Physique, pedigree and performance – he’s got it all

Martin Stevens assesses Shadwell’s exciting new recruit, Mohaather

It is a well-worn cliché that a prospective stallion ticks all the boxes, one trotted out by stud masters and nominations managers with tiresome regularity. But in the case of Mohaather, it would be hard to disagree.

Taking his physique first, few who have seen the four-year-old could have failed to be bowled over by him; a rich, dark bay colour, he is an athletic individual with a pleasing balance of power and elegance. It is not for nothing that he made 110,000gns to a bid from Shadwell at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.

Then there is Mohaather’s pedigree, and there are few holes that can be picked here either. He was bred by Gaie Johnson Houghton from Whitsbury Manor Stud’s outstanding stallion Showcasing, who is now firmly established as a rich source of precocious stock and classy sprinters and milers. At the time of writing, Showcasing’s record stands at 94 Stakes performers, 22 of which have struck at Pattern level, including Mohaather’s fellow Group 1 winners Advertise and Quiet Reflection.

Showcasing’s influence is gradually deepening, too. Mohaather is set to be his fifth stallion son after Advertise and Soldier’s Call, who retired to stud in 2020; his new Nunnery Stud colleague Tasleet, whose first crop of foals were born this year, and Cappella Sansevero, whose own small debut batch of runners has yielded the Mill Reef Stakes winner Pierre Lapin.

Meanwhile, Mohaather’s maternal family is not only chock-full of black type but is also positively buzzing with relevance. He is out of the Listed-placed Inchinor mare Roodeye, who had earlier clicked with Showcasing to produce Prize Exhibit – third in the Oh So Sharp Stakes and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf for Jamie Osborne at two, and later a dual Grade 2 winner over 6½f and a mile, as well as Grade 1-placed in the Del Mar Oaks when trained in California by James Cassidy. 

Mohaather’s full sister Prize Exhibit, seen here prior to finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita, went on to record two Grade 2 victories in America.

Mohaather’s full sister Prize Exhibit, seen here prior to finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita, went on to record two Grade 2 victories in America.

Prize Exhibit was bought by Barronstown Stud for 775,000gns at the Tattersalls December Breeding Stock Sale of 2017 and the first offspring she has produced for the famed County Wicklow nursery is a Galileo yearling filly who sold to Coolmore for a cool 2,800,000gns at Book 1 this month.

Roodeye produced six other winners besides Mohaather and Prize Exhibit, including the Stakes-placed Harbour Master and the useful sorts Must Be Me and Roodle, neither of whom were beaten far in Listed company. Roodle in turn produced the Johnson Houghton family’s wonderful Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes hero Accidental Agent.

Roodeye was a half-sister to no fewer than nine other winners out of the Listed-placed Rudimentary mare Roo. Her siblings include Group 1 Prix Morny runner-up Gallagher and Listed runners-up New Day Dawn and Quick Wit, as well as the dams of last year’s Ripon Champion Trophy second Lambeth Walk, this season’s Rose Bowl Stakes third Imperial Yellow and Perotto, a 93-rated two-year-old for Mohaather’s trainer Marcus Tregoning.

Roo was a half-sister to six winners, including Gimcrack Stakes scorer Bannister, while a further unraced half-sister produced Middle Park Stakes victor Astaire. Meanwhile Roo’s dam Shall We Run, by Hotfoot out of Sirnelta, was a half-sister to eight winners including Dead Certain, whose CV included triumphs in the Queen Mary Stakes, Cheveley Park Stakes and Prix Maurice de Gheest.

To underline what a remarkably prolific family this is, Mohaather’s first four dams – Roodeye, Roo, Shall We Run and Sirnelta – produced 32 winners between them. Furthermore, in excess of 30 black-type performers around the world descend from the Johnson Houghtons’ foundation mare Sirnelta.

Mohaather is the best of this high-achieving family, though, with Pattern race victories notched at two, three and four and a heady official rating of 123 to his name. He first demonstrated his immense talent at two when winning the Horris Hill Stakes at 33-1 on the back of breaking his maiden at Nottingham by just a short head. His Group 3 success at Newbury might have been a surprise, but it was achieved by one and a half lengths in highly impressive fashion.

Mohaather recovers from a slow start to run out a comfortable winner of the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes.

Mohaather recovers from a slow start to run out a comfortable winner of the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes.

Mohaather returned to Newbury for his three-year-old debut and put himself in the Classic picture with a decisive victory in the Greenham Stakes, only for a bone bruise to rule him out of running again until the autumn. When he did finally return, he hinted that he had retained his ability by finishing a fair fifth behind King Of Change in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

With another year of maturation under his belt and an injury-free preparation, Mohaather really flourished at four – eventually, at least, as his first run that season was a luckless seventh in the Queen Anne Stakes. Jim Crowley called it “the one that got away” at an otherwise fruitful meeting for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s retained jockey. 

Mohaather atoned for that defeat with a wide-margin win in the Summer Mile back at Ascot a month later, and then everything finally came together for him in Group 1 company. In a Sussex Stakes for the ages, in which his rivals included Newmarket and Curragh 2,000 Guineas winners Kameko and Siskin and multiple Group 1 winner Circus Maximus, he travelled sweetly, circled the field with ease and accelerated powerfully to score by three quarters of a length.

