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Silver Grecian - Newmarket - 10.07.2009

Silver Grecian lands Superlative Stakes at Newmarket to become the first Group winner for his sire, Haafhd

  PICTURE: Getty Images

Silver Grecian:
earns the plaudits

2 gr c Haafhd - Regrette Rien (Unbridled's Song)

AS usual, last week's Newmarket July meeting played host to several eye-catching juvenile performances, in particular those by Oasis Dream, who was responsible for runaway Cherry Hinton Stakes winner Misheer and Arcano, an impressive winner of the July Stakes.

But the week also presented a notable landmark for 2,000 Guineas winner Haafhd, who - perhaps belatedly given his chances and connections - registered a first Group winner courtesy of Superlative Stakes winner Silver Grecian.

The vagaries of breeding have outfoxed many breeders and the stud career of Regrette Rien, dam of Silver Grecian, is a good example of the genetic lottery.

The mare's first mating to Haafhd produced Chebona Bula, a bay colt who was later gelded and has achieved a RPR of 79 following several placings.

Her second, however, is Silver Grecian, a grey who is now unbeaten in three starts including at Group 2 level.

To differentiate between them even further, Chebona Bula cost 75,000gns as a yearling while Silver Grecian failed to attract a minimum bid of 3,000gns at last year's Tattersalls October Sale.

And although he breezed well enough at the Tattersalls Craven Sale under Michael Hills to warrant recommendation, it took a bid of just 16,000gns from trainer John Ryan to add him to his yard.

Two months later, Silver Grecian made his debut in a warm Newmarket maiden and after being backed into 5/1 duly made a striking winning debut to score by four lengths. He went on to make a similarly strong impression two weeks later when easily taking a novices' race at Warwick.

The Superlative Stakes came only a week after Warwick but despite the step up in class Silver Grecian was again well-backed, eventually going off at 5/1.

Although he was one of the first pushed along, it soon became apparent that the leaders had gone off a shade too quick, allowing him to scythe through the field to register a cosy win

Only four lengths covered the field at the line, suggesting that the form warrants caution. But Silver Grecian's turn of foot was highly impressive and it is worth remembering that he was the only unbeaten colt in the field. So hopefully here is a colt able to boost the stud career of Haafhd, who has been slower than some of his contemporaries to sire a Group horse.

Haafhd ended last season as the second leading British-based first crop sire with 14 winners and a highly respectable 39 per cent winners to runners strike-rate. Among them were several promising types, notably Newmarket maiden winner Almiqdaad and Wajaha, who briefly developed into a Guineas aspirant following two smooth wins on the all-weather.

What was striking about Haafhd's first crop was that 11 of his 14 winners scored on Polytrack. The majority also appeared to be most effective over 1m, with only three scoring over less than 7f.

With eight of them breaking their maidens in September or later, this season was expected to hold more clues as his progeny matured. Yet while there has been one progressive sort in Infiraad, there have not been a huge number of notable winners.

Haafhd did not have the three-figure book in his first year that was afforded to some of his rivals but a brilliant racing career, in which he won from 6f to 1m2f on straight courses, saw him attract 80 mares (resulting in 58 foals) at a fee of £20,000.

Among them were 26 black-type producers and 21 black-type winners including the dams of Almutawakel, Lend A Hand and Lahan. Naturally, he proved popular with buyers with his first crop of yearlings selling for up to €400,000.

Bred by Sheikh Hamdan from the third crop of his champion two-year-old Alhaarth out of the 1985 Irish 1,000 Guineas Al Bahathri, Haafhd gave an early indication of his ability when taking his debut at Newmarket for trainer Barry Hills.

A crack at the Washington Singer Stakes was temporarily derailed after Alhaarth failed to meet the criteria for Haafhd's participation (Alhaarth had won over 1m1f 125 yards, 55 yards short of the 1m2f requirement) but a review allowed the colt to not only take part and win but also lower the juvenile track record by nearly a second.

