Written in the Stars


Sea The Moon was named a 'TDN Rising Star' | Lanwades Stud


Fast approaching a silver jubilee of time served in the trenches, there remains nothing which acts as such an effective catalyst for in-house discussion and disagreement as our beloved niche, TDN's Rising Stars. “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” So said Einstein. I don't suppose he gave that one a second thought, though his words perfectly illustrate the backstory of notable achievements in almost any sphere. However, for this publication's signature product, there is no small measure of luck required too.

“TDN Rising Stars allow readers to identify a race winner in the first few starts of his or her career who will, in our estimation, go on to be a Graded Stakes winner. Designated as Rising Stars by the worldwide TDN staff after a careful and comprehensive review of many factors–including the quality of the field, margin and time of victory, pedigree, sales price and more–Rising Stars are tabbed as such in a maiden, allowance or Listed Stakes race.”

The “wow factor” caveat remains an unwritten aspect of the mantra, of course, but it is implied and has been a constant from day one. It's a struggle to recall when Europe first made contribution to the honour roll, archaeology points to a period circa 2004, and while recollections of that season remain foggy in parts, the year's freshest memories lurk later in the piece.

The task in identifying a personal top 10 of those which cleared the bar precludes an appraisal of Frankel (GB), Sea the Stars (Ire), Kingman (GB) and many more. The TDN seal is not always in these hands for certification ceremonies. It is also worth noting that, while the full list is extensive, there are prime examples of opportunity knocking, but not taken. It is a matter of some discomfort these should include dual G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Treve (Fr) (Motivator {GB}) and three-time GI Breeders' Cup Mile victress Goldikova (Ire) (Anabaa), both still mentioned in whispers round these parts. Absolution remains elusive for the many faux pas so I'll seek a degree of solace in sharing, with some trepidation, a selection of my favourites.


SEA THE MOON (GER), c, 2, Sea the Stars (Ire)–Sanwa (Ger), by Monsun (Ger).
9-22-2013, Cologne, Mdn, €5,100, 2yo, 1mT, 1:38.99, sf.
O/B-Gestut Gorlsdorf; T-Markus Klug.
Germany is a rich seam, mined sparingly, but interest was piqued this autumn day. Cologne–beautiful city, nice cathedral–was the scene of the Gestut Gorlsdorf homebred's debut. Having been bought in at 230,000gns when passing through the Tattersalls ring the year before, he attracted a welter of support at the tills to start as the even-money favourite, despite the presence of Novellist's half-sister Ninfea (Ger) (Selkirk). Soon holding sway, Sea The Moon maintained control without reaching for higher gears and was untroubled to hit the line four lengths clear of his main rival. From a family featuring Classic winners Samum (Ger), Salve Regina (Ger) and Schiaparelli (Ger), his elevation was in little doubt and he hit his racing zenith, by a whopping 11 lengths adopting similar tactics, in the following year's G1 Deutsches Derby. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


ZARKAVA (IRE), f, 2, Zamindar–Zarkasha (Ire), by Kahyasi (Ire).
9-9-2007, Longchamp, Mdn, €21,000, unraced 2yo, f, 1mT, 1:42.60, gd.
O-H H The Aga Khan; B-H H The Aga Khan's Studs SC; T-Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Zarkava's unveiling was preceded–just 30 minutes earlier–by the imposing debut performance of Tamayuz (GB) (Nayef), which went unrewarded in the days of self-imposed rationing. A stellar renewal of the G1 Prix du Moulin also featured on the card and was plundered by another daughter of Zamindar, Princess Zahra Aga Khan's Darjina (Fr). That Zarkava drew the plaudits on such a day bears testament to her brilliance. Biding her time through the initial stages, the odds-on favourite was unleashed approaching the final furlong and not for catching thereafter. Five of her six subsequent starts were at the highest level and she retired unbeaten with a magnificent seven under her belt, accounting for the likes of Goldikova (Ire) (Anabaa), Dar Re Mi (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}) and Youmzain (Ire) (Sinndar {Ire}) along the way. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


