Cassandra Go a leading member of the Rahaam clan

Seguiring the death of influential broodmare Cassandra Go at the age of 25, we’re reposting this retitled review of her wider family which dates from 2018. Cross Counter went on to win the Melbourne Cup later in the year, while Cassandra Go’s granddaughter Magical retired last year as the winner of seven Group 1 contests, including two editions of the Irish Champion Stakes.

Her racing career gave little cause for her to be remembered and she’s yet to become a well-known name among broodmares, but the recent success of several of her descendants – two of them in group company among several runners at Glorioso Goodwood this summer – means that Rahaam is becoming the head of a thriving dynasty in which the biggest bloodstock operations hold an interest.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed and trained by Henry Cecil, Rahaam’s only success in four starts came in the Geoffrey Barling Maiden, a seven-furlong contest for fillies at the Newmarket Craven meeting. She’d finished a promising second in a big field at the same course late the previous season but a six-month absence followed her maiden win and she ran only twice more in the autumn, finishing second in a minor contest at Leicester on her final start.

Rahaam was by the 1984 Derby winner Secreto out of the unraced Mr Prospector mare Fager’s Glory. She was a grey, inheriting her coat colour ultimately from Native Dancer who appears three times in the fourth generation of her pedigree. As well as being Mr Prospector’s grandsire, Native Dancer was the sire of Rahaam’s great grandam Native Street (pictured above), the 1966 Kentucky Oaks winner. She raced for Abraham ‘Butch’ Savin’s Aisco Stable, as did Mr Prospector himself, and when Savin retired Mr Prospector to his Florida stud in 1975, his first book of mares naturally included Native Street* as well as her unraced daughter Street’s Glory.

While Street’s Glory produced Rahaam’s dam from that mating, Mr Prospector’s union with Native Street resulted in Prospector’s Fire, a mare who achieved little on the track herself but whose $400,000 yearling by Riverman, Dowsing, won the Sprint Cup at Haydock for Khalid Abdullah. Prospector’s Fire also produced the Beverly D Stakes winner Fire The Groom who became dam of an even better sprinter in Europe, Stravinsky (a $625,000 yearling), winner of the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes for Aidan O’Brien.

Returning to Rahaam, she didn’t have to wait long for a notable winner at stud as her second foal was Verglas (by Highest Honor), winner of the 1996 Coventry Stakes and runner-up in the Irish 2000 Guineas a year later. Verglas became a popular sire at the Irish National Stud after beginning his stallion career in France and his best horses included the Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner Silver Frost, the Prix Jean Prat winner Stormy River and the Ballymacoll-bred Glass Harmonium who won the Mackinnon Stakes after his export to Australia.

Rahaam’s best daughter came along in 1996 when a mating with the King’s Stand Stakes winner Indian Ridge resulted in top sprinter Cassandra Go. Originally bought as a foal by her owner Trevor Stewart with a view to selling her on as a yearling, he ended up buying her back at the last minute for 200,000 guineas. Cassandra Go improved with age, ending her four-year-old campaign with a first group win in the King George Stakes at Goodwood and then, as a pregnant five-year-old, winning the Temple Stakes at Sandown before emulating her sire at Royal Ascot. She ended her career with a fine second to Mozart in the July Cup.

Cassandra Go has also been the most important mare in establishing the Rahaam dynasty. Her daughter Tickled Pink (by Invincible Spirit) was another talented sprinter in the Stewart colours, winning the Abernant Stakes (one of Sir Henry Cecil’s last winners) and another Group 3, the Coral Charge at Sandown. Further impetus to the family’s success came with the Coolmore purchases of two more of Cassandra Go’s daughters, Halfway To Heaven and Theann. Halfway To Heaven, a 450,000 yearling, was by Pivotal but belied her speedy pedigree (sire, dam and damsire all King’s Stand winners!) to win the Irish 1000 Guineas, Nassau Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes.

