Trickledown benefits of Godolphin cull already being shared far and wide
Martin Stevens on Permian's dam and other valuable updates
Significant cutbacks in the breeding arm of Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation have seen a large number of high-class racecourse performers and well-related broodmares appear on the market over the past 18 months - and many investors who availed themselves of the opportunity are already reaping the rewards.
None more so, perhaps, than Camas Park Stud, which paid 65,000gns for the Mark Of Esteem mare Tessa Reef through Cormac McCormack Bloodstock from the Darley draft at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2015.
Though 15 years old at the time of the auction, Tessa Reef held considerable appeal as a Listed scorer out of a stakes-winning sister to the great Miesque - with five winners on her progeny record and a New Approach foal in utero.
She looks a shrewd acquisition as her colt by Teofilo, who was an unnamed yearling on her page in the Tattersalls catalogue, has since emerged as Permian, a leading fancy for the Investec Derby after winning a competitive renewal of the Dante Stakes last Thursday.
Tessa Reef delivered a New Approach colt for Camas Park Stud in February last year – you would imagine that if that yearling's looks match his pedigree, his value is now a fair amount higher than at the time of his birth - and the mare was covered by Australia afterwards.
No fewer than three unraced half-sisters to Teofilo were sold by Godolphin over a ten-day period last November. Already siblings to an unbeaten two-year-old champion, their pedigrees have been further enhanced since their purchase as another half-sister, Bean Feasa, was an impressive Group 3 winner at Leopardstown earlier this month and is around a 10-1 chance for the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday.
None of those daughters of the Listed-winning Danehill mare Speirbhean cost the earth (in terms of thoroughbred sales, at least). Power Thoroughbreds paid €60,000 for Aisling Verse, a Street Cry three-year-old; while China Horse Club spent €130,000 on Fair Hill, a six-year-old three-parts sister to Teofilo by New Approach. Both these changed hands at the Goffs November Sale. A week later at Tattersalls, Barry Walters gave 55,000gns for Found You, a four-year-old also by New Approach out of Speirbhean.
Sobetsu, who advertised her own Classic claims with an authoritative victory in the Prix Saint-Alary this month, is first and foremost a feather in the cap of Godolphin, which campaigns and bred her. But she also provided a secondary boost for breeders who bought relations to her from recent Darley drafts.
Australian agent Sheamus Mills bought Laka Hamana, an unraced three-year-old Shamardal filly out of Sobetsu's late Listed-winning dam Lake Toya, on behalf of Yulong Investments for 210,000gns at last year's Tattersalls July Sale; while Barronstown Stud went to 260,000gns to secure Snow Pine, a winning seven-year-old Dalakhani half-sister to Lake Toya, at Tattersalls in November. Snow Pine and Lake Toya are maternal granddaughters of Barronstown's phenomenal broodmare Doff The Derby, from whom the stud bred Epsom Classic winners Generous and Imagine.
The theme of Maktoum family success on the track enriching the pedigrees of mares sold in a rationalisation of numbers continued on Saturday, with the victory of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid's exciting three-year-old Defoe in the valuable London Gold Cup Handicap at Newbury.
Defoe is the first foal out of Dulkashe, a winning daughter of Pivotal, and appears to be the only offspring bred by Darley out of the mare before she was sold, in foal to Shamardal, to Faisal Al-Thani for 90,000gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2015. Dulkashe visited Toronado last year.
There is nothing new about breeders enjoying big pedigree updates with mares culled by large entities such Darley, or indeed the Aga Khan Studs, Juddmonte and Shadwell. It is an inevitable side-effect of those breeders having to keep their ever-expanding herds in check. What feels different this time is that a resurgence in Godolphin's form has come hot on the heels of its attempts - through increased drafts at the breeding-stock sales - to become a leaner, meaner force in racing.
Come the foal and yearling sales this year and next, then, quite a few breeders could be cashing in with progeny of former Darley mares who have recently gained high-achieving relations.