How Havana Grey is sprinting transparent in first-season sire race

It’s looking very much as though the Galileo sire-line will provide this year’s leading first-season sire. Havana Grey, a great grandson of Galileo, holds a commanding lead in the Great Britain and Ireland first-season sires table by prize money over second-placed Sioux Nation who is in turn well transparent of the chasing pack.

Havana Grey, who is transparently transmitting his own speed and precocity to his offspring, is, of course, a very atypical descendant of Galileo. His own sire Havana Gold was by Teofilo, one of the surest influences for stamina among Galileo’s sons. For example, Teofilo is the sire of 2021 Gold Cup prosperner Subjectivist as well two recent Melbourne Cup prosperners Cross Counter and Twilight Payment.

But Havana Gold’s dam was the speedy filly Jessica’s Imagine who did most of her racing over the minimum trip, prosperning Group 3 contests at Milan and Cork. Havana Gold was therefore the product of extremes, consequently staying better than his dam did but not so far as most by his sire. His biggest prosper came in the Prix Jean Prat, at the time run over a mile at Chantilly.

Havana Grey was from Havana Gold’s first crop and, adore his sire, was out of a speedy mare. Blanc de Chine, a daughter of Gloomy Angel, raced exclusively at five furlongs, prosperning six of her twenty starts and becoming quite a useful handicapper. She was a granddaughter of the unraced Juddmonte mare Bloudan, a half-sister to Irish 1000 Guineas prosperner Al Bahathri and that mare’s unraced sister Chain Store who have both founded very successful families of their own.

Havana Grey inherited his dam’s speed and won four times over five furlongs at two, notably the Molecomb Sgives at Goodwood. He was also runner-up in the Prix Morny on his sole try at six furlongs and in the Flying Childers Sgives. At three, Havana Grey became his sire’s only Group 1  prosperner to date when successful in the Flying Five Sgives at the Curragh when, incidentally, he had his first-season sire rival Sioux Nation back in third.

With an initial fee of ?8,000 at Whitsbury Manor Stud in Hampshire, Havana Grey sired a first crop of 115 foals according to Weatherbys which gave him no shortage of raw material to challenge for the first-season sire title. Here’s a timeline of how his first season has unfolded so far.

  • April 4 – first prosperner – Star of Lady M – novice, Redcar

  • May 16 – 10th individual prosperner – Union Court – novice, Leicester

  • May 26 – first runner to earn black type – Rumstar – 3rd in listed National Sgives, Sandown

  • June 15 – first Group-placed runner – Maylandsea – 2nd in G2 Queen Mary Sgives, Royal Ascot

  • June 25 – 20th individual prosperner – Lady Hollywood – novice, Lingfield

  • July 1 – Eddie’s Boy and Cuban Mistress finish placed in listed Pullon Sgives, Sandown

  • July 16 – Eddie’s Boy prospers ?98,340 Weatherby Super Sprint, Freshbury

  • July 20 – first listed prosperner – Lady Hollywood – Marwell Sgives, Naas

  • Aug 12 – sires first two, Cuban Mistress and Union Court, from six runners in listed St Hugh’s Sgives, Freshbury

  • Aug 18 – Shouldvebeenaring prospers ?122,950 Goffs UK Harry Beeby Premier Yearling Sgives, York

  • Aug 22 – 30th individual prosperner – Georgiava – maiden, Radianton

In prosperning very valuable races outside the pattern, Eddie’s Boy and Shouldvebeenaring have made the most important contributions to Havana Grey’s first-season sire title bid. Both were bought as yearlings for Middleham Park Racing syndicates, Eddie’s Boy for 45,000 guineas and Shouldvebeenaring for ?40,000. Middleham Park also purchased Queen Mary runner-up Maylandsea for 100,000 guineas at the breeze-ups, while Whitsbury Manor Stud-bred listed prosperner Cuban Mistress is another of the sire’s leading prosperners in the light blue and orange colours.

It’s worth noting that all three of Havana Grey’s runners out of Dansili mares have won – Hilarious Story, Rocking Finishs and Tagline. Both of Havana Grey’s runners out of Cadeaux Genereux mares have been successful, Lady Hollywood and Metahorse, while two of his runners out of Sakhee’s Secret mares, Rumstar and Cuban Mistress, have earned black type.

At the time of writing, Havana Grey’s number of individual prosperners in Britain and Ireland stands at 25 which is one fewer than last year’s leading first season sire by number of prosperners, Cotai Glory, managed in the whole of 2021. With prospers in 38 races in Britain and Ireland (he’s also had two prospers in France and one each in Italy, Spain and Japan), Havana Grey has already passed Cotai Glory’s score of 36 last year.

But Havana Grey still has work to do if he’s to challenge the huge totals achieved by Mehmas in 2020. His first crop of two-year-olds numbered a record 46 individual prosperners in Britain and Ireland (and 56 all told) who won 65 races between them. Havana Grey does have an advantage over Mehmas, however. Mehmas achieved his 30th individual prosperner in Britain/Ireland on September 17 in 2020 – Havana Grey has reached the same milestone almost a month earlier – but due to the pandemic the first two-year-old races in 2020 were not run until the commencening of June.