By Andrew Caulfield
Precedent counts for an awful lot in the world of horse racing and breeding: if something has happened once, people are generally prepared to bet that it can happen again, and again.
So, when Teofilo became Europe’s champion 2-year-old of 2006, thanks to Group 1 victories in the National S. and Dewhurst S., everyone took note that sending a daughter of Danehill to Galileo had produced a colt possessing much more precocity and juvenile speed than Galileo.
Consequently, several more Danehill mares beat a path to Galileo’s door in 2007, with spectacular results. Frankel duly emulated Teofilo’s Dewhurst success and 2-year-old championship before becoming one of three Classic winners bred to this pattern in May 2011, the others being Golden Lilac (Poule d’Essai des Pouliches) and Roderic O’Connor (Irish 2000 Guineas).
There are now no fewer than 12 Group 1 winners bred this way and the nick has produced 15% black-type winners, even though Galileo now had the staggering total of 285 foals of racing age out of Danehill’s daughters.
Fortunately, Teofilo has also set a precedent that the Galileo-Danehill cross can produce very effective stallions. His first crop produced yet another Dewhurst S. winner in Parish Hall and it wasn’t long before Teofilo had racked up winners of the Irish 1000 Guineas, Irish Derby and Irish St Leger.
Next to face the stallion test was Roderic O’Connor, but at a lower level in the market. He had his moments, with a pair of first-crop 2-year-old winners, and he has since had Group 1 success in Brazil.
By the end of 2016 Frankel had also hit the floor running, with an eye-catching total of six 2-year-old group winners from his first crop. It was therefore fair to have high expectations of Intello–another representative of the famed Galileo/Danehill cross–when his first crop reached the races in 2017.
Intello had done so well as a racehorse that–at £25,000–he was the highest-priced new stallion to retire to a British stud for the 2014 season, with only the Irish-based Declaration of War and Dawn Approach retiring at higher prices.
Intello had carried the colours of the Wertheimer brothers with distinction, as had his first two dams Impressionnante and Occupandiste, members of Fall Aspen family which ranks as one of the world’s most successful female lines. Impressionnante was a smart miler, as she showed with her victory in the G2 Prix de Sandringham and by being placed in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. Occupandiste had done even better, developing into a dual Group 1 winner at four, in the Prix Maurice de Gheest and Prix de la Foret.
Intello quickly confirmed that he wasn’t without speed. He lined up for the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains unbeaten in three starts (two of then as a juvenile) and many considered him unlucky to lose his unbeaten record in finishing third, beaten a neck and a head, especially when he was badly drawn. The Racing Post’s analysis stated that “having had only a few behind turning in and briefly being stopped in his run when trying to switch outside, he fairly flew home to just be denied. Victory would have been his in another couple of strides and he must go down as an unfortunate loser.”
The next question was how far would Intello stay. His dam Impressionnante had never been tried beyond a mile and Occupandiste had flourished at around seven furlongs. He quickly showed that stamina wasn’t a problem when he justified favouritism in the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club over an extended mile and a quarter. It was therefore rather surprising that he was dropped back to a mile for his next two starts. To his credit, his third behind Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Jacques le Marois represented form nearly as good as his Jockey-Club win, but his connections decided that he should end his career with a return to middle distances. He finished a creditable third behind Treve and Orfevre in the Arc, having warmed up with a win in the G3 Prix du Prince d’Orange.
Consistent, versatile and sound, Intello appeared to have a lot to recommend him as a stallion. His pedigree also received a boost in 2015 and 2016 when Occupandiste’s Galileo colt Mondialiste won the GI Woodbine Mile and the GI Arlington Million.
French-raced stallions can sometimes find it harder than the local product to win the affections of British and Irish breeders. Intello had no problems in his first year, when he covered129 mares for a crop of 100 but he is credited with just 66 foals in his second year.
As arranged at the time of Intello’s retirement, Intello was transferred to France, to Haras du Quesnay, for his third and fourth seasons and French breeders welcomed him back with books of 128 in 2016 and 147 a year later. I will be interested to see Intello’s figures for the 2018 season back at Cheveley Park, where he was in direct competition with Ulysses, another of Galileo’s top sons. Cheveley Park, with a very substantial financial interest in Ulysses, sent 50 mares to the newcomer, with the usual quota of around seven going to Intello.
I have championed Intello on a couple of occasions earlier this year, pointing out in the TDN in late-April that he appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough. That breakthrough came in early May when Young Rascal won the G3 Chester Vase two days after Intellogent had become his first group winner, in the G3 Prix de Guiche. Then in June Intello’s sons Louis d’Or and Intellogent made a bold bid to follow in their sire’s footsteps in the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club, with the pair finishing hot on Study of Man’s heels in third and fourth places. Another stakes success followed soon afterwards when Native American landed the Prix Ridgway and now Intellogent has become Group 1 winner number one with a determined effort in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat over a mile.
With Teofilo, Frankel and Intello now all sires of Group 1 winners (as are Roderic O’Connor and Cima de Triomphe in South America), it is going to be interesting to see whether their fellow Group 1 winners Noble Mission and Highland Reel can follow their example.
Intello now has five black-type winners from his 100-strong first crop, plus another four black-type earners. The question is whether the upturn in his fortunes came earlier enough to make a significant difference to demand for his 2018 services.
The fact that Intellogent’s Group 1 success was gained over a mile will surely help Intello. The Jean Prat winner appears to have inherited some of Intello’s versatility. The bottom half of the colt’s pedigree is also a blend of speed and stamina, the speed represented by his broodmare sire Kheleyf, whose visits to Royal Ascot yielded a second in the G3 Norfolk S. and a victory in the G3 Jersey S.
Intellogent’s dam Nuit Polaire scored over seven and a half furlongs as a 3-year-old but later showed that she stayed a mile and a quarter. This is hardly surprising, as Nuit Polaire is a half-sister to Neele, the group-placed Peintre Celebre mare who produced the G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin winner Nymphea and the G1 Deutsches Derby winner Nutan. Each of these Group 1 winners was sired by a son of Danehill, the broodmare sire of Intello.
Neele’s sister Night of Magic won the G2 Oaks d’Italia before becoming the dam of Nightflower, a two-time Preis von Europa winner also sired by a son of Danehill. Intellogent’s second dam Night Teeny was a winning half-sister to Night Petticoat, a G2 Preis der Diana winner who added to her Classic achievement by becoming the dam of the Deutsches Derby winner Next Desert and Preis der Diana winner Next Gina. This is also the family of the Hong Kong Group 1 winner Pakistan Star.