Pedigree Insights: Dream Castle


Dream Castle | DRC/Erika Rasmussen


Every time I see a winner from Frankel's first crop, I can't help thinking back to late-November 2014, when four foals from this crop were scheduled to sell at Tattersalls. Such was the interest in the equine superstar that the BBC sent a camera crew to report on all the excitement.

The reality was that, instead of fireworks, we got a damp squib. Two of the three colts were bought back by their vendors, and I believe the third was withdrawn largely because of a lack of interest from would-be buyers. That left a filly who sold for 150,000gns, providing a scant profit on Frankel's £125,000 fee.

Needless to say, it has been onwards and upwards for Frankel's first crop ever since, to the extent that it has developed into a crop of which any stallion would be intensely proud. Even that largely-unwanted quartet from the foal sales has played its part.

Two of them, Atty Persse and Swiss Storm, won maiden races in such impressive style that they earned Timeform's large P symbol and attracted attention from Godolphin. The third colt, retained by Cheveley Park, won his first two starts as Senator. Sold to Hong Kong and renamed Simply Brilliant, he has recently become a Group 3 winner, with earnings in the region of £800,000. The 150,000-guinea filly, named Harba, won three consecutive races for Al Shaqab.

However, they have largely played bit parts in the Frankel story, which has been blessed with plenty of smart performers. When the very progressive Dream Castle accelerated to land the G1 Jebel Hatta, he became the fifth Group 1 winner from a Northern Hemisphere crop of 111, the best of them being world champion Cracksman. There are also four Group 2 winners and 10 Group 3 winners, taking the crop's total of group winners to 19–an outstanding 17%. For good measure, the crop also contains four listed winners and three group-placed winners.

The debacle of the 2014 foal sale wasn't without its repercussions. Although the sample was far too small to be representative, it must have spawned some doubts in the minds of breeders, who have rarely been eager to use third-season stallions. Consequently, Frankel's third crop-3-year-olds this year–is substantially smaller than his first, with 86 Northern Hemisphere foals, and his fourth is smaller still, at 80 foals.

Fortunately, Frankel's first 2-year-olds wasted no time in demonstrating that he is capable of passing on a generous measure of his exceptional talent. As many as six of them became group winners at two, while several others, including Cracksman, showed considerable potential.

The end result was that breeders clamoured for access to Juddmonte's superstar and he has over 160 fifth-crop yearlings. This will give him an excellent chance of equalling that remarkable first crop, even if it is asking a great deal for it to get close to that magical figure of 17% group winners.

Not that Frankel's 106-strong second crop has let the side down. It already has six group winners in Without Parole, Rostropovich, Nelson, Veracious, Lightning Quick and Elarqam, and there should be more to come. No fewer than six of Frankel's first-crop group winners, including three of his Group 1 winners, gained their first group success at the ages of four or five.

Dream Castle didn't reveal the full extent of his talent until after he was gelded, since then he has won a Group 3, a Group 2 and now a Group 1. A group success had looked likely much earlier in his career, after he had finished second to Barney Roy in the G3 Greenham S. on his second start and a creditable fifth to Churchill in the G1 2000 Guineas on his third.

Dream Castle represents a blend of Britain's two highest-priced stallions, as his dam, the G2 Flying Childers S. winner Sand Vixen, is a daughter of Dubawi. I suspect we are going to see plenty more very useful winners whose pedigrees combine Frankel's sire Galileo and Dubawi.

We have already seen Dubawi thrive with Galileo's daughters, with this combination being represented by the group winners Night of Thunder, Dartmouth and Ghaiyyath, as well as such useful performers as Secret Advisor, Red Galileo, Dubhe and Appeared. But it is the relationship between Dubawi's daughters and Galileo's stallion sons which looks highly promising– especially those Galileo sons out of Danehill mares.

Dream Castle is one of two winners from two runners sired by Frankel from daughters of Dubawi, There are plenty more youngsters bred this way, including eight members of Frankel's large 2018 crop. The mares involved include Arabian Queen (G1 Juddmonte International), Anna Salai (who went close to winning the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas), Bawina (a Group 2 and Group 3 winner in France). Crystal Zvezda (a 10-furlong listed winner) and Handassa (a listed winner over a mile in Ireland).

Of course Frankel isn't the only champion 2-year-old sired by Galileo from a Danehill mare. Teofilo represents the same nick and he has already done sterling work with Dubawi's broodmare daughters, siring the Group 3 winner Tantheem, the dual listed winner Mildenberger, who was runner-up in the G2 Dante S., and the listed winner Key Victory.

New Approach and Nathaniel are two Galileo stallions without Danehill blood who have each sired a black-type winner from Dubawi mares, with New Approach being responsible for the smart Hey Gaman.

It is worth reminding you that Dream Castle's dam Sand Vixen may be a daughter of Dubawi, but she is a member of Dubawi's first crop, sired at a time when his fee was only a 10th of its current value. This explains the comparative working-class nature of her pedigree, her first two dams being daughters of Petong and Free State. Sand Vixen made only 30,000gns as a yearling but then shaped so well at the Craven Breeze-Up that she realised 130,000gns, before winning three of her five juvenile starts.

Dream Castle therefore adds weight to the argument that Frankel–like Galileo–is ideally well suited by fast and precocious mares. The truth is that father and son can also sire top winners from middle-distance mares, but it is their progeny out of fast mares which appeal most to breeders and buyers. The broodmare sires of Frankel's group winners include Monsun, Lemon Drop Kid, Monsun, Darshaan and Dalakhani, but they are comfortably outnumbered by the likes of Pivotal, Inchinor, Hennessy, Green Desert, Kingmambo, Woodman and Machiavellian.

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