Shade Oak Stud sires in the spotlight as Might Bite is the king of Kempton
A pedigree round-up from a big bank holiday of National Hunt racing
Might Bite, a son of Scorpion, made it two Grade 1 winners for the Shade Oak Stud stallion squad over the Christmas period by striking in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
The result came just three days after Sam Spinner, by Scorpion's studmate Black Sam Bellamy, made all to land the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite is one of two top-level winners over jumps for Scorpion, a son of Montjeu who won the Grand Prix de Paris, St Leger and Coronation Cup in his own racing career, along with Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle scorer Don't Touch It.
Other leading performers for Scorpion include Blue Fashion, Scorpiancer and Tell Us More. All told the sire, who covered large books in his early years under the Coolmore National Hunt banner, has posted 178 winners from 855 runners for a strike-rate of 21 per cent according to Weatherbys.
Scorpion was also on the mark on Tuesday with The Big Bite, who took a Huntingdon bumper on his first for Tom George.
John O'Brien bred Might Bite out of the Presenting mare Knotted Midge, a winner between the flags in Ireland who also produced dual Grade 1-winning novice hurdler Beat That. The dam is a sister to Drombeag, winner of the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Knotted Midge has three-year-old and yearling sons by Milan – making them brothers to Beat That – as well as a filly foal by Walk In The Park.
Scorpion and Black Sam Bellamy stand alongside Fair Mix, Telescope and newcomer Dartmouth at Shade Oak Stud in Shropshire.
Crack chaser for Creachadoir
If only Footpad, the smooth winner of the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown, had been left ungelded he would be of enormous interest as a jumps stallion - not just because of his own talent but also because he hails from a fine family.
Footpad, a five-year-old trained by Willie Mullins, put up a persuasive trial for the Arkle at Cheltenham with an 11-length victory on Tuesday. That was his third Grade 1 success, after the Spring Juvenile Hurdle and Prix Alain du Breil at four. He also finished fourth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Footpad is a son of Lockinge Stakes winner Creachadoir, a half-brother to triple Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Youmzain who stands at Haras de Lonray in France.
He was bred in France by Louise and Camille Collet out of the winning Sadler's Wells mare Willamina, a sister to the late, in-form sire Saddler Maker, who has supplied Graded winners Alpha Des Obeaux, Apple's Jade, Apple's Shakira and Bristol De Mai this season.
Furthermore, Willamina is out of Oaks third Animatrice, a half-sister to Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner and Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Poliglote, another excellent jumps sire responsible for the likes of Don Poli, Wonderful Charm and more recent stars Politologue and Top Notch.
Although bred for the Flat, Willamina has come up with three other jumps winners in her paddocks career including Organisateur, second in the Grand National Hurdle at Far Hills racecourse in the US.
Crillon comes to the fore
The French-bred Buveur D'Air, who endorsed his claims on a second Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March by sauntering to success in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, is by a sire who has risen from obscurity in France to be represented by a clutch of high-class sons at present.
Nicky Henderson's classy six-year-old is by Crillon, a son of Saumarez who won a Listed contest at Saint-Cloud and finished second to the great Montjeu in the Prix Foy.
The stallion, who stands at Haras de la Baie, is also responsible for Alex de Larredya, winner of the Grade 1 Grand Prix d'Automne Hurdle at Auteuil last month, and Diamond Cauchois, who took the competitive Tara Handicap Hurdle at Navan for Gordon Elliott in recent weeks.
Buveur D'Air's sire might not be a familiar name to racing fans in Britain and Ireland, but his half-brother Punchestowns will be: he won the Long Walk Hurdle and Scilly Isles Novices' Chase and finished second to Big Buck's in the World Hurdle for Nicky Hendersn.
The pair were bred by Gerard Ferte out of History, a daughter of Baracouda's sire Alesso.
A good advert for Laverock
Black Corton, winner of the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Bryony Frost, is an outstanding advertisement for his Irish-based sire.
The six-year-old gelding has won 11 of his 17 starts since joining Nicholls, seven of those in the 2017-18 season alone. He has not finished out of the first four in any of those runs in Britain.
He is by the Octagonal stallion Laverock, who landed the Prix d'Ispahan and Gran Premio del Jockey Club and originally stood in France before being moved to Clongiffen Stud in County Meath this year.
Before Black Corton came along, Laverock was best known for his Grade 2 hurdle-winning son Kitten Rock.
Black Corton was bred in France by Dominique Guyon out of the Video Rock mare Pour Le Meilleur.
Labaik half-sister improving fast
Aiguille Rouge, a half-sister to last season's mercurial Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Labaik, confirmed she had some of her famous sibling's talent by notching a second victory for Gary Moore in a Class 4 juvenile hurdle at Fontwell.
The filly is by Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner Falco, also sire of dual Group 1 heroine Odeliz on the Flat and Triumph Hurdle scorer Peace And Co over jumps. The stallion, a son of Pivotal, stands at Haras du Grand Chesnaie in France.
Aiguille Rouge and Labaik were bred by leading Flat nursery Ecurie des Monceaux out of Avanguardia, a sprint winner in France by Choisir who was sold to MAB Agency for just €5,000 at Arqana in the December after Aiguille Rouge was born.
The filly, who has won her last two starts by an aggregate 12 lengths, was placed in France for previous trainer Didier Prod'homme and was sold at the Arqana Summer Sale in July to NBB Racing for €48,000.