A winning granddaughter of blue hen Allegretta and thereby a close relation to Urban Sea, Galileo and Sea The Stars et al – that sounds quite enticing, doesn’t it?
So quite how Tom Malone managed to pick up such an animal, namely the Shadwell-bred Muwakaba, for just £8,500 on behalf of GHS Bloodstock and JC Bloodstock at the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot November Sale in 2015 is an interesting question.
By Elusive Quality and out of minor winner Saleela, a Nureyev daughter of Allegretta acquired by Shadwell for $600,000 as a yearling, Muwakaba headed into the ring that November as an eight-year-old with four foals on the ground by a varied collection of stallions.
Perhaps her early coverings to lesser names such as Mawatheeq and Aqlaam turned some buyers off. Or maybe it was just a case of buyer fatigue, with the mare turning up at a minor sale amid the marathon breeding stock sales circuit.
Regardless, Shadwell’s loss has become very much the gain of GHS Bloodstock and JC Bloodstock, who are now in possession of the dam of one of Europe’s most exciting juvenile fillies in Cayenne Pepper.
The unbeaten Cayenne Pepper, who made all to take Friday’s Flame Of Tara Stakes at the Curragh in the colours of American owner Jon Kelly for trainer Jessica Harrington, is the first foal bred by GHS Bloodstock and JC Bloodstock out of Muwakaba. As a daughter of Australia, she is also the result of some significant investment by the partners, who used the Coolmore stallion in his second season at €50,000. They were well rewarded, however, when the filly sold as a foal for 195,000gns to Harriet Jellet at the 2017 Tattersalls December Sale, making her the most expensive Australia filly foal sold that year.
All the while, Muwakaba’s extended family has continued to become ever more powerful. In that, the Flame Of Tara provided an excellent illustration. As Cayenne Pepper stretched clear under Shane Foley, So Wonderful did her best to close the gap, eventually falling two-and-a-half lengths short of the winner. A New Dawn, meanwhile, finished well from the rear to take third. Remarkably, both follow Cayenne Pepper as direct descendants of Allegretta, in both cases via their third dam Urban Sea; So Wonderful is a War Front granddaughter of Oaks runner-up All Too Beautiful, while A New Dawn is a Zoffany granddaughter of the Group 3-placed Cherry Hinton.
As if that wasn’t enough, Cherry Hinton is also the dam of Goddess, who continued her resurgence for Ballydoyle with a smooth victory in the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes later on the Curragh card.
Their successes, however, form just one piece in the evolving tapestry of this amazing family. All Too Beautiful, for example, is also the granddam of Sir Dragonet, who went off favourite for the Derby following his success in the Chester Vase. Then there is last year’s Rockfel Stakes winner Just Wonderful, a daughter of Goddess’ talented three-parts sister Wading who ran second in the Belmont Oaks on her penultimate start.
The reach of this family will get mightier with the continued dominance of Urban Sea’s most accomplished son Galileo and his half-brother Sea The Stars
Meanwhile, not to be forgotten is the Allez Les Trois branch of Allegretta’s family, responsible in recent months for the Prix Messidor winner Impulsif and Prix du Jockey Club third Motamarris. Yet the best of all from this particular branch for the season could turn out to be Shadwell’s Khayzaraan, yet another promising juvenile by Kingman who tore apart a Deauville maiden last month to win by nine lengths. A half-sister to Group 3 winner Tantheem, she descends from Allez Les Trois via Al Ishq, the dam of Tamayuz.
The reach of this family is only going to get mightier, its importance underlined by the continued dominance of Urban Sea’s most accomplished son Galileo and the ongoing success of his half-brother Sea The Stars. To that end, inbreeding back to Allegretta is only going to become more commonplace – and why not when early representatives of such a pattern include Derby winner Masar (inbred to Urban Sea) alongside the Group 2 winners Sword Of Light and Armande?
Cayenne Pepper, as a daughter of one of Galileo’s most successful sons in Australia, is another such animal, in her case being inbred 4×3. Impulsif, who shares his sire New Approach with Masar and Sword Of Light, is also inbred 4×3 while Windsor Castle Stakes winner Southern Hills is inbred 4×4. This season’s King George V Cup victor Rakan, meanwhile, contains 2×4 inbreeding to Urban Sea as a son of Sea The Stars out of a Teofilo mare.
Cayenne Pepper’s power-packed background also contains the combination of Sadler’s Wells over Nureyev (sire of her granddam Saleela) to provide two strains of fellow blue hen Special. One of the most popular patterns of its time – think Kingmambo over Sadler’s Wells – it also features in the background of Bangkok, another of Australia’s leading lights.
Cayenne Pepper becomes the eighth stakes winner for Australia and the second from his 2017 crop after Mohican Heights, recent winner of the Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury.
Plenty has been expected of Australia throughout his stud career. Firstly, he was the dominant three-year-old of his year, an easy Derby winner who possessed the speed to run third in a vintage 2,000 Guineas. He is also a son of the brilliant Ouija Board and as a high-ranking Coolmore inmate, is well represented within Ballydoyle.
The son of Galileo duly covered a big first book of 172 mares in his first season, among them 77 black-type producers. The list was impressive, including the likes of multiple Group 1 winner Peeping Fawn, Belmont Stakes scorer Rags To Riches and 1,000 Guineas heroine Virginia Waters alongside the dams of Order Of St George, Coronet, Recital, Beauty Only and Rekindling.
That first crop came to include three Group 1-placed colts in Broome, Sydney Opera House and Western Australia, all of whom are trained by Aidan O’Brien. Godolphin, meanwhile, campaigned Beyond Reason to win the Prix Six Perfections and Prix du Calvados.
It is tempting to think that Jessica Harrington’s filly could be the one to fill the Group 1 void for Australia in due course
That momentum carried over into the first half of this season as Broome and Bangkok each developed into legitimate Derby candidates. Another representative, Joseph O’Brien’s Buckhurst, has also rewarded the patience of his connections by landing his last two starts, both at Group 3 level. Incidentally, that particular colt is inbred to speed influence Green Desert, a pattern that also appears in the background of Beyond Reason.
Yet the search for a Group 1 winner by the stallion still goes on, an omission that places Australia adrift of the lesser expensive Derby winner Ruler Of The World, who was swift to hit the mark thanks to Iridessa. And it has to be said that the majority of his stakes winners to date are the product of high-achieving mares and therefore theoretically hold an advantage; in fact, all bar Cayenne Pepper are out of mares who are either stakes performers or stakes producers.
Judging by the ease of Cayenne Pepper’s victory in the Flame Of Tara Stakes, however, it is tempting to think that Jessica Harrington’s filly could be the one to fill that Group 1 void in due course. A straightforward, classy and genuine performer, she holds excellent claims of developing into an Oaks candidate, especially in light of the way the first group of Australia’s runners have progressed with time and distance. Before then, however, she appeals as a formidable candidate for the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Fillies’ Mile.