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New Approach is already starting to make his mark off the track

Bloodstock Bites

Wed, 13 June 2012

A relatively quiet few days at home as Britain prepares for Royal Ascot saw a week of excitement, anticipation and some disappointment over the pond.

  • Following an announcement just over 24 hours before Saturday’s Belmont Stakes that I’ll Have Another was out of America’s final Classic due to injury, there was disappointment on both sides of the Atlantic as the fifth horse since 2000 to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness would fail to capture the elusive Triple Crown, not won since Affirmed in 1978.

Nevertheless the race is always a highly anticipated one, the result of which grants the winner a place in racing’s hall of fame. With Bodemeister, runner-up to I’ll Have Another in both of the preceding Classics, having been scratched in the week leading up to the race, an open renewal was on the cards; on the day, it was Kentucky Derby third Dullahan who was sent off 5/2F, but he failed to prevent Union Rags reversing their form from Churchill Downs, winning by a neck from long time leader Paynter in a thrilling finish under John Velazquez.

The son of Dixie Union, bought for $145,000 as a yearling before selling for more than double at $390,000 a year later, already had the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on his CV; that win completed a hat-trick, resulting in the colt sent off 6/5F in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (dirt), in which he was held just a head by the equally promising Hansen. Union Rags reversed that form at Churchill Downs when seventh, two places ahead of this former conqueror.

Saturday’s winner is one of just two at Group/Grade 1 level for Dixie Union, but black-type runners are in no short supply on his illustrious dam line. Second dam Terpsichorist (Nijinsky) won 11 races in total, including the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park. Her own dam Glad Rags (High Hat) followed on the juvenile campaign which saw her the top rated filly in Ireland with a 1,000 Guineas win. Saturday’s win is a second for the Glad Rags line, the mare also being third dam to Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes and Belmont hero Colonial Affair. Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Prince Of Birds can also be found amongst the many other Pattern performers in the thriving family.

  • Following the announcement that I’ll Have Another would miss the race, it was soon confirmed the colt would be retiring to stud. So while the world will have to wait for an American Triple Crown winner, back here in Britain hopes are still high that Camelot can be the first to achieve the domestic equivalent since Nijinsky in 1970. With wins in the 2,000 Guineas and Derby already in the bag, the Ballydoyle colt has certainly added more than a fair share of prize money his sire Montjeu’s earnings, helping the stallion to top of the leader board as we approach mid-season. With average earnings of £16,014, it’s clear many of Montjeu’s runners this season have been at top flight, and while reigning European Champion Galileo may not have dominated the Classics this year as he did in 2011, his Oaks-winning daughter Was ensured he won’t finish the season empty handed, and is currently stalking closely in second place, less than £200,000 short of his former stablemate.

Oasis Dream has enjoyed another bountiful season, most notably picking up the Irish 2,000 Guineas courtesy of his son Power on route to his current table position behind Galileo, but it is perhaps the fourth-placed Chichicastenango who has performed the greatest feat so far, breaking the £1m mark from just 14 winners, which corresponds to a 25% strike rate given just 55 of his progeny have run this season. Much of this is down to his second Prix du Jockey Club-winning son, Saonois, though with average earnings higher than Montjeu, there are some classy offspring on the track for the sire, who recently died from colic.

  • Galileo’s full brother Black Sam Bellamy, by Sadler’s Wells and out of the Arc winner Urban Sea, was given a second Group 1 title by Earl Of Tinsdal on Sunday, this time in Italy. The German-trained colt won Cologne’s Group 1 Rheinland-Pokal in August last year after finishing runner up in the Deutsches Derby, and on his first trip to San Siro doubled that tally when making all under William Buick in the Gran Premio de Milano, beating fellow top-flight performers Quiza Quiza Quiza and Joshua Tree in the process. Black Sam Bellamy now stands at Shade Oak Stud.
  • Freshman sire New Approach continues to go from strength to strength in his new career; not only did Newfangled provide the sire with a third winner on Friday at Newmarket’s July course, earlier in the week Dawn Approach maintained his unbeaten record when taking the Listed Alfred Nobel Rochestown Stakes at Naas. The result gives New Approach his first black-type title as a sire, and as a five time Group 1 winner himself, certainly his progeny so far indicate that tally could be surpassed in his second career.
  • Mount Nelson got off the mark with just his second runner after Lasdramad beat six rivals in a Maiden at La Teste Buch on Wednesday. The filly, who finished runner-up on her only other start, held nearest rival Dibajj by a length and a half for trainer Yan Durepaire. Prior to Lasdramad’s win, the Newsells Park resident’s only runner had been the third-placed Give Way Nelson, while on Friday Trucanini made his debut at Newmarket, finishing a creditable sixth behind Newfangled.