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Cavalryman - Grand Prix de Paris -Longchamp

Cavalryman: a triumph for the Darley breeding operation

  PICTURE: Scoop/Dyga  

Cavalryman: Group 1 breakthrough for Halling

3 b c Halling - Silversword (Highest Honor)

THE first running of the Grand Prix de Paris in 1863 was a landmark event in the history of the Turf, a race conceived with the intention of attracting international competition, and sponsored to that end by France's five major railway companies, who contributed half of the prize-money fund.

It duly became an instant success, as among the field of 12 on May 31 were five colts who had contested the Derby at Epsom 12 days earlier, and one of them, The Ranger, proved successful.

In each of the two following years the winner of the Derby took part, Blair Athol finishing second in 1864 and Gladiateur becoming the first to complete the double in 1865.

Two other Derby heroes, Cremorne and Kisber, claimed the Longchamp prize in the 1870s, and in the 1880s there were five English-trained winners in seven years.

There followed a length barren period for the raiders, though some felt that the judge returned a 'hometown verdict' in 1893 by ruling that Ravensbury had been defeated. Weatherbys' Racing Calendar, among the disbelievers, recorded that Ragotsky won by 'a very short head'.

As it turned out, there was only one more Grand Prix winner trained in Britain – Spearmint in 1906 – until after World War I, but even after the introduction of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1920 its appeal as France's number one international event was maintained.

The rise of the Arc was a post-World War II phenomenon, while the Prix du Jockey-Club did not assume more than local importance until much later, the first winner trained outside France being Ireland's Assert in1982.

Times have changed, and the status of France's major summer tests for three-year-olds with them. A 1m7f Grand Prix de Paris at the end of June had become something of an anomaly by 1987, when its distance was reduced to 1m2f, but in its 18-year incarnation over that trip it never really promised to recapture its old glory.

After the 2005 French revolution, which brought the controversial reduction in the distance of the Prix du Jockey-Club and the Grand Prix's switch to a 1m4f event contested on Bastille Day, things are different again.

The former race has lost credibility and what the French authorities need to do now is to admit that the Grand Prix de Paris has become their new Derby, and to endow it with prize-money appropriate to that status.

Cavalryman, the latest winner of the Grand Prix de Paris, has plenty of form to find if he is to emulate 2006 hero Rail Link in the Arc de Triomphe, but it should be borne in mind that he came into last week's race with a similar profile and the level of form he registered in comfortably disposing of Age Of Aquarius was pretty much on a par with that attained by Rail Link in his defeat of Red Rocksthree years ago.

He is unquestionably a progressive colt, and who is to say that Andre Fabre cannot work the oracle again?

Cavalryman had only two starts last year, notching a 1m win at Saint-Cloud on his second appearance, and he showed marked improvement in each of three outings over the same course this term.

He began with a close fourth to Allybar in Listed company, reversed the form with that colt when a half-length runner-up to his stablemate Cutlass Bay in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe, then trotted up by six lengths, giving weight all round, in another Listed contest.

Last week's first Pattern victory was gained in smooth style under an excellent ride by Maxime Guyon. Having edged his mount closer to the pace on the turn for home, the young pilot found a ready response when he asked for a change of gear and the issue was very soon beyond doubt.

He is a May foal, by a sire whose stock generally improvefor time and experience, so we are entitled to expect him to reach a higher level yet.

Of course, Halling was himself far from precocious, not appearing at all as a juvenile, then making his name as a handicapper at three, most notably by a fine victory in the Cambridgeshire. We encountered the mature athlete only over the two following years, when his five Group 1 wins included two in the Eclipse.

There have been two remarkable anomalies about Halling's career at stud, one of them finally ended by Cavalryman last week.

The colt comes from his sire's ninth crop, and he is one of 18 to have scored in Pattern company, but the 2009 Grand Prix de Paris is the first victory achieved at Group 1 level.

What Halling still lacks, perhaps even more remarkably, is a Pattern win by one of his daughters. His own sire Diesis had three Oaks winners in Diminuendo, Ramruma and Love Divine in his record, yet the most accomplished of his sire-sons still has no filly successful above Listed level.

Many sires have started at stud, achieving more success with one sex than the other, only for results to even out in time. But with Halling's daughters trailing by 18-0 in terms of individual winners and 31-0 in Pattern victories, we may safely assume that this extraordinary sex bias is never going to be reduced to parity.

