winners Flintshire and Passage of Time. Twyla Tharp is half-sister to Summoner, who upset the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (gr. I) – at Ascot, but not at the Royal meet – and the Eclipse Stakes (gr. I) winner Compton Admiral, this pair if memory serves well, being about the best by their respective sires Inchinor and Suave Dancer. The family is that of Dansili’s grandsire, Danzig, going back to a fairly close relative to Danzig’s third dam, the Oaks winner Steady Aim.

Later in the day, Dansili completed a double through the medium of Muteela, who took her record to four-for-four when holding off the late charge of Pedigree Consultants recommended mating Queen Catrine (Acclamation) in the Sandringham Handicap. A half-sister to the Middle Park Stakes (gr. I), Awzaan, Muteela is out of the listed winning Zafonic daughter, Nufoos. She’s one of five stakes winners from only 23 starters for Dansili out of Zafonic mares (a mating that gives the three-quarters brothers Nijinsky II and The Minstrel), the others including group one Zambezi Sun. For good measure, Dansili also has a group winner from only five starters out of mares by Zafonic’s brother, Zamindar.

Run over the same course as the Sandringham, and for fillies and mares, the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (gr. II) fell to Integral. She is a daughter of the French Derby (gr. I) and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) victor, Dalakhani (by Darshaan). The dam, Echelon (by Danehill)a co-highweight in England and Ireland, included the Matron Stakes (gr. I) and Celebration Mile (gr. II) among her triumphs, and since she won at up to nine furlongs, it’s a little surprising that Integral seems best at a mile. Echelon is half-sister to Chic, who took two runnings of the Celebration Mile (gr. I) and was runner-up in the Matron Stakes (gr. I). The second dam, Exclusive, by Polar Falcon, won the Coronation Stakes (gr. I) at Royal Ascot, and is out of the multiple group winning sprinter/miler Exclusive Order (Exclusive Native). Exclusive Order has proved to be a very effective foundation mare, and she’s dam of four other stakes winners, the most notable of which are the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) winner, Entrepreneur and his  sister Dance A Dream, also runner-up in the Oaks (gr. I). Another daughter of Exclusive Order, Exclusive Virtue, is granddam of Exclusive’s close relatives, the Coventry Stakes (gr. II) winner Iceman (by Polar Falcon), and Virtual (by Polar Falcon’s son, Pivotal), successful in the Lockinge Stakes (gr. I).

The English and Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) form continues to receive reinforcement, and the latest came in the shape of Mustajeeb, who finished seven lengths back of Kingman when third in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I), and re-emerged here to take the Jersey Stakes (gr. III). Mustajeeb is by Nayef (by Gulch out of the great producer Height of Fashion), a winner of four group/grade one events at 10-12 furlongs.

The dam, Rifqah (by Elusive Quality) out of the Indian Ridge mare, Anja. There is no other black-type in the first two dams, but the third dam, Allez Les Trois, is dam of three stakes winners, headed by the French Derby (gr. I) captor Anabaa Blue. We can also note that Allez Les Trois’ daughter, Al Ishq, is dam of the Prix Jean Prat (gr. I) and Prix Jacques Le Marois (gr. I) scorer, Tamayaz, who is by Mustajeeb’s sire, Nayef. Allez Les Trois, a daughter of Riverman, was herself a group winner in France. She is out of Allegretta, which of course makes her half-sister to the near-legendary Urban Sea.

Nayef and Elusive Quality are both grandsons of Mr. Prospector, so Mustajeeb is a Mr. Prospector/Mr. Prospector cross. This version (Gulch/Gone West) is actually currently rated TrueNicks A++, Mustajeeb being the third group or graded winner bred on the cross.

The Queen Mary Stakes (gr. II) saw Anthem Alexander complete great freshman double for Starspangledbanner, who we covered in detail after the Coventry Stakes (gr. II) victory of his son, The Wow Signal. Anthem Alexander looks likely to remain a pure sprinter. She is half-sister to the good sprinter Dandy Man (by Mozart, a son of Starspangledbanner’s grandsire, Danehill), winner of the Palace House Stakes (gr. III), and sever times group placed, including a second in the King’s Stand Stakes (gr. II) at Royal Ascot. She’s also half-sister to the dam of the 2014 Abernant Stakes (gr. III) scorer, Hamza, who is by Mozart’s son, Amadeus Wolf.

The dam, Lady Alexander (by Fanfreluche’s brother, Night Shift), won the Anglesey Stakes (gr. III) and Molecomb Stakes (gr. III) at two, and she’s out of another sprint stakes winner, Sandhurst Goddess. The family goes back to another extremely quick juvenile, Fair Astronomer, who is also ancestress of Donna Blini (Cheveley Park Stakes (gr. I) and dam of Japanese superstar, Gentildonna), and via Lady Alexander’s fourth dam, Fair Darling, of the Golden Jubilee (gr. I) winner Malhub, and Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner, Deputy Commander.

Lady Alexander is one of 15 stakes winners bred on a Danehill/Night Shift cross, and the pair appear tighter in at least 50 stakes winners, including Lethal Force, who won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (gr. I) at last year’s Royal Ascot meet.

 

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