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Pedigree Insights: Shonan Pandora

Shonan Pandora | Horsephotos


You didn't need to look very hard to appreciate why Galileo's daughter Hanky Panky created so much excitement at Tattersalls a week ago, when she sold for 2,700,000gns (more than $4,250,000). The 5-year-old's many attractions included that she's a daughter of a multiple champion sire; she's a half-sister to another multiple champion sire in Giant's Causeway; and she is in foal to Dubawi, a stallion destined one day to become champion sire. Then there's the fact that she is closely related to Gleneagles, a dual Classic winner with all the qualities needed to take high rank as a stallion.

But that's not all. In a shrinking European gene pool, Hanky Panky has a pedigree which offers plenty of scope. Although she is a granddaughter of the ubiquitous Sadler's Wells, she has only one line of Northern Dancer. In other words, she has none of the Danzig blood which is so widespread in Europe, no Nureyev and no Storm Bird/Storm Cat. Mr. Prospector also appears just once and will be back in the fifth generation of her progeny's pedigrees.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of her five-generation pedigree is that she is inbred 5x5x4 to Hail To Reason, via Bold Reason, Halo and Roberto. This made me wonder what the world's top breeders would be prepared to pay for the recent G1 Japan Cup winner Shonan Pandora in the unlikely event of her ever coming on the market. As a daughter of Deep Impact, she comes from the Halo branch of the Hail To Reason male line, her grandsire being the revolutionary Sunday Silence.

Like Hanky Panky, Shonan Pandora has three distant lines (5x5x5) to an outstanding stallion, in this instance Northern Dancer. This is very normal in today's industry and at least none of the lines are through Sadler's Wells, Danzig or Storm Bird (they are via Lyphard, Vice Regent and Northern Taste). Nor will you find Mr. Prospector or Seattle Slew in Shonan Pandora's pedigree.

And, again like Hanky Panky, the Japan Cup winner has some close links to top performers, including one who enjoyed considerable success as a stallion. For a start, her second dam, the Dictus mare Golden Sash, was a sister to Soccer Boy, a champion Japanese 2-year-old. Golden Sash kept up the family's good work when she visited Deep Impact's sire Sunday Silence to produce the durable Stay Gold, who died earlier this year at the age of 21.

Stay Gold thoroughly merits the description “durable,” as he raced every year from two to seven, making a total of 50 starts. Despite having so many miles on the clock, he enjoyed his most rewarding season as a 7-year-old, when he defeated the future GI Breeders' Cup Turf winner Fantastic Light to take the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic. He later added the G1 Hong Kong Vase over the same mile-and-a-half distance. That last victory came just three weeks after Stay Gold had contested his fourth consecutive Japan Cup, achieving his best placing of fourth. Timeform rated him 127.

Although Stay Gold initially wasn't as widely used as Japan's most sought-after stallions, there is every chance that he has left a very valuable legacy. Five of his sons became Group 1 winners in Japan and among them were three which were sent to Paris as part of Japan's quest for that elusive first victory in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe–a race which, incidentally, was the setting for one of the two defeats suffered by Deep Impact during his 14-race career.

With a little bit of luck, Stay Gold would have ended that quest. His son Nakayama Festa was the only one to make a race of it with the Derby winner Workforce in the 2010 Arc, going down by just a head. Then Stay Gold's Triple Crown-winning son Orfevre finished second in 2012 and 2013 and was unlucky not to win on his first venture. You may remember him appearing to have the race at his mercy when he quickened impressively into the lead. Unfortunately he idled, hung right and was caught close home by the unconsidered Solemia. The next to try was the multiple Group 1 winner Gold Ship, who contested the 2014 Arc, but this quirky character could get no closer than seventh after being given a lot to do.

Orfevre, a brother to another champion in Dream Journey, is now part of the Shadai stallion team and looks set to carry on Stay Gold's excellent work.

To get back to Shonan Pandora, she also has another distinguished close relative in Stay Gold's sister Les Clefs d'Or. This daughter of Sunday Silence was a winner at JPN-G2 and JPN-G3 levels and her current 3-year-old is Beruf. This colt became the first graded winner by the runaway King George winner Harbinger when he took the G3 Keisei Hai at the start of the year.

In addition to the Japan Cup, Shonan Pandora has also won last year's G1 Shuka Sho, which is the last leg of the Fillies' Triple Crown, so she is the latest in a lengthy line of top fillies and mares sired by Deep Impact, following the likes of Gentildonna, Harp Star, Mikki Queen, Ayusan, Beauty Parlour, Verxina, Lachesis, Marcellina, Shonan Adela, Joie de Vivre and Marialite.

Incidentally, Deep Impact isn't the only son of Sunday Silence who has been in form in recent weeks. Sambista, who became the first filly or mare to win the Champions Cup (formerly Japan Cup Dirt) is by Suzuka Mambo. And Dressed In Hermes, winner of the GIII Cecil B. Demille S. at Del Mar, is the latest good turf horse by the Gainesway-based Hat Trick.

It is going to be fascinating to see how Hat Trick's 2013 crop develops. There is every reason for thinking that Dressed In Hermes will be followed by several more very useful performers. At 84 named foals, this crop is comfortably Hat Trick's largest, sired after his first crop began to make such an impact in 2011. It was Dabirsim, the champion French 2-year-old, who first put Hat Trick on the map, but this very encouraging first crop of 71 named foals later added three more graded winners, thanks to King David (GI Jamaica H.), Bright Thought (GII John Henry Turf Championship) and Howe Great (GIII Palm Beach S.). All four of these graded winners thrived on turf.

With his second, third and fourth crops numbering only 42, 20 and 21 named foals, respectively, Hat Trick was always going to be hard pressed to add immediately to his spoils. However, there was a further Grade III turf winner, Three Hearts, in his second crop and a Group 1-placed 2-year-old in his fourth. Dressed In Hermes is his second stakes winner from his fifth crop, so there is good cause for optimism.

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