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The Magic Mares

49 years of brilliance

When Golden Ducat (Philanthropist) captured the recent Gr1 ARF Commemorative Cape Derby, he became the third G1 winner, from as many runners, for his Gr3 Prix Du Cap winning dam Halfway To Heaven, following Rainbow Bridge (Ideal World) and Hawwaam (Silvano).

South Africa’s Broodmare Of The Year for 2018-2019, the Jet Master sired Halfway To Heaven thus joins a list of some of history’s greatest broodmares in producing three Gr1 winners.

 Halfway To Heaven wins the 2013 Gr3 Prix Du Cap

Sarah Whitelaw writes that since 1940, eight mares in South Africa have produced three Gr1 winners, with this list including, in more recent times, the likes of Teclafields (Northfields) and First Lisa (Double First).

The former is dam of African Lion (Champions Cup), Circle Of Life (Garden Province Stakes) and Zebra Crossing (J&B Met), while First Lisa’s trio of Gr1 winners including full-siblings Divine Fashion (Garden Province Stakes) and Counter Action (Champion Stakes, Queen’s Plate), as well as Gr1 Paddock Stakes winner Perfect Order (Elliodor).

Internationally, there are a number of broodmares to have thrown three Gr1 winners since the pattern race system was first conceived in 1971.

Together Forever

Together Forever

Theatrical mare Green Room never raced but she has produced a trio of Gr1 winners in the form of Lord Shanakill (Prix Jean Prat), Together Forever (Fillies’ Mile), and Forever Together (Investec Oaks), with Lord Shanakill a son of Speightstown, and Together Forever and Forever Together daughters of Galileo.

Legendary broodmare Fall Aspen (Pretense) is one of the greatest broodmares of the modern era. The Gr1 Matron Stakes winning mare left behind no fewer than four G1 winners (sired by four different stallions) – Fort Wood (Grand Prix de Paris, champion sire), Timber Country (Preakness Stakes), Hamas (July Cup), and Northern Aspen (Gamely Handicap).

The remarkable Fall Aspen, who produced a grand total of eight graded/group winners, continues to be a major force in pedigrees today, and her daughters have gone on to produce such notable Gr1 winners as Dubai Millennium (sire of outstanding sire, and promising sire of sires, Dubawi), Elnadim, Mehthaaf, and Medaaly.

Perhaps the most dominant mare in recent times has been the late, great Urban Sea (Miswaki), whose wins included an upset triumph in the 1993 Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe.

Urban Sea

Urban Sea

The chestnut really made her mark at stud, however, with Urban Sea’s four individual Gr1 winners headed by Epsom Derby winning half-brothers and outstanding stallions Galileo and Sea The Stars, both of whom have sired classic winners. Also dam of the Gr1 winners Black Sam Bellamy (a full-brother to Galileo) and My Typhoon (Diana Stakes) and four other stakes winners, Urban Sea’s daughters are also now making their mark, with Urban Sea the granddam of Gr1 winners Athena and Bracelet.

Inbreeding to Urban Sea has already proved successful, with this pattern producing, among others, Investec Derby winner Masar.

In contrast to Fall Aspen and Urban Sea, a stakes winner at both two and three, the remarkable New Zealand based Eight Carat (Pieces Of Eight) failed to trouble the judge and failed to win in five starts. Lack of racing success, however, failed to prevent the mare (whose third dam was a full-sister to breed shaping sire Royal Charger) from becoming a magnificent broodmare.

Broodmare Of The Year in New Zealand on three occasions, Eight Carat left behind five individual Gr1 winners in the form of Diamond Lover (Railway Stakes), Kaapstad (VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes), Marquise (Captain Cook Stakes), Mouawad (Australian Guineas), and the champion Octagonal. Both Octagonal, whose progeny included champion racehorse and sire Lonhro, and Kaapstad went on to enjoy success at stud, while Eight Carat’s broodmare daughters went on to form their own dynasties.

Among the notable female line descendants of Eight Carat are top sire Commands, and the Gr1 winners Danewin, Don Eduardo, Verry Elleegant (inbred to Eight Carat), Shooting To Win, Emerald Dream, Tristalove, Hiyaam,  and De Beers.

In stark contrast, the unbeaten Personal Ensign (Private Account) was as good at stud as she was brilliant on the racetrack. Never beaten in 13 starts, and a remarkable winner of the 1988 Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Personal Ensign not only produced three Gr1 winners, Miner’s Mark (Jockey Club Gold Cup), My Flag (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies) and Tradtionally (Oaklawn Handicap), but her daughter My Flag emulated Personal Ensign in becoming both a Breeders’ Cup winner and the dam of a Breeders’ Cup winner, with her daughter Storm Flag Flying landing the 2002 Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Fillies Juvenile.

