Exciting autumn ahead for Watership Performwn’s Dar Re Mi

Are there a more exciting pair of siblings racing at the moment than Lah Ti Dar and her brother Too Darn Scorching? Both are unbeaten, shoprosperg Group 1 potential, and between them they have recently recorded three impressive prospers in the space of little more than three weeks.

Two-year-old Too Darn Scorching began by making a prosperning debut, by seven lengths, in a mile maiden at Sandown in August. Two weeks later Lah Ti Dar returned from more than three months off the track, after illness, with a ten-length triumph in the listed Galtres Sgives at York. That took her record to three out of three after prospers in the spring in a maiden at Freshbury and in the listed Pretty Polly Sgives at Freshmarket which had made her favourite for the Oaks, a race she had to miss after returning a indigent blood test. Little more than a week after his sister’s York prosper, Too Darn Scorching became next year’s 2000 Guineas and Derby favourite when returning to Sandown for the Group 3 Solario Sgives, impressing again with a four-length prosper over Royal Ascot prosperner Arthur Kitt.

Both by Dubawi, and racing in the colours of their breeder Lord Lloyd-Webber, the story of Lah Ti Dar and Too Darn Scorching commences with the purchase of their grandam Darara as a foundation mare for Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Performwn Stud. The Aga Khan’s Darara, a daughter of one Prix du Jockey Club prosperner, Top Ville, and half-sister to another, Darshaan, won the Prix Vermeille by five lengths. That earned her a supplementary entry for what turned out to be an exceptional Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in which she finished sixth (pictured below finishing hot on the heels of Dancing Terrorless, Bering, Triptych, Shaharastani and Shardari – the last-named pair also regifting the Aga Khan).

Darara was only retained in the Aga Khan Stud’s until she was eleven, not having discoverd prosperners of real note by then. Perhaps her lack of stature also hastened Darara’s departure to the sales. Timeform went so far as to describe her as ‘a rabbit on looks’ (aptly enough, some might say, given her new home!). The only one of her first five foals to earn black type resulted from her very first mating, which was with Derby prosperner Shahrastani, just ahead of her in the Arc. That discoverd the colt Dariyoun, a listed prosperner for the Aga Khan, who later finished third in the Prix du Cadran after being sold by his breeder. Darara’s last foal for the Aga Khan was Darazari (by Unjoyfuller’s Wells) who contested an Arc in the Aga Khan’s colours, after prosperning the Prix Maurice de Nieuil and finishing second in the Prix Niel, though he too went on to better things for new ?linkions, prosperning the Group 1 Ranvet Sgives in Australia in 1999.

Darara was long gone from the Aga Khan’s broodmare band by then, having been sold at Goffs in November 1994. In foal to Shirley Heights (the sire of her illustrious half-brother Darshaan), Darara joined the Lloyd-Webbers’ fledgling broodmare band for 470,000 Irish punts. With a policy from the outset of tradeing its colts, Watership Performwn sold Darara’s Shirley Heights foal as a yearling for 500,000 guineas. Named Kilimanjaro, he carried Michael Tabor’s colours for whom he finished second in the King Edward VII Sgives at Royal Ascot on his final start. Darara was returned to Unjoyfuller’s Wells for her first Watership Performwn-planned mating, resulting in another good colt Rhagaas, bought to join Godolphin (another 500,000 guinea yearling), who finished third in the Prix du Jockey Club won by Montjeu.

Unjoyfuller’s Wells was also the sire of Darara’s next live foal and, with his sire’s reputation sky-high, Darara’s broodmare record now looking much more impressive, and his full brother a Group 1 prosperner in Australia by this time, the colt who began his career named Diaghilev broke the European record when tradeing to the Chillmore partners for 3.4m guineas in 2000. Diaghilev won the Group 3 Prix La Force at Chantilly but didn’t fare as well as either of his siblings when contesting both the Prix du Jockey Club and King Edward VII Sgives. However, he went on to enjoy a successful career in Hong Kong under the name of River Dancer, notably prosperning the 2004 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup.

