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Elusive Wave - Longchamp - 10.05.09

Elusive Wave proves that her sire will get progeny who will train on

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker 

Elusive victory  a landmark for sire

Elusive Wave
Elusive City-Multicolour Wave
(Rainbow Quest)

ANY ideas the invaders may have had of toppling the home team in the French Guineas at Longchamp on Sunday were emphatically dispelled when French-trained horses filled the first two places in each Classic.

However, it couldn't have been any more different from a breeding perspective, with both races falling to Irish-bred horses. Particular credit goes to the Irish National Stud, who stands the sires of both winners, Verglas and Elusive City.

Neither stallion opened his career at the stud, with Verglas transferring from Haras de la Haie Neuve to Ireland in 2005 following a strong first crop and Elusive City joining the roster with Rakti after the sale of Huma Park Stud.

Access to quality in numbers is evidently suiting Verglas as Silver Frost is one of seven stakes performers from his first Irish-bred crop. Elusive City, on the other hand, has always been popular with breeders, never covering less than 99 mares since his retirement to stud. Even in thisdifficult year, he is likely to have remained in demand after ending last season as the champion first-crop sire by earnings.

But even that achievement presented its own question mark. Yes, Elusive City did break the £1m barrier, but £724,264 of that was achieved in one swoop by Soul City's win in the Goffs Million. Without that injection of earnings, Elusive City would have finished £300,000 behind Kheleyf, who sired over twice as many winners.

Elusive City's first crop did, however, yield 14 individual winners in Europe and six stakes-performers. There was also a Listed winner, Metropolitan, in New Zealand.

For much of the European season, his burgeoningreputation rested on the Richard Hannon-trained Soul City, who gave early indication of his ability when taking the Prix La Rochette and a Listed event at Deauville before scoring at The Curragh.

But his former stable companion, Elusive Wave, was never far behind, progressing from a maiden win in May last year at Goodwood to bloodless scores in Listed and Group 3 company for new trainer Jean-Claude Rouget on just her second and third starts.

Naturally, Elusive Wave was a desirable commodity when sent to the Arqana Arc Sale in October, eventually selling for €660,000 to Oceanic Bloodstock on behalf of Martin Schwartz. Schwartz elected to keep her with Rouget and within 24 hours, he owned an arguably more valuable asset after the filly had finished second to Proportional in the Prix Marcel Boussac.

Despite opening this season with a smooth win in the Prix Imprudence, initial thoughts were that Elusive Wave would struggle against the impressive Nell Gywn Stakes winner Fantasia in the Pouliches. She also had to turn the tables on Proportional, although that filly looked vulnerable following an early season defeat.

As it turned out, neither could get near to Elusive Wave, who, under a well-judged from Christophe Lemaire, dictated affairs from the front before quickening away at the top of the straight. With Fantasia left toiling, it was left to another Rouget pupil, Tamazirte, to challenge Elusive Wave before eventually finishing half a length adrift.

While her win sets an important landmark in the stud career of Elusive City, she also follows the Spring Cup heroine Nashmiah in proving that her sire's progeny are training on, which had been a doubt after his own racing career.

An early indication of the potential of Elusive Quality, Elusive City was a blindingly fast two-year-old for Gerard Butler, taking his maiden at the first time of asking on Lingfield's all-weather surface before cutting down Revenue to take the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood by three lengths.

But kinks were already starting to emerge. The colt refused to enter Goodwood's winners' enclosure following the Richmond and again proved troublesome prior to and following a win in the Prix Morny, in which his exceptional turn of foot was again in evidence.

Butler went as far as to stage a mock race-day at Newbury to ensure that the colt's wayward antics were not displayed again. Although Butler's efforts were rewarded with a better behaved horse before the Middle Park Stakes, Elusive City took a stronggrip and expended valuable energy before staying on into third behind Oasis Dream.

Further insult was added when it was revealed that he had been stripped of his Richmond and Lingfield wins following a discovery of omeprazole in his system, which had been used as a treatment for stomach ulcers.

Efforts to encourage Elusive City to stay further than 6f the following season proved fruitless, and a switch back to 5f for the King's Stand Stakes yielded no further improvement. Consequently, the colt was packed off to the US, where he wound up running blinkered and unplaced in his only start in a Santa Anita allowance as a four-year-old.

It marked a nondescript ending for a horse who had formerly looked so brilliant, but luckily, as it turns out, he was repatriated to stand at Huma Park Stud for €8,000 via a southern hemisphere season at Haunui Farm in New Zealand.

Elusive Wave has inherited plenty of her sire's pace but the influences of Rainbow Quest and Niniski have obviously helped her to last out the 1m well.

Multicolour Wave didn't show much talent in a brief career on the track but she has proven to be a bargain for Pier House Stud, who purchased her at the end of her racing days for just 11,500gns.

The dam of five winners from as many foals, Multicolour Wave is also responsible for the Listed-placed Million Waves as well the promising two-year-old, Wealdmore Wave, who became the first winner for Oratorio in a Navan maiden last month.

But while it is an accomplished family further back, it is also one which has enjoyed only sporadic stakes success in recent years. For instance, one of its more recent Group winners is Multicolour Wave's dam, the 1991 Prix Corrida winner Echoes, who until a year ago had done little to further the line with only four minor winners to her credit.

However, there was a hint of a revival last season when Echoes' unraced daughter, Temple Place, produced the Queen Mary Stakes winner Langs Lash, and thanks to a highly promising young stallion, it is finally starting to revisit the former heights generated by Elusive Wave's fifth dam, HerHonor, who produced three Grade 1 winners during an illustrious stud career.

Fine advertisement for her highly promising, young sire. Looks to have inherited plenty of his pace and despite some stouter influences on her female side, could find 1m as far as she wants to go.




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