Better late than never - Raven's Pass gets his first Group 1 winner
Kildangan stalwart's son Royal Marine lands the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere
Good things come to those who wait and Breeders' Cup Classic hero Raven's Pass was finally represented by a first Group 1 winner as a stallion when son Royal Marine – from his seventh northern-hemisphere crop of two-year-olds – scored a decisive victory in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp on Sunday.
Raven's Pass was a brilliant talent on the track for John Gosden and Princess Haya, and had an epic rivalry with Henrythenavigator in 2008 – finishing behind the Ballydoyle colt in the 2,000 Guineas, St James's Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes but demoting him to second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic.
By the influential Elusive Quality and from a prestigious family, he started his stallion career at Kildangan Stud in 2009 amid great expectations and with an introductory covering fee of €40,000.
There were encouraging signs from his first crop of two-year-olds in 2012 – they included the Royal Lodge Stakes winner and Racing Post Trophy third Steeler – but his results flattened out somewhat and he failed to live up to those high hopes.
The price for the services of Raven's Pass fell to a new low of €10,000 at Kildangan Stud this year, which fits his status as a decent source of useful winners, if not the factory of superstars his own racing career made us think he might be.
From seven crops of racing age he has supplied 11 Pattern winners – including the likes of Raven's Lady, Richard Pankhurst and Malabar – as well as a further 18 Listed scorers.
The adjusted fee drew a few more breeders to him in 2018, as he covered 57, up from 46 in the preceding year. In 2016 he was granted a book of 88.
Royal Marine, a Godolphin homebred trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, had run sixth to Jash on debut at Newmarket in August and broke his maiden impressively – beating the useful Turgenev – at Doncaster last month.
He is the fourth foal out of the Singspiel mare Inner Secret, who finished third in a Newbury maiden on her only start, making him a half-brother to Listed winner Crystal River and Group 3-placed Secret Ambition.
Inner Secret held significant breeding appeal as a half-sister to Group 1 heroes Dubai Destination and Librettist, while the choice of mating with Raven's Pass made sense as another of her siblings is Bosphorus Cup and Cumberland Lodge Stakes winner Secret Number, a further Group 2 winner by the sire.
Inner Secret and her famous brothers are out of Mysterial, an Alleged half-sister to multiple Group 1-winning sprinter Agnes World. It is also the family of Breeders' Cup Mile victor and young WinStar Farm stallion Tourist.
Inner Secret also has a yearling colt by Dark Angel, a colt foal by Dawn Approach and was covered by Dubawi this season.
She is another feather in the cap for the late Singspiel as a broodmare sire, as his daughters have also produced the likes of Debussy, Epaulette, Helmet, Limato, Old Persian, Suedois, Wuheida – and, notably, exciting two-year-old Too Darn Hot and his classy sisters Lah Ti Dar and So Mi Dar, who are out of the great Dar Re Mi.
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