Mastercraftsman meets Miesque to make Curragh heroine Alpha Centauri
Irish 1,000 Guineas winner represents best of Niarchos breeding
Alpha Centauri became an eighth Group/Grade 1 winner for Coolmore sire Mastercraftsman with a decisive victory in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday.
The Jessica Harrington-trained filly showed a thrilling turn of foot to reel in long-time leader and eventual runner-up Could It Be Love – a War Front half-sister to Uncle Mo – and win by one and three quarters of a length.
Happily was third in a race won in 2014 by her sister Marvellous, also by Galileo out of You'resothrilling. Their brother Gleneagles took the Irish 2,000 Guineas a year later.
Alpha Centauri is the third European Classic winner for Mastercraftsman, after Kingston Hill (St Leger) and The Grey Gatsby (Prix du Jockey Club).
We were entitled to expect a bold show by Mastercraftsman with his three-year-olds this year, as they were bred at an increased fee of €35,000 in the afterglow of him gaining champion freshman sire honours.
Another member of Mastercraftsman's three-year-old crop, the Pia Brandt-trained colt Neufbosc, looked a name to note with a clear victory in the Group 3 Prix du Lys at Longchamp on Sunday.
Other Classic-aged horses for the sire include the Listed winners Key Master and Wind Chimes, as well as stakes performers Emerald Master, Masterpiece, Model, My Lord And Master and Vintager.
The sire's two-year-olds of 2018 were bred off a fee of €40,000 after Kingston Hill and The Grey Gatsby won their Classics and he has 119 foals in that crop, so it should be a big year for him with his younger progeny.
Alpha Centauri races for her breeders the Niarchos family. She is the sixth foal out of the unraced Rahy mare Alpha Lupi, making her a half-sister to three other winners including Listed scorer and Royal Lodge Stakes runner-up Tenth Star.
Alpha Lupi is out of the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane heroine East Of The Moon, a daughter of Private Account and Stavros Niarchos's wonderful mare Miesque.
Miesque was saddled by Francois Boutin to win ten top-level races including the 1,000 Guineas, Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and two editions each of the Breeders' Cup Mile and Prix Jacques le Marois.
At stud Miesque produced six winners. Besides East Of The Moon, they included Classic hero Kingmambo – later an influential sire – and the Group 1-placed sprinter Miesque's Son.
Miesque's Son was not nearly as successful at stud as Kingmambo, but the dual Group 1 winner Whipper was among his best offspring and Whipper was in turn on the mark as a sire on Sunday with Prix d'Ispahan winner Recoletos in a pan-European demonstration of the importance of Miesque on the breed.
Miesque features as ancestress of Group/Grade 1 winners Amanee, Karakontie, Real Steel, Rumplestiltskin and that mare's daughter Tapestry in distaff pedigrees.
She features in many more pedigrees of top-class horses thanks to such sire descendants as Kingmambo, Miesque's Son, Judpot and Evasive.
The Miesque clan has a chance of gaining another Classic winner this year in Study Of Man – by Deep Impact out of Second Happiness, a daughter of Storm Cat and Miesque – who is bound for the Prix du Jockey Club after winning the Prix Greffulhe by a wide margin this month.
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