Personal Ensign also ranks as the granddam of young Cape sire Fire Away (War Front) and the latter’s Gr1 winning half-brother Mr Speaker (Pulpit).

Fire Away (photo credit: Matt Wooley)

Young Cape sire Fire Away

The Gr1 winning Toussaud (El Gran Senor) was another top-class racemare, and she proved even more successful than Personal Ensign at stud.

She produced four Gr1 winners (to four different stallions) in the form of Chester House (Mr Prospector), Empire Maker (Unbridled), Chiselling (Woodman) and Honest Lady (Seattle Slew).

Honest Lady is the dam of Gr1 Forego Stakes winner, and Gr1 sire First Defence (Unbridled’s Song), Chester House sired Gr1 winners Divine Park and Ventura, while Empire Maker became a top stallion in his own right and is the grandsire of US Triple Crown winner, and prominent young stallion, American Pharoah (Pioneerof The Nile).

A stakes winning daughter of dual Derby winner Kahyasi, Hasili is one of the greatest mares of the modern era, with her sons and daughters faring well on both the track and at stud. Not only is she dam of five Gr1 winners (including two Breeders’ Cup winners), she is also dam of champion sire, and top broodmare sire, Dansili.

Ideal World

Ideal World (Kingmambo – Banks Hill)

Hasili also ranks as the granddam of successful South African sire Ideal World (Kingmambo), and is granddam of Gr1 winner Romantica, and group winners Mirage Dancer and Obligate..

Similar to Personal Ensign, Dahlia was a great champion, who went on to prove outstanding at stud.

The daughter of Vaguely Noble made a mockery of the idea that tough racemares don’t succeed at stud – with Dahlia’s victories, from 46 starts, including major races in France, Ireland, Britain, Canada and the USA. Twice Horse Of The Year in Britain, Dahlia went on to produce four Gr1 winners in the form of Dahar, Dahlia’s Dreamer, Rivlia, and Delegant, and she is granddam of St Leger winner, and Gr1 sire, Nedawi, and third dam of Gr1 Gold Cup victor Rite Of Passage (Giant’s Causeway).

Redoute's Choice

Redoute’s Choice

In more recent times, the Canny Lad sired Shantha’s Choice produced three Gr1 winners in the form of Manhattan Rain, Platinum Scissors and Redoute’s Choice, with the latter going on to become a multiple champion sire in Australia, whose progeny include Australia’s multiple champion sire Snitzel.

Manhattan Rain is the sire of Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign and former Met winner Whisky Baron.

The winning Shantha’s Choice, dam of five stakes winners in total, also ranks as the granddam of Gr3 Schillaci Stakes winner, and promising sire, Rubick, and the granddam of triple Gr1 winner Shoals (by Fastnet Rock).

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10 comments on “The Magic Mares

  1. Carry On Alice says:

    Elysee, was the dam of Grade 1 winners, Epoque, Ecurie and Empress Club.


    I wonder how Carry on Alice is doing… could she be in foal ?

  3. Carry On Alice says:

    Carry on Alice is in Australia and was to be covered by Snitzel.

  4. Carry On Alice says:

    Just to add that Epoque is the granddam of sire Elusive Fort.


    Thank You for the feedback

  6. Seattle Slew says:

    Thank you Carry On Alice for for pointing out the “E” dynasty from Argentina – some fantastic memories for me as Elysee is my favourite broodmare of all time.

    Amongst all the Gr 1 wins, my favourite memory of Empress Club is actually in a sprint handicap at Durbanville of all places in late 1992 – conceding 2.5kg to Marie Galante and 5kg to Taban over 1000m she ran past them like they were standing still – not a bad prep for the Queens Plate/Met double!

    As for Ecurie, I will always have a really soft spot for this filly. She had her fair share of bad luck and was also affected by the virus which impacted racing during the 1986/7 season. But on Gold Cup day 1987, having looked a shadow of her former self, she bounced back to win a Top Division handicap over 1400m under 58,5kg, conceding lumps of weight down the field. I actually treasure that memory even more than her many graded race wins in her prime because of the context.

  7. Sherwin says:

    I wonder how Rumya and Majmu are doing??


    Seattle Slew, that win by Empress Club over the Durbanville 1000m was a course record


    … and Ecurie was affectionately know as Suitcase Face

  10. Seattle Slew says:

    Hi William, thanks for the reminder. From memory, something like 56.5sec. I had a VHS recording of the race but after moving house,so many times, I don’t know where it is 🙁

    Taban went out like a rocket, Marie Galante mastered him about 200m out and looked the winner, and then suddenly the black and grey colours blasted past them..

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