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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Lowther heroine Fairyland represents next chapter of the Kodiac story

Reflections on the career so far of the Tally-Ho kingpin

Fairyland just fends off The Mackem Bullet at York
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York's Lowther Stakes has been a key cog in the development of Kodiac’s stud career. Its conditions are conducive to the strengths of a typical runner by the stallion - invariably sharp sorts - and indeed it was in the 2014 renewal that he gained his first Pattern winner in Tiggy Wiggy. A year later, Tally-Ho Stud’s flagship sire repeated the trick courtesy of Besharah.

Neither were bred off a fee greater than €6,500 so it was quite appropriate that his third strike in the race should come via a two-year-old in Fairyland who represents the next chapter of the Kodiac story. 

Fairyland is the filly who pushed her sire to new commercial heights at Tattersalls last autumn when sold by her breeder Tally-Ho Stud for 925,000gns to the MV Magnier, Mayfair Speculators and Peter and Ross Doyle partnership.

Kodiac has long held commercial appeal - generally quick to come to hand, trainers seem to like them, which in turn makes his progeny good news to agents and the breeze-up boys. However, that Fairyland transaction, which was over twice as much as his previous auction high of 460,000gns paid by the Niarchos family for a filly out of Fuerta Ventura, took matters to a different level.

Fairyland wound up as the only Kodiac in training at Ballydoyle this season and in light of her achievements, she probably won’t be the last. But what is particularly nice is that she carries the colours of John Magnier’s mother Evie Stockwell, also the mother of Tally-Ho Stud’s Anne O’Callaghan.

Tally-Ho Stud have had some fine stallions in their time but the record-breaking Kodiac surely trumps them all. Retired to stud in the aftermath of Invincible Spirit’s record-breaking first crop, his sole black-type achievement was a placing in Hackwood Stakes at Newbury and he duly started stud life at a fee of €5,000. 

The winners soon started to flow, however, and today at the age of 17, he is covering at a career high of €50,000. Fairyland and Monday’s Ripon Champion 2yo Trophy winner Sporting Chance were bred the year his fee rose to €25,000 and are two of 44 stakes winners overall by the stallion.

His progeny tend to be most comfortable at a mile or less (46 per cent of his winners have won over five or six furlongs), while 26 of those 44 stakes winners struck in black type company at two. Last season, for example, he fired in a record 62 juvenile winners who were bred off a fee of €10,000.

This year, he already has 37 across Europe to his credit, including 11 stakes performers alongside the potentially exciting Jash (impressive at Newmarket on Saturday) and unbeaten Marhaba Milliar.

As such, he is naturally well regarded as an influence for speed and precocity but pigeon-holing can be a dangerous exercise with any stallion and there have been several reminders recently that Kodiac is capable of throwing middle-distance horses if sent the right mare.

Look no further than either Best Solution, a member of the good staying Media Luna family who recently won the Grosser Preis von Berlin, or Danehill Kodiac, last year’s Cumberland Lodge Stakes winner. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see what direction Kodiac’s stud career takes as those more expensive crops reach the track.

Even without Kodiac’s influence, the result of the Lowther Stakes still paid tribute to Tally-Ho Stud, which also bred the runner-up The Mackem Bullet.

In contrast to Fairyland, The Mackem Bullet changed hands for just £9,000 to VFR Consultant’s at last year’s Goffs UK Silver Sale. The filly has done Brian Ellison proud in her brief career to date, running third in the Princess Margaret Stakes prior to the Lowther, in which she headed Fairyland only to be nosed out by her determined rival in the dying strides. 

In the process, The Mackem Bullet served yet another reminder of the loss to the industry of her sire Society Rock. Seven juveniles winners in Britain and Ireland have come his way over the past month alone, led by Listed scorer Shumookhi, another bred by Tally-Ho. She is in the care of Archie Watson, who has good reason to lament the loss of the stallion after training the likes of Corinthia Knight and Quiet Endeavour. He also sent out Fognini and Concello, two other Tally-Ho-bred Society Rocks, to land a quickfire Redcar double on Saturday.

Fairyland’s family also has Tally-Ho prints on it, for all that it has been associated in recent generations with the Maktoum family. The stud purchased her dam, the Darley-bred Queenofthefairies, as an unraced three-year-old just days before her half-brother Dream Ahead turned heads on his winning debut at Nottingham. Dream Ahead had been sourced by Federico Barberini for a mere $11,000 during the final days of the 2009 Keeneland September Sale.

Turned over to Tally-Ho to breeze, he was knocked down for ‘only’ £36,000 the following April but the stud was evidently aware of his ability, which would ultimately lead him to victories in the Prix Morny, Middle Park Stakes, July Cup, Haydock Sprint Cup and Prix de la Foret. Thus, it didn’t take long for their 32,000gns outlay on Queenofthefairies in July 2010 to look good business.

This is a particularly quick family that has been throwing good sprinters for the best part of 40 years.

