Ten obscure stallions with progeny entered at the Cheltenham Festival
Dink and Truth Or Dare among the surprise packages
A glance at the pedigrees of the last ten years' worth of Cheltenham Festival winners reads like a veritable who’s who of the big names in jumps breeding, with the likes of Flemensfirth, King’s Theatre, Oscar and Presenting popping up time and again.
Their Flat counterparts have also been well-represented as Galileo, High Chaparral, Montjeu and Sadler’s Wells have all supplied elite winners at the meeting in the same time frame.
And there are also a few curios nestled among them as well. Take for example Arzanni, the 1991 Yorkshire Cup winner who sired Fiveforthree, winner of the 2008 Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle, or Graveron, who produced the goods with the 2010 Triumph Hurdle scorer Soldatino.
And who could forget Village Star, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner who will always be remembered as the sire of Kauto Star.
Here are ten more obscure sires who could make their mark this month...
Pedigree: Poliglote-Napeta (Woodman)
Cheltenham Festival entries: Nube Negra (Fred Winter, Triumph)
The 14-year-old Dink certainly boasts an intriguing race record, having finished third in the 2007 Spanish Derby and winning ten races on the Flat in Spain from ages two to six, before being tried without success over an assortment of obstacles in France at seven.
The son of Poliglote returned to Spain and stood there for four seasons before arriving at Haras de la Bareliere in France in 2016, where he currently stands at a €1,500 fee.
Dink could be represented by his first Cheltenham runner this year should the Spanish-bred Nube Negra line up in either of the juvenile events. The Dan Skelton-trained gelding is already two-from-three over hurdles, having also placed three times in seven starts on the Flat in Spain. The fact Dink shares his sire with RSA Chase winner Don Poli and leading St James's Foxhunter Place fancy Wonderful Charm should allay any pedigree fears for Nube Negra backers.
Danehill-Ardmelody (Law Society)
Racing Pulse (Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir)
Garuda was a half-brother to Scorpion - the sire responsible for Timico Gold Cup favourite Might Bite - and hailed from the same stallion-making family as Ardross and Alflora. The son of Danehill was trained for much of his career by John Dunlop and earned a career-high Racing Post Rating of 116 for his second to Insatiable in the 1998 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, after demolishing the opposition by nine lengths to win the Listed Magnolia Stakes on the Kempton turf. His last run came the following September when second to stablemate Taipan in the Preis von Europa at Cologne.
He initially stood at Haras de Camp Benard in France before being acquired by Kilbarry Lodge Stud in County Waterford, from where he has sired classy chaser Corrin Wood and Racing Pulse.
Rock Of Gibraltar-Hint Of Silver (Alysheba)
The King Of May (Fred Winter, Triumph)
Mount Nelson fired in a Grade 1 winner at last year’s festival when Penhill hacked up by three and half lengths in the Albert Bartlett.
This year could see another son of Rock Of Gibraltar, High Rock, follow suit with The King Of May entered for both juvenile hurdles. A dual hurdle winner at Saint-Malo in France, The King Of May was a creditable third in a Listed hurdle on his British debut for Brian Ellison.
High Rock, a dual Group 3 winner during his own racing career, is a half-brother to three other stakes performers as well as the dam of French 2,000 Guineas winner and sire Silver Frost. He has also sired High Expectations, trained by Gordon Elliott to win three Flat races and three hurdle races, and the classy French chaser Karelcytic.
Cadoudal-French Free Star (Carmarthen)
Felix Desjy (Champion Bumper)
Maresca Sorrento is arguably one of the better-known sires in this list as the progenitor of 2013 Grand National hero Pineau De Re. He was also one of the more active - France Galop lists at least 38 yearlings by him - before he died from colic last year.
A dual winner over hurdles at Auteuil, Maresca Sorrento was a half-brother to Bonnet Rouge, a Group 3 winner in France whose daughter Rougedespoir produced the two-time Ultima Handicap Chase scorer Un Temps Pour Tout.
There is every chance the son of Cadoudal could get on the scoreboard at Cheltenham as the Gordon Elliott-trained Felix Desjy looks to hold leading claims in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper after victories in a maiden point and two Irish bumpers.
Maresca Sorrento also appears in the pedigree of leading Racing Post Arkle fancy Saint Calvados, whose granddam Maren Kassel is Maresca Sorrento's half-sister.
