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Lord Shanakill pulls out just enough to take the 2008 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury

Lord Shanakill, bred by Vimal and Gillian Khosla et al, takes lastseason's Mill Reef Stakes

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham 


US-bred Lord Shanakill a success story from much closer to home

LORD Shanakill's American suffix does not paint an entirely accurate picture of his background. He may have been born in Kentucky, where his dam Green Room is still based, but his registered breeders Vimal and Gillian Khosla are based in Scotland and the mare's mating plans are devised by her joint-owner Caroline Green, owner of Templeton Stud in Kintbury, Berkshire.

Green purchased Green Room, with Lord Shanakill in utero, for a partnership of herself and the Khoslas at the 2006 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages sale. She went to $240,000 to secure the then four-year-old daughter of Theatrical after having seen the mare go through the same sale ring unsold at $280,000 two months earlier.

"I had had my eye on her in the November, but the price went a tad too high" says Green. "However, on the second time I saw her I thought she had shown a lot of improvement, even in two months."

So what made her want to part with nearly a quarter of a million dollars on an unraced maiden mare carrying a $40,000 nomination to the unproven WinStar Farm sire Speightstown?

"It was all down to the pedigree," she says. "I didn't really mind what was inside her. She's a typical, good-looking Theatrical mare and is from a wonderful distaff family, being related to Al Bahathri and Molecomb winner Almaty, a horse I once part-owned.

"Speightstown looked a good mating, but it was all about the mare. In fact, as Eamonn Cullen of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing delights in reminding me, one time when I was a little hungover and we were at a Coolmore open day in Kentucky, I asked to be shown their best stallions, Giant's Causeway, Fusaichi Pegasus and so on - and Speightsown. When he didn't appear I asked why - to peals of laughter, of course."

A quick glance at Lord Shanakill's pedigree bears out Green's assertion that his is "one of the great producing families". Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Al Bahathri, a sister to Lord Shanakill's second dam, produced Haafhd as well as Munir and Hasbah, and is ancestress of the highest-rated horse in the world this year, Gladiatorus.

Closer up in Lord Shanakill's pedigree, Green Room is a half-sister to Yellow Ribbon Handicap winner Spanish Fern and Rusty Back, who produced the US Grade 1 winner Heatseeker.

That Green now has a Group-horse producer from this family atones for her being underbidder on Rusty Back, a near miss made all the more ironic when her friend Hubie de Burgh, who frequently purchases horses on her behalf, later bought the mare with Heatseeker in utero at the 2002 Keeneland November sale.

GreenRoom, based at Wayne and Kathy Sweezey's Timber Town stud in Lexington, has a two-year-old Hennessy half-brother named Brannagh who is owned by Green and Gillian Khosla and is in training with Jeremy Noseda, a yearling colt by Dixie Union and a filly foal by Lemon Drop Kid. She failed to get into foal by Smart Strike this year, but will probably return to him next season.

Brannagh was a 105,000gns buy back at Tattersalls October 1. "He didn't make enough at the sales," Greensays. "His colouring was grey, with a very white tail, which may not have been to everyone's taste, and he is quite light of bone. However, thriving on work is a family trait, as shown by Lord Shanakill - he had eight starts last year but kept improving with each run.

The Khoslas, described by Green as "very enthusiastic, very knowledgeable" owners, enjoyed big-race success last month when their familiar blue, grey and yellow silks were carried to victory by Mac Love inthe Diomed Stakes at Epsom on Oaks day. A few weeks later the same colours were carried by the four-year-old Royal Destination for a promising maiden win.

They own three other broodmares besides Green Room, all with yearlings to be sold at Tattersalls October 1: Pretty As Can Be, a Giant's Causeway half-sister to Group 1 winners Classic Cliché and My Emma who has a filly by Pivotal; Polly Perkins, a Listed-winning daughter of Pivotal who has a Cape Cross colt, and Marula, aSadler's Wells half-sister to Kutub with a colt by Invincible Spirit. All of the yearlings, including Lord Shanakill's Dixie Union half-brother, will be consigned to Tattersalls by Templeton Stud.

These are busy times for the stud. Aswell as the usual meticulous yearling preparation, operations at Mertoun Paddocks in Newmarket, which Templeton took control of last year, have stepped up a gear.

Green says: "We've completed a lot of refurbishments there, and the place is looking really good. It provides an ideal front of house for our clients in and around Newmarket and it is ideally situated for both Tattersalls and the races.

"It is has been granted official quarantine station status for Australasia, so it is currently housing British and Irish stallions bound for New Zealand in the next few months."




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