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Alfred Noble - Phoenix stakes - Curragh - 26.07.2009

Alfred Nobel (left) overhauls Air Chief Marshal en route to providing his sire, Danehill Dancer, with a clean sweep in the Phoenix Stakes

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris 

 

Alfred Nobel: prize a clean sweep for top sire

ALFRED NOBEL
2 b c Danehill Dancer - Glinting Desert (Desert Prince)

DANEHILL Dancer has been represented by Group or Graded winners in ten different countriesduring his stud career so far but it is this season's events in Ireland, where he spends half the year, which has caused his reputation to soar.

On no fewer than three occasions this year has Danehill Dancer been the dominating factoron major racedays in Ireland, starting with Irish Guineas weekend at the Curragh, when he pulled off a Classic double through Mastercraftsman and Again before supplying the Gallinule Stakes winner Grand Ducal.

Earlier this month, he sired the first three home - Aine, Snaefell and Georgebernardshaw - in the Listed Belgrave Stakes at Fairyhouse, but however notable that accomplishment was then, it was firmly trumped last weekend when he repeated the same trick in the Phoenix Stakes courtesy of Alfred Nobel, Air Chief Marshal and Walk On Bye.

Always A Rainbow fielded a clean sweep of the first three places in this year's Indian Derby but the last time it was achieved in Europe was back in September 2006 when Galileo provided the first three in the St Leger.

 

Not only did Alfred Nobel emulate Danehill Dancer by taking the Phoenix but he is also the second consecutive winner of the race by his sire following Mastercraftsman. However, bookmakers are divided as to whether he will be able to mirror the ascent of that colt, with prices for next season's 2,000 Guineas ranging from 10/1 to 16/1.

A January foal, Alfred Nobel was out early, running second in a 5f maiden at Naas in mid-April as the first Ballydoyle two-year-old runner of the season. Bottomless ground probably contributed to his undoing when third at odds-on two weeks later over 6f at the Curragh but he made no mistake next time over 7f at Leopardstown.

Since then, Alfred Nobel has not looked back with an authoritative win in the Railway Stakes preceding his half-length victory on Saturday. The most striking feature of his performance was the change of gear he displayed to wear down stable-mate Air Chief Marshal on ground which reportedly didn't suit. But with the Guineas still too far away for serious speculation and O'Brien's yard housing plenty of other talented youngsters, the colt's chances at Newmarket next May will be best evaluated later in the season.

Some stallions have failed to capitalise on their early success but Danehill Dancer isn't one of them. Each of his northern hemisphere crops has contained a Group/Graded winner conceived off fees ranging from Ir3,500gns to €75,000, the figure he stood at when he covered Glinting Desert.

And as his fee has risen, so has the quality of his winners, suggesting that we still may not have seen the best of him.
Although Danehill Dancer was successful in the Phoenix and National Stakes as a two-year-old, the form of those races was questionable and he was firmly put in his place by Alhaarth in a four-runner Dewhurst Stakes at the end of that season.

A smooth success in the Greenham Stakes on his three-year-old debut indicated that he had trained on but, perhaps surprisingly, that was to be his last success. He failed to stay 1m in the 2,000 Guineas and Poule d'Essai des Poulains, and a creditable fifth in the July Cup and third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest were overshadowed by an abysmal performance in the Haydock Sprint Cup on his final start that season.

Connections opted to keep him in training but when a down-the-field effort in the Duke Of York Stakes on his reappearance failed to offer a revival, he was despatched to stand in Australia for the 1997 southern hemisphere season.

Danehill Dancer returned to Europe for his first northern hemisphere season in 1998 at a fee of Ir4,000gns, far removed from the Ir17,500gns figure commanded by Desert King, another Coolmore-based son of Danehill who entered stud that year.

But the roles arenow reversed somewhat as while Desert King stands in Australia for A$9,900, Danehill Dancer has ventured into ‘private' fee territory thanks to 11 Group 1 winners from nine crops of racing age.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner Where Or When, a member of his first crop, gave an early indication of the stallion's potential, but while he was followed by plenty of classy runners, it wasn't until Danehill Dancer's fifth crop turned three that another European-bred Group 1 winner emerged in the form of 1,000 Guineas heroine Speciosa.

During that time, his reputation continued to strengthen in Australia, where his second crop yielded the top-class pair Private Steer and Choisir, and consequently it wasn't long until the Group 1 winners flowed with regularity in Europe; Alfred Nobel is his eighth in the northern hemisphere and the fourth to score as a juvenile following Mastercraftsman, Again and Miss Beatrix.

The Danehill Dancer who was once viewed as cheap speed may be long gone but he remains an excellent source of quick and forward runners; he has been represented by six black-type two-year-olds already this season.

They are also renowned for their aptitude for racing and many progress better than their sire did. And while Danehill Dancer has been responsible for a hoard of talented sprinters and milers, he has also sired the high-class 1m4f performers Anna Pavlova and Ice Queen.

Alfred Nobel is the second Group 1 winner to emerge from his family in as many seasons following Derby winner New Approach, who is a half-brother to the colt's granddam Dazzling Park.