Tiger Hill-Miss Sacha (Last Tycoon)
Remiluc (County Hurdle)
Remiluc could once again represent his sire at the Festival, after running in the Martin Pipe last year, as he holds an entry in the Randox Health County Hurdle. The Chris Gordon-trained gelding has been in good form of late, winning a Class 2 handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in January by two lengths.
A Jean-Luc Lagardere homebred, Mister Sacha is a half-brother to the stakes performers Mister Charm and Tahrir, the latter the dam of four-time Group 1-winning sprinter and sire Muhaarar, one of two elite winners from this family.
Mister Sacha was a Group 3 winner over 1m1f in France for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and shares his sire with Lovcen, who was fourth in the 2012 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, and Ghizao, winner of a Listed bumper and a Grade 2 novice chase at the November meeting.
Monsun-Noble Princesse (Windwurf)
Diable De Sivola (Coral Cup, Martin Pipe)
Noroit, a 20-year-old son of Monsun, may not be known by many, but he certainly has some high-profile fans as Colin Bowe - of Samcro fame - and Nick Williams were among those to purchase his stores last year. Williams also trains Noroit’s sole hope of a Cheltenham Festival runner in Diable De Sivola, who was runner-up in the Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial at the November meeting in 2016.
Noroit is a half-brother to Italian Group 3 winner Noel, and shares his granddam with Night Line, runner-up in both the German Derby and German Oaks in 1986. As a three-year-old Noroit won a 1m4f Group 2 before finishing third to Kutub in the Preis von Europa. He also placed twice more at the highest level in Germany as a four-year-old.
Be My Guest-Sheer Audacity (Troy)
Burren Life (Ballymore, Albert Bartlett, Martin Pipe)
Burren Life, a six-year-old son of Pelder trained by Gordon Elliott for Gigginstown, holds two Grade 1 entries for the Festival. He may have fallen on debut in a Belharbour maiden point, but he has not looked back since as he has finished on the podium on ten of his 12 starts under rules.
Pelder, a three-time Group 1 winner in France and Italy, shares his dam with the 1999 Derby hero Oath and is a half-brother to three other stakes winners, and is out of the placed Troy mare Sheer Audacity. His granddam Miss Upward is also ancestress of Prix de l’Abbaye-winning siblings Patavellian and Avonbridge, and the Champion Bumper runner-up and leading JLT fancy Modus.
Sadler’s Wells-Deadly Serious (Queen’s Hussar)
Runyon Rattler (Martin Pipe)
Runyon is a son of influential sire of sires Sadler’s Wells and Galtres stakes scorer Deadly Serious, and has a pedigree laced with the names of famous jumpers - his Listed-winning half-sister Samsova is the granddam of the 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore, while this is also the family of Neptune Novices’ Hurdle winner Peddlers Cross.
Trained by Tommy Stack, Runyon won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown before being switched to the yard of Lee Freedman in Australia, for whom he won the Group 1 Underwood Stakes.
Runyon supplied high-class middle-distance performer Don Raphael and Silver Slipper Stakes scorer Passmore while at stud in Australia.
His best performer in Britain and Ireland is Runyon Rattler - a three-time winner for County Wicklow trainer Philip Rothwell - who is entered in the Martin Pipe.
Dans Le Vent (Coral Cup, Albert Bartlett)
Skins Game, a 12-year-old son of Diktat, shares his Group 1-winning sire with Dream Ahead and was a Group 3-winning miler for Jean-Claude Rouget in France at five, which earned him a place at Haras de Saint Vincent in 2012. From that crop, bred off a €2,000 fee, has emerged Dans Le Vent, his first representative in Britain.
The Jamie Snowden-trained gelding was bought by his trainer and Tom Malone for £40,000 after he won a Towcester bumper for Paul Morgan. Dans Le Vent went on to land a second bumper and a Market Rasen novice hurdle by clear water. Dans Le Vent has two engagements at the Festival - the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
Truth Or Dare
Royal Academy-Rose De Thai (Lear Fan)
Urgent De Gregaine (Cross Country Chase)
Urgent De Gregaine, a son of the unheralded Truth Or Dare, won six chases in his native France and announced himself to the British racing public with a 50-1 upset in the cross-country chase on Festival Trials Day last year. The ten-year-old is now quoted as short as 10-1 for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Festival.
Truth Or Dare, a son of Royal Academy, is one of three stakes performers out of the Lear Fan mare Rose De Thai, having joined Runyon on the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial roll of honour. He also picked up a few minor Flat races in France later in his career. He retired to stud in France in 1999 and reportedly last stood at Elevage du Fruitier at a €750 fee in 2011.
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