Sale-topping Frankel filly Middle East set for Chantilly showdown
€800,000 buy was picked up from the Arqana Breeze-Up Sale
Jean-Claude Rouget introduces a sale-topping daughter of Frankel at Chantilly on Friday, with Middle East declared for the Prix du Soissonnais, run over a mile for unraced three-year-old fillies, which is due off at 3.55pm local time (2.55pm GMT).
Consigned by Grove Stud at last year’s Arqana Breeze-Up Sale, Middle East was purchased by Nicolas de Watrigant of Mandore International on behalf of Al Shaqab Racing for a sale-record price of €800,000.
Other graduates of last May’s auction include Group 2 May Hill Stakes winner Rich Legacy and Group 3 Acomb Stakes winner Syphax as well as Eyes On Asha, who made an impressive debut at Newcastle last Friday having changed hands for €775,000.
Middle East is the second foal bred by Ben Sangster out of the Danehill Dancer mare Rose Bonheur, meaning she is bred on the same cross as Cunco, who became Frankel’s first winner as a sire when making a successful debut at Newbury the day before Middle East entered the Deauville sales ring.
Trained by Kevin Prendergast, Rose Bonheur was rated the best three-year-old sprinter in Ireland in 2011 following victories in the 6f Listed Belgrave Stakes and 7f Listed Owenstown Stud Stakes.
Her first foal, Apres Midi, is a three-parts sister to Middle East by Galileo, and won a 1m1f Hamilton maiden on her fourth start for Karl Burke, having been placed on all three of her previous runs.
Rose Bonheur has produced two further foals by Galileo, a filly in 2015 that was bought privately by Dermot Farrington for 150,000gns at last year’s Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, and last season the nine-year-old mare foaled a colt by the multiple champion sire.
Middle East’s opponents include a couple of siblings to high-class US fillies in the Andre Fabre-trained Astray and Discreet Moon, a daughter of Malibu Moon in training with Carlos Laffon-Parias.
Darley homebred Astray is a half-sister to Eight Belles, the ill-fated daughter of Unbridled's Song who recorded victories in the 1m½f Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes and 1m½f Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes in 2008 before finishing runner-up in that year’s Kentucky Derby.
By Bernardini, Astray is out of by Away, who was purchased by John Ferguson at the 2008 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for $2.5 million.
A stakes-winning daughter of Dixieland Band, Away has produced seven winners to date with Astray also being a half-sister to three-time Listed HH The President Cup runner-up Escape Route as well as the unraced dam of Canadian Grade 3 scorer Sky Captain.
Owned and bred by the Wertheimers, Discreet Moon is out of the unraced Awesome Again mare Discreetly Awesome, a daughter of Grade 1 Alabama Stakes heroine Pretty Discreet and three-parts sister to 7f Grade 1 hero Discreetly Mine and half-sister to Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Discreet Cat.
Discreet Moon is herself a half-sister to two previous winners, most significantly the 1m½f Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap victress Awesome Maria. The daughter of Maria’s Mon proved remarkably consistent for trainer Todd Pletcher, winning nine of her 16 starts including eight at stakes level and only once finishing out of the first three.
Offered in foal to Giant’s Causeway at the 2013 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, Awesome Maria topped the sale when purchased by MV Magnier for $4m.