By Andrew Caulfield
When it comes to dominating the championship-deciding G1 Dewhurst S., no stallion can hold a candle to the unique Northern Dancer. Thanks to Nijinsky, The Minstrel, Try My Best, Storm Bird, El Gran Senor and Ajdal, the Windfields patriarch had an unequalled record in the last 50 years.
Since then two branches of the Northern Dancer-male line have been busily extending his influence. For example, when Air Force Blue demolished the opposition in last week’s race, he became the second winner in three years for Danzig’s impressive son War Front. There have also been Dewhurst winners by Danzig, his sons Chief’s Crown and Danehill and his grandson Oratorio.
Even so, the Danzig clan still has a little way to go before it matches the exploits of another of Northern Dancer’s brilliant stallion sons–Sadler’s Wells. This 14-time champion sire notched up three winners, thanks to the 1988 dead-heaters Prince of Dance and Scenic and the 1996 winner In Command. Since then there have been four winners by Sadler’s Wells’s stallion sons, with Galileo being responsible for the magnificent trio of Teofilo, New Approach and Frankel, who were collectively unbeaten in 14 juvenile starts. Teofilo then wasted no time in siring a Dewhurst winner, with his first-crop son Parish Hall landing the 2011 prize.
All three of Galileo’s Dewhurst-winning champions were in the news last week–Frankel at the sales, where he had sons sold for 750,000gns, 670,000gns and 620,000gns, and New Approach and Teofilo on the track. New Approach had new stakes winners in the U.S. (the Grade III turf winner Messi) and Britain (the stamina-packed filly Glamorous Approach).
Teofilo did even better. He enjoyed Group 3 success with his daughters First Victory (Oh So Sharp S.) and Loritania (Premio Verziere) and it was his sons Massaat and Sanus Per Aquam who chased home Air Force Blue in the Dewhurst.
Here we have another example of success breeding further success, as First Victory, Massaat and Sanus Per Aquam are all members of Teofilo’s 2013 crop, conceived months after Parish Hall won the Dewhurst. That victory made him one of four 2-year-old black-type winners from Teofilo’s first crop. Teofilo’s fee had been in freefall in his first four years, dropping from an initial €40,000 to €15,000 in his fourth, but fortunately the graph has gone very much in the opposite direction since his progeny had a chance to prove themselves. By 2013, in his sixth year, Teofilo was back up to €35,000 and then his fee climbed to a new high of €50,000 in each of the last two years.
This rise tells its own story, reflecting the fact that Teofilo now has 20 Northern Hemisphere group winners to his credit, from five crops. His record tends to confirm the importance of factoring in a stallion’s fee when assessing his results. His first crop–at 116 foals–was a good bit smaller than his second and third, which respectively numbered 136 and 148 foals. However, as I mentioned earlier, the first crop was sired at €40,000, compared to €25,000 for his second crop and €20,000 for his third. This helps explain why that first crop has produced eight group winners, compared to five in the second and three in the third (now four years of age).
It isn’t all about quantity, though. Teofilo’s second crop possessed plenty of quality, with the Irish Derby winner Trading Leather heading a trio of Group 1 winners. And, although his cheapest crop, sired at €15,000, has so far produced just two group winners from 128 foals, one of them is that fine filly Pleascach. This Irish 1,000 Guineas winner has since run with considerable credit in the Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion S.
There is still plenty of time for this 2012 crop to notch up further group winners. Even though Teofilo was himself a precocious talent, he is a sizeable individual and many of his talented progeny have matured more slowly than he did. In fact no fewer than eight of his 20 group winners didn’t achieve group-winner status until they were four and a ninth–the French-trained Fate–waited until she was five. Of course Teofilo has also sired a number of smart 2-year-olds.
Perhaps there is a lesson here for the many admirers of Frankel, who is bred to the same Galileo-Danehill cross as Teofilo. Despite his considerable prowess as a 2-year-old, Frankel achieved his record-setting Timeform rating as a 4-year-old and his brother Noble Mission was definitely at his best at four. So the possibility exists that Frankel’s progeny may need some precocious speed in the bottom half of their pedigrees if they are to shine much before the autumn of their first season.
Teofilo’s daughter First Victory is now unbeaten in two starts and there’s every reason to think that she will develop into a very good middle-distance filly at three. Her dam Eastern Joy has already been represented by Ihtimal, an admirable performer who progressed from being a dual group winner at two to win the UAE 1,000 Guineas and Oaks. This daughter of Shamardal was also third in the G1 1,000 Guineas, but suffered a fatal accident earlier this year.
Their dam, the French nine-furlong winner Eastern Joy, is by Dubai Destination out of a Nureyev mare. There were only 13 foals bred this way, but they also included Fleche d’Or, dam of the outstanding 3-year-old Golden Horn, and Farraaj, a very smart performer at around a mile and a quarter. They are inbred 4×2 to the brilliant Nureyev.
Eastern Joy’s dam was no ordinary Nureyev mare, if there was such a thing. Named Red Slippers, she won the G2 Sun Chariot S. and then became the dam of West Wind, winner of the Prix de Diane in 2007.
Red Slippers was a three-parts-sister to Storm Bird’s outstanding daughter Balanchine, who followed up a narrow defeat in the 1,000 Guineas with victories in the Oaks and the Irish Derby. Red Slippers’ brother Romanov was good enough to finish third in the Derby and Irish 2000 Guineas, while their dam Morning Devotion was third in the Fillies’ Mile.
Morning Devotion was also bred along similar lines to another distinguished mare, It’s In The Air. Both were by stallions from the Raise a Native line and It’s In The Air’s dam A Wind Is Rising was the second dam of Morning Devotion. It’s In The Air’s descendants include the Grade I winners Music Note, Musical Chimes and Storming Home, so this family has been doing sterling work for the Maktoum family for a long time now.