Derby Sale top lot Defi Bleu makes a winning debut under rules
Navan scorer is another feather in the cap for the late Saddler Maker
It's still early days, but a smooth success on his rules debut suggests Defi Bleu might have been money well spent even as the most expensive store at last year's Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale.
Defi Bleu was bought by Harold Kirk and Willie Mullins for £255,000 at Fairyhouse on behalf of Gigginstown House Stud, but was transferred to the care of Gordon Elliott when the owner removed his horses from Mullins' Closutton stables.
He ran in an Oldtown maiden four-year-old point-to-point in February and was beaten comprehensively into second by Flemenshill, who in turn was subsequently sold at Cheltenham for a record £480,000 to be trained by Colin Tizzard for the late Alan Potts.
Defi Bleu's apparent class enhances the agonising 'what might have been' nature of the death of Flemenshill from a heart attack before he ever ran for Tizzard.
Elliott sent Defi Bleu to Navan for his first start under rules in a two-mile bumper on Saturday and he ran out a convincing four-length winner, looking better the further he went, under Lisa O'Neill bearing the famous maroon silks of Gigginstown.
Calicojack, a Beneficial gelding saddled by Noel Meade, finished second, with I Am Sailing, a Mags Mullins-trained son of Flemensfirth, another length and a half back in third.
Defi Bleu is another feather in the cap for his bang in-form sire Saddler Maker, who has also been represented by wide-margin Betfair Chase hero Bristol De Mai, Hatton's Grace Hurdle scorer Apple's Jade and Grade 2-winning juvenile hurdler Apple's Shakira in recent weeks, along with useful chasers Alpha Des Obeaux and Dinaria Des Obeaux and competitive Fairyhouse maiden hurdle winner Discorama.
How jumps breeders must wish they could still use Saddler Maker, a lightly raced son of Sadler's Wells; but, alas, he had to put down after suffering a hind leg fracture at Haras de Cercy last year just as he was achieving fame at the age of 18.
At least trainers and agents will still be able to gain access to the much missed stallion's young stock for some time, as France Galop states he has 56 foals on the ground, 55 yearlings, 31 two-year-olds and 46 three-year-olds.
Defi Bleu was bred in France by Alain Peltier, Jerome Houdin and Delphine Juste out of Glycine Bleue, a daughter of Le Nain Jaune who won twice over fences in her native France.
The dam has produced three other winners including Upsilon Bleu, a son of Panoramic who was a Listed-winning hurdler in France and made up into a useful chaser for Pauline Robson.
This is the immediate family of Henrietta Knight's great front-running chaser Edredon Bleu, whose victories included the Queen Mother Champion Chase, King George VI Chase and Tingle Creek.
Defi Bleu was presented to the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale by Lakefield Farm.
Another expensive store sold at Fairyhouse that day – Ainchea, bought for €155,000 – also got off the mark on Saturday by winning a Sandown Class 3 novice hurdle for the Flemenshill sire-trainer-owner team of Flemensfirth, Tizzard and Potts.
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