MOONLIGHT CLOUD (GB), f, 2, Invincible Spirit (Ire)–Ventura (Ire), by Spectrum (Ire).
9-9-2010, Longchamp, Cond, €34,000, 2yo, 7fT, 1:27.99, sf.
O/B-George Strawbridge; T-Freddy Head.
There is no reason offered other than there must have been a disturbance in the force when Moonlight Cloud was overlooked following a 2 1/2-length triumph atop Deauville's synthetic surface one month earlier, but there would be no mistaking the merit of her second outing on the anniversary of Zarkava's debut. Sent off as the solid favourite for this turf bow, George Strawbridge's homebred bay toyed with overmatched rivals before coasting six lengths clear in effortless fashion. Post race, trainer Freddy Head declared, “I have never had a 2-year-old this good.” High praise indeed from the man responsible for Goldikova (Ire) (Anabaa). Upon retirement, Moonlight Cloud had accumulated six successes at the highest level and matched the mark set by stablemate Marchand d'Or (Fr) (Marchand de Sable) with a record-equalling three editions of Deauville's G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


SARAFINA (FR), f, 3, Refuse to Bend (Ire)–Sanariya (Ire), by Darshaan (GB).
5-3-2010, Chantilly, Mdn, €24,000, unraced 3yo, f, 1mT, 1:41.70, sf.
O-H H The Aga Khan; B-H H The Aga Khan's Studs SC; T-Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Untested as a juvenile, Sarafina's belated introduction came in an 18-runner debutantes' affair. Heavily supported during the preliminaries, the 8-5 favourite was best away before finding a rhythm behind five other contenders. She loomed ominously once into the straight and dismantled her many rivals when quickening clear inside the final 300 metres, gearing down in the dying embers to register a highly impressive six-length score. Next up would be victories in the G1 Prix Saint-Alary and G1 Prix de Diane, collecting the last of trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre's six wins in the latter, before hitting the board in that year's G1 Prix Vermeille and G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The homebred bay embellished her resume with success in the following season's G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


LOPE DE VEGA (IRE), c, 2, Shamardal–Lady Vettori (GB) (GSW & G1SP-Fr, $116,309), by Vettori (Ire).
9-13-2009, Longchamp, Cond, €34,000, 2yo, 7fT, 1:22.10, gd.
O/B-Gestut Ammerland; T-Andre Fabre.
Off duty when Lope de Vega registered a promising debut win over 7 1/2 furlongs at Deauville just 2 1/2 weeks earlier, Gestut Ammerland's homebred would not evade our clutches next time around. Stalking the pace in second after recovering from a slow start, the odds-on favourite powered clear once allowed his head approaching the final furlong, settling the contest in a matter of strides to prevail by an unextended 2 1/2 lengths in impressive style. The February-foaled chestnut's legacy was secured in the space of three weeks during a banner sophomore campaign the following year, defeating a combined 35 rivals when annexing the G1 Poule'Essai des Poulains and G1 Prix du Jockey Club. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


SIYOUNI (FR), c, 2, Pivotal (GB)–Sichilla (Ire) (SW-Fr), by Danehill.
5-4-2009, Longchamp, Mdn, €24,000, unraced 2yo, 5fT, :58.30, gd.
O-H H The Aga Khan; B-H H The Aga Khan's Studs SC; T-Alain de Royer-Dupre.
It was a Monday, Forrest Gump may have noted, the day after Ghanaati (Giant's Causeway) claimed G1 1000 Guineas glory at Newmarket. Meanwhile, in France, Alain de Royer-Dupre was on a roll having picked up a swathe of Group 1 contests in 2008 with Zarkava (Ire) (Zamindar), Belle et Celebre (Fr) (Peintre Celebre), Sageburg (Ire) (Johannesburg) and Montmartre (Fr) (Montjeu {Ire}). Saluted for his patience, de Royer-Dupre nonetheless identified a five-furlong newcomers' dash–far from the madding crowd at the epicentre of Longchamp's hectares–for His Highness The Aga Khan's homebred bay. Naturally, it was no shot in the dark and the 11-10 pick coasted up front throughout and was not extended to easily outclass a field containing three subsequent stakes performers. “He has a good temperament and is already professional in what he does. There should be better things to come from him,” the trainer opined at the time and how correct he was. Siyouni contested six Group 1 races all told and showed up best when winning the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, downing Lope de Vega (Ire) (Shamardal) and Dick Turpin (Ire) (Arakan), in the last of six juvenile starts. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


