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Thursday, 24 January, 2019

The lowdown on how the top-level winners on day one were bred

The sires and dams who shone as the Flat racing jamboree opened

Ribchester (right) sweeps to victory in the Queen Anne Stakes
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Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)
Winner Ribchester
Pedigree Iffraaj-Mujarah (Marju)
Breeder Andrew Thompson and Mike O'Brien
Sales Bought by Jamie Railton Bloodstock for €78,000 at the Goffs November Foal Sale; by Highfield Farm for €105,000 at the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale

Sire Ribchester is one of eight Group 1 winners for Iffraaj, alongside the top-class two-year-olds Chriselliam, Rizeena and Wootton Bassett as well as Gingernuts and Jon Snow, bred during the sire's shuttling trips to Haunui Farm in New Zealand and successful in prestigious Australian contests this southern-hemisphere season.

Iffraaj, who scored at the royal meeting himself when he won the Wokingham Handicap at York in 2005, has a fine record at the Flat racing jamboree.

Ribchester is already the winner of the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Rizeena landed the Queen Mary Stakes and Coronation Stakes in consecutive years. Hot Streak and Latharnach have also achieved podium finishes in Group 1 races at the meeting.

Iffraaj, a son of Zafonic, stood at Dalham Hall Stud at a fee of £27,500 this year.

Dam The beautifully bred Mujarah was trained by John Dunlop for her owner-breeder Hamdan Al Maktoum but showed little form in five starts, never finishing better than sixth and struggling to a best Racing Post Rating of 58.

As a consequence, Ribchester's co-breeder Andrew Thompson was able to buy the mare for just 18,000gns when Shadwell dispensed with her services at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2011.

Mujarah may have been no great shakes but blood will out and she is by Marju – a fine broodmare sire whose daughters have also produced Canford Cliffs, Marcel, Marsha and Ribbons – out of the Listed-placed Darshaan mare Tanaghum, making her a half-sister to the classy middle-distance and staying performers Tactic and Yaazy.

Furthermore, Tanaghum is out of Sheikh Hamdan's Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Mehthaaf and hails from the great Fall Aspen family of Dubai Millennium, Intello, Mondialiste and many other stars.

Ribchester was Mujarah's first foal and the mare has subsequently been sold privately to the Queen Anne Stakes winner's owners Godolphin.

What's next? Mujarah has no two-year-old but a yearling filly by Raven's Pass and a colt foal by Dubawi.

Lady Aurelia: a granddaughter of a Puerto Rico champion

King's Stand Stakes (Group 1)
Winner Lady Aurelia
Pedigree Scat Daddy-D'Wildcat Speed (Forest Wildcat)
Breeder Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings
Sales Bought by George Bolton and Peter Leidel for $350,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale

Sire Scat Daddy, a son of 2001 Norfolk Stakes winner Johannesburg, won the Champagne Stakes at two and the Florida Derby at three, both at the highest level on dirt, before finishing down the field in the Kentucky Derby.

Retired to Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky, he got off to a fair start with his early crops, which yielded high-class performers such as Daddy Long Legs, Handsome Mike and Lady Of Shamrock. He has also been a regular source of Classic winners in Chile.

But his second career really took off when Wesley Ward sent some brilliantly fast offspring to Royal Ascot: No Nay Never won the Norfolk Stakes in 2013 and Acapulco took the Queen Mary Stakes in 2015. His fee had soared from $10,000 during the season his first juveniles appeared on the track to $100,000 for 2016.

Sadly, Scat Daddy died unexpectedly in December 2015, meaning Coolmore were unable to capitalise on his extreme popularity. Then last year Ward sent out Lady Aurelia to hose up in the Queen Mary Stakes and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Caravaggio scorched to victory in the Coventry Stakes to underline the tragedy of the loss of their sire.

Now Lady Aurelia has confirmed herself one of the best sprinters around again, with her devastating display in the King's Stand Stakes, while also on the card Scat Daddy's son Murillo was a close third in the Coventry Stakes.

Scat Daddy's record stands at 20 Group/Grade 1 winners – 13 of those Chilean-breds – among 137 stakes performers.

Dam D'Wildcat Speed is by the Storm Cat stallion Forest Wildcat, also sire of Prix de l'Abbaye hero Var, top Japanese sprinter-miler A Shin Forward and Grade 1-winning sprinter Wildcat Heir.

She was a stakes winner at two in Puerto Rico and later a high-class mare for US trainer Bill White. She demonstrated that most clearly when a six-length winner of the Grade 2 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park in 2005.

At the end of that year she was bought by Lady Aurelia's breeder Stonestreet Stable for $1 million when she came on the market at the Keeneland November Breeding-Stock Sale.

Before Lady Aurelia came along, the best offspring of D'Wildcat Speed was Titletown Five, a son of Tiznow who was second in a restricted race at Oaklawn Park.

The dual Royal Ascot winner may owe some of her toughness to D'Wildcat Speed's dam Velvet Panther, twice a champion older mare in Puerto Rico where she won 31 races.

What's next? D'Wildcat Speed was rested this year after a late cover by Munnings in 2016.

Barney Roy: by Frankel's old adversary Excelebration

St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1)
Winner Barney Roy
Pedigree Excelebration-Alina (Galileo)
Breeder Eliza Park International
Sales Bought by AT Bloodstock for 30,000gns at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale; by Peter and Ross Doyle for £70,000 at the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale

Sire Excelebration is an Exceed And Excel half-brother to dual Earl of Sefton Stakes winner Mull Of Killough and none other than Lancaster Bomber – who chased home Barney Roy in second in the St James's Palace Stakes.

Excelebration was an outstanding miler but had the misfortune of being born in the same year as Frankel. He saw the back of the dual world champion when placed in the Greenham Stakes, St James's Palace Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Lockinge and Queen Anne Stakes.

Out of Frankel's shadows he won the German 2,000 Guineas by seven lengths and the Hungerford Stakes by six lengths and notched convincing Group 1 successes in the Prix du Moulin, Prix Jacques le Marois and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Excelebration has found himself in competition with Frankel again in his stallion career and, although his five stakes performers in the northern hemisphere cannot match his rival's 15, with Barney Roy he has beaten the Juddmonte horse to a first European Group 1 winner.

Excelebration deserves extra credit for the fact he retired to Coolmore at a fee of €22,500 – a fraction of the £125,000 that Frankel has commanded every year at stud. This year he was even better value at just €10,000.

Dam As was the case with Ribchester's dam Mujarah, Barney Roy's mother Alina showed little on the racecourse, finishing seventh on both her starts for Freddy Head in France. Although, in mitigation, on her first run she was beaten seven lengths by the high-class Tasaday in a hot Chantilly maiden.

At the end of her racing career Alina was sold to Eliza Park International – now known as Sun Stud – for 65,000gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale. Barney Roy is her first foal.

Her appeal lay not in her form but her pedigree, as a daughter of emerging broodmare sire Galileo – whose daughters have also produced last year's St James's Palace Stakes hero Galileo Gold as well as Intricately, La Collina, La Cressonniere, Night Of Thunder, Qualify and Rivet. She is also out of Group 3 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes winner Cheyenne Star.

Cheyenne Star is also a half-sister to the dam of Gordon Lord Byron, winner of the George Ryder Stakes, Haydock Sprint Cup and Prix de la Foret at the highest level.

What's next? Alina has a two-year-old filly by Dark Angel named Wisdom Mind with Criquette Head-Maarek; a yearling filly by Kodiac and a colt foal by Free Eagle.

Ribchester's dam may have been no great shakes but blood will out
E.W. Terms
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