Royal Ascot Day 4 – Coronation for Alpha Centauri

When she went to 2-for-2 with a win in last year’s Naas Fillies’ Sprint Stakes, Alpha Centauri, looked as if she had superstar potential. However, she was narrowly defeated by the French invader Different League in the Albany Stakes (G3) at Royal Ascot, and then ran unplaced in her next two starts, one at two, and the other first time out this year. A timely return to form saw her captured the Irish 1,000 Guineas (G1) at the end of May, and on Friday, Alpha Centauri finally reached that superstar status, storming home six lengths clear in the Coronation Stakes (G1), while setting a new time record for Ascot’s round course.

Alpha Centauri is from the fifth NH crop of the Danehill Dancer horse, Mastercraftsman. European Champion at two, when he took the National Stakes (G1), Phoenix Stakes (G1) and Railway Stakes (G2), Mastercraftsman added the St. James’s Palace Stakes and Irish 2,000 Guineas (G1) at three, and also ran a very good second to Sea The Stars in the Juddmonte International (G1). He made a very good start to his stud career with 15 first crop stakes winners, including the French Derby (G1) and Irish Champion Stakes (G1) winner The Grey Gatsby; Kingston Hill, who won the Racing Post Trophy (G1) at two, and the St. Leger (G1) at three; and Amazing Maria, a group one winner in England and France. He now has a total of 35 stakes winners, 21 group/graded and six group/grade one. He also has 15 stakes winners from his Southern Hemisphere crops, sired in New Zealand, three grade one.

Alpha Centauri is out of the Rahy mare, Alpha Lupi, also dam of the stakes winning and group placed, Tenth Star. Alpha Centauri’s granddam is the excellent mare, East of the Moon (by Private Account), winner of French 1,000 Guineas (G1), French Oaks (G1) and Prix Jacques Le Marois (G1). As good as she was, East of the Moon was still not the equal of her dam, Miesque. The daughter of Nureyev was a European Champion at three and four, and Champion Turf Mare in the US at the same ages. Virtually unbeatable at a mile, Miesque won ten G1 events, including the English and French 1,000 Guineas and back-to-back renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Mile. At stud, Miesque produce five stakes winners, and in addition to East of the Moon, they included Kingambo, successful in the French 2,000 Guineas (G1), Prix du Moulin (G1) and St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1).  She’s now ancestress of 25 stakes winners, ten of which are at the grade one level, and also include this year’s French Derby (G1) winner Study of Man; Karakontie, successful in the French 2,000 Guineas (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1); and Real Steal, who took the Dubai Turf (G1).

Miesque’s stakes winning sister, Massaraat, also made an impact at Royal Ascot on Friday as the third dam of Old Persian (by Dubawi), who took the King Edward VII Stakes (G2) for three-year-olds over 12 furlongs. Old Persian, who had comprehensively defeated Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up Gronkowski over a mile at two, had captured the ten furlong Fairway Stakes last time out, and relished the step up in distance.

Old Persian’s dam, Indian Petal, is by Singspiel, and remarkably Dubawi has sired nine stakes winners, seven of them group or graded, from 24 starters out of mares by that horse. It might just have something to do with the fact Dubawi’s dam, Zomaradah, is by a son of Shirley Heights out of a great-grandaughter of the mare, Sunbittern, where In the Wings is out of High Hawk, a daughter of Shirley Heights and Sunbittern. Even if it is a little distant to credit specific inheritance, it certainly makes sense in a “what works with ‘A’ often works with ‘B'” kind of way. Dubawi is a grandson of Seeking the Gold, and both he and Woodman, the sire of the granddam of Old Persian, are Mr. Prospector/Buckpasser crosses. The family had also supplied the 2017 King Edward VII Stakes winner, Permian, by Teofilo out of the stakes winning Mark of Esteem mare, Tessa Reef, and with Massaraat as second dam.

The three-year-olds also had a grade one sprint in the shape of the six furlong Commonwealth Cup (G1). This went to Eqtidaar, whose only win in four previous starts had come on his debut at two.

Eqtidaar is by the extremely successful speed source, Invincible Spirit (by Green Desert), whose first crop son, Kingman, was represented by the Coventry Stakes (G2) winner, Calyx, earlier in the meeting. The broodmare sire, Acclamation, another prolific speed source, was represented earlier in the week by Jersey Stakes (G3) winner, Expert Eye. He’s a son of Royal Applause, who turned up as broodmare sire of Blue Point, winner of the week’s other G1 sprint, the King’s Stand.

Eqtidaar is half-brother to a smart horse in the Teofilo colt, Massaat, winner of the Hungerford Stakes (G2) and runner-up in the 2,000 Guineas (G1). His dam, Madany, is half-sister to group winner Dolled Up, and to Zeiting, a stakes winner in France and the U.S., and subsequently not only dam of three group winners, but also dam of last year’s French 1,000 Guineas (G1) victress Precieuse.

Zoffany (by Dansili) broke out as a sire at Royal Ascot in 2015 when his first crop supplied Albany Stakes (G3) winner, Illuminate; Waterloo Bridge, who took the Norfolk Stakes; and Washington D C, who landed the Windsor Castle Stakes. The group of mares that visited Zoffany the year following his exceptional start as a freshman will have runners in 2019, in the meantime, however, Zoffany added another Royal Ascot juvenile in the shape of Main Edition, successful in this year’s Albany Stakes (G3).

Main Addition is half-sister to the three-time group winner Major Cadeaux and to Beachfire, winner of the listed Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot. The dam, Maine Lobster, a daughter of Woodman, and her second dam, Capades (by Overskate, a son of Nodouble) won graded stakes in the U.S., headed by the Selima Stakes (G1). Zoffany is out of a mare by the Mr. Prospector horse, Machiavellian, and we’ll note that Main Edition is the first stakes winner by Zoffany from 51 starters out of mares by sons or grandsons of Mr. Prospector, although Dansili in general has crossed well with that line.

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