One of the pleasures of studying pedigrees is putting modern-day achievements into historical context. It’s essential from an empirical perspective but it also serves as a valuable and enjoyable history lesson. Two events that deserve to be acknowledged are the Group 1 Randwick treble by Coolmore’s Australian sire So You Think, plus the win of Eastern World in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal at Meydan in March, thus providing his prodigious dam with her sixth stakes winner from as many foals.
Many of us will remember So You Think as a tall, imposing son of High Chaparral who enjoyed a stellar three- and four-year- old campaign in Australia before transferring to Aidan O’Brien for an equally impressive European stint. He won Australia’s premier weight-for-age contest, the W S Cox Plate, at both three and four and added victories in three other Group 1s in an eight-race series where he was beaten just twice, including on his final start when third in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup carrying joint-top weight.
So You Think hit the ground running the following year in Europe, posting successes in four of his initial five outings, the Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes among his haul of Group 1 victories. He then concluded his racing career the following season by winning Royal Ascot’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes en route to stud. It’s safe to say there hasn’t been another Aussie middle-distance star – he was rated 133 in Australia – that has come to Europe and proved just as competent.
His feat of siring three Group 1 winners on a single day is not unique, but that doesn’t diminish the achievement in the slightest. Neither, might I say, does the fact that one of his Group 1 successes came in the Sydney Cup, a two-mile handicap where his seven-year-old son Knight’s Order won off a low weight for which he received a rating of 117. His other Group 1 scorers that day – Think It Over in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Nimalee in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes – were legitimate weight-for-age victories.
So You Think’s success as a sire has a demonstrably Australian hue to it, as his 34 stakes winners at rate of 6.2% from runners might suggest, compared to a paltry four stakes winners from his three northern hemisphere crops, headed of course by his Sydney Cup hero who started out here in the UK.
So, what are the other sires that achieved this feat of siring three Group 1 winners on the same day? This century it has happened on six previous occasions. No prizes for guessing Galileo, I’m afraid. He did it twice, both on the same afternoon five years apart. In 2015, Minding won the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Order Of St George the Irish St Leger, while Mondialiste travelled to Canada to take the Woodbine Mile. In 2020, Galileos won the same two races at the Curragh, this time with Shale and Search For a Song, while Mogul was successful in a Covid-delayed Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp.
In the intervening period, Kitten’s Joy enjoyed a Grade 1 treble, siring Arlington Million winner Real Solution, Secretariat Stakes hero Admiral Kitten and Big Blue Kitten in the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga on August 17 in 2013. Fellow American sire Smart Strike also struck gold on September 30, 2007 at Belmont Park when his three Grade 1 successes featured 6-furlong Vosburgh Stakes winner Fabulous Strike, 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup hero and now major sire Curlin, plus English Channel, winner of the 12-furlong Joe Hirsh Turf Classic on turf.
South Africa’s Jet Master also completed a treble of sorts when his daughters Gluewin and Love Is In The Air dead-heated for the Majorca Stakes at Kenilworth on the same day in January 2010 that River Jetez won the J & B Met.
In March, Eastern World, a five-year-old son of Dubawi, became the sixth stakes winner produced by the Dubai Destination mare Eastern Joy from her first six foals. Her previous five in order of birth are Ihtimal (by Shamardal), Always Smile (by Cape Cross), First Victory (by Teofilo and dam of 2,000 Guineas winner Coroebus), Thunder Snow (by Helmet) and Winter Lightning (by Shamardal). Eastern Joy was no great shakes as a racehorse, winning just once over 1,800 metres on soft ground at Vichy as a three-year-old. As a broodmare she has been a revelation.
Remarkably, a search for mares that produced as many or more consecutively foaled stakes winners yielded only two others worldwide since the 1970s.
You’resothrilling’s achievements are well-documented. Her first five foals – born in the same time span as Eastern Joy’s – feature three Group 1 winners, Marvellous, Gleneagles and Happily.
Interestingly, had her 2017 colt Vatican City managed a stakes win – he was certainly talented enough as his second in the Irish 2,000 Guineas suggests – You’resothrilling would now have seven consecutive stakes winners, following the win of Joan Of Arc in the French Oaks.
You have to travel back to the 1970s to find our third member of the famous-five club. That was the Derring-Do filly Stilvi, who won a pair of Group 3 sprints and was second in the Nunthorpe Stakes in the days when it was a Group 2.
Her first five foals featured three Group 1 winners in Middle Park Stakes scorer Tachypous, Champion two-year-old Tromos and Irish Derby hero Tyrnavos.
Tolmi, the last of the five, won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, a race that now holds Group 1 status.
All three mares are clearly exceptional, but you’d have to say Stilvi’s record may be the best of the three. On Timeform ratings, her average score is 126, ahead of You’resothrilling on 119 and Eastern Joy on 115.
Moreover, Stilvi did it with five different sires, none of them remotely in the same league as Galileo, responsible for all of You’resothrilling’s stakes winners, nor as good as the sires that helped Eastern Joy along the way. Stilvi bred three fillies but none were good enough to build on their dam’s achievements and the family has not seen such talented racehorses since.