It is a family which has been associated with Lodge Park Stud since 1984 when Seamus Burns went to 42,000gns through John Warren to secure a yearling filly by Ahonoora. Named Park Express, she went on to win five races including the Nassau Stakes, Lancashire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes, which was enough to see her crownedan Irish champion both seasons she raced.

The tough filly arguably became even more valuable at stud, however, as the dam of eight winners including the high-class Japanese sprinter Shinko Forest and Irish Champion Stakes runner-up Dazzling Park as well as New Approach.

Glinting Desert was not as talented as several of her immediate family but after making her debut in a Listed race, she ran some good races in defeat behind the likes of Ad Valorem and Saoire before getting off the mark at the seventh attempt on her only and final start in Britain.

Alfred Nobel is another fine example of inbreeding to Danzig, which has become an increasingly prominent pattern over the past two years through Group 1 winners such as Mount Nelson, Able One, Bushranger and La Montagna. The Danehill Dancer-sired pair Tamazirte and Walk On Bye, who was third in the Phoenix Stakes, were also produced on this pattern.

Time will only tell if Alfred Nobel is up to Guineas standard but so far he has shown the right attributes. Perhaps he can become the second Classic winner to emerge from Lodge Park Stud this decade.

Bred by Lodge Park Stud in Ireland
220,000gns Tattersalls Book 1 Yearling by J. Magnier


PEDIGREE ANALYSIS

SIRE: DANEHILL DANCER
Bred by Larry and Kip McCreery in Ireland. Ir38,000gns Goffs October yearling. Won 4 (6-7f) of 11 races, viz. 3 (inc. Phoenix S.-Gr1, National S.-Gr1) out of 4 at 2 years, 1 (Greenham S.-Gr3) out of 6 at 3 years, 0 out of 1 at 4 years. Also 2nd in Dewhurst S., 3rd in Prix Maurice de Gheest. Earned £212,758. RPR 116 at 2 years, 118 at 3 years and 108 at 4 years.

Strong, lengthy sort. High-class colt with a goodturn of foot, equally effective at 6f and 7f. Tried over 1m twice (Classics). Effective on good to firm and good to soft. Never raced on extremes of going. Well-bred. By a leading sire out of a once-raced grand-daughter of top-class sprinter-miler Lianga, further family of Mr Greeley and Street Sense.

Stands at Coolmore Stud, Fethard, Co. Tipperary at a private fee.

Sire of 9 northern hemisphere crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Where or When (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes-Gr1), Speciosa (1,000 Guineas-Gr1), Miss Beatrix (Moyglare Stud Stakes - Gr1), Alexander Tango (Garden City Handicap - Gr1), Mastercraftsman (Irish 2,000 Guineas - Gr1 etc), Again (Irish 1,000 Guineas - Gr1), Alfred Nobel (Phoenix Stakes - Gr1), Monsieur Bond (Gr2), Jeremy (Gr2), Anna Pavlova (Gr2), Silent Times (Gr2), Westphalia (Gr2) , Callwood Dancer (Gr2), Lizard Island (Gr2), Indesatchel (Gr3), Fast Company (Gr3), Ice Queen (Gr3), Caribbean Sunset (Gr3), etc. Also sire of 9 southern hemisphere racing-age crops, inc. Choisir (Lightning S.-Gr1, Golden Jubilee S.-Gr1), Private Steer (Stradbroke H.-Gr1, All-Aged Stakes-Gr1, Doncaster H.-Gr1), Light Fantastic (Australian Guineas - Gr1), Arapaho Miss (Victoria Oaks - Gr1), Lieutenant (Gr2), Just Mambo (Gr2), Downhill Racer (Gr2), etc.

DAM: GLINTING DESERT
Bred by Lodge Park Stud in Ireland. Won 1 (7f maiden)of 7 races at 2 years. Unraced at 3 years. Effective on good and soft ground, gained only win on Polytrack, never races on extreme goings. Earned £5,293. RPR 74 at 2 years.

Showed fair form in competitive maidens/nurseries during only season to race in Ireland before getting off the mark on sole start in Britain.

Well-bred. Daughter of a top-class miler and later an average sire, out of top-class Dazzling Park, the top-rated three-year-old in Ireland in 1996 following a win in the Group 3 Matron Stakes and runner-up effort in the Irish Champion Stakes, and a half-sister to Dewhurst Stakes/Derby winner New Approach (Galileo), high-class Japanese sprinter Shinko Forest (Green Desert) and the Listed-placed pair Tycoon King (Last Tycoon) and Alluring Park (Green Desert). Daughter of 1985 joint top-rated Irish two-year-old filly Park Express, winner of Phoenix Champion Stakes. Further family of Bandari and Evening Promise. An exceptional immediate family cultivated in recent years by Lodge Park Stud.

To stud at 4 years and dam of: Alfred Nobel (07 c Danehill Dancer: Group 1 winner). She also has a yearling filly by Captain Rio.

CONCLUSION:
One of the more solid contenders for next season's 2,000 Guineas at this early stage and should continue to enhance his sire's excellent season.

 

 

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