There were surely more top-level successes to come for Mohaather, but further bone bruising dictated that he had to be retired after his heroics at Glorious Goodwood. Connections paid tribute not only to his class and courage, but also his willing attitude.

“He was very easy to deal with at home, he just ate and slept,” reported Tregoning. “He is an excellent physical specimen with great power through his hindquarters: if you looked at him from behind they’re like two oranges.

“He would go on any ground and had bags of speed. He could’ve been a six-furlong horse if that had been what was wanted – you could see that in the way he travelled so powerfully – but the idea was to get a mile Group 1 with him.”

“It’s very exciting to have a horse who won Group races at two, three and four, and who knows how many more top races he might have won if he hadn’t had to miss most of his three-year-old season due to a little niggle?” said Shadwell stud director Richard Lancaster at Tattersalls, where he and his team were reportedly fielding plenty of registrations of interest after news of his retirement to Nunnery Stud.

“That turn of foot he displayed in the Sussex Stakes was quite amazing. He was almost brought to a halt but managed to accelerate past a field of top-class horses.”

Mohaather shows a decisive turn of foot to defeat a top class field in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Mohaather shows a decisive turn of foot to defeat a top class field in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

So Mohaather clearly has many attributes breeders would want to replicate, but what sorts of mares should they send to achieve the best results?

The first thing to note is that this is a family that excels with sprinters and milers, through both the father and mother.

Showcasing’s finest hour came with victory in the Gimcrack Stakes at two, and he ran an admirable second against his elders in the Duke of York Stakes over 6f at three. By Champion Sprinter Oasis Dream out of Listed Flying Fillies’ Stakes winner Arabesque, he is a full-brother to smart sprinters Bouvardia and Tendu and a half-brother to Sandy Lane Stakes scorer and Jersey Stakes runner-up Camacho. Arabesque was in turn by the brilliant Zafonic out of Cheveley Park Stakes winner Prophecy.

And then the precocious Roodeye, by 7f specialist Inchinor, has, as we have seen, excelled at producing sprinters and milers and hails from a family awash with sharp and speedy talents. 

With all that in mind, it is questionable whether sending middle-distance and staying mares to Mohaather would be playing to this family’s strengths; breeders might also do well to remember that bombarding his paternal grandsire Oasis Dream ended with questionable results.

It is worth noting, too, that Showcasing has done best when sent sharper mares. Many of his most talented runners, including Advertise, Quiet Reflection, Soldier’s Call and Alkumait, are out of winners over 5f to 6f, while the dam of another, Tasleet, showed little on her one start but is closely related to the blisteringly quick Battaash.

Further narrowing down the field of mares who might suit Mohaather is difficult because Showcasing has clicked with a very wide range of sires and sire-lines. The damsires of his northern hemisphere Group winners are Cadeaux Genereux (Young Generation); Dansili (Danehill); Diktat (Warning); Dutch Art (Medicean); Galileo (Sadler’s Wells); Haafhd (Alhaarth); Hector Protector (Woodman); Iceman (Polar Falcon); Inchinor (Ahonoora); King’s Best (Kingmambo); Pivotal (Polar Falcon); Pulpit (A.P. Indy); Royal Applause (Waajib); and Teofilo (Galileo).

In fact, no two Pattern winners by Showcasing out of different mares are by the same damsire. If you were really searching for a sequence, you might surmise that with Advertise being out of a mare by Pivotal and Soldier’s Call being out of a mare by another son of Polar Falcon in Iceman, that Pivotal might be an avenue to explore; but then Pivotal is such a superb broodmare sire his daughters seem to improve any pedigree.

An alternative for believers in nicks could be granting Mohaather access to faster Dansili mares. Showcasing over Dansili has produced only that one Pattern winner – Tropbeau – but another four runners rated 90 or higher from 14 runners besides, namely Listed Golden Rose Stakes winner Encrypted, Firth of Clyde Stakes third Endless Joy and the smart handicappers Burmese Waltz and Horroob.

Or how about putting Dream Ahead mares to Mohaather? Many will be sprinters, and/or from sprinting families, and the one exponent of the Showcasing-Dream Ahead cross on the track so far is Simon and Ed Crisford’s exciting two-year-old filly Operatic.

Furthermore, the cross of Showcasing over Dream Ahead’s sire Diktat has come up with Premio Regina Elena scorer Conselice and two other winners from three runners, while the cross of Showcasing over Dream Ahead’s damsire Cadeaux Genereux has given us Tasleet and two other black-type performers from seven runners. Don’t forget either that Showcasing’s half-brother Camacho once clicked with a Cadeaux Genereux mare to produce Poule d’Essai des Pouliches heroine Teppal.

Whichever mares breeders identify as being suitable for Mohaather, they would be well advised to get their applications in early as it is not difficult to see him being oversubscribed.

About the author

Martin Stevens
Martin Stevens cut his teeth at Pacemaker magazine upon graduating from the University of Oxford, where he studied English Literature and Language. He subsequently spent 12 years at the Racing Post, where he served as bloodstock editor, and is now a freelance bloodstock journalist.

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