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Potala Palace

New Blood: SA stallion ranks - swell for 2014

Potala Palace

Gr1 winner – Potala Palace by Singspiel ex Alignment (Alzao)

Graham Beck’s 27.000 guineas purchase of the Alzao-mare Alignment at the 2006 Tattersalls mare sale was an inspired one. The mare’s race record showed she had run only 4 times (3 times as a 2yo, up to a mile), of which two were Gr3 races (up to 2000m at 3) and one a Gr1. She never won, but was second and fourth in her Gr3 races (mugged on the line in one of them, after setting the pace), and ended up with a 98 Timeform rating, with the comment “leggy filly; fluent mover; bred to stay 1¼m+, but seems headstrong”.

Alignment is a half sister to the dam of Golan (won 2000 Guineas, Derby runner-up; TFR 129) and Tartan Bearer (Dante S., Derby runner-up; TFR 127), as well as Gr3 placed filly Gift Range (TFR 106) – all three sired by Spectrum. To that can be added the dam of Alignment, who is half sister to dam of Gamut (Grand Prix de St Cloud, Irish St Leger runner-up; TFR 124), also by Spectrum.

Although it wasn’t known at the time of purchase, Aligment’s 2005 foal Allegoria would become multiple stakes placed in Italy (TFR 104) – she, too, is by Spectrum. Allegoria was bought at the 2011 Tattersalls mare sale for 57.000 guineas, in foal to Galileo’s son Rip Van Winkle and also found her way to Highlands – she had a colt foal in April 2012.

All this makes sense in the context of Spectrum, who was imported to South Africa in 2006, and stood his first season at Highlands right when Alignment was bought. Following the birth of her Whipper foal (a filly who later won 3 times in SA), Alignment visited Singspiel and was imported, in foal, to South Africa. The result of that mating is Potala Palace.

Sadly, perhaps, Alignment went to Spectrum just once at her new home, followed by matings to Dynasty and Silvano. For the record, from her matings abroad Alignment also produced once-raced Line Ahead (by Sadler’s Wells), who in turn got Gr2 Dubai City Of Gold winning stayer Excellent Result (TFR 112, by Giant’s Causeway’s son Shamardal).

The female line is a major one in terms of Gr1 successes. They are too numerous to mention here, but the latest family success came last year through Irish Derby runner-up and Epsom Derby 3rd Galileo Rock (TFR 118) and Canadian G1 EP Taylor S. winner Tannery (TFR 109). Spectrum’s son Golan, incidentally, also is sire of Gr1 winners.

Potala Palace’ sire Singspiel is a multiple Gr1 winner, rated Timeform 133. He’s sire of numerous Gr1 winners, including Lateral, who has his first crop of 2yo’s this season in South Africa. Singspiel, by Sadler’s Wells stallion In The Wings, is half brother to Jet Master’s sire Rakeen and to highclass Blushing Groom stallion Rahy.

Potala Palace was offered at the 2010 National Sale, knocked down for R3.6 million to Mike Azzie. He made his debut as a 2yo, racing for a partnership of owners which included his trainer, his breeder and one OLC Pistorius (who at the time had shot to fame on a different racetrack). Potala Palace finished his first season with a second (on debut) and two wins, including the Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes, which in that (World Cup) year was contested on the last day of July over a mile at Greyville. Subsequent Gr1 winner and sire Gimmethegreenlight, the race favourite, finished third.

Potala Palace was plagued by niggles throughout the rest of his career, and was quite lightly raced (14 starts, from 2 to 5). He finished fourth in the Cape Derby won by Jackson from Variety Club. His final win came as a 5yo, when remarkably he took the Gr3 Spring Challenge over 1450m – a distance which on pedigree looked well short of what he was bred for. He has a career best MR 108.

Potala Palace stands his first season at the stud where he was bred, Highlands in the Cape. No doubt he’ll get his share of Spectrum mares from that farm. There will be much to look forward to.

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