The two-and-a-half mile Ascot Gold Cup (G1) may have long ceased to be as stallion making race – the last winner to become a major sire on the flat was probably Sheshoon who prevailed in 1960 – but it often provides an exceptional spectacle, and the 2018 renewal was no exception. Four horses were virtually even with a furlong to go before Stradivarius outbattled the exceptional French stayer, Vazirbad, to score by a 3/4 length.
Stradivarius is a son of the stellar racehorse Sea The Stars (by Cape Cross), who, if not quite the phenomenon his half-brother Galileo has been, is a very good stallion in his own right, with 47 stakes winners in his first five crops, 25 group, and eight group one, including classic winners Harzand, Taghrooda and Sea The Moon.
Stradivarius is half-brother to Persian Storm, co-highweight in Germany at three. The dam, Private Life, a daughter of Bering, was listed placed in France, and is half-sister to a pair of stakes winners, including Parisienne, the granddam of Protectionist, who was Champion Older Stayer in Europe, and subsequently successful in the Melbourne Cup (G1) in Australia.
The granddam, Poughkeepsie (by Sadler’s Wells, who sired Galileo out of Sea The Star’s dam, Urban Sea) is out of the excellent Wildenstein mare, Pawneese, winner of the English Oaks (G1), French Oaks (G1) and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1). This is a family that has produced several other good Wildenstein runners, most notably Peintre Celebre.
Not to be overlooked, Galileo was represented by Magic Wand, who ran out a four lengths winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/2 miles.
Magic Wand is three-quarters-sister to a good filly in Chicquita (Montjeu), winner of the Irish Oaks (G1). The dam, Prudenzia, is a French listed winner by Dansili, which means that Magic Wand is yet another stakes winning product of the Galileo/Danehill cross.
Prudenzia is half-sister to Montjeu group winner, Pacifique. The second dam, Platonic, a daughter of Zafonic, is half-sister to two stakes winners, including group two winner Pongee. Platonic is out of the stakes winning Darshaan mare, Puce, a daughter of Souk, also ancestress of the Oaks (G1) and Irish Oaks (G1) winner Alexandrova, the Cheveley Park Stakes (G1) scorer Magical Romance, and Rekindling, successful in the Melbourne Cup (G1).
The Sadler’s Wells line also took the ten furlong Hampton Court Stakes (G3) – for three-year-olds – courtesy of Hunting Horn. He is a member of the first crop of Montjeu’s son, Camelot, winner of the English Derby (G1) and 2,000 Guineas (G1), and Irish Derby (G1). Camelot is making a solid start, and he has six first crop stakes winners, four of them group. Hunting Horn is half-brother to the multiple group winning and group one placed, David Livingstone. The dam, Mora Bai, an unraced daughter of Indian Ridge, who is half-sister to the excellent racehorse and sire High Chaparral.
At the short end of the distance scale, the five furlong Norfolk Stakes (G2), for two-year-olds went to US challenger Shang Shang Shang. The only filly in the ten horse field, Shang Shang Shang made all, and dug in extremely gamely do hold on by a nose from another US-bred runner, Pocket Dynamo (by Dialed In). Shang Shang Shang is from the second NH crop of Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Shanghai Bobby (by Harlan’s Holiday). She is the sire’s first US-sired graded winner, but he has grade one winners Inforcer and Habile Bobby from his first South American-sired crop.
Shang Shang Shang is out of Yankee Victoria, a stakes placed daughter of Yankee Victor (by Saint Ballado). The granddam, Buy the Dips, is a Meadowlake half-sister to a pair of precocious horses in Fistfite, who took the Cowdin Stakes (G3), and She’s Funomenal, who took the Ifyoucouldseemenow Stakes at Hollywood Park. The granddam, Elderberry Drive, a daughter of Strawberry Road and the English-bred Sharpen Up mare, Sing Willow. Sing Willow is also dam of The Best Sting (by Runaway Groom) a graded winner in Argentina who is ancestress of several stakes winners there, including grade one winner The Great Day, by Harlan’s Holiday, the grandsire of Shang Shang Shang. The sixth dam is the great mare, Park Top, one of the best mares to race in Europe in 1960s.