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Kauto Star - Kempton - 26.12.2011

Kauto Star wins his fifth King George. He is the best horse by Village Star

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Kauto leads Kempton feast for French-breds

FRENCH-BREDS dominated the action at Kempton on Boxing Day, with horses born on the other side of the English Channel winning all three of the feature races, headed by KautoStar's history-making fifth King George VI Chase.

King George VI Chase (Grade 1) Kempton
IT was billed as the race of champions and it didn't disappoint with Kauto Star winning his fifth King George. Described by his jockey Ruby Walsh as "amazing", this horse certainly is that, this being his 16th Grade 1 victory.

The dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is by far the best horse sired by Village Star, the 1988 Grand Prixde Saint-Cloud winner who is inbred 3x3 to Derby winner Mill Reef.

Bred by Henri Aubert, Kauto Star is out of Kauto Relka, an unraced daughter of Port Etienne, who is the dam of five winners in total, none of whom have reached the same heights as Kauto Star.

However Kauto Stone, her son by With The Flow and also trained by Paul Nicholls, was successful in the Grade 2 Chase at Down Royal in November and is potentially top-class.

Kauto Relka, who died in 2009, is a half-sister to four winners, including Kauto Ray, the winner of a 2m4f Listed chase at Auteuil. Her tally of winners could still rise, as she also has a three-year-old by Priolo named Kauto Grand Mogul and a two-year-old filly by Byzantium named Kauto Tireless who are yet to race.

Feltham Novices' Chase (Grade 1) Kempton
Grands Crus was the impressive winner of the Feltham Novices Chase and must surely be in the mix for the Cheltenham Gold Cup come March after jumping and galloping his rivals ragged.

Grands Crus

Grands Crus: he is by Dom Alco

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

Grands Crus is by the top-class French sire Dom Alco, who died aged 23 last December and this race was a poignant reminder of the sire's ability, as he was also responsible for the second, the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti.

Other notable performers by the sire include the John Hales-owned duo Neptune Collonges and last season's Grade 1 StanJames Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Al Ferof.

Grands Crus, who would have been last season's leading staying hurdler if it hadn't been for his arch enemy Big Buck's, is the first-foal out of Fee Magic, a daughter of Phantom Breeze who is a half-sister to five winners including the Listed-winning hurdler Al Tip.

Her three-year-old son Gevrey Chambertin, a brother to Grands Crus, won a bumper at Ffos Las by 30l on Wednesday.

Gevrey Chambertin runs in the same colours as Grands Crus and is also trained by David Pipe. He was bought by Hubert Barbe for €150,000 at Arqana in June and looks to have as bright future as Grands Crus.

Christmas Hurdle(Grade 1) Kempton
IT WAS a pulsating climax to the Christmas Hurdle and Binocular dug deep to see off the relatively inexperienced Rock On Ruby to put himself in the picture for the Champion Hurdle, a race he won in 2010.

Binocular's sire Enrique, a son of Barathea, was successful in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes as a three-year-old for Sir Henry Cecil and has established himself as auseful dual-purpose sire.

He is responsible for Obrigado a dual Grade 2-winner on the Flat in America and Binocular was also an admiral performer on the Flat, finishing second in the Listed Prix Francois Mathet for his breeder and former trainer Elie Lellouche.

None of Enrique's jumpers have reached the heady heights of Binocular, but Avenue Marceau gained success in a Group 3 hurdle at Auteuil, as did the filly Slim Pearl. Enrique has stood at Haras du Hoguenet for the past four years and next year will command a fee of €4,000.

Binocular's dam, Bleu Ciel Et Blanc, won once on the Flat over 1m5f as a three-year-old. The daughter of Pistolet Bleu is responsible for four winners, including Remember Now, who has won twice for Binocular's connections JP McManus and trainer Nicky Henderson without ever showing the same level of ability as his brother.

The dam also has a two-year-old filly by Westerner and a yearling colt by Flemensfirth

United Arab Emirates Embassy Juvenile Hurdle
(Grade 2) Leopardstown

HIS EXCELLENCY became the third jumps black-type winner for Haras du Logis resident King’s Best by landing the Grade 2 United Arab Emirates Juvenile Hurdle.

King’s Best, a son of Kingmambo who stormed to victory in the 2,000 Guineas in 2000, is best known for his top-class Flat offspring, including last year’s Derby and Arc hero Workforce.

His other jumps stakes-winners are Nearby, who won the
Grade 2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton in 2010, and Sharbasia, who scored in a Listed hurdle at Auteuil in 2006.

Indeed His Excellency was produced as a Flat performer. Bred by Steven Nolan, the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding is out of Road Harbour, an unraced daughter of Rodrigo De Triano and US Grade 2 winner Revasser.

Road Harbour has already produced one big-race winner in Leg Spinner (Intikhab), who landed the 2007 Cesarewitch Handicap for Tony Martin, while her daughter Ashka (Catcher In The Rye) earned black type with a third placing in the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Dundalk.

His Excellency was originally bought by Dick O’Gorman for Sheikh Mohammed for 42,000gns at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. He entered training with John Oxx, for whom he won a Leopardstown handicap in June, before selling to Margaret O’Toole on behalf of his present owner Gigginstown House Stud for 65,000gns at the Tattersalls July Sale. 

Racing Post Novice Chase (Grade 1) Leopardstown
WE ARE accustomed to the Sadler’s Wells sire-line dominating the top jumps action – just look at the Christmas Hurdle, which his great-grandson via Barathea and Enrique won, Rock On Ruby, his grandson via Oscar, finished second in and Overturn, his grandson via Barathea, was third in.

But the Sadler’s Wells influence was carried through an unusual agent in theGrade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown, whose winner Blackstairmountain is by the late, legendary stallion’s Royal Hunt Cup-winning son Imperial Ballet.

Willie Mullins - 30.01.2011

Willie Mullins: good day at office

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann  

Imperial Ballet, a former Ballyhane Stud resident now based in Sicily, is out of 1977 Queen Mary Stakes heroine Amaranda and his dam’s influence helped him first shoot to fame by doing a rare thing for a Sadler’s Wells stallion son: getting a top-class sprinter, in his case Prix de l’Abbaye winner Imperial Beauty.

Though Blackstairmountain is by far Imperial Ballet’s best National Hunt performer, the stallion has produced other high achievers in that sphere, including Grade 2-placed hurdler Ouninpohja and multiple hurdles winner Splurge.

Blackstairmountain was bred by his trainer Willie Mullins’ wife Jackie out of the Sabrehill mare Sixhills, a 1m6f winner on the Flat for James Fanshawe. He is a half-brother to the lightly-raced Allure Of Illusion, who was third in the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in April.

Greenmount Park Novice Chase (Grade 2) Limerick
SPEAKING of Willie Mullins, the trainer must be the number one fan of Robin Des Champs.

Progeny of the Glenview Stud in Mullins’ yard include brilliant hurdling mare Quevega, exciting young hurdler Sous Les Cieux and Sir Des Champs, who won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival and promises to be even better over fences judging by his smooth victory in yesterday’s Grade 2 Greenmount Park Novice Chase at Limerick.






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