WALDGEIST (GB), c, 2, Galileo (Ire)–Waldlerche (GB) (GSW-Fr & SP-Ger), by Monsun (Ger).
9-8-2016, Chantilly, Mdn, €27,000, unraced 2yo, c/g, 8fT, 1:42.21, gd.
O-Gestut Ammerland, Newsells Park Stud, Michael Tabor & Susan Magnier; B-Waldlerche Partnership (GB); T-Andre Fabre.
Waldgeist is the first foal produced by 2012 G3 Prix Penelope victress Waldlerche (GB) (Monsun {Ger}), herself tagged a 'TDN Rising Star' in 2011 and a half-sister to G1 St Leger hero Masked Marvel (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}), and has been joined in the archives by younger siblings Waldstern (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) and Waldkonig (GB) (Kingman {GB}). Displaying a technique which would yield dividends down the line, Waldgeist found comfort in midfield until sent forward in the straight and unleashed a devastating turn of foot once pouncing for control at the furlong marker to account for subsequent MGSW GI Belmont Derby Invitational and G1 Prix Royal Oak runner-up Called to the Bar (Ire) (Henrythenavigator) by an easy two lengths. Faring no worse than fifth in 20 pattern-race starts since, the chestnut's triumph in last term's G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe crowned a stellar career which features a quartet of Group 1 wins. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


FAIRYLAND (IRE), f, 2, Kodiac (GB)–Queenofthefairies (GB), by Pivotal (GB).
5-7-2018, Naas, Mdn, €19,000, 2yo, f, 6fT, 1:15.30, g/y.
O-Mrs Evie Stockwell, Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Tally-Ho Stud (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien.
There is a plethora of Coolmore profiles eligible for inclusion, but special mention is reserved for Fairyland and her unwilting ability to bounce back from adversity. Prominent throughout this straight dash, the 925,000gns Tattersalls October Book 1 yearling required little encouragement to announce her arrival with an impressive 1 3/4-length tally and an immediate TDN endorsement. The January-foaled bay went on to garner York's G2 Lowther S. before embarking on a journey of nine consecutive Group 1 outings. Victory in Newmarket's G1 Cheveley Park S. concluded a five-race juvenile campaign, of which she won four, and her persistence was rewarded with a battling score in last September's G1 Flying Five S. at The Curragh. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


DIVINE PROPORTIONS, f, 2, Kingmambo–Myth to Reality (Fr) (MSW & GSP-Fr, $114,752), by Sadler's Wells.
5-26-2004, Maisons-Laffitte, Mdn, €18,000, unraced 2yo, 5fT, 1:01.20, g/s.
O-The Niarchos Family; B-Flaxman Holdings Ltd; T-Pascal Bary.
Divine Proportions's sibling Whipper (Miesque's Son) had secured Deauville's G1 Prix Morny the season before so warning flags had been raised before an engagement with newcomers of both sexes here. Exhibiting her trademark burst when headed in this dash, she was value for much more than the official 3/4-of-a-length winning margin would imply. The contest yielded little else, subsequently, but the Niarchos Family's homebred bay left an indelible mark and experienced pattern-race company only thereafter. She'd reel in five prizes at the highest level, including the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and G1 Prix de Diane, before forfeiting an unblemished record to Dubawi (Ire) (Dubai Millennium {GB}) in her 10th and final start. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.


MOTIVATOR (GB), c, 2, Montjeu (Ire)–Out West (SW-GB), by Gone West.
8-13-2004, Newmarket, Mdn, £7,390, 2yo, 1mT, 1:41.11, sf.
O-The Royal Ascot Racing Club; B-Deerfield Farm; T-Michael Bell.
It was Friday the 13th and Triskaidekaphobia (GB) (Bertolini) was a year away from winning three for Karl Burke. This wasn't a moment for superstition because bad luck would not befall Motivator, not this evening. It was to be a run-of-the-mill July Course fixture on the outskirts of Newmarket and intermittent showers would not dampen enthusiasm. Especially not for those betting the 75,000gns Tattersalls October Book 1 yearling down to 3-1 second favouritism in a one-mile heat already responsible for subsequent G1 Epsom Derby third Let The Lion Roar (GB) and one set to host the debut of Frankel (GB) six years down the line. The local battalions were out in force, but this was no ordinary Friday as the February-foaled bay took down a solid cast by daylight. Ironic, considering the gloomy conditions. Tethered behind the leaders by Kieren Fallon, it was obvious at halfway who was travelling best in a field of 11. Slinking to the front in effortless fashion, Motivator had the race in safe keeping at the foot of the climb and lengthened clear in some style before gearing down in hand to hit the line with an impressive six-length buffer. Further success followed in the G1 Racing Post Trophy and G2 Dante S. before adding Epsom's Blue Riband under a Johnny Murtagh masterclass. Despite three subsequent defeats, he was already written in the stars and remains a particular favourite. Click for free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.

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

Exit Box x

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.