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Footpad enhances the claims of hitherto unheralded talent of Creachadoir

Footpad runs out an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown
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Following the emphatic Arkle success of Footpad, why not catch up on Nancy Sexton running the rule over his sire, Creachadoir. First published on December 28.

With the best will in the world, there was a time when King’s Best wouldn’t have been on any radar to take high order as a sire of influence over jumps.

The rigours of jumps racing have long proven more suited to those lines descending from Sadler’s Wells, Alleged and Top Ville, and more recently Monsun and Linamix, rather than the likes of Mr Prospector, which was built around dirt speed. And in King’s Best, one of Kingmambo’s best talents, Mr Prospector had a grandson whose brilliance was cocooned in a bundle of nerves.

When everything went right, as it did in the 2,000 Guineas of 2000, he was exceptional. But there were times early on in his career when exuberance got the better of him - only recently, Kieren Fallon went as far to describe him as a "force of nature".

King’s Best’s relatively successful stud career for Darley has been peppered with several big names over the years - Workforce and Eishin Flash won the Epsom and Japanese Derbys respectively, while Proclamation and Creachadoir were excellent milers - and in turn, he has been represented by a handful of sons at stud.

It would seem, however, that he will leave more of a mark in the jumps sphere, primarily for now through the burgeoning career of Creachadoir, whose early crops contain the hugely exciting novice chaser Footpad, the bloodless winner of Tuesday’s Racing Post Novice Chase for Willie Mullins, and the smart juvenile hurdler Mitchouka.

The pair are two of only six horses by Creachadoir officially registered as in training in Britain and Ireland - another is Eve Johnson Houghton’s Steventon Stakes winner What About Carlo - and are members of two pretty small crops; Footpad hails from Creachadoir’s second crop of 33 while Mitchouka is the best of 14 foals out of his fourth.

It certainly won’t have harmed Creachadoir that his damsire is that great jumps influence Sadler’s Wells. It also has to be said that as a racehorse, he was made of sterner stuff than his sire.

Busy campaigner

Bred by Frank Dunne and bought by Jim Bolger as a yearling at the 2005 Tattersalls Ireland September Sale for €83,000, Creachadoir packed ten starts into his three-year-old campaign.

He rose from a Group 3 victory in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial, in which he broke his maiden, to a narrow defeat in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, and was also second to Cockney Rebel in the Irish 2,000 Guineas on his penultimate start for Bolger. After changing hands to Godolphin, he returned in blue to take the Joel Stakes, run fourth in the Champion Stakes and a close second in the Hong Kong Mile.

That all-important Group 1 win came the following spring when he was successful in the Lockinge Stakes.

Creachadoir was seen out just once more over the next 18 months, when down the field in the 2009 Dubai Duty Free. As a result, he was probably something of a forgotten horse when retired to stand the 2010 season under the Darley banner at Haras du Logis in Normandy for €4,500.

And a year later, he was joined in Normandy by his half-brother Youmzain, Mick Channon’s popular campaigner who ran second in three consecutive Arcs.

Limited ammunition

The fact that Youmzain wasn’t far away at Haras du Quesnay probably also didn’t help Creachadoir’s cause. Whatever the reason, Creachadoir has never been represented by great numbers. His largest crop is his first and checks in at a reasonable 41 foals, one of whom turned out to be What About Carlo.

His second contains Footpad as well as last year’s Prix Achille-Fould third Namkham, the Grade 2-placed La Madeleine and multiple winner Maquisard, now with Gary Moore. However, he has just 18 four-year-olds on the ground and another 14 three-year-olds, although that latter group does include Mitchouka, a Listed-placed runner on the Flat who ran third for Gordon Elliott to Espoir D’Allen in Tuesday’s Grade 2 juvenile hurdle at Leopardstown.

Creachadoir shifted to Haras de Lonray in 2015, where he is due to stand the 2018 season for €3,500. However, given the exalted status of Footpad, perhaps it won’t be long until he is standing for one of the major Irish or British outfits.

Of course, Ireland is already home to another Group 1 winner bred on the same King’s Best - Sadler’s Wells cross in Workforce. The Derby and Arc hero spent the first part of his stud career in Japan but now plies his trade as a dual-purpose stallion at Knockhouse Stud. His first Irish crop are foals next year.

Naturally, many of Creachadoir’s runners of racing age are out of Flat-bred mares, including Footpad, who is a great-grandson of Wertheimer et Frere’s blue hen Alexandrie. The daughter of Val de l’Orne bred 13 winners during her illustrious career, among them the Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Poliglote, Prix de Malleret heroine Animatrice and Group 3 winners King Alex and Alexius.

Gaining prominence

However, this is a family that is gaining increasing prominence in the winter game. Poliglote needs no introduction as one of the best dual-purpose stallions of the modern era whose progeny range from the Wertheimer’s Arc heroine in Solemia to jumpers of the ilk of Politologue, Don Poli and Top Notch.

Animatrice, meanwhile, is the dam of Saddler Maker, who has been represented in these parts by Bristol De Mai, Alpha Des Obeaux, Apple’s Jade and her sister Apple’s Shakira during the past two seasons alone. Saddler Maker’s success is made all the more creditable by the fact that he began his stud career in relative obscurity.

Footpad, who is closely inbred to Sadler’s Wells, is the last of seven known foals out of Saddler Maker’s winning sister Willamina, who was sold by the Wertheimer brothers to Robert Collet for €145,000 at Arqana in December 2007.

Each of the mare’s better performers have been jumpers, among them the Anabaa horse Wanaba, successful in the Prix General de Rougemont Handicap at Auteuil in 2013, and the Highest Honor gelding Organisateur, who ran second in the Grand National at Far Hills in 2011. Footpad, however, is by far the best and a horse who promises to push Creachadoir and his family to even greater prominence.

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Footpad, who is closely inbred to Sadler’s Wells, is the last of seven known foals out of Saddler Maker’s winning sister Willamina
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