Halfway To Haven is now dam of Rhododendron who failed in her recent attempt to emulate her dam in the Nassau but has been a Group 1 winner at two, three and four – Fillies Mile, Prix de l’Opera and Lockinge Stakes – and was runner-up in the 1000 Guineas and Oaks. Halfway To Heaven has been mated exclusively with Galileo to date, her current three-year-old Magical winning the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at The Curragh in July having won the Debutante Stakes there, as Rhododendron did, at two.

Theann, by Rock of Gibraltar, was another expensive yearling (400,000) and more typical of the family in proving best as a sprinter, winning the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York on her final start. She too is proving a successful broodmare (for John Magnier’s mother Evie Stockwell), her best foal to date, Photo Call (also by Galileo) gaining Grade 1 wins on turf after her sale across the Atlantic in the Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita at four and in the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland at five.

Theann’s current two-year-old Land Force gave his sire No Nay Never a first group win when successful for O’Brien in Sue Magnier’s colours in the Ricomond Stakes at Goodwood. He was a 350,000 purchase at Goffs last year. Coolmore continue to invest heavily in the family, and Cassandra Go’s current two-year-old Fantasy (a sister to Tickled Pink) was a 1.6m guinea yearling purchase at Tattersalls. She broke her maiden at Navan in July and was another in Ballydoyle’s raiding party on Goodwood, though finished down the field in the Molecomb Stakes.

While Rahaam was sold out of Darley ownership when her second foal Verglas was still a yearling, her first foal Persian Secret (by Persian Heights), a listed mile winner in France, was retained and founded a successful branch of the family for Sheikh Mohammed/Godolphin. Among Persian Secret’s eleven winners were Chesham Stakes winner Seba, later Grade 1-placed in the USA, and the Prix de Meautry winner Do The Honours who was by Verglas’ sire Highest Honor. Do The Honours is now grandam of Godolphin’s rapidly improving three-year-old gelding Cross Counter (by Teofilo) who accounted for Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee when becoming another winner for the Rahaam clan at Goodwood in the Gordon Stakes.

Rahaam changed hands a second time during her broodmare career when, aged eleven, she was sold at Newmarket’s December Sales in 1998 for 280,000 guineas to join George Strawbridge’s broodmare band. The foal she was carrying, by Desert King, a filly later named Ramona, was sold for 58,000 guineas at the same sale in 2002 without having raced but Ramona has joined Cassandra Go and Persian Secret in establishing another flourishing branch of the family.

Galileo and his son Teofilo have played their part with success on this side of the family too. Galileo was responsible for Ramona’s first good horse Prima Luce, a 270,000 guinea yearling purchase by Jim Bolger for whom she won the Athasi Stakes at The Curragh. Prima Luce’s lightly-raced four-year-old Emmaus (by Invincible Spirit) won a listed race at Leicester in April but finished in rear in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood.

2018, though, has been a tremendous year to date for Ramona’s latest pair of runners, seven-year-old gelding Sea The Lion and four-year-old filly Bloomfield, both of whom stay a mile and three quarters. A daughter of Teofilo, Bloomfield, in the colours of her breeder John Connaughton, began the year winning listed races at Cork and Gowran and has since finished second in the Group 3 Munster Oaks back at Cork. Sea The Lion is an even later developer, the son of Sea The Stars much improved to win all three of his starts in mile and a half handicaps this year. His latest victory came in the valuable Ragusa Handicap at The Curragh and he could line up next in the Ebor at York later this month.

While Strawbridge let Ramona go, he retained another of Rahaam’s daughters Aricia. By Nashwan, she gained her only win in a seven-furlong maiden at Newmarket like her dam and is yet another successful broodmare for the family, producing listed winners Oh Beautiful, Freedom’s Ligero and Face The Facts in the Strawbridge colours. Freedom Ligero’s first foal Firelight (by Oasis Sueño) has won her last two starts at Kempton and Newmarket and could be another black-type earner for the family this year if living up to some big-race entries.

*Native Street became dam of Aisco Stable’s 1973 Florida Derby winner Royal And Regal (Abraham I. Savin was the ‘Ais’ of Aisco).