When a stallion’s career is launched amid a depth of opportunity, it stands to reason that one day that particular horse may emerge as a broodmare sire of note.
In many cases, circumstances dictate that such daughters are likely to benefit from the presence of a deep female family. And for that very reason, a number are likely to be in the hands of successful breeders.
One horse who springs to mind in that respect is Generous, an underwhelming sire considering the opportunities afforded to him. Yet the son of Caerleon has retained some relevance to the breed through his daughters, among them the dams of Group 1 winners such as Golan (bred by Ballymacoll Stud), Nahrain (bred by Darley), Proportional (bred by Juddmonte Farms) and Al Shemali (bred by Minster Stud).
Similarly, daughters of Sheikh Hamdan’s champion Haafhd have done plenty to alleviate their sire’s diminishing reputation; as his fee collapsed from £20,000 to £2,000, he has come to the fore as the damsire of Group 1 winners Quiet Reflection, Ventura Storm and Il Fornaio in addition to the Classic-placed Madhmoon.
Haafhd retired to Nunnery Stud in 2005, the year following the arrival of Nayef to the roster. Nayef ultimately wound up as a highly useful stallion, just like his half-brothers Nashwan and Unfuwain before him, and judging by recent events, is likely to remain influential within pedigrees via his daughters.
Their dam, Height Of Fashion, had been one of the key purchases made by Sheikh Hamdan during Shadwell’s formative years. A big, rangy, resolute galloper in the mould of her sire Bustino and bred by the Queen out of her Classic winner Highclere, she was trained at West Ilsley by Major Dick Hern to win the Fillies’ Mile and Princess Of Wales’s Stakes, in which she took advantage of a feather weight to make all under Willie Carson.
However, in a surprising development during the summer of 1982, the Queen chose to sell her celebrated homebred to Sheikh Hamdan following a low-key run in the King George. The Royal Studs had plenty of the family at the time and in what was written up at the time as ‘the sale of the century’, the Queen was able to fund her purchase of West Ilsley Stables from Sir Michael Sobell and Arnold Weinstock; in return, Sheikh Hamdan came into possession of a blue hen mare.
“Nayef is likely to remain influential within pedigrees via his daughters”
Had Height Of Fashion remained in royal ownership, it is debatable as to whether the mare would have been exposed to any of those leading North American-based stallions of the time.
As it was, to Blushing Groom she produced champion Nashwan, still remembered today as one of the best horses of his era. To Northern Dancer, she produced the high-class pair Unfuwain and Alwasmi while to Mr Prospector, she foaled the classy fillies Bashayer, Wijdan and Sarayir, in turn the dam of 1,000 Guineas winner Ghanaati.
Nayef, by Gulch, was her final foal and did the mare proud. Trained by Hern’s former assistant Marcus Tregoning, he looked a world-beater at two when the easy winner of a soft ground Autumn Stakes at Ascot. However, Nayef was a big horse, not too dissimilar to Bustino. Weakness caught up with him early on at three and it took time to get him back to the lofty levels expected of him. But get him back they did and by the time he retired at the end of his five-year-old campaign, he could boast wins in the Champion Stakes, Juddmonte International, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and Dubai Sheema Classic.
The fact that Nayef’s fee at Nunnery never rose beyond £15,000 does not tell the full story. A notably successful first crop led by the Group 1-winning miler Tamayuz, Prix de l’Opera heroine Lady Marian and Classic-placed Spacious resulted in a clamour for his services towards the end of the noughties and beyond, so much so that his 2009 book contained 40 stakes winners, among them 15 Group 1 scorers and/or producers. In the sale ring, his yearlings sold for up to 525,000gns.
Unfortunately, Nayef was unable to maintain the momentum needed. Only one other Group 1 winner, the stayer Ice Breeze, followed amid an overall collection of 14 Group winners and he was retired from stud duty last year after having covered ten mares in 2020 at a fee of £5,000.
Nayef does have one successful stallion son to his credit in Tamayuz, the sire of four Group 1 winners whose daughter Zeyaadah is a legitimate Oaks candidate.
However, he is also making good inroads as a broodmare sire, something that was very evident at Newbury on Saturday when his daughters supplied Palace Pier and Eshaada, successful in the Lockinge Stakes and Haras de Bouquetot Fillies Trial Stakes.
There are 211 daughters of Nayef currently in production worldwide and with the oldest now 16-years-old, he boasts a record of 18 black-type winners as a damsire. That’s not a particularly lofty figure but does include Australian Group 1 winner Harlem (by Champs Elysees) in addition to Palace Pier. Group 2 winner Loxley, a New Approach son of Lady Marian, and the Group 3 winners Convergence (by Cape Cross), One Voice (by Poet’s Voice) and Platane (by Le Havre) also feature.
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As to be expected, each possesses a fine family. For instance, Harlem was bred by Juddmonte Farms out of its Roupala family. Platane, meanwhile, is a member of the Wertheimer’s celebrated Born Gold line. And so on.
Palace Pier, bred by Highclere Stud and the Duke Of Roxburghe’s Floors Farming, is similarly well connected as a son of Beach Frolic, a half-sister to the Classic trial winners Bonfire and Joviality.
This is a family that has been cultivated in recent generations by Highclere Stud. John Warren paid just 50,000gns for Beach Frolic’s granddam Miss d’Ouilly, a relation to Prix Jacques le Marois heroine Miss Satamixa, from Jean-Luc Lagardere at the 2000 Tattersalls December Sale. Since then, other Group/Graded stakes winners such as Karen’s Caper, Miss Coronado, Comicas and Rare Rhythm have fleshed out the family in tandem with the branch responsible for Palace Pier.
While this is a family that has thrown up its share of good milers over the years, Palace Pier is also very much a son of Kingman, with a look to him and a turn of foot that has become so readily associated with the better progeny of his sire. Yet that is not to detract from the presence of Nayef; should John Gosden choose to step Palace Pier up to 1m2f, then his influence will undoubtedly stand him in good stead.
In the case of Shadwell homebred Eshaada, who made it two from two for Roger Varian in the Haras de Bouquetot Fillies Trial Stakes, there is another example of Nayef clicking so readily with the Al Ishq branch of the Allegretta family also responsible for Tamayuz.
The filly, who is reportedly likely to head for the Ribblesdale Stakes rather than the Oaks, is the third foal out of Tamayuz’s winning sister Muhawaleh and the second stakes winner in as many weeks for her sire Muhaarar after Kirsten Rausing’s impressive Buckhound Stakes heroine Albaflora.
Despite being the daughters of a top sprinter, neither filly would appear short of stamina. There is no getting away from the fact that Muhaarar’s stud career has been underwhelming so far; he stood his first four seasons for £30,000 and yet Eshaada is just his fourth stakes winner. But as we have seen recently with Albaflora and Eshaada, many of his better runners are finding their feet over middle-distances.
Plenty also appear to appreciate an easy surface, something that was evident last autumn when Horris Hill Stakes winner Mujbar and the Vertem Futurity third Baradar turned in personal bests on heavy ground. Perhaps Linamix, the damsire of Muhaarar, is playing a greater role within the stallion’s background than originally envisaged.
Even so, regardless of how the rest of Muhaarar’s stallion career plays out, with a series of early strong books to support him, he already boasts the profile to become of interest as a broodmare sire, just like Nayef before him.