Prix Djebel winner Al Wukair a dazzler for Dream Ahead
Ballylinch Stud-bred colt stakes his 2,000 Guineas claims
Al Wukair, whose odds for the 2,000 Guineas were slashed to around 8-1 after a decisive victory over National Defense in the Group 3 Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte on Monday, looks likely to become the best performer to date by his young sire Dream Ahead.
A son of Diktat trained by David Simcock for Khalifa Dasmal, Dream Ahead was rated joint-champion two-year-old with Frankel after he won the Prix Morny and the Middle Park Stakes, the latter by nine lengths.
At three he defeated Bated Breath to win the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup, and signed off his career by taking the notable scalp of Goldikova when he landed the Prix de la Foret.
Dream Ahead was retired to stand at Ballylinch Stud at a fee of €17,500 and with his oldest crop aged four he has supplied 22 black-type performers, although Al Wukair is only the third to have scored in Pattern company.
With Al Wukair having signalled he was a name to note last October with a clear-cut victory in the Prix Isonomy over Goldikova's half-sister Gold Luck - who franked the form herself by winning the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux on Sunday – plus Boos and Nordic Dream running well in stakes company in France last year, Ballylinch Stud was reportedly receiving lots of enquiries from French breeders about Dream Ahead in the autumn.
Dream Ahead's first-crop star Donjuan Triumphant has put up his best performances on the other side of the Channel too, with victory in the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte and a second in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, and the decision was taken to lease the stallion for one season to Haras de Grandcamp in Normandy, where he is standing this year at a fee of €12,000.
Ballylinch Stud bred Al Wukair out of the 13-year-old Machiavellian mare Macheera, an impressive winner over a mile at Saint-Cloud on her debut at two, who showed little at three but was not beaten far when seventh in the Listed Prix Casimir Delamarre at Longchamp.
Macheera is out of Caerlina, a daughter of Caerleon who won the Prix de Diane and finished second in the Prix Marcel Boussac and third in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, making her a half-sister to another Poule d'Essai des Pouliches third in La Nuit Rose, later the dam of Grade 2 Kelso Handicap and Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes winner Tam Lin.
Al Wukair is the third winner produced by Macheera, after Witches Brew, a 7f maiden winner who was Listed-placed over 7f-1m, and Ballyorban, a dual winner over 6-7f.
The mare also has a two-year-old colt by Dream Ahead called Dream Today, a yearling filly by Charm Spirit and was covered by Exceed And Excel last year.
Al Shaqab Racing bought Al Wukair for 200,000gns at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2015.
If he were to continue to carry the operation's grey silks with gold braid with distinction, and even to Group 1 honours on the international stage, he could ensure his sire Dream Ahead returns to Ballylinch Stud for 2018.