It goes without saying that 2.7 million guineas is a significant amount of money. Valuations tend to be based on some level of reasoning but in Thoroughbred terms, there will always be a heightened element of risk. They are animals after all, and as anyone well versed in business knows, it doesn’t take much for figures to drop or rise. That is the beauty of this game – the tale of Snaafi Dancer, the $10.2 million yearling who never ran and later proved sub fertile, will always be balanced by the likes of Rich Strike, the Kentucky Derby winner sourced by connections out of a $30,000 claimer.

When it comes to breeding stock, however, the valuations that drive the market tend to be a little more cut and dried. That’s not to say they aren’t as volatile – take the example of Feminism, whose value rose from 34,000gns to €370,000 in under six months following the emergence of her half-brother Modern Games – yet by their very nature, they are based on a deeper foundation of knowledge.

Daylesford Stud’s purchase of Dream Peace for 2.7 million guineas through Hugo Lascelles at the 2013 Tattersalls December Mares Sale was weighty to say the least. But in return, Lady Bamford’s operation came into possession of a high-class runner by an emerging broodmare sire in Dansili from a deeply respected Kilfrush Stud family. Perfect then for a stud under the direction of an owner-breeder with the desire to cultivate her own families while building on the work that had gone before. And almost ten years on, Dream Peace has indeed rewarded that investment by supplying Lady Bamford with the Oaks heroine Soul Sister, her second winner of the Epsom Classic following Sariska (a daughter of Daylesford foundation mare Maycocks Bay) in 2009.

This is a family that is no stranger to Classic success, stretching back to the 1981 Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Arctique Royale via a branch that encompasses Irish Oaks heroine Moonstone along the way

This is a family that is no stranger to Classic success, stretching back to the 1981 Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Arctique Royale via a branch that encompasses Irish Oaks heroine Moonstone along the way. 

Arctique Royale, the fourth dam of Soul Sister, was a well-bred filly being a Royal And Regal daughter of Arctic Melody, who had the measure of champion Aunt Edith in the 1965 Musidora Stakes. Arctic Melody left behind six winners, remarkably all of them fillies including the high-class Racquette, whose three-year-old season when third in the Irish Oaks coincided with Arctique Royale’s unbeaten juvenile campaign, one that was highlighted by a win in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (then a Group 2) for Kevin Prendergast.

Soul Sister stretches clear in the Oaks under Frankie Dettori. Photo – Bill Selwyn

Her owner-breeder Paddy Prendergast had died in June of 1980 and in the aftermath of the Moyglare, Arctique Royale was bought from the executors of his estate by Jean-Pierre Binet. It was a wise move as the filly went on to land the following year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas, coming out on top in a desperate finish over the Newmarket Guineas winner Blue Wind. For Binet, it marked a welcome change in fortune following the disqualification of his first Classic winner, King’s Lake, in favour of To-Agori-Mou in the Irish 2,000 Guineas only days before. Before the month was out, however, King’s Lake had been reinstated by the stewards, thereby handing the Paris-based owner a memorable Classic double.

Unfortunately, Arctique Royale was to never replicate her Guineas success, with a second in the Pretty Polly Stakes the best to show in four further starts. However, at the same time there was plenty going on in her immediate family, notably through Ardross, a son of her Levmoss half-sister Le Melody whose brilliant staying campaign in 1981 for Sir Henry Cecil consisted of wins in the Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup, Yorkshire Cup, Prix Royal-Oak and Geoffrey Freer Stakes. The Le Melody branch of this family has consistently thrived since then as the source of numerous high-class performers including Scorpion, Alflora, Wild Illusion, Yibir, Robertico and Electrocutionist.

As for the Arctique Royale branch, it was to become easily recognisable as a Kilfrush family. The mare was retired to the County Limerick-based stud, bought by Binet from John Mulcahy in 1978, and in due course became something of a matriarch. Seven of her foals were black-type performers led by Russian Snows (by Sadler’s Wells), winner of the Prix de Royallieu and second in the Irish Oaks for Sheikh Mohammed and John Oxx. Her older full-brother, Modhish, was also a dual Group 2 winner for the same owner, in his case in the Grand Prix de Deauville and Prix Jean de Chaudenay.

Then there was Truly Special, a daughter of Caerleon retained by Kilfrush and raced by Richard Strauss with trainer Robert Collet. Her career highlight came in the Prix de Royaumont but this tough filly also filled the frame in eight other stakes races including the Prix de l’Opera. 

Truly Special ultimately ended up in the hands of Darley, for whom she produced the high-class stayer Wareed and minor winner True Glory, whose influence within the operation remains current through her great-grandson Naval Crown, the Platinum Jubilee Stakes winner who stood his first season at Kildangan Stud this year. However, those early years for Kilfrush had also yielded the Listed-placed Solo De Lune, by Law Society, and the Darshaan filly Truly A Dream, who emulated her dam by taking the Prix de Royaumont in 1994. A highly progressive and lengthy three-year-old campaign also saw the filly carry Strauss’ colours to victory in the E P Taylor Stakes at Woodbine.

