Caulfield Examines French Classic Winner Persian King

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Persian King (Ire) | Scoop Dyga

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The great Frankel had a very good time with his third-crop 3-year-olds last week, with no fewer than six of them winning or placing at black-type level. Three of them won, with Obligate coming home 3 1/2 lengths clear in the Prix des Lilas, Mehdaayih 4 1/2 lengths clear in the Cheshire Oaks and Anapurna six lengths clear in Lingfield’s Oaks Trial. For good measure, East finished a creditable third in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, It’s worth remembering that this talented collection comes from a crop of fewer than 90 Northern Hemisphere foals, and they whet the appetite for Frankel’s considerably larger fifth crop, which reaches the yearling sales later this year.

Even so, Frankel temporarily found himself outshone by his stud companion Kingman, who matched Frankel’s feat of siring a first-crop Classic winner when Persian King landed the odds in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains. Kingman was also in the news at Arqana’s Breeze-Up Sale, where his four representatives included fillies which sold for €800,000 and €650,000. Another of Kingman’s juvenile fillies had sold for 850,000gns at the Craven Breeze-Up.

Add in the 1,050,000gns paid last year for one of Kingman’s yearling colts and it is easy to understand why there has been such great demand for Kingman’s services this year, at an increased fee of £75,000, after spending his first four seasons at £55,000.

At around this time last year I was getting a little concerned that Kingman had had hardly any runners from his first crop, but those concerns rapidly evaporated on June 9, when Calyx earned TDN Rising Star status in the process of becoming his sire’s first winner on his debut. Within a couple of weeks Calyx had become his first Group winner, with his thrilling display of speed in the G2 Coventry S.

Although Calyx was then side-lined, the rest of 2018 saw Kingman reinforce his bright start with four further black-type winners, headed by Persian King. It is now becoming abundantly clear that Persian King faced no simple task when he travelled to Newmarket for the G3 Autumn S., where he was chased home by Magna Grecia, Circus Maximus and Western Australia. Since then he’s run out a five-length winner of the G3 Prix de Fontainebleau and his Poulains win was his fifth from six starts.

Bearing in mind that Kingman’s Timeform rating went from 112P at two to 134 at three, it is reasonable to expect his progeny to train on well. Calyx certainly seems to have done so, judging by his scintillating return to action in the G3 Commonwealth Cup Trial. Sparkle Roll, Nausha and Surfman may all make their group-race debuts this week at York. Watch out too for the likes of Sangarius, King of Comedy, Fox Chairman, Private Secretary, Raakib Alhawa, Twist ‘N’ Shake, Tempus, Headman, Clerisy and the French-trained Shamiyla.

There was also plenty to like about last week’s debut win by the French filly Bowled Over, who became Kingman’s fifth winner from seven runners out of Galileo mares, others being Nausha and Fox Chairman (who did well to take third place in last week’s Dee S. after being trapped on the rails). Perhaps one day we will see Kingman achieve similar figures with daughters of Frankel.
An interesting aspect of Kingman’s success this year is that he already has several winners over a mile and a quarter, such as Sparkle Roll, Surfman and Private Secretary, even though the July Cup was once considered for the son of speedy Invincible Spirit. It is worth remembering that Kingman’s second dam, Hope, was a sister to the Irish Oaks winner Wemyss Bight and that his third dam, Bahamian, was once disqualified after winning the G3 Prix de l’Esperance over a furlong short of two miles. Hope, of course, produced the very fast Oasis Dream to Invincible Spirit’s sire Green Desert, and Oasis Dream occasionally sires very smart middle-distance performers, none better than Midday.

There must be a good chance that Persian King will stay a mile and a quarter, and the Prix du Jockey-Club is an obvious target for him. His broodmare sire Dylan Thomas stayed well enough to win the Irish Derby, the King George and the Arc, and his dam, the lightly-raced Pretty Please, won over the Prix du Jockey-Club course and distance on her debut.

Persian King now carries the Godolphin colours but he and his dam represent one of the Wildenstein family’s best female lines. His dam, who also has a 2-year-old filly by Australia named Petite Folie, is a three-parts-sister to that very successful performer Planteur. Although both were sired by sons of Danehill, Planteur’s sire Danehill Dancer was a much speedier individual than Pretty Please’s sire Dylan Thomas. Even so, Planteur stayed well enough to finish second in the Prix du Jockey-Club and the Grand Prix de Paris, in addition to winning the G2 Prix Noailles and the G1 Prix Ganay over an extended mile and a quarter. Plante Rare, the Giant’s Causeway mare responsible for Planteur and Pretty Please, visited Oasis Dream to produce Pilote d’Essai, a gelding who enjoyed Listed successes over 1 3/8 and 1 5/8 miles after his sale to Australia.

Persian King’s fifth dam, the Listed winner Plencia, first found fame as the dam of Daniel Wildenstein’s brilliant filly Pawneese, winner of the Oaks, Prix de Diane and the King George in 1976. Sadly, Pawneese died without producing a single black-type performer, but her Group 3-winning half-sister Petroleuse made ample amends by becoming the dam of three group winners.
One of the Group winners, Peinture Bleue, became the dam of the Prix du Jockey-Club and Arc winner Peintre Celebre and Petroleuse’s Lear Fan filly Palmeraie has also excelled as a broodmare. She too had three Group winners to her credit– Pushkin, Place Rouge and Policy Maker–with Policy Maker being a multiple Group 2 winner who twice finished second in the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. Policy Maker is responsible for the exciting young chaser Chacun Pour Soi, which is a tenuous link to Persian King, a Classic winner described by his trainer Andre Fabre as “a game horse built more for Cheltenham.”

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