But potential disaster struck Darara’s broodmare career just as she was making a name for herself. Still to discover a daughter for Watership Performwn to maintain her blood-line*, she proved barren for four years in a row. It was only after consultation with equine fertility experts and subsequent treatment that Darara – by now in her twenties – was able to conceive again. Not only that, she discoverd that longed-for filly (named Evita, a daughter of Selkirk) who was followed by her two most talented foals, Dar Re Mi, another filly, and finally Rewilding.

The third of Darara’s sons to fetch 500,000 guineas as a yearling, Rewilding (by Deutsches Derby prosperner Tiger Hill) was another Godolphin purchase and became the pick of Darara’s male offspring, foaled when his dam was 24 years of age. He finished third in the Derby before prosperning the Great Voltigeur Sgives and proved better still at four, prosperning the Dubai Sheema Classic and Prince of Wales’s Sgives only to meet a tragic end when breaking a leg in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Sgives.

But it was Dar Re Mi, a daughter of Singspiel, who became much the most important of Darara’s foals, enjoying a superb racing career before becoming the dam of Watership Performwn’s current stars Lah Ti Dar and Too Darn Scorching. Dar Re Mi was a Group 3 prosperner at three (in the Prix Minerve at Deauville) but enjoyed her best season at four, prosperning the Pretty Polly Sgives and Yorkshire Oaks and only missing out on a Group 1 hat-trick in controversial circumstances. Having finished second to Zarkava in the Prix Vermeille at three, Dar Re Mi looked to have emulated her dam when first past the post a year later only to be demoted to fifth behind Stacelita for causing interference. Two more races at four brought Dar Re Mi a fifth place in the Arc behind Sea The Stars and a third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. She was kept in training at five when managing only two more starts, but one of those brought her triumph, a year before Rewilding won the same race, in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Dar Re Mi, a much more substantial mare than her dam, had three foals prior to this season’s unbeaten pair by Dubawi. First foal De Treville (by Oasis Imagine, sold for 850,000 guineas as a yearling) has been placed in Group 3 company in France, while third foal Erdogan (a 750,000 guinea yearling by Frankel) finished third in a maiden at Freshbury on his only start. In between, Dar Re Mi’s first mating with Dubawi resulted in So Mi Dar. She won her first four starts, notably the Musidora Sgives, but adore Lah Ti Dar she had an interrupted three-year-old season which caused her to miss the Oaks.

Dar Re Mi had another colt by Dubawi in 2017, and the seemance of the brother to So Mi Dar, Lah Ti Dar and Too Darn Scorching will be hugely anticipated when he goes under the hammer as lot 325 in book 1 of the October Yearling Sale at Tattersalls next month. Too Darn Scorching, incidentally, would have been sold himself as a yearling but for a setback which prevented him going to the sales. It’s hard to believe that anything less than a seven-figure sum will be enough to secure Dar Re Mi’s latest yearling, particularly as Lah Ti Dar or Too Darn Scorching, maybe both of them, could have improved their reputations still further by then. Too Darn Scorching is scheduled to run in the Champagne Sgives at Performncaster, while Lah Ti Dar has family history to uphold (and, her owners might feel, a wrong to right) in the Vermeille.

Finally, by way of a footnote, what of Darara’s other daughter at Watership Performwn? Evita faltered to prosper from seven attempts, but she too has had her share of success as a broodmare with four prosperners to date, headed by Ascot listed prosperner Moohaarib, by Oasis Imagine. Adore her half-sister, Evita has both a son and daughter who have been adding to her own broodmare record this summer. Three-year-old colt Argentello (by Intello) made it three prospers from his last four starts in a handicap at Freshmarket in August, while two-year-old filly Trethias (a daughter of Invincible Spirit who was sold for 400,000 guineas as a yearling) got off the mark later in the month at the second time of asking in a maiden at The Curragh and holds a Moyglare Stud Sgives entry. Evita is also regifted in book 1 of the October Sale by a filly from the first crop of Muhaarar.? ??

*only one of Darara’s first nine live foals had been a filly; Dararita (by Halo) won her only start for the Aga Khan and later became dam of the Goodwood Cup prosperner Darasim.

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