Big on pedigree and performance

John Boyce brings us up-to-date with Part 2 of his analysis of this year’s sprinting two-year-olds and their potential to make successful stallions

Since our last look at the juvenile Group-winning colts over five and six furlongs, there have been five more contests in this category and the picture has become much clearer regarding where their winners sit amongst the overall hierarchy of two-year-olds. The Group 1 Middle Park – as it is always meant to do – served as a concluding championship for this cohort of two-year-olds and featured the winners of the Group 1 Morny, Group 2 Coventry, Group 2 July Stakes, Group 2 Gimcrack and Group 3 Sirenia Stakes. In the event, Vandeek put up perhaps his best performance of the season, defeating Task Force, a new name among this group of horses, and he confirmed his superiority over both River Tiber and Jasour, whom he had defeated in the Prix Morny. Timeform have assessed this performance at 119p, which puts Vandeek behind only Henry Longfellow (120p) among all European two-year-olds.

Vandeek is the 11th horse since the start of the Pattern to land the Prix Morny-Middle Park double and the fourth in the past five years to do so following Earthlight, Perfect Power and Blackbeard. Given that his current owners do not have a stallion farm, the dark grey son of Havana Grey will be on the radar of quite a few studs. 

Big Evs wins his third Stakes race, the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes. The Blue Point colt has the pedigree to make a stallion

Big Evs wins his third Stakes race, the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes. The Blue Point colt has the pedigree to make a stallion

The same is true of the Group 2 Flying Childers winner Big Evs, whose only slip up since his debut came when he took on older sprinters in the Group 1 Nunthorpe. Prior to that, the son of Blue Point had landed the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes and the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot. His two-and-three-quarter-length victory at Doncaster earned him a Timeform mark of 114, the joint-fifth best in Europe. As a Group 2-winning, 114-rated son of Blue Point, also sire of Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Rosallion, there is plenty to like about him as a potential stallion. Moreover, he has plenty of size and comes from an excellent family. His dam Hana Lina was a twice-placed daughter of Champion sprinter Oasis Dream and Champion 2yo filly Queen’s Logic, who was one of the most impressive winners of the Group 1 Cheveley Park this century, winning by seven lengths and earning a Timeform rating of 125. Queen’s Logic has gone on to produce the 120-rated Lady Of The Desert, who like her dam won the Group 2 Lowther at two and then trained on to win the Group 2 Diadem Stakes, now known as British Champions Sprint. She in turn became dam of one of Frankel’s early Group winners in Queen Kindly, yet another Lowther winner.

Remarkably, Queen’s Logic is just one of three horses rated 120 or higher out of the Diesis mare Lagrion. Her Danehill colt Dylan Thomas was top-class (TF132), winning five Group 1 races, including the Arc, the King George and two renewals of the Irish Champion Stakes, as well as an Irish Derby. Several years later, Lagrion foaled Dylan Thomas’s three-parts sister Homecoming Queen (by Holy Roman Emperor) who completed the 1,000 Guineas-Irish 1,000 Guineas double in 2012 and has since gone on to produce the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Shale. But neither Queen’s Logic nor Homecoming Queen can be considered the best broodmare daughter of Lagrion. That honour must surely go to the 111-rated Group 1 Oaks-second Remember When, a daughter of Danehill Dancer who produced eight foals, all by Galileo, featuring five Stakes winners and four Group winners, headed by Group 1 Derby winner Serpentine.

Another Group 2 contested recently was Newbury’s Mill Reef Stakes won by Juddmonte’s homebred Array, a son of the elite juvenile sire No Nay Never. Run on bottomless ground, it is hard to assess how good this form is. Timeform, for one have taken a dim view of it, rating the winner only 99. Nevertheless, A Group 2-winning son of No Nay Never is always going to excite stud masters and remember Juddmonte often sell on their lesser Group-winning colts, Calyx being a good recent example. But what makes Array even more attractive is the fact that he’s the first Stakes winner produced by Frankel’s Oasis Dream half-sister Joyeuse. Joyeuse herself was twice a Listed winner over six-furlongs and although she’s had to wait until her sixth foal to produce a Stakes winner, several of her previous runners have had plenty of class, including Group 1 Coronation Stakes third Jubiloso (by Shamardal), rated 112, and the Galileo colt Maximal, rated 116 and twice Group 1-placed since his export to Australia.

Group 3 Sirenia Stakes winner Starlust, who was fifth behind Vandeek in the Middle Park, may be tougher to sell at the moment. His sire, Zoustar, was responsible for last season’s Group 1 Cheveley Park heroine Lezoo in his first crop, but has yet managed to break through here in the northern hemisphere in the same spectacular manner as he has down south. Still, Starlust did have the Mill Reef winner Array behind him at Kempton so who knows what his future holds? Like Array, he has yet to get past the 100-mark on Timeform ratings.

Group 3 Round Tower Stakes winner Letsbehonestaboutit (left) is a son of Sioux Nation from the family of Lowther Stakes winner Dance Sequence

Group 3 Round Tower Stakes winner Letsbehonestaboutit (left) is a son of Sioux Nation from the family of Lowther Stakes winner Dance Sequence

One who has is the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes winner Letsbefrankaboutit. This son of Sioux Nation was awarded a mark of 102 after his Curragh success on only his second outing. He is from the second crop of his sire and was purchased for €240,000 at the Goresbridge Breeze up sale earlier this year, having been sourced for €40,000 as a yearling at Goffs Sportsman Sale. His Scat Daddy sire enjoyed a memorable battle with Havana Grey last year, eventually ending up with the most winners (44) of any first-season sire. He’s enjoyed several highlights this year siring six Group 3 winners, featuring Group 1-placed Matilda Picotte (TF115). And although he has to face the immediate future with lower numbers and lower quality, breeders gave him a big thumbs up in 2023, sending him a record number of mares and more quality than he’s ever had. Letsbefrankaboutit is the fifth foal and fourth winner from the Acclamation mare Omanome, a winning two-year-old granddaughter of Mr Prospector’s Group 2 Lowther winner Dance Sequence.


Date  Race  Grade  Racecourse  Dist  Winner   Sire 
20-Jun-23  Coventry S.  G2  Royal Ascot  6f  River Tiber   Wootton Bassett 
22-Jun-23  Norfolk S.  G2  Royal Ascot  5f  Valiant Force   Malibu Moon 
02-Jul-23  Railway S.  G2  Curragh  6f  Bucanero Fuerte   Wootton Bassett 
13-Jul-23  July S.  G2  Newmarket  6f  Jasour   Havana Grey 
03-Aug-23  Richmond S.  G2  Goodwood  6f  Vandeek   Havana Grey 
12-Aug-23  Phoenix S.  G1  Curragh  6f  Bucanero Fuerte   Wootton Bassett 
20-Aug-23  Prix Morny  G1  Deauville  1200m  Vandeek   Havana Grey 
25-Aug-23  Gimcrack S.  G2  York  6f  Lake Forest   No Nay Never 
15-Sep-23  Flying Childers S.  G2  Doncaster  5f  Big Evs   Blue Point 
23-Sep-23  Mill Reef S.  G2  Newbury  6f  Array   No Nay Never 
30-Sep-23  Middle Park S.  G1  Newmarket  6f  Vandeek   Havana Grey 

About the author

John Boyce

John Boyce grew up on a stud farm and is a bloodstock journalist and former editor of Pacemaker and of The Thoroughbred Breeder. He was part of the Darley/Godolphin team from 2001 to 2022 as Group Marketing Head and then Group Head of Research. He is currently a partner in a data analytics company based in London.

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