Saturday, Newmarket, Britain
KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN SUN CHARIOT S.-G1 , GBP185,000, Newmarket, 10-6, 3yo/up, f/m, 1mT, 1:37.83, gd/fm.
1—MAJESTIC ROI, 125, f, 3, by Street Cry (Ire)
1st Dam: L =Extra Honor (SW-Fr), by Hero=s Honor
2nd Dam: L =Extravagante, by Le Fabuleux (Fr)
3rd Dam: Fanfreluche, by Northern Dancer
(25,000gns yrl ‘05 TATOCT). O-Jaber Abdullah; B-Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds; T-Mick Channon; J-Darryll Holland; GBP 105,043. Lifetime Record: GSP-Fr, 8-3-1-0, GBP 157,237.
Stick around in the racing world for long enough and you’ll see just about everything, ranging from the most heart-warming stories to moments of great sadness and disbelief. We saw an end of the spectrum last Sunday, when Kieren Fallon triumphed in the Arc just a day before he stands trial on charges of conspiracy to defraud. At the other extreme, the G1 Sun Chariot S. reminded me that virtually anything is possible, such as the kidnapping of star racehorses. Examples I can think of include Shergar in Ireland, Carnauba in Italy and Fanfreluche in the USA. While the Shergar story ended tragically, there was a much happier outcome to the other incidents.
You probably won’t remember the Fanfreluche case, unless you are old enough to audition for something like The Golden Girls. The bare facts were that this Northern Dancer mare—the champion three-year-old filly of 1970—was stolen from her paddock on June 25, 1977. It wasn’t until December that the FBI discovered the mare in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, on a farm belonging to a Larry McPherson. According to McPherson, a neighbour had found the mare loose on the road and McPherson looked after the mare until someone claimed her. In the meantime, he had reportedly used the mare as a trail-riding mount! Fanfreluche’s exertions apparently hadn’t harmed her and she was still carrying her foal by Secretariat—a colt given the appropriate name of Sain Et Sauf (Safe and Sound).
One thing’s for sure, whoever took Fanfreluche had excellent taste. At the time of her disappearance, Fanfreluche had had five foals, four of which became stakes winners. Three had run, with her Buckpasser colt L’Enjoleur winning two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, her Le Fabuleux filly L’Extravagante finishing third in the Canadian Oaks and her Sir Ivor filly Grand Luxe winning the Fury S.
Her achievements continued to grow over the subsequent 30 years and her descendants continue to shine, to the extent that they have enjoyed Group 1 success on the first weekend in October in each of the last two years. The first to do so was Fanfreluche’s grandson Holy Roman Emperor, who impressed in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, and the second was her great-grand daughter Majestic Roi, who sprang a 16-1 surprise against some of Britain’s best distaffers in the Sun Chariot. As if that weren’t enough, Fanfreluche’s greatgrandson Flying Spur (a grandson of Grand Luxe) became champion sire in Australia during the 2006-‘07 season, when his nearest challenger was Encosta de Lago, a great-great-grandson of none other than Fanfreluche.
It is worth pointing out that Holy Roman Emperor would not have existed had Fanfreluche not been recovered safely, as his dam L’On Vite wasn’t born until 1986. L’On Vite’s brother D’Accord, winner of the GII Breeders’ Futurity, was also among the 13 foals produced by Fanfreluche after she was restored to her owners. Only five of these foals were fillies, but three of them produced stakes winners.
Majestic Roi’s emergence as a Group 1 winner must provide all potential buyers at this week’s October Yearling Sale Part 1 with hope that there will be plenty of bargains among 700-odd yearlings on offer. When Majestic Roi was offered two years ago—before her sire Street Cry had had a chance to prove himself one of the stars of the future—she was sold for only 25,000gns, even though the average price was nearly 120,000gns and the median was 70,000gns.
I can’t claim to know what limited the filly’s appeal. Although her dam, the French listed winner L’Extra Honor, had produced nothing better that a gradedplaced winner, there was still plenty to admire about the filly’s family. L’Extra Honor is a half-sister to Montelimar, a talented Alleged colt who won both starts as a three-year-old to earn a Timeform rating of 122. Montelimar later found a place in history as the sire of two Grand National winners, Monty’s Pass and Hedgehunter. Majestic Roi’s dam is inbred 2x3 to Northern Dancer, her sire being Northern Dancer’s son Hero’s Honor and her dam being Fanfreluche’s daughter L’Extravagante. It is easy to understand why someone would want to try to reinforce Northern Dancer’s influence in this family, as he also sired Fanfreluche’s brother Night Shift, a stallion with more than 30 group/graded winners to his credit.
Many of the family’s best performers are inbred in the first four generations to Northern Dancer, including Holy Roman Emperor (3x3), Flying Spur (3x4), the Yellow Ribbon S. winner Aube Indienne (3x4), the champion European juvenile filly Bint Allayl (3x4) and her smart brother Kheleyf (now a Darley stallion), and the Grade II winner Conserve. The recurring theme in these good horses is Danzig, through his sons Danehill (sire of Holy Roman Emperor and Flying Spur), Green Desert (sire of Bint Allayl and Kheleyf) and Boundary (sire of Conserve).
Majestic Roi’s victory—her second at group level on turf—helped Street Cry complete a magnificent treble, as he has now been represented by Grade I winners on three different surfaces. Her predecessors were Street Sense, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Kentucky Derby and the Travers on traditional dirt, and the two-year- old Cry And Catch Me, recently successful in the Oak Leaf S. on Santa Anita’s synthetic Cushion Track.
This versatility has been underlined by some of the other performers among Street Cry’s impressive total of seven first-crop graded winners. Per Incanto gained his Group 3 success on turf in Italy; Summer Doldrums is a stakes winner on dirt and turf; Big Timer’s Group 3 success came on turf in England; Street Sounds is a Grade II winner on Polytrack, as well as being a stakes winner on turf and dirt; and Street Magician’s Grade III win came on dirt at Pimlico. Now that’s what I call a stallion perfectly equipped to cope with the surface changes afoot not just in the USA, but also, to a lesser extent, in Europe.
But then Street Cry’s background equipped him to be versatile. It was a shrewd call to aim a colt of his background directly to racing on dirt, as both his parents— Machiavellian and the Irish Oaks winner Helen Street— were Group 1 winners on turf. Whereas Helen Street’s background was predominantly one of European turf horses, Machiavellian’s featured such successful dirt performers as Mr. Prospector, Raise A Native, Native Dancer, Hail To Reason and Hoist The Flag. For once, here’s a marriage which has fulfilled everyone’s dreams.
Extract by Andrew Caulfield from Thoroughbred Daily News 09.10.07