Buying forays into the American market laid many of the foundations for the success that was to come for Cheveley Park Stud. Various families can be traced back to that time, perhaps most notably Exclusive Order, a $825,000 purchase through David Minton who later bred the top milers Entrepreneur and Exclusive and is the ancestress of Echelon, Integral, Virtual and Iceman among others.

Polish Romance, the ancestress of Veracious, Garswood, Infallible and Mutakayyef, was also bought as a Keeneland yearling as were the Group 1 producers Heavenly Ray (dam of Megahertz) and Confidante (dam of Confidential Lady). 

Then there is the Belle Et Deluree family, which has not only gifted Cheveley Park Stud with the likes of Danehust, Dazzle and Hooray but is now back in the limelight as the foundation to rising sprint star Shaquille, who made it back-to-back Group 1 victories in the July Cup on Saturday having previously landed the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Not only that, his win – achieved despite the colt doing plenty wrong in the race – came on the same afternoon that another descendant of Belle Et Deluree, Nymphadora, won the Listed City Walls Stakes at York. While Shaquille is a member of the Danehurst branch of the family also responsible for this year’s stakes-performing siblings Cosmic Vega and The X O, Nymphadora descends from the mare via Hypnotize, also the dam of Cheveley Park Stud’s champion two-year-old filly Hooray.

As some of those names suggest, this tends to be a fast family and one whose descendants can come to hand early.

Shaquille and Rossa Ryan (right) bursts clear to win the July Cup. Photo – Bill Selwyn

Belle Et Deluree was originally bought for $185,000 as a Keeneland July yearling to compete in France with Pascal Bary for Mme Jean-Louise Bouchard. By The Minstrel, she had been bred by John and Betty Mabee’s Golden Eagle Farm, in whose colours her dam Sophisticated Girl had run second in the 1982 Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes. Inbred 3×3 to Tom Fool, the daughter of Stop The Music was interestingly bred on several counts, hailing from a solid stakes family that would also gift Josephine Abercombie with her Grade 1 winners Broken Vow and Peaks And Valleys. Half-sister Fitted Crown would also provide the Mabees with their multiple Grade 1 winner Excellent Meeting, one of the few fillies deemed good enough in recent years to take her chance in the Kentucky Derby (she was fifth as favourite behind Charismatic in 1999).

Sophisticated Girl foaled four stakes runners including the Grade 2 Jerome Handicap winner Doneraile Court, later useful as a sire in Kentucky and Florida. Her Nureyev daughter Dancing Tribute also ran second in the 1988 Cheveley Park Stakes for Mabee and Sir Michael Stoute. In a hint of the successful association between this family and Cheveley Park Stud that was to come, Dancing Tribute later produced Dance Sequence, who carried the stud’s colours to victory in the 1995 Lowther Stakes at York. 

Just under a year later and the two-year-old buzz centred upon another Cheveley Park Stud-owned descendant of the family in the Gone West filly Dazzle, who was living up to her name with a debut victory in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot en route to an impressive win in the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket.

Dazzle was the fifth foal out of Belle Et Deluree. The mare had won twice in France for Bary, who had thought enough of her to run her in the Prix Marcel Boussac (unsuccessfully). Returned to the US, she was resold to David Minton on behalf of Cheveley Park Stud for $140,000 while carrying her first foal by Tank’s Prospect. 

Few fillies make their debut in a race like the Windsor Castle, let alone win it, and by scoring easily for Sir Michael Stoute, Dazzle vaulted to the top of the ante-post 1,000 Guineas betting

Belle Et Deluree produced no fewer than nine winners, of which Dazzle was the best. Few fillies make their debut in a race like the Windsor Castle, let alone win it, and by scoring easily for Sir Michael Stoute, she vaulted to the top of the ante-post 1,000 Guineas betting. A five-length win in the Cherry Hinton Stakes next time out, in which jockey Kieren Fallon was on the record as describing her change of pace as ‘unbelievable’, appeared to confirm the opinion that she was a top drawer filly, but by the end of the year, the gloss had come off following a pair of defeats when placed in the Cheveley Park and Rockfel Stakes. She later ran third in the 1,000 Guineas.

