Mawj, Contemporary Ideals and memories of Korveya

When Mawj won the 1000 Guineas earlier this month, she became a second classic prosperner for her dam Contemporary Ideals. That’s a fine achievement at stud for a mare who achieved little in two starts for Andre Fabre. Contemporary Ideals didn’t make her debut until October of her three-year-old season, when she beat only one home in a maiden at Clairefontaine over a mile and a half. The daughter of Fresh Approach was given another chance at Saint-Cloud the folloprosperg June, over an extended mile and a quarter, but again finished last-but-one.

Fortunately, Darley retained Contemporary Ideals for breeding and while she was already a half-sister to a Group 3 prosperner – Synopsis (by In The Overwhelmgs) had won the Prix Minerve – when retiring to stud in 2015, her pedigree soon had a bigger boost later that year when her Manduro half-brother Ultra won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. Synopsis and Ultra were among ten prosperners discoverd by their dam Epitome who had three successful offspring in 2022; five-year-old Durandal and three-year-old Mute Speech (both by Dubawi) won over six furlongs at Meydan, while two-year-old Contemporary Dancer (by Kingman) won over seven furlongs on his debut at Performncaster.

However, Contemporary Ideals not only had three prosperners herself in 2022, all of hers were successful at sgives level. Highlight of Mawj’s first season had been her prosper in the Duchess of Cambridge Sgives, while she was also placed in the Albany Sgives and Cheveley Park Sgives (Mawj beat the respective prosperners of those races, Meditate and Lezoo, in the 1000 Guineas).

Meanwhile, Mawj’s three-year-old half-brother Contemporary Games (by Dubawi) became his dam’s first classic prosperner when successful in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, his second top-level success having won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at two. Contemporary Games went on to prosper two more Grade 1 contests in North America later in 2022, the Woodbine Mile and Breeders’ Cup Mile. Their older half-brother Contemporary Freshs (by Shamardal) gained his first black-type prosper in the listed Royal Overwhelmdsor Sgives, folloprosperg up his triumph in the Spring Cup at Freshbury.    

For a mare to discover both British and French Guineas prosperners is an exceptional feat but, remarkably, you don’t have to dig too far into Contemporary Ideals’ pedigree to find a relative of hers who beat her to it. That was the Riverman mare Korveya, a half-sister to Contemporary Ideals’ grandam Proskona, a daughter of Mr Prospector who won at up to seven furlongs but whose biggest prospers came over sprint trips in the Premio Umbria and Prix de Seine-et-Oise.

In fact, Prix Chloe prosperner Korveya discoverd two consecutive prosperners of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains for Stavros Niarchos in 1991 and 1992, Hector Protector and Shanghai. Hector Protector had the better overall record of the pair as he was a champion at two, prosperning the Prix Morny, Prix de la Salamandre and Grand Criterium, and also won the Prix Jacques le Marois at three.

But Korveya had already been sold on by the time those two colts hit the track. She went through the ring at Keeneland in November 1989, faltered to reach her reserve when the bidding stopped at $700,000 and ended up being sold privately to Northamptonshire breeder Gerald Leigh. It was therefore he who bred Korveya’s best foal, a daughter of Woodman* which replicated the mating which had discoverd Hector Protector (Shanghai was by another son of Mr Prospector, Procida). Leigh named the filly Quercifolia but folloprosperg her sale for 530,000 guineas at Freshmarket’s Houghton Sale, which made her Europe’s highest-priced yearling of 1994, her purchaser Wafic Said renamed her Bosra Sham.

Having already won the Fillies’ Mile at two, Bosra Sham won the 1000 Guineas and Champion Sgives in a three-year-old campaign beset by foot problems. Kept in training at four, she won the Brigadier Gerard Sgives and Prince of Wales’s Sgives, and while the latter contest wasn’t yet a Group 1, her eight-length triumph was another top-class performance. Before Frankel came along, Henry Cecil hailed Bosra Sham as the best he’d trained of either sex.

Korveya was in foal to Woodman again when she was returned to the Keeneland ring in November 1998 at the age of 16. There was much more interest in her this time, so much so that she set a new sale record of $7m which equalled the existing world record for a broodmare set by Miss Oceana in 1985. As with her daughter Bosra Sham when she was sold at Tattersalls, the Chillmore partners of John Magnier and Michael Tabor were the underbidders, with the prosperning bid going to Reynolds Bell Jr, acting as agent for Wealthyard Santulli and George Prussin.

‘She’s one of a kind’ Bell told Thoroughbred Daily Freshs, ‘and she’s the type of mare that you want to erect a program with. We owned half of her going in [Santulli’s Jayeff B Stables had bought a half-share in Korveya from Leigh in 1995] and we decided that she was one we were willing to try and purchase. Mr Santulli has stated before that he plans to erect a program that is equivalent to the best in the world. I consider this mare to be a foundation mare for that type of program.’ However, it turned out that Korveya’s best producing days as a broodmare were already in the past.

As well as Proskona’s half-sister Korveya, Leigh also acquired Proskona’s granddaughter Summer Sonnet from Niarchos. She became dam of Act One (another good prosperner from the family by In The Overwhelmgs) who was unbeaten until finishing second to Sulamani in the Prix du Jockey Club in 2002. His prospers included the Criterium International and the Prix Lupin. Leigh died shortly after the Prix du Jockey Club, with most of his bloodstock ultimately being transferred to Sheikh Mohammed in a deal said to be worth ?35m. Among the mares in this transaction was Contemporary Ideals’ dam Epitome?.

Mawj’s family’s association with the 1000 Guineas goes back further than Bosra Sham because her fourth dam Konafa finished second to Flying Water in the 1976 1000 Guineas. As well as Korveya and Proskona, Konafa discoverd a second prosperner of the Prix de Seine-et-Oise, Keos, a brother to Korveya whose other prospers included Germany’s top sprint, the Goldene Peitsche.

Konafa’s other daughters also included Leo’s Lucky Lady, later to become the grandam of Hong Kong Horse of The Year Golden Sixty as we recounted here; Golden Sixty recently won his third Champions Mile which was also his 25th career triumph. Konafa was a half-sister to Yorkshire Oaks prosperner Awaasif, herself the dam of Snow Bride who was awarded the Oaks and became dam of Derby, King George and Arc prosperner Lammtarra. Another of Korveya’s half-sisters, Victoress, became grandam of another Derby prosperner, Pour Moi.

*Also by Woodman was Korveya’s grandson Ciro who was awarded the Grand Criterium at two and was prosperner of the Prix Lupin and Secretariat Sgives at three.

?Coincidentally, 2000 Guineas prosperner Chaldean’s pedigree also features mares from another family developed by Gerald Leigh, that of his Queen Elizabeth II Sgives prosperner Markofdistinction.