The Fugue's half-sister off the mark in France
The Fugue’s half-sister Excellency got her year off to the best of starts with success at the second attempt in the Prix Calandria at Saint-Cloud.
Carrying the colours of Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab operation, the three-year-old daughter of Sea The Stars is in the care of Henri-Francois Devin and had finished a reasonable fifth on her debut at Maisons-Laffitte last summer.
Although Excellency has no fancy entries, it did not look a bad performance over a mile in the Parisian suburbs as she hit the front with a couple of furlongs of the mile remaining and just thwarted a late challenge from Gwendola by a neck.
Al Shaqab is more active in France, having acquired Haras de Bouquetot in Normandy, and has been winning a few of the early French maidens around the country.
@RacingPost #Excellency shows an extremely willing attitude to break her maiden at Saint-Cloud for Henri-François Devin and owner/breeders @AlShaqabRacing. By Sea The Stars out of Twyla Tharp, which of course makes her a half sister to The Fugue pic.twitter.com/5H6vZdaSiF— Scott Burton (@seenthestars) March 17, 2019
Twyla Tharp, who was both bred and owned by the Lloyd-Webbers’ Watership Down Stud, went under the hammer at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2012 and was purchased by Mandore International Agency for 1,700,000gns. The daughter of Sadler’s Wells was a maiden scorer whose best effort was a second in the 2005 Ribblesdale Stakes.
The Fugue, who is now a Watership Down broodmare herself, was the winner of four Group 1s including the Irish Champion and Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, and performed with distinction around the world.
Although the rest of her progeny have not set the world on fire, consistent Dubai performer Ducab being the best, Excellency ought to go on to better things as the runner-up, Wertheimer newcomer Gwendola, is a fine prospect as a half-sister to Group performers Impassable, Attendu and recent Dubai winner Spotify.
There is also a yearling filly by Bouqetot’s own stallion Shalaa, who has been well-supported with the Sheikh’s mares.