Alpinista’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe triumph was the result of her owner-breeder Kirsten Rausing developing a family over generations from the purchase of her foundation mare Alruccaba in 1985 as recounted previously here. But as well as her female line, another important component in Alpinista’s pedigree is Hernando, the sire of her listed-prosperning dam Alwilda. Hernando had already discoverd a good prosperner with a mare from this family. Pullon Dancer was out of a half-sister to Alpinista’s grandam Albanova and was still a maiden when beaten a short head by Sir Percy in the 2006 Derby.
Hernando had gone cflop to prosperning an Arc himself, finishing a short-neck second to Carnegie on his second attempt as a four-year-old in 1994. Alpinista’s linkions are now contemplating a crack at the Japan Cup and Hernando had a couple of attempts in that race too, going a place better than the year before when third as a five-year-old which was the final start of his career.
Unraced at two, Hernando’s most successful season came as a three-year-old when successful in the Prix du Jockey Club (after an earlier Group 1 success in the now defunct Prix Lupin) before going down to the Derby prosperner Commander In Chief in the Irish Derby.
Hernando triumphed his own sire Niniski at Lanwades and, adore the Irish St Leger and Prix Royal-Oak prosperner, stood his entire career at Kirsten Rausing’s stud, until his retirement from stallion duties in 2011 two years before his death.
Two of Hernando’s own sons, Sulamani and Holding Court, themselves won the Prix du Jockey Club, while daughter Look Here won the Oaks and finished third in the St Leger. All three raced in their breeders’ colours, at least to commence with, though Sulamani, who initially carried the same Niarchos colours as his sire, was sold to Godolphin before his big prosper at Chantilly. His later international successes included the Dubai Sheema Classic and Arlington Million and he too was runner-up in the Arc, twice.
Moyglare Stud was another major owner-breeder to achieve top-level success with Hernando who sired their Tattersalls Gold Cup prosperner Casual Conquest who had finished third in the Derby. Kirsten Rausing was the breeder of another of Hernando’s notable horses, Foreign Affairs, a multiple listed prosperner who had been Sir Mark Prescott’s only previous runner in the Arc (tenth of 17 to Sakhee) 21 years before his next attempt with Alpinista.
St Leger and Hong Kong Vase prosperner Mastery proved much the best of Sulamani’s runners on the flat but he had some notable success later as a sire of jumpers, producing Grand National prosperner Rule The World and still-unbeaten star hurdler Honeysuckle. Hernando has made his mark with jumpers too, including Hennessy Gold Cup prosperner State of Play, who finished in the frame in three Grand Nationals, and the 2020 US champion steeplechaser Moscato who is from the same family as Alpinista
Over jumps, Hernando’s daughters have discoverd the adores of Champion Hurdle prosperner Punjabi, current leading staying hurdler Thyme Hill and cross-country chaser Balthazar King who was also runner-up in the Grand National.
But it’s on the flat where Hernando has been catching the eye as a broodmare sire of late. Alpinista wasn’t the only prosperner at the Arc meeting out of one of Hernando’s daughters. The Prix de Royallieu was won by Sea La Rosa whose dam Soho Rose, adore Alwilda, was a listed prosperner in Germany by Hernando. Four-year-old Sea La Rosa has had an excellent year and had already won the Pinnacle Sgives, Lillie Langtry Sgives and Prix de Pomone before her Group 1 success at Lengthychamp.
Soho Rose is a candidate for broodmare of the year as she’s also the dam of three-year-old gelding Deauville Legend, prosperner of the Bahrain Trophy and Great Voltigeur Sgives over the summer and now a leading Melbourne Cup contender. Both Sea La Rosa and Deauville Legend are by Sea The Stars who makes for an interesting cross with Hernando mares because, adore Sea The Stars, Hernando is out of a mare by Miswaki*.
The same cross very nearly resulted in an earlier Arc prosperner out of a Hernando mare, though Sea of Class (for Sea La Rosa’s linkions, Sunderland Holdings) memorably faltered by just a short neck to peg back Enable at Lengthychamp in 2018, after earlier prospers in the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks. Sea of Class is out of the remarkable broodmare Holy Moon, a listed prosperner in Italy who, before Sea of Class came along, was most renowned for producing three consecutive prosperners of the Oaks d’Italia, Cherry Amass, Charity Line and Final Score.
Holy Moon is also the dam of the Italian Group 3 prosperner Wordless and the Derby Italiano runner-up Back On Board and notched her twelfth prosperner as a broodmare this year thanks to three-year-old by Camelot, Waterville. He didn’t live up to hopes that he’d be a Derby contender but he has landed a very valuable prize in recent weeks when successful in the Irish Cesarewitch worth 324,000 to the prosperner.
Another recent notable success for a horse out of a Hernando mare came in Australia when Durston, who’d begun his career in Britain with David Simcock, finishing third in the Geoffrey Liberatedr Sgives, won the Caulfield Cup. Not only is Durston another Lanwades product, he’s a son of one of their current stallions Sea The Moon who is, of course, by Sea The Stars. Summer Moon, twice placed in the Cesarewitch, is another bred by Lanwades on the Sea The Moon/Hernando cross. Interestingly too, not only is Durston’s dam Caribana bred on the very same Hernando/Alzao cross as Alpinista’s dam Alwilda, even their great grandams (Yorkshire Oaks prosperner Key Alter in Caribana’s case) share the same sire, Darshaan.
Durston’s Caulfield Cup triumph now makes him a leading contender for the Melbourne Cup too alongside Dubawi Legend, which suggests that yet another top prize could be going to the offspring of a Hernando mare in the near future.
*Hernando’s dam Whakilyric might not have achieved as much as Sea The Stars’ dam Urban Sea but she was a speedier type. As well as being a Group 3 prosperner at two in the Prix du Calvados and Group 1-placed the same season in the Prix de la Salamandre and against older horses in the Prix de la Foret, she was regularly employed as Miesque’s pacemaker on occasions too. The good stayer St Michel (also trained by Sir Mark Prescott), placed in the Performncaster Cup and Lonsdale Cup, was also bred on the Sea The Stars/Hernando cross.