Other half-sisters Fantacize and Hypnotize were also Listed winners, and Hypnotize later made her mark at stud by producing the 2010 Cheveley Park Stakes winner Hooray. It is Hypnotize’s Pivotal daughter Bewitchment who is now in the spotlight as the dam of Nymphadora, one of seven European stakes winners for No Nay Never so far this year.

Shaquille is by far the best performer sired by Charm Spirit

Shaquille’s branch of the family descends from Miswaki Belle, a 1992-foaled Miswaki daughter of Belle El Deluree. Miswaki Belle ran just the once for John Gosden, when second in a York maiden, but more than made up for it at stud by producing the high-class Sir Mark Prescott-trained fillies Danehurst and Humouresque. The latter, by Pivotal, won the 2003 Prix Penelope for connections and it is her unraced sister Pivotal Era who is currently adding to the family as the dam of Cosmic Vega, recent winner of the Whitehead Memorial Stakes, and The X O, second in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot back in May.

While Humouresque found her feet over an extended 1m2f, Danehurst was an extremely quick filly  whose ten victories included the Flying Five Stakes (then a Group 2), Cornwallis Stakes, Prix de Seine-et-Oise and Premio Urbina. However, by the time she came up for auction in 2012, she had produced just one winner in five named foals. Then aged 14, she made 30,000gns to BBA Ireland acting on behalf various Coolmore associates and was sent to Galileo; while she was undoubtedly one of the cheapest mares in Galileo’s book, as a quick daughter of Danehill who added another strain of Miswaki (also damsire of Galileo) it made plenty of sense and in 2015, she foaled Birch Grove, winner of the Listed Prix Tranchant Luth Enchantee over 1m4f. Remarkably, Birch Grove had been sold for just 70,000gns the previous December to the BBA Ireland but with that Listed win forthcoming, went on to resell for 700,000gns to Ecurie des Monceaux; interestingly, Birch Grove’s background of 3×3 inbreeding to Miswaki mirrors that found in the pedigree of Monceaux’s blue hen Starlet’s Sister.

The background of 3×3 inbreeding to Miswaki mirrors that found in the pedigree of Monceaux’s blue hen Starlet’s Sister

Danehurst’s first Galileo foal, Magic, didn’t make it to the track and her first two foals Sleight (by Showcasing) and Helpful (Oasis Dream) have so far failed to win in 20 starts between them. But in Shaquille, her third foal, the situation is now very different for her owners Martin Hughes and Michael Kerr-Dineen.

Brilliantly handled by Julie Camacho to win seven of his eight starts, Shaquille is by far the best performer sired by the top miler Charm Spirit. The son of Invincible Spirit has spent time standing for Tweenhills Farm and the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval, so has had more than his share of opportunities. Prior to Shaquille, much of his success had derived from his shuttle trips to New Zealand; in fact, Shaquille is one of only three European Pattern winners alongside Kick On and Yourtimeisnow for the stallion out of six crops bred off fees up to £25,000. He now stands at Haras du Logis Saint Germain for €5,000.

As ever, Galileo’s influence as a broodmare sire cannot be underestimated. Daughters of the former Coolmore titan were particularly productive during the past week, with City Of Troy (Superlative Stakes), Persian Dreamer (Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes), The Good Man (Prix Maurice de Nieuil) and Rue Boissonade (Prix de Malleret) among those to fly the flag. Shaquille’s speed is pretty reminiscent of the good Green Desert-line horses that have gone before, among them July Cup winners Owington, Oasis Dream, Fleeting Spirit, Mayson, Muhaarar and Oxted. But even so, it would be unwise to underestimate the extent of Galileo’s influence as a conduit of class in his background as well.

Galileo: daughters enjoyed a good week. Photo – Coolmore