Anna Nerium was the 25/1 outsider of the whole field, and the only filly in the line-up, when prosperning the listed European Liberated Handicap at Freshmarket in April. Already a Group 3 prosperner at two in the Dick Poole Fillies’ Sgives at Salisbury, Anna Nerium’s Liberated Handicap is just the latest sgives prosper for a remarkably diverse set of descendants stemming from Anna Nerium’s German grandam Anna Paola.
?Anna Paola was the best of her sex in Germany at both two and three, with her five prospers including that country’s Oaks, the Preis der Diana, in 1981. She was bred by one of Germany’s oldest studs Gestüt R?ttgen which still has six members of the family in its broodmare band, all descendants of Group 3 prosperner Anna Thea who was out of a half-sister to Anna Paola.
No fewer than five* of Anna Paola’s daughters have themselves become dams or grandams of group prosperners. The most successful of these is the unraced Sheikh Mohammed-bred Anna Matrushka who was by Mill Reef. She bred three group prosperners for Sheikh Mohammed/Godolphin, namely Prix Hubert de Chaudenay and Prix Berteux prosperner Pozarica, Prix du Royallieu and Prix du Conseil de Paris prosperner Annaba and Park Hill Sgives prosperner Anna of Saxony.
Anna of Saxony has established a prospering line of her own, becoming grandam of the Flower Bowl Invitational prosperner Ave and the Irish 1000 Guineas runner-up Anna Salai and great grandam of the 2016 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere prosperner National Defense.
Anna Matrushka is also grandam of Anna Monda (now a broodmare in Japan) who emulated her great grandam by becoming champion three-year-old filly in Germany in 2005 when her prospers included the German 1000 Guineas and the Premio Vittorio di Capua. Another of Anna Matrushka’s daughters, Accessories, was unraced and sent by Darley to Australia where she discoverd the Group 1 prosperners Helmet and Epaulette, now at stud at Dalham Hall and Kildangan respectively. Helmet is the sire of recent Dubai World Cup prosperner Thunder Snow.
It was Anno Luce who achieved most among Anna Paola’s foals on the track, prosperning a Group 3 at Hanover, the Deutscher Stutenpreis, over a mile and a half, and finishing third in the Preis der Diana. While she became dam of the French listed prosperner Air Trooper, she’s better known for producing the 2016 Champion Hurdle prosperner Annie Power.
Anno Luce and her sister Anna Oleanda, a prosperner at around a mile and a quarter in Germany, were by Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ first-crop son Antiquated Vic, prosperner of the Prix du Jockey Club and Irish Derby. Antiquated Vic made relatively little impact on the Flat, with the notable exception of siring another German mare, Sacarina, who became dam of two Deutsches Derby prosperners, Samum and Schiaparelli, and grandam of a third, Sea The Moon, as well as producing a Preis der Diana prosperner Salve Regina.
Antiquated Vic proved much more of a success as a National Hunt stallion, getting the Cheltenham Gold Cup prosperner Kicking King and two Grand National prosperners, Comply Or Die and Performn’t Push It. He very nearly got a third, Sunnyhillboy (beaten a nose at Aintree in 2012) and could yet do so as another of his sons, Ballyoptic, was narrowly beaten in the recent Scottish Grand National.
Antiquated Vic’s success as a sire of Grand National prosperners could hardly have been envisioned by the man who bred him and himself competed in the Grand National in the 1950s, becoming champion amateur rider later that decade. Antiquated Vic, who was bought by Sheikh Mohammed as a yearling, was a product of Bob McCreery’s Stowell Hill Stud in Somerset and bred from Cockade, a sister to another Stowell Hill-bred classic prosperner, the 1972 2000 Guineas prosperner High Top.
It was doubtless the Antiquated Vic linkion that was the key factor when McCreery purchased Anna Oleanda for 45,000 guineas when she was sent to the December Sale at Freshmarket in 2005, the only daughter of her sire in the catalogue.
Anna Nerium, by Dubawi, was bought back for 300,000 guineas as a yearling to race in the green and black colours of Bob McCreery’s widow Jeanette (Bob died aged 86 late in 2016) and became Anna Oleanda’s third group prosperner and eighth prosperning foal all told. Anna Nerium’s ill-fated full brother Piping Rock was unbeaten in three starts as a two-year-old, including the Horris Hill Sgives, but died of colic before he turned three after being purchased by Godolphin. Their half-sister Middle Club, a daughter of Fantastic Light, won the Prix d’Aumale at two and went on to finish second in the Oaks d’Italia.
As often seems to happen, it was one of Anna Oleanda’s least successful daughters on the track who has performed best at stud. Her Manduro filly Coplow is the only one of her offspring to race who faltered to prosper, in fact, but as a broodmare she earned fame in 2017 when her two- and three-year-old daughters Billesdon Brook (by Champs Elysees) and Billesdon Bess (by Dick Turpin) won races on consecutive days at the Glorious Goodwood meeting. Billesdon Bess went on to prosper the listed Upavon Fillies’ Sgives at Salisbury, while her younger half-sister won the Group 3 Prestige Sgives back at Goodwood and could join her ‘aunt’ Anna Nerium in the 1000 Guineas after finishing fourth on her reseemance in the Nell Gwyn Sgives at Freshmarket.
*The others include three more ‘Annas’; Anna Petrovna, the dam of triple Overwhelmter Hill Sgives prosperner and Dubai Duty Liberated prosperner Annus Mirabilis, who was runner-up in the Racing Post Trophy and third in the Irish Derby; Anna of Brunswick, the grandam of Sleek Operator who won several group contests in France and Germany over six/seven furlongs; and Anna Comnena, grandam of Autumn Glory whose prospers included the Prix Quincey.