During the early summer of 1988, the Newmarket rumour mill was abuzz with the promise shown by Kerrera, an unraced two-year-old Diesis filly with Sir Michael Stoute. Such was the confidence in her ability that Sheikh Mohammed reportedly parted with a seven-figure sum to secure the youngster ten days prior to her debut at Yarmouth and she duly obliged in taking fashion by three lengths.
There are countless examples of horses failing to live up to lofty price tags. Kerrera, as an inmate of Freemason Lodge Stables with a fine pedigree and proven latent talent, was a safer bet than most and although she didn’t turn out to be a champion, she was pretty smart, going on to win the Cherry Hinton Stakes by six lengths on her second start before running second in the Princess Margaret and Flying Childers Stakes thereafter.
Timeform suggested that Kerrera went the wrong way at two but come the spring of 1989, she was still regarded highly enough to take her chance in the 1,000 Guineas. There she ran an excellent race under Pat Eddery to finish a close second to stablemate Musical Bliss, also owned by Sheikh Mohammed; had she settled better, the result might have been different.
Kerrera was kept to shorter distances for the rest of her three-year-old campaign, a plot that initially bore fruit when she won the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. However, she failed to shine in three subsequent starts and retired to stud on a dull note, her effort in the 1,000 Guineas a receding memory.
Again, Timeform was blunt in its assessment of Kerrera, stating: “As for her form, well, by most standards that can’t be worth the reputed seven-figure sum which Sheikh Mohammed paid for her.” However, they also noted rather presciently: “But there’s still her career in the paddocks to come.”
“Sheikh Mohammed reportedly parted with a seven-figure sum to secure Kerrera ten days prior to her debut”
Kerrera was rather a slow-burner in that department but right now her family is in flying form for Godolphin, with the mare featuring as the granddam of Master Of The Seas and third dam of Cascadian. Both have landed major successes for their owner-breeder in recent days; Master Of The Seas justified market confidence to win Thursday’s Craven Stakes at Newmarket while Cascadian landed a first deserved Group 1 win in the Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 10.
While this is a family that is readily identified with Godolphin, it has long boasted fine associations, having previously passed through the hands of Sir Charles Clore and Captain Tim Rogers, the mastermind behind Airlie Stud.
Clore bred Kerrera’s dam, Rimosa’s Pet, in 1976 out of Rimosa, a winning daughter of Mossborough. Rimosa had previously thrown a high-class filly in Denosa, who had struck in the 1969 Blue Seal Stakes at Ascot for Vincent O’Brien, and Rimosa’s Pet followed suit, winning the 1979 Musidora and Princess Elizabeth Stakes for Sir Michael Stoute. At the end of that year, she headed to Tattersalls, where Rogers – who had stood her successful but short-lived sire Petingo – bought her on a bid of 200,000gns, a not insignificant sum for the era.
Rimosa’s Pet went on to foal nine winners but by the time Kerrera, her fourth foal, popped up, she was under the ownership of the Shropshire-based Peter Tellwright, Rogers having sold her in foal to Airlie resident Ballad Rock. The resulting foal, a stocky brown colt, was sold for 50,000gns as a yearling and named Rock City, belied his inexpensive price tag by rattling off five consecutive wins at two for Richard Hannon headed by the Coventry, July and Gimcrack Stakes. A hardy customer, he also trained on to win the Greenham Stakes and run second in the St James’s Palace Stakes prior to a nondescript stud career at the National Stud in Newmarket.
— Godolphin (@godolphin) April 10, 2021
Kerrera, as befitted her profile, was afforded opportunities to some of the best stallions available of the time. They included Sadler’s Wells, to whom she foaled minor scorer Kerry Ring and the unraced June Moon, in turn the dam of the high-class Zafonic pair Dupont, winner of the 2002 Italian 2,000 Guineas and subsequently a useful sire in South Africa, and Pacino, winner of the 2000 German 2,000 Guineas.
However, Master Of The Seas and Cascadian both descend from Kerrera via her Danehill daughter Firth Of Lorne. A Listed winner and runner-up to Kingman’s dam Zenda in the 2002 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches for Henri-Alex Pantall, Firth Of Lorne was by far the best foal left behind by Kerrera and has maintained that status well into her stud career.
Each of her first seven foals were winners and included an early highlight in Etive, a daughter of Elusive Quality who was trained by Pantall to win a Listed race at Hannover.
She was followed by the classy Street Cry filly Falls Of Lora, whose profile encapsulates the international nature of Godolphin – a British winner who went on to capture the 2012 UAE Oaks at Meydan. Now her hard-knocking son Cascadian, a flashy son of New Approach, is following a similar tradition, having run a neck second in the 2018 Prix Jean Prat for Andre Fabre before switching to James Cummings in Australia. His victory in the Doncaster Mile followed placings in two renewals of the Group 1 Cantala Stakes and was a popular success on several levels, not least because it provided 25-year-old jockey Jamie Kah with a first top-level win in Sydney.
“Master Of The Seas and Cascadian both descend from Kerrera via her Danehill daughter Firth Of Lorne”
Firth Of Lorne’s highest-rated foal remains her sixth foal Latharnach, an Iffraaj colt who ran second to Gleneagles in the 2016 St James’s Palace Stakes prior to winning the Guisborough Stakes at Redcar.
However, his status as Firth Of Lorne’s best is already under threat from Master Of The Seas. The son of Dubawi, who was foaled when Firth Of Lorne was 19-years-old, made an immediate impression last year for Charlie Appleby when winning his first two starts including the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting. He pulled too hard when fourth in the National Stakes and wasn’t disgraced upon his early return in Dubai in the Meydan Classic when second to stablemate Naval Crown. That race had clearly taken some of the buzz off him and although Thursday’s run again confirmed that he remains a work in progress, the manner in which he had the measure of La Barrosa suggests he is still a Group 1 colt in the making. The 2,000 Guineas, for which he is an 8/1 shot, will naturally tell us more.
Firth Of Lorne died last year at the age of 21. However, she still has plenty in the pipeline to represent her, namely a two-year-old filly from the first crop of Ribchester and a yearling filly by Dark Angel.
Master Of The Sea’s Craven success was the highlight of another purple patch for his sire Dubawi, who was also represented during the week by Feilden Stakes winner Highland Avenue, Earl Of Sefton Stakes scorer My Oberon and surprise Lansdown Stakes heroine Declaring Love, a shrewd 39,000gns purchase by Megan Evans from Godolphin at last year’s Tattersalls December Sale.
In all, Dubawi has sired 14 stakes winners already this year. They include the exciting French filly Philomene, whose bloodless score in the Prix Penelope at Saint-Cloud earlier this month handed him the record-breaking milestone of 200 stakes winners.