Perhaps surprisingly reversals in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and Dewhurst Stakes followed, but a much stronger Haafhd reappeared as a three-year-old to take the Craven Stakes by a dominating five lengths. He was similarly impressivein an above average 2,000 Guineas, bounding away to win by nearly two lengths from Snow Ridge in a fast time.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until the Newmarket Champions meeting in the autumn that we saw a performance of a similar calibre as his summer campaign produced disappointing runs in the St. James's Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes when his stable was under a cloud.

Consequently, he was sent off at 12/1 for the Champion Stakes, his first try over 1m2f. While others floundered in the testing ground, Haafhd travelled well and following a brief battle with Chorist, drew clear to win by two-and-a-half lengths. That win opened up a host of options for the colt but hopes that he would stay in training were dashed when his retirement to Nunnery Stud was announced several days later.

Regrette Rien, who was unplaced in one start in France for her breeder Mahmoud Fustok, has visited Haafhd in each of his first three seasons.

Sending Regrette Rien to Haafhd produces a 4x5 coupling to Green Valley - the dam of Green Dancer as well as the ancestress of Authorized and Okawango - via Alhaarth and Green Rosy. It is a pattern which has also been responsible for Group 3 winner Vert Val.

The mating also represents inbreeding to Blushing Groom, an increasingly prominent pattern which is also seen in Footstepsinthesand, Passage Of Time, Heatseeker and Full Of Gold.

A half-sister to minor stakes winner Salty Sea, Regrette Rien is out of the Hopeful Stakes winner Rose Indien, herself a half-sister to the Group 2-winning pair America and Majorien and out of the Listed-placed Green Rosy.

Her third dam is Round The Rosie, who was handed theindignity of selling for $1,200 in Texas in 2000 (thankfully to the Exceller Fund, a retirement and adoption home) as a 27-year-old despite producing five stakes performers as well as the dam of Grade 1 winner Jovial.

There is every reason to believe that Silver Grecian can progress to Group 1 level. If he does, his importance in Haafhd's stud career will be immense. However, reward for the colt's breeder Deerfield Stud may be not so sweet; although Regrette Rien has a brother to Silver Grecian, she foaled her Authorized colt on December 30th 2008.

Bred by Deerfield Farm in GB.

No bid Tattersalls October 2 yearling; 16,000gns by John Ryan Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up.



Bred by Shadwell Estate Company Ltd in GB. Won 5 (6f-1m2f) at 2-3 years viz. 2 (inc. Washington Singer Stakes) out of 4 at 2 years and 3 (inc. 2,000 Guineas - Gr1, Champion Stakes - Gr1 and Craven Stakes - Gr3) out of 5 at 3 years. Also 3rd Champagne Stakes - Gr2, Dewhurst Stakes - Gr1. Earned £492,288. RPR 114 at 2 years and 127 at 3 years.

15.2 ½ hh, strong, length, good-looking horse. Effective on good to firm and good to soft, never tried on extremes. Only won on straight courses.

Well-bred. Best son of a champion 2yo out of a dual champion and winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas; later dam of five stakes performers and ancentress of Gladiatorus. Further family of Spanish Fern, Heatseeker, Lord Shanakill and Double Discount.

Stands at Nunnery Stud at a fee of £8,000 SLF 1st Jan. To stud at 4 years and sire of two crops of racing age inc. notable winner Silver Grecian (Gr2).

Bred by Buckram Oak Farm in Kentucky. Unplaced in one start over 1m at 2 years in France.

Well-bred. Daughter of an outstanding performer, inc. at two years, on dirt and later top-class American sire, now becoming a notable damsire. A half-sister to three stakes performers inc. Salty Sea (c Siberian Express: US Listed winner) and out of Listed-winning two-year-old Rose Indien. Further family of Grade 1 winner Jovial, Grade 1-placed and sire Majorien and Group /Grade 2 winners America, Americain and Brave Note.

19,500gns not sold 3yo Tattersalls July Sale 2004.

To stud at 4 years and dam of: Chebona Bula (05 g Haafhd; placed); Silver Grecian (06 c Haafhd; Gr2 winner). She also has a yearling colt by Haafhd and a colt foal by Authorized which was born on 30 December 2008.

Owns an impressive turn of foot and should continue to progress with time and distance. Looks capable of holding his own at a higher level.





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