Champions Day – two sides to every pedigree

Let’s imagine that someone did not know the results from Champions Day at Ascot, specifically from the Champions Sprint, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Fillies And Mares Stakes, but we tell them that the winners of these races were sired by Muhaarar, Dubawi and Sea The Stars without specifying who sired which winner.

It doesn’t appear to be that hard a task to match the sire with the race. Champion sprinter Muhaarar surely sired the winner of the Champions Sprint, a race he won himself. Miler Dubawi, who was runner-up in the QEII, must have been responsible for the winner of that race again, after siring past winners Poet’s Voice and The Revenant, while Sea The Stars is the obvious candidate to have sired the Fillies And Mares Stakes winner over a mile and a half.

Now let’s tell someone else the identity of the damsires of the winners of these three races – Choisir, Kingmambo and Nayef. Again, it seems a straightforward process to link Choisir with the sprint, Kingmambo with the mile and Nayef with the middle-distance contest.

It turns out that the first person would have been badly wrong in their assumptions judged on the sires while the second, armed with knowledge of the damsires, would have been spot on. Creative Force, by Dubawi out of a Choisir mare, won the Champions Sprint; Baaeed, by Sea The Stars out of a Kingmambo mare, won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes; and Eshaada, by Muhaarar out of a Nayef mare, won the Fillies And Mares Stakes.

These results on Champions Day were three striking reminders that there are two sides to every pedigree.

SEA THE STARS11.3F<0.1%37.8%61.8%

The above table shows the average winning distance for offspring of the three sires and the percentage of their winners at up to 13f in three different distance categories.

Sprinters are certainly in the minority among Dubawi’s runners, at least in Europe. Creative Force is only Dubawi’s second Group 1 sprint winner in Europe after stablemate Space Blues who won the Prix Maurice de Gheest over six and a half furlongs last season. He is essentially a seven-furlong specialist as he underlined when winning the Prix de la Foret recently.

Probably as a result of access to some speedier mares in the southern hemisphere, Dubawi has sired the Australian Group 1-winning sprinters Shamal Wind, Srikandi (winner of the Group 1 Stradbroke over 1350m but also a Group 2 over 1200m) and Tiger Tees. He’s also the sire of the Irish-bred Hong Kong Sprint winner Afortunado Nine. Another speedy son of Dubawi in the Godolphin string at present is Lazuli who won the Palace House Stakes in May.

Creative Force is not from a speedy family for all that his dam is by Choisir. Irish-trained Choose Me won over six and seven furlongs at two but later won over as far as a mile and a quarter and was second (in a listed race) over eleven furlongs. Her own dam Hecuba was a mile and a quarter winner who ended her career contesting listed races over a mile and three quarters.

Choose Me has been mated with a variety of different stallions and Creative Force is her second Group 1 winner after Persuasive, a daughter of Dark Angel who raced exclusively at a mile and ended her career winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. But Creative Force isn’t alone among her foals in not really conforming to expectations distance-wise. Mated with Azamour, who was best over middle distances, Choose Me produced Amazour, a six/seven-furlong winner like Creative Force. But when mated with a sprinter, Slade Power, the result was Songkran, a handicapper who stays a mile and a half.

Moving on to Baaeed, he’s a rare, rather than unique, son of Sea The Stars to excel at a mile. Bred on the same cross with a Kingmambo mare, Sea The Stars produced Zelzal who won the Prix Jean Prat when it was still run over a mile. This season’s Celebration Mile winner Lavender’s Blue is also by Sea The Stars and so was Mutakayyef, a dual winner of the Summer Mile at Ascot. While best known for his middle-distance exploits, including wins in the Derby and Arc, Sea The Stars had the speed to win a 2000 Guineas, and was by miler Cape Cross, himself a son of sprinter Green Desert. As a stallion, though, Sea The Stars is predominantly a stamina influence, with Stradivarius the best example of that.

Baaeed’s full brother Hukum is a much more typical Sea The Stars, therefore, and a very different type to his sibling as a winner up to a mile and three quarters. Their dam Aghareed did all her racing at around a mile and a quarter in France, winning a listed race at Longchamp, and was a daughter of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner (over eleven furlongs) Lahudood. A bit further back, this is the family of Nashwan, Nayef and Unfuwain.

As for Muhaarar, he not only sired his first Group 1 winner when Eshaada won the Fillies & Mares Stakes, but also had the runner-up Albaflora. Although he only has three crops of racing age, it was already fairly clear that Muhaarar was not simply producing sprinters in his own image. As the table shows, only around three out of every ten of his offsprings’ wins up to thirteen furlongs have come at sprint trips, with one in five of his successes coming over a mile and a quarter or more.

By Oasis Sueño out of seven-furlong winner Tahrir, Muhaarar’s aptitude for sprinting was no surprise, but Tahrir was unusually speedy for a daughter of Linamix, taking instead more after her dam Miss Sacha, a listed winner over five furlongs in Ireland. Muhaarar almost certainly has Linamix to thank for some of his best performers staying much further than he did himself, though it’s worth remembering too that Oasis Sueño’s pedigree features the likes of Dancing Valiente and Mill Reef as the sires of his dam and grandam respectively.

Eshaada stays much further than her Dubawi half-brother Mutamaasik, a seven-furlong winner, and, for that matter, her dam Muhawalah, a mile maiden winner at Carlisle. Muhawalah’s full brother Tamayuz showed little evidence of stamina from Nayef too, proving a high-class miler with wins that included the Prix Jacques le Marois.

Oddly then, it has taken sprinter Muhaarar to give the family another Group 1 winner over a mile and a half. But there’s a precedent for that in this branch of the Allegretta family as Anabaa Blue (out of Allegretta’s daughter Allez Les Trois – Eshaada’s great grandam), won the final running of the Prix du Jockey Club over a mile and a half. As his name suggests, he was by July Cup winner Anabaa.