A decision to restructure by the Niarchos family means that a number of their broodmare band will be offered at this week’s Goffs November Sale.
“The family have decided to have a restructuring of the broodmares and fillies, and the sale at Goffs is the first stage and a major part of that,” says Alan Cooper, racing manager to the Niarchos family. “After Goffs, there are a couple catalogued at Tattersalls and then seven fillies and one mare going to the Arqana December Sale.
“It’s very much a restructuring and of course, it will look different going forward. But a core group of horses will remain and the bloodlines will be very much ongoing. There will still be over 120 horses still on the books afterwards. We’ll have about 20 two-year-olds to run next year, the majority fillies, and there are some nice two-year-olds turning three as well. We also have the foals and yearlings to keep the bloodlines going. Hopefully we can produce some more Group 1 winners.”
In addition to Alpha Centauri, who is catalogued to sell at the Goffs November Sale, below are some of the other brilliant horses to have carried the iconic Niarchos colours.
1981 f Northern Dancer – Trick Chick (Prince John)
Northern Trick’s ascent to the top during the 1984 season for Francois Boutin was brief yet impressive, taking in a victory in a Longchamp newcomers’ race and second in the Prix Saint-Alary before a crack at the Prix de Diane, which was won by five lengths over her Saint-Alary conqueror Grise Mine. She later defeated the Epsom Oaks heroine Circus Plume to win the Prix Vermeille, a performance which cut her odds for the Arc all the way down to 2/1; in the event, she ran second of 22 in bad ground to the older colt Sagace despite coming from an unpromising position at the rear of the field.
Described by Timeform as ‘tall, narrow and sparely made’, Northern Trick wasn’t an expensive yearling at $530,000 by the standards of her sire Northern Dancer. She went on to become highly influential as a broodmare, notably as the dam of Lingerie whose legacy covers Shiva, Light Shift, Ulysses, Main Sequence, Cloth Of Stars and Piz Badile.
1984 f Nureyev – Pasadoble
Bred by Stavros Niarchos from the third crop of Nureyev, Miesque was one of those rare fillies whose illustrious racing career was matched by her achievements at stud.
In a 16-race career, she won the Prix de la Salamandre and Prix Marcel Boussac at two, swept the 1,000 Guineas, Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, Prix Jacques le Marois, Prix du Moulin and Breeders’ Cup Mile at three and returned at four to capture the Prix d’Ispahan and a second renewal of both the Prix Jacques le Marois and Breeders’ Cup Mile. Quite often she was aided in her races by stablemate Whakilyric, a very capable lead horse who lated found fame as the dam of Group 1 winners Hernando and Johann Quatz.
Known at Francois Boutin’s yard as ‘The Concierge’ in recognition of her curiosity for everything going on around her, Miesque possessed a mighty finishing kick and it’s that attribute that has gone on to set many of her descendants apart during their own careers. Her first two foals, Kingmambo and East Of The Moon, between them won the French 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas before becoming influential in their own right at stud. More recently, the family has shone through Karakontie, Alpha Centauri, Study Of Man and Loves Only You among many others.
1990 c Mr Prospector – Miesque (Nureyev)
The first foal out of Miesque, Kingmambo justified the weight of expectation by developing into the one of the best milers of his year. Although Zafonic had the measure of him on the occasions they met at two, Kingmambo was the more consistent three-year-old and having lowered the colours of his old foe in the Prix Djebel, went on to rattle off victories in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, St James’s Palace Stakes and Prix du Moulin.
Kingmambo later retired to Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky where he carved out a reputation as a leading sire, his reach ranging from British Classic winners Henrythenavigator, King’s Best, Russian Rhythm and Rule Of Law to Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid and top Japanese runners El Condor Pasa and King Kamehameha.
He was naturally well utilised by the Niarchos family, for whom he sired Oaks heroine Light Shift and Divine Proportions, whose sequence of nine wins from 2004 to 2005 took in the Prix Morny, Prix Marcel Boussac, Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, Prix de Diane and Prix d’Astarte.
EAST OF THE MOON
1991 f Private Account – Miesque (Nureyev)
Miesque’s second foal was brilliant over a mile, easily winning the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches on only her third start for Francois Boutin. It was bravery which got her through the extended 10f of the Prix de Diane, won by a head over Her Ladyship, which in turn prompted an immediate switch back to a mile; she rewarded that decision by capturing the Prix Jacques le Marois on her next start.
Held in particularly high regard by connections, she emulated her dam by becoming an extremely successful broodmare, for it is her branch which is today responsible for Alpha Centauri and Alpine Star.
1993 c Nureyev – Imperfect Circle (Riverman)
The Niarchos family’s successful association with the Breeders’ Cup was further strengthened during the late 1990’s by this homebred colt from the Aviance family, who signed off his illustrious career with a clear-cut victory over Geri in the 1997 renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
It brought the curtain down on a career that also featured wins in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, won poignantly not long after the death of Stavros Niarchos, Prix du Moulin and two renewals of the Prix Jacques le Marois.
Spinning World later stood with success for Coolmore in the US, Ireland and Australia.
2000 f Celtic Swing – Yogya (Riverman)
The first foal out of a half-sister to Miesque, Six Perfections competed at the top for each of her three seasons with Pascal Bary. Winner of the Prix Marcel Boussac on her final outing at two, she was a hostage to fortune in both the Newmarket and Irish 1,000 Guineas, on both occasions finishing a fast-closing second following trouble in running. However, the tide turned in the Prix Jacques le Marois, in which she denied fellow Niarchos runner Domedriver by a neck. Even so, it is for her win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, in which she stormed from the back of the field to win going away, for which she is likely best remembered.
Six Perfections added three more Group 1 placings to her record as a four-year-old before retiring to stud, where she foaled the Group winners Yucatan, Planet Five and Faufiler.
2001 Nashwan – Moonlight’s Box (Nureyev)
By the early 2000s, the Coup De Folie family had already distinguished itself as one of the most powerful within the Flaxman fold via the exploits of champion two-year-olds Machiavellian, subsequently an extremely influential sire, and then Coup De Genie. And in 2003, the Coup De Genie branch threw not one but two top-class two-year-olds in Denebola, her daughter who won the Prix Marcel Boussac, and grandson Bago, winner of the Criterium International.
Denebola again acquitted herself well at the top level as a three-year-old but it was Bago who developed into the real star, with a victory in the Arc over the likes of Ouija Board and North Light crowning a season also highlighted by wins in the Prix Jean Prat and Grand Prix de Paris.
Bago went on to add the Prix Ganay to his record as a four-year-old before retiring to the JBBA Stallion Station in Japan. Still going strong at the age of 22, his accomplished stud record is headed by champion Chrono Genesis.
2011 Bernstein – Sun Is Up (Sunday Silence)
Foaled in Japan but campaigned in France with Jonathan Pease, Karakontie added yet further lustre to the powerful Miesque family by capping his juvenile season with a win in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere before returning the following year with a victory in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains. However, he particularly good in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, in which he swooped from the back of the field to overcome a typically deep international field.
Now at stud at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky, Karakontie is currently the sire of 14 stakes winners, among them the US Grade 1 winners Spendarella and She Feels Pretty – one of the best American two-year-old fillies of 2023 – as well as the British Group 3 winner Kenzai Warrior.