Queenofthefairies’ fifth dam, the Derring-Do mare Dervaig, bred two extremely quick horses for Trevor Sellier in Vaigly Great, the Palace House Stakes winner of 1979 and a two-time July Cup runner-up, and Vaigly Star, who ran second in the 1982 July Cup despite being the daughter of an Arc winner in Star Appeal.

Vaigly Star went on to produce a similarly fast filly in Sahara Star, a member of Green Desert’s second crop who won the 1991 Molecomb Stakes. In turn, Sahara Star foaled the 1997 Flying Childers Stakes winner Land Of Dreams, today better known as the dam of Dream Ahead and Queenofthefairies. 

Her productive family aside, it is also undoubtedly in Queenofthefairies’ favour that she is a daughter of Pivotal, one of the most dominant broodmare sires of our time.

Advertise, Cracksman, Rhododendron and Olmedo are just some of the season’s big names to boast a Pivotal dam but matters have hit even greater heights in recent days thanks to Glorious Empire (won the Sword Dancer Stakes on Saturday), Raven’s Lady (won the Goldene Peitsche on Sunday), Mabs Cross (who came so close to Nunthorpe Stakes glory on Friday) and Avilius (won the Premier’s Cup in Australia on Saturday) in addition to Fairyland.

And in Queenofthefairies, he has another immediate stud success to his credit. The mare’s first foal by Kodiac was the talented sprinter Atletico, who has run to a Racing Post Rating of 107 twice in the past eight months, while her second is the 2016 Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial winner Now Or Never, subsequently an Australian Group 2 winner who remains one of the highlights of Bushranger’s underwhelming stallion career. She stays a mile well enough, although such an attribute is seemingly a rarity in that family, which does cast doubt over Fairyland’s ability to ultimately get the Guineas mile.

Fairyland is the mare’s fourth foal and followed by a Muhaarar yearling filly, who will surely be popular when she comes under the hammer at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale.

Breeders' Digest

Number crunching…
Ten: the number of stakes winners sired this month by Dubawi.

Wild Illusion got the ball rolling at Goodwood when bagging her second Group 1 in the Nassau Stakes. Two weeks later, the Andre Fabre-trained Plumatic made a successful raid on Salisbury to take the Sovereign Stakes while Al Hilalee (Criterium du Fonds Europeen de l’Elevage), Kitesurf (Prix de Pomone) and Glorious Journey (Prix Daphnis) went on to contribute to a big few days for Godolphin during Arqana sales weekend in Deauville.

The action then moved on to York’s Ebor festival, at which Old Persian (Great Voltigeur Stakes) and Lah Ti Dar (super impressive in the Galtres Stakes) served further notification of the capability of the Dubawi - Singspiel cross (which produces inbreeding to the influential mare Sunbittern). Brundtland, meanwhile, maintained his unbeaten record in the Grand Prix de Clairefontaine before Anna Nerium and Quidura pulled off a quick weekend stakes double for the stallion in the Supreme and Ballston Spa Stakes.

Vega’s purple patch
It’s not all about Dubawi, however. Ballylinch Stud’s Lope De Vega is another in the midst of a purple patch as the sire of Acomb Stakes winner Phoenix Of Spain and Antonia De Vega, who became his 45th stakes winner in Saturday’s Prestige Stakes.

He’s also fired in two really impressive recent debut winners in George Strawbridge’s homebred Lone Peak, a seven-length winner at Deauville, and Newspaperofrecord, who struck at Saratoga for Chad Brown, and was in vogue at the Arqana August Sale as the sire of a pair of yearlings who made €900,000 and €600,000 apiece.

International rose
Best known as the dam of Challenge Stakes winner Cable Bay, Rose De France had her stud record enhanced considerably last week as the dam of two stakes winners on opposite sides of the globe.

First up was Mister Sea Wolf, who added to his resume by winning Wednesday’s Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury (it’s to the mare’s credit that she has managed to breed a stakes winner by Amadeus Wolf). Then on Saturday in Ireland, it was the turn of her two-year-old, Indigo Balance, to shine in the Curragh Stakes.

Their wins have come at a timely moment for the Irish National Stud, who are due to sell Rose De France’s yearling colt - by Invincible Spirit and therefore a brother to Indigo Balance - as lot 57 at the Goffs Orby Sale.

More than versatile
One of More Than Ready’s great strengths as a stallion has been his versatility. A hit in both hemispheres, the WinStar/Vinery veteran boasts a record of 19 Group/Grade 1 winners on turf and six on dirt.

So it’s quite fitting that his latest star, Saturday’s resounding Travers Stakes winner Catholic Boy, should be a colt who encapsulates that versatility as an elite performer on both surfaces. As such, Catholic Boy is now likely to work towards a start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic via a start in the Hill Prince Stakes on turf, the same surface over which he won last month’s Belmont Derby.

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It will be interesting to see what direction Kodiac’s stud career takes as those more expensive crops reach the track

Key data

Fairyland Kodiac
E.W. Terms
Sky bet