Famous Name off mark as jumps sire - with a Listed winner to boot
Timely success for recent recruit to Alastair Pim's Anngrove Stud
The decision to reinvent Famous Name as a dual-purpose stallion at Alastair Pim's Anngrove Stud in County Laois in 2018 was vindicated when he supplied his first jumps winner - in a Listed event, no less - at Aintree on Saturday.
That trailblazer for the sire was Famous Milly, who sauntered to a 17-length success over the odds-on favourite Malaya in the Download the App at 188Bet Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle.
It bodes well, perhaps, that her trainer Gavin Cromwell won the same event two years ago with subsequent dual Grade 1-winning hurdler Jer's Girl. In another neat piece of symmetry Jer's Girl was, like Famous Milly, also by a former Irish National Stud resident who was transferred to another stud to cover more jumps mares, in her case Jeremy.
There have been few more admirable Flat performers in recent years than Famous Name, who was trained by Dermot Weld for owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah to win no fewer than 20 stakes races including the Royal Whip Stakes and three renewals each of the Amethyst Stakes, Meld Stakes and International Stakes.
A Group 1 victory eluded the son of Dansili, even though he finished runner-up at the highest level five times including when touched off a head by Vision D'Etat in the Prix du Jockey Club.
Famous Name was retired to the Irish National at the end of his illustrious racing career and his oldest crop are three-year-olds.
His best performer on the Flat is Listed Washington Singer Stakes winner Escobar, while Famous Milly is one of only three by the sire to have been sent over hurdles so far.
It would stand to reason if Famous Name did turn out to be a useful source of jumpers, as he was tough and classy himself, his own sire Dansili has supplied the likes of Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner Silver Concorde and he hails from a fine family that counts triple Melbourne Cup heroine Makybe Diva among its members.
Famous Milly was a two-year-old winner on the Flat but her maternal pedigree also entitled her to excel over jumps, as she is a half-sister to Ainama, a five-time National Hunt winner who finished second in the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle; Doesyourdogbite, a fair three-time winner over hurdles; and Dark And Dangerous, an eight-time winner in the jumps sphere.
She was bred by Roundhill Stud out of Gilah, an unraced daughter of noted jumps sire Saddlers' Hall, and hails from the brilliant Ballymacoll Stud family of champions Pilsudski and Youmzain.
Famous Milly carries the colours of Nigel Kirkwood and was bought for €30,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale.