Sunday’s version of the Darley Irish Oaks (G 1), and the recent renewals of the Kentucky Oaks and the Belmont Stakes in the United States, reminded us of Summerhill’s famous foundation stallion, Northern Guest (by Northern Dancer).
Both RagsToRiches (Kentucky Oaks & Belmont Stakes) and Sunday’s runaway winner of the Irish Oaks, Peeping Fawn (by Danehill) have in common with Northern Guest the great broodmare, Best in Show, great grand-dam of the trio. The grand-dam of the two Oaks winners, Blush With Pride (herself a winner of the Kentucky Oaks G.1) and Northern Guest’s dam, Sex Appeal, were half sisters, and the prolific output from this family of exceptional female runners, probably goes a long way towards explaining the outstanding success Northern Guest and his own brother, El Gran Senor, have enjoyed as broodmare sires.
Northern Guest is pretty much assured of his sixth consecutive broodmare sires title this year, a new record for South Africa, (while his less-than-fertile brother, the illustrious racehorse El Gran Senor, (who never enjoyed quite the same opportunities because of his fertility issues), has been an exceptional broodmare sire in his own right in the United States. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, and that is that Northern Guest contributed not only towards the cost of most of the infrastructure here, in one form or another, but without his daughters, we wonder just where Summerhill would be today in terms of its three consecutive Breeder’s Championships. We all know that a Championship is comprised of much more than just a single stallion’s daughters, but Northern Guest’s contribution has been immense, and this is a good time to recall it.
Turning back to the Irish Oaks, Peeping Fawn was up against her conqueror in the English Oaks, Light Shift (by Kingmambo), but in the heavy ground, nothing was going to compete with the Danehill filly’s big round action, which simply paddled its way through the slosh to an increasing three and a half length victory. Yet another triumph for the highly advertised cross of Danehill on a Sadler’s Wells mare, though Danehill on anything also seems to work!
In his post race interview, the maestro Aidan O Brian commented “you saw how she progressed from the Irish Guineas to the Oaks, and from the Pretty Polly to here. She showed in season this morning, but had been in season before when winning her maiden, and was in good form, so it wasn’t a problem. She’s a beautiful filly, and is a possible for the G1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on the 4th August.”
Henry Cecil, trainer of the runner-up, mentioned she’d struggled in the heavy ground, and he was looking forward to renewing the rivalry in the Nassau. These are two exceptional fillies, and racing fans have something to savour come the 4th August.