Halling has never had huge books – a couple during his stint in Dubai having beenespecially small – but we do not lack evidence about the kind of stock he tends to get. He has had only one juvenile Pattern winner, and that over 1m1f in Italy, and only one over as short a distance as 7f.

They generally improve with age, and many are capable beyond 1m2f, the farthest trip over which he raced himself. He has got nothing in his own class, his best runner – on his day – being the enigmatic Norse Dancer, though both Cavalryman and Cutlass Bay may soon challenge for that title.

Cavalryman's dam Silversword was by no means devoid of ability during her spell with Andre Fabre, but she was fragile, seeing little action. Her best effort from only six starts came as runner-up in the Group 3 Prix de Royaumont, beaten a nose by
Spanish Falls, but if she seemed ripe for a Pattern win then, there followed six months on the sidelines and a poor effort on her return.

Silversword, who was sold by Darleyto Ballyhane Stud for €35,000 in November 2007, has now produced four winners, including Cavalryman's close relation Finity (by Diesis), placed in the Group 3 Park Stakes in 2002.

She must already rate as a bargain buy, and if her three-year-old son enhances his reputation over the next few months, her value will surely soar again.

Bred by Darley Stud Management Company Ltd

Sire: Halling

Bred by Cyril Humphris in Kentucky. Won 12 (1m-1m2f) of 18 races, viz. unraced at 2 years, 4 (inc. Cambridgeshire Handicap) out of 7 at 3 years, 4 (inc. Eclipse S.-Gr1, York International S.-Gr1) out of 5 at 4 years, 4 (inc. Prix d'Ispahan-Gr1, Eclipse S.-Gr1, York International
S.-Gr1) out of 6 at 5 years. Also 2nd in Champion S. at 5. Earned £850,161.

Leggy, somewhat light, but attractive, 16.0 hh. Top-class, genuine performer, effective on any turf surface, with a fine turn of foot. Well suited by 1m2f, never tried at 1m4f. Well bred. Half-brother to Grazia (Listed winner, Gr3-placed). By a champion two-year-old and successful sire (almost exclusively on turf) out of a Listed winner who also ran 4th in Gr3 company. Grand-dam (very cheap yearling) won 4 races,
Listed-placed 3 times, from exceptionally successful family.
Stands at Dalham Hall Stud, Newmarket, at a fee of £8,000.

Sire of 10 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Chancellor (Gr2), Dandoun(Gr2), Giovane Imperatore (Gr2), Fisich (Gr2), Mkuzi (Gr3), Nordhal (Gr2), Franklins Gardens (Gr2), Norse Dancer (Gr3), Hattan (Gr3), Pinson (Gr2, The Geezer (Gr3), An Tadh (Gr3), Boscobel (Gr2), Coastal Path (Gr2), Harland (Gr2), Cavalryman (Grand Prix de Paris-Gr1), Cutlass Bay (Gr2), Holberg (Gr3).

Dam: Silversword

Bred by Tomohiro Wada in France. Ffr560,000Deauville August yearling. Won 1 (1m4f) of 6 races, viz. 0 out of 2 at 2 years, 1 out of 4 at 3 years. Also Gr3-placed. Earned Ffr191,200.

Useful performer, but not very robust. Effective from 1m2f-1m4f. Well bred. By a champion sire.Sister to Gr2-placed winner Double Honour and Listed-placed winner Silver Whale, half-sister to 4 other winners. Dam a winner, sister to Gr2 winner Silver Ending, half-sister to 2 other winners.

Grand-dam winner, half-sister to 7 other winners, inc. dam of Magnificient Style (Gr3 winner; dam of Gr1 winner Playful Act and Gr2 winners Echoes In Eternity and Percussionist).
Next dam half-sister to major stakes performers Canal, Cabildo, Shore, Moss (all by Round Table), Dike and Okavango (both by Herbager). Top-class US family.

To stud at 4 years, and dam of: Silver Medal (1998 c by Diesis; placed), Dramatic Edge (1999 c by Theatrical; winner), Finity (2000 f by Diesis; winner, Gr3-placed), unnamed (2001 c by Royal Academy; unraced), unnamed (2002 f by Timber Country; unraced), Malahini (2003 f by Jade Robbery; winner), Funseeker (2005 f by Halling; placed), Cavalryman (2006 c by Halling; Gr1 winner). Barren to Exceed And Excel in 2007, but has a yearling by him, and was covered by Aussie Rules in 2008.

Highly progressive colt, probably capable of holding his own in
weight-for-age company at the top level. Stays 1m4f well, will get further, if required.




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