Between them, Solo De Lune and Truly A Dream are today the ancestress of approximately 50 stakes horses

Between them, Solo De Lune and Truly A Dream are today the ancestress of approximately 50 stakes horses. 

Solo De Lune had thrown the 1999 Prix Saint-Alary heroine Cerulean Sky (a close relation to Truly A Dream as a daughter of Darshaan) for Kilfrush when Roger Baines came knocking. Baines was looking to build up a serious broodmare band at his Britton House Stud in Somerset and Solo De Lune fitted the bill. By the time Britton House dispersed in 2006, she was also a sister to a champion in the Irish Oaks runner-up L’Ancresse and with an impressive stud record backing her up, the then 16-year-old Solo De Lune commanded 775,000gns from the BBA Ireland, acting on behalf of Coolmore. The Coolmore partners had also paid a sale-topping 700,000gns for her yearling filly by Dalakhani several days before and she turned out to be Moonstone, the 2009 Irish Oaks heroine and Epsom Oaks runner-up. In turn, Moonstone has become a valuable producer as the dam of US Army Ranger, second behind Harzand in the 2016 Derby, alongside the Group 3 winners Nelson and Words and Listed scorers Nevis and Stubbs.

Ardross: pictured working at home, the brilliant stayer hails from the same family as Soul Sister. Photo – George Selwyn

For her part, Cerulean Sky threw Honolulu, a high-class stayer for Ballydoyle, and is the granddam of high-class miler Royal Bench while L’Ancresse is the dam of last year’s Prix du Muguet winner Sibila Spain alongside the talented stayer Master Of Reality.

Truly A Dream hasn’t been nearly as prolific as her sisters but there was some misfortune in the fact that her fourth foal, Catcher In The Rye, was restricted to just four starts after suffering a career-ending injury following his fast-finishing second in the 2003 Poule d’Essai des Poulains. The son of Danehill was subsequently a low-level stallion at Coolmore, where he left behind German Oaks winner Rosenreihe before a successful shift to Argentina.

Dream Peace, by Dansili, was the 11th foal out of Truly A Dream and was initially retained by Kilfrush, for whom she won at Deauville as a two-year-old. She changed hands to Haras d’Etreham for €250,000 in October that year and proceeded to make that look good business by racking up wins in the Prix de la Nonette and Prix Volterra during a progressive season at three. She ended her career in the US where although a Grade 1 eluded her, she consistently held her own at the top level with placings in two renewals of the Diana Stakes as well as the E P Taylor Stakes and Flower Bowl Invitational to show for it. On her final run in the 2013 Diana Stakes, she was beaten only a head by the winner Laughing.

Thus, when she came up for auction at the 2013 Tattersalls December Sale, Dream Peace was a hot commodity. At 2,700,000gns, she was third highest priced lot of the sale; the most expensive, the 4,700,000gns mare Immortal Verse, was fittingly also a Kilfrush-grown product, being from its Mill Princess family.

Dream Peace selling at Tattersalls in December 2013. Photo – Tattersalls

Soul Sister is the sixth foal out of Dream Peace and the most accomplished of four stakes horses out of the mare, heading a list that also includes her full-brothers Dreamflight, winner of the 2021 Prix Thomas Bryon as a two-year-old, and Listed-placed Herman Hesse. Another half-sibling, the Galileo gelding Questionare, is Listed-placed. 

Although Herman Hesse stayed up to 1m6f, Dreamflight was best at around a mile, so it was far from cut and dried that Soul Sister would appreciate the step up to 1m4f. But then again, this is a well-established family with numerous high-class middle-distance horses, to which Soul Sister has now added her name.

Landmarks have come easily to Juddmonte’s flagship stallion in the decade since he retired to Banstead Manor Stud

This family has been the beneficiary for decades of careful cultivation by everyone associated with Kilfrush, particularly long-time manager Brendan Hayes, and now Daylesford Stud, and with that comes access to some of the leading stallions of the differing eras. Frankel, for whom Soul Sister is the second British Classic winner of the season after Chaldean, naturally falls into that category. 

Landmarks have come easily to Juddmonte’s flagship stallion in the decade since he retired to Banstead Manor Stud. In 2021, for instance, he bridged a 34-year gap by becoming the first British-based champion sire since Mill Reef posthumously landed the title in 1987. Given his current vein of success – he already boasts 12 European stakes winners this year – Frankel must be a short order to win the championship again. 

Soul Sister, who is inbred 3×3 to Danehill, becomes Frankel’s 28th Group or Grade 1 winner, sixth winner of a British Classic and second in an Epsom Oaks after Anapurna in 2019. Crucially, her Classic success was complemented only 48 hours later by that of Ace Impact in the Prix du Jockey Club; the colt is one of five stakes winners from the first crop of Cracksman, a development that bodes very well for Frankel’s legacy as a sire of sires.

Frankie Dettori celebrates Soul Sister’s victory with owner-breeder Lady Bamford. Photo – Bill Selwyn