Pedigree Insights: Channel


Channel winning the Prix de Diane | Scoop Dyga


For a brief second or two, as Commes (Fr) narrowed the gap separating her from Channel (Ire), I thought the topic for today’s column was going to be Le Havre’s feat of siring his third Prix de Diane winner from his first six crops. However, with the gallant Channel keeping her luckless challenger at bay, it was the turn of another stallion–Nathaniel (Ire)–to add a third classic to the Oaks and Irish Oaks successes of his brilliant daughter Enable (GB).

With a classic winner in two of Nathaniel’s first three crops, the team at Newsells Park Stud can feel justified in raising his fee to a career-high £25,000 for the 2019 season. This increase was no doubt prompted by Enable’s second Arc victory but it also reflects the fact that Nathaniel had been fully booked with 148 mares in 2018.

His admirable record also shows the folly of jumping to conclusions about young stallions, especially those which shone over middle distances. Bearing in mind that Nathaniel’s Timeform rating rose from 101p at two to 127 at three (and then to 129 at four), was it fair to expect him to make a big impact with his first 2-year-olds in 2016?

Admittedly his results didn’t tally with the enthusiasm which had led to his first yearlings averaging over 114,000gns, off a £20,000 fee. Five domestic winners from 34 runners were all that Nathaniel had to his credit by the end of 2016 and this overshadowed the fact that two of his continental sons had been group-placed in November. Enable’s transformation from all-weather maiden winner to Classic heroine must have been some help during the 2017 breeding season, but Nathaniel’s book fell to 83 mares and consequently he will have fewer yearlings at the sales later this year. Fortunately, that represents only a brief blip in a career which has generally seen him faithfully supported by his shareholders.

One interesting aspect of Nathaniel’s classic successes is that Enable is inbred 3 x 2 to Sadler’s Wells and Channel is inbred 3 x 4 to the same great stallion. Breeders took the hint in selecting their 2018 mates for Nathaniel, with several more daughters of Sadler’s Wells being sent to him in the hope of replicating the Enable magic. Plenty of Nathaniel’s other 2018 mares, such as Channel’s second dam Magical Romance (Ire), produce 3 x 3 inbreeding to Sadler’s Wells, so there will be a big enough sample to see whether this is a reliable method of producing smart performers. As it stands, Nathaniel’s black-type performers with two lines of Sadler’s Wells in the first four generations comprise Channel (3 x 4), the Italian Group 3 winner Chasedown (Ire) (3 x 4), Enable (3 x 2) and the G1 Deutsches Derby second Enjoy Vijay (Ger) (3 x 4). These four come from a sample of nearly 30 black-type horses.

This sample also divides fairly evenly between the sexes, with the fillies holding a slight lead. However, the fillies play a much more prominent role when it comes to Nathaniel’s 14 black-type winners. Six of his seven group winners are fillies, including all three of his Group 1 winners (the other being that tough filly God Given {GB}). Indeed, fillies account for 11 of the 14 black-type winners, but I could quickly add that six of Nathaniel’s sons have been placed at group level. Altogether 25 of Nathaniel’s offspring have achieved a Racing Post rating of 100+ and as many as 14 of them are colts or geldings, so don’t be tempted to dismiss Nathaniel’s sons. The bias towards his daughters may yet begin to even out, as there is no bias towards fillies in the records of his sire Galileo (Ire) or his broodmare sire Silver Hawk.

Nathaniel raced for Lady Rothschild, and his latest Group 1 winner is out of a mare which also carried her colours. However, the story didn’t start well. Having been bought for 4,600,000gns, in foal to Pivotal, on Nov. 28, 2006, Magical Romance produced her Pivotal filly prematurely, on Dec. 21.

Magical Romance has since produced a further 11 foals, the latest being her 2019 filly by Nathaniel. She has made return visits to only two of her mates, Dansili and Raven’s Pass. Her first Dansili foal, Dean Swift, won a 10-furlong Goodwood maiden without doing enough to justify a return to his sire. Fortunately, the return visit had already gone ahead, resulting in Channel’s dam Love Magic. This filly won a seven-furlong maiden on the Kempton Polytrack as a 2-year-old and added a couple of seconds at up to a mile and a quarter the following year. However, Love Magic was sold for 170,000gns to Kilcarn Stud at the 2015 December Sales, when carrying her second foal, by Nathaniel. That filly, of course, was Channel, who was sold by Kilcarn for only €18,000 as a yearling, even though Enable had been busily advertising Nathaniel’s potential.

Channel obviously made much more appeal when she reappeared at Arqana’s 2018 Breeze Up sale, where she was bought for €70,000. Despite her Breeze-Up background–and despite having 2-year-old winners as her first two dams–Channel wasn’t asked to race at two years. This adds to my belief that it probably isn’t fair to expect the tall, rangy Nathaniel to sire a lot of juvenile winners. Not only did he improve a lot from two to three, but his Irish Oaks-winning younger sister Great Heavens also made great strides between the ages of two and three.

As a son of Galileo, it is hardly surprising that Nathaniel has been sent plenty of mares by Danehill and his sons, which have worked exceptionally well with Galileo. Leaving Nathaniel’s current 2-year-olds out of the picture, his most prolific cross has been with Danehill mares, with 16 foals, and the next most prolific allegiances include Dansili (15 foals), Rock of Gibraltar (11) and Danehill Dancer (10). The Danehill partnership has produced the G3 winner Precious Ramotswe and the listed-winning Australian stayer Steel Prince, while Channel is comfortably the best of the contingent out of Dansili mares.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that it isn’t essential to send a fast mare to Nathaniel, even though he never won at less than a mile and a quarter. Enable is out of Concentric (GB), who was very useful at around a mile and a quarter, and God Given is out of a mile-and-a-half winner. You will also find the names of such as Medicean (GB), Hernando (Fr), Nashwan and Darshaan (GB) among the broodmare sires of Nathaniel’s highest-rated winners.


Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.