From an original outlay of just $18,000, Allan Belshaw today sits at the helm of one of the most active families of the current era.
It was back in August 1995 that Bill O’Gorman walked away from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company in Florida with a relatively inexpensive daughter of Dodge signed under his name. The OBS yearling sales have never been a wildly popular destination for European buyers, who have the option of Keeneland’s marathon September auction if they even choose to target America, and it’s unlikely that too many joined O’Gorman on the trip that year.
O’Gorman, however, had already enjoyed luck with the American breed on behalf of Times Of Wigan, having trained the owner’s Timeless Times – by the Damascus stallion Timeless Moment – to win a record 16 races as a two-year-old in 1990.
O’Gorman was once again acting for Belshaw when he struck that day at OBS. Purchases are invariably fuelled with at least a glimmer of hope and while Dodge might have been a cheap stallion in Kentucky, he was a young, well-related son of Mr Prospector. As for the filly, she was the product of a hard-knocking stakes family with roots in Argentina.
Both Newspaperofrecord and Pink Dogwood are granddaughters of Forever Times, the first foal out of Simply Times
As it turned out, Simply Times, as she was named, never did become the next Timeless Times, slipping up on her first start before finishing down the field on her second outing at Southwell. Connections called it a day and Simply Times was sent to stud.
How many breeders would have persevered at that point? Probably not a great number and indeed, the onus was on the mare herself to make her own pedigree. Two decades on and Belshaw can deserve to take immense satisfaction in Simply Times having done just that.
In Newspaperofrecord and Pink Dogwood, the Simply Times family has two outstanding Classic prospects to fly its flag in 2019; the Chad Brown-trained Newspaperofrecord could well be the best filly in America judging by her dominant victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf while Pink Dogwood – a sister to last season’s Irish Derby hero Latrobe – consolidated her place at the head of the Oaks betting with a smooth winning return in Sunday’s Salsabil Stakes at Navan.
Both Newspaperofrecord and Pink Dogwood are granddaughters of Forever Times, the first foal out of Simply Times.
Simply Times was produced by a five-time winning, stakes-placed mare in Nesian’s Burn, herself a half-sister to a 33-time winner by the name of Aristocratic Cross. And in Forever Times, there was an early suggestion that a similar level of durability was shining through.
Forever Times has rewarded Belshaw’s investment as the dam of Sunday Times
Tim Easterby saddled her to win six of 51 starts and attain a rating of 91, enough to make her one of the best sired by the moderate stallion So Factual.
Even so, Forever Times was followed by a better runner in Welsh Emperor, whose 13 wins included the 2006 Hungerford Stakes. Again, he was one of the best by his sire, in his case the disappointing Emperor Jones.
Abergwaun Stakes winner Majestic Times, a son of Bluebird who made 72 starts, followed ahead of five-time winner Distant Times (by Orpen; made 48 starts) and the Group 3-placed Brave Prospector (by Oasis Dream; made 32 starts).
Between them, those ten runners out of Simply Times ran no fewer than 335 times between them.
Forever Times, however, has since taken matters to another level. Afforded several excellent chances at stud, she has rewarded Belshaw’s investment as the dam of Sunday Times, a Holy Roman Emperor filly who captured the 2012 Group 3 Sceptre Stakes, and the Listed-placed Question Times, a filly from the second crop of Shamardal.
It is those daughters who are now enhancing the family considerably; Sunday Times as the dam of Newspaperofrecord and Listed winner Classical Times and Question Times as the dam of Latrobe, Pink Dogwood and Diamond Fields.
While this very much remains a Times Of Wigan family, some of it does now sit in outside hands. Classical Times, for example, was sold to Juddmonte Farms following her win in last year’s Listed Cecil Frail Stakes at Haydock. As for Question Times, she joined Sweetmans Bloodstock when picked up for ‘only’ 50,000gns through the BBA Ireland at the 2011 Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale.
Of course, at that stage Shamardal had received no opportunity to prove his worth as a broodmare sire. The son of Giant’s Causeway has since developed into one of Europe’s finest in that department, making his daughters particularly valuable commodities.
Question Times has been influential in that rise, not only as the dam of Latrobe but also of Diamond Fields, who was saddled by Fozzy Stack to win the 2017 Group 3 Gladness Stakes. Pink Dogwood is her third stakes winner from her first four foals.
Pink Dogwood becomes the 15th stakes winner for Coolmore’s Camelot and maintains the fine impression made by his first two crops in the process.
Camelot has consistently been well supported by some of Europe’s leading breeders
There was sense upon Camelot’s retirement to stud in 2014 that he could be Montjeu’s best stallion son. After all, he had been a Group 1 winner at two and had owned the miling pace to strike in the 2,000 Guineas before stretching out to sweep the Epsom and Irish Derby at three.
Also a particularly good looking horse, he has consistently been well supported by some of Europe’s leading breeders, notably in 2016 when he attracted 214 mares, thereby providing him with the necessary firepower to maintain a notable presence.
An encouraging early marker was laid down by the Group 2 winner Fighting Irish, the best of two stakes-winning juveniles out of his first crop. However, as anticipated Camelot’s progeny really came into their own once they turned three. There were nine stakes winners among his first three-year-olds in 2018, led by Latrobe, Belmont Oaks heroine Athena and Hampton Court Stakes victor Hunting Horn.
Added to that, plenty of promise could be taken from a second crop that was to the fore as early as Royal Ascot courtesy of Chesham Stakes winner Arthur Kitt. By the end of 2018, it could also boast a Group 1 winner in the Nicolas Clement-trained filly Wonderment, who defeated colts to take the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.
It is Pink Dogwood, though, who appeals as the key element within Camelot’s current crop of three-year-olds. With Aidan O’Brien likely to have left plenty to work on, it’s understandable how Sunday’s performance prompted a price clip into 3-1 in some places for the Oaks. With any luck, by then we will have been treated to the return of Newspaperofrecord to make it yet another very special year for the Simply Times family.