Mehmas picks up where he left off as Keeper Of Time springs a surprise
Dawn Approach and Galileo also on the mark at Leopardstown
Having set a new world record for the number of individual two-year-old winners posted by a first-season sire last year, all eyes will be on how Mehmas's first three-year-olds fare in 2021.
On the evidence of Keeper Of Time, who defied odds of 80-1 when winning the Group 3 Ballylinch Stud Priory Belle 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday, Tally-Ho Stud's rising star has picked up precisely where he left off.
Not only did Keeper Of Time have long odds to overcome, she also faced 14 blue-blooded rivals, among which were siblings to the likes of Awtaad (Mehnah, second), Leo De Fury (Sense Of Style, third) and Joan Of Arc (Gleneagles, sixth), while Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Shale finished in fifth.
Nonetheless, the three-year-old filly, who was among her sire's 55 European juvenile winners last year, held on gamely to provide Mehmas with his seventh stakes winner, a septet headed by Middle Park Stakes hero Supremacy and Gimcrack Stakes scorer Minzaal.
Sunday was not the first time that the market had completely underestimated Keeper Of Time, as she has twice been to the sales without commanding the kind of sums her innate talent clearly warrants.
She was bred by the Phelan family of Tullogher House Stud in County Kilkenny, and first went unsold when offered as a foal and later fetched just €3,000 when knocked down to owner John Nolan at the Goffs February Sale.
She is the second foal and first winner out of Motheeba, a Shadwell-bred daughter of Mustanfar. The dam failed to trouble the judge in two outings at two for Ed Dunlop but had more luck in Italy, where she won five times and also gained black type when third in a Listed contest, having been sold for just 2,000gns in the October of her juvenile season.
Motheeba, a half-sister to the Listed-placed Jabhaat and whose dam is out of Princess Margaret Stakes winner Muhbubh, also has a two-year-old Mastercraftsman filly who is in training with Mark Johnston after selling to Kevin Ross for 52,000gns at last year's Tattersalls December Sale.
Bolger shows his Flare again
Earlier on the Leopardstown card, the Jim Bolger-bred-and-trained Poetic Flare landed his second black type contest from just four outings when producing a classy display in the Listed Ballylinch Stud Red Rocks 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes.
He had previously rounded off his juvenile season with a victory in the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes.
As if breeding and training Poetic Flare weren't reason enough for Bolger to celebrate he also welcomed the three-year-old's sire, Dawn Approach, to his Redmondstown Stud to stand alongside Parish Hall and Vocalised for the 2021 covering season.
Bolger knows better than most how to get the best out of Dawn Approach having prepared the son of New Approach, whose racing career he also oversaw, to four Group 1 victories, landing the National and Dewhurst Stakes at two before claiming the 2,000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes at three.
Poetic Flare is the sixth foal out of the Rock Of Gibraltar mare Maria Lee, making him a sibling to three other winners, most notably his Listed-winning close relation Glamorous Approach.
The dam is a half-sister to the Grade 2-winning hurdler Fiscal Focus, and in turn she is out of Elida, a winning half-sister to Speirbhean, dam of Bolger's champion juvenile Teofilo.
Business as usual for Galileo in Ballysax
Bolshoi Ballet became Galileo's 225th Group winner when the Aidan O'Brien-trained three-year-old landed the Group 3 P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes.
The result of Sunday's race means sons of the perennial champion sire have now won the last two renewals of the Group 3 contest following the success of Nobel Prize, a brother to Highland Reel, in 2020.
Prior to that, Galileo's sire sons had been to the fore when Broome, a son of Australia, struck in 2019, while Nelson, who is by Frankel, won the 2018 running.
Bolshoi Ballet was bred by Lynch-Bages & Rhinestone Bloodstock and is the sixth foal out of Alta Anna, making him a full-brother to four winners, most notably Irish Group 3 and Australian Group 2 scorer Southern France.
Alta Anna, an unraced Anabaa half-sister to the Group 3-winning Abbatiale and Listed winner Aubergade, has been mated almost exclusively with Galileo during her career at paddocks, producing six foals by the son of Sadler's Wells.
However, in 2019 she visited Galileo's Coolmore studmate No Nay Never, a mating that resulted in a filly foal born on March 3 last year.
The Galileo-Anabaa cross has been responsible for 13 winners from 16 runners, with other names bred on this cross including St Leger hero Capri and three-time Group 1 victress Lush Lashes.
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