Invincible weekend of Group 1 success

Invincible weekend of Group 1 success

21st Jul 2020


Article by Leo Powell, Editor, The Irish Field, Saturday 18th July 2020.


GROUP 1 action in England last week saw the Irish National Stud’s Invincible Spirit, feature prominently. On Friday his daughter Nazeef showed she is one of the most improved runners in training when she won her sixth consecutive start, annexing the Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes.


Twenty-four hours later and Invincible Spirit’s grandson Oxted ran out a comfortable winner of a vintage Group 1 Darley July Cup. While Oxted was giving his sire Mayson (Invincible Spirit) his first Group 1 winner, Nazeef become her sire’s 19th winner at the highest level, but his first of 2020.


It is interesting to note that just six of these Group 1 winners have been fillies. Invincible Spirit’s second crop included the July Cup winner Fleeting Spirit, he had two winners of the Cheveley Park Stakes in Hooray and Rosdhu Queen, he sired the triple Group 1 winner Yosai in Australia, while the outstanding Moonlight Cloud won six times at Group 1 level, including the Prix Maurice de Gheest three times. Nazeef is in good company.


Bred by Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell, Nazeef is the third foal and only winner to date for her dam Handassa. That daughter of Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) was sold to Shadwell as a yearling for 100,000gns and put in training with Kevin Prendergast. She was a mightily impressive winner on her sole start at two, almost six lengths clear of the rest in a seven-furlong maiden at the Curragh.


At three she was considered good enough to run in the Irish 1000 Guineas, but it was on her penultimate start at Naas that she got the valuable blacktype she deserved, winning the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes over a mile. Her first year at stud saw her covered by Oasis Dream (Green Desert).


The result of that tryst was a filly, Butoolat, and she was put in training at Friarstown with Kevin Prendergast. While she did not possess her dam’s ability, she must have shown something. When she was consigned to the Tattersalls July Sale at three she was sold for 10,000gns and actually went back to Prendergast but this time to race in the name of John Patrick Hayes, brother of jockey Chris. The latter got the filly close on a few occasions but she failed to win.


Now owned by Chris Hayes Racing, Butoolat was covered by Awtaad (Cape Cross) and the resulting colt was sold last November, through Ringfort Stud, to Tally-Ho Stud for €65,000. This year Butoolat had another colt by the classic winning Awtaad and is in foal to Kodiac (Danehill).


Nazeef is followed by the three-year-old Musahaba (Muhaarar) who made his debut last month at the Curragh, and the two-year-old Mostahdaf (Frankel). Nazeef’s Group 1 success is not the only major update to the family in 2020. Handassa’s half-brother Desert Stone (Fastnet Rock) finally got a stakes win he was overdue, winning the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita. He has previously been Grade 1-placed.


Desert Stone, Handassa and Eugino, the Group 3 Darley Stakes winner, are three of the five winners from the unraced Starstone (Diktat). She had just two winning siblings, but what a pair they were. The full-brothers Pastoral Pursuits (Bahamian Bounty) and Goodricke were both champion sprinters in 2005, the former in the older horse division and the latter as a three-year-old. Pastoral Pursuits won the Group 1 July Cup while Goodricke landed the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup, a race that was won a few years earlier by Invincible Spirit.


The Group 1 July Cup features a lot in this week’s stories and it was won in 2012 by Cheveley Park Stud’s Mayson. That five-time winner and runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye, stands at the Newmarket stud and he achieved a major breakthrough when his son Oxted won the 2020 renewal of the July Cup on Saturday.


Through Oxted is his sire’s seventh stakes winner, he is his first group winner. That bare statistic might indicate that he is something of a fluke, but that is far from the truth. Mayson has a great strike rate with his runners, some 56% of them winning, and he is a very good sire to use on a mare for whom you want to get a winner. At a fee of £5,000 this year, and his yearlings last year selling for up to 100,000gns, he is a sire that offers great value for money.


Oxted did not go the sales as a yearling, though he was offered at last year’s Goffs London Sale where he was retained at £400,000. The now four-year-old gelding, at the time of the sale, had won on his second start and been runner-up in the Listed Shalaa Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury. His following starts might have left connections pondering their decision, but Oxted rounded off his year with a victory in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster.


This year he has run twice, won twice and netted the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket as a prelude to his big race success.


Tony Hirschfield and Stephen Piper bred Oxted and race him in partnership with David Fish. The pair bred the classy sprinter under the banner of Homecroft Wealth Racing at Hirschfield’s Cheval Court Stud in Surrey, which now operates as a dressage horse breeding operation after Hirschfield decided last year that the time had come to wind down his personal thoroughbred breeding interests.


Oxted is the first foal out of Charlotte Rosina (Choisir) who won four times for the same connections, but whose career was cut short by injury. After a stint at Cheval Court Stud, where she also produced last year’s two-year-old winner Whiskey Jar (Equiano) and Oxted’s two-year-old full-brother Chipstead, Charlotte Rosina was sold to Tom Malone at last year’s Tattersalls Ascot November Sale for £45,000.


The unraced Chipstead, like his brother, is also in training with Roger Teal. Speaking after Oxted’s victory, Hirschfield said: “It’s nice to have a Group 1 winner at the end of your breeding life. He’s giving us a lot of fun and it’s nice for a small operation like ourselves, albeit we’ve bred some wonderful horses at Cheval Court Stud. I have a huge association with breeding. Such horses as Chachamaidee, Superstar Leo and Royal Artist, I bred all of these with my partner Lester Piggott.


“I’m 72 years old now so I wound down Cheval Court Stud and live abroad. We named the horses Oxted and Chipstead for different reasons. Oxted is where I got married to my late wife and is next to Chipstead. Oxted is where Steve Piper, my partner, has his office and Cheval Court Stud is at Chipstead. We tended to race our fillies and sell our colts, but we decided to keep this colt and we kept Chipstead too as he was the last.”


Oxted is the first blacktype horse in the pedigree for four generations. His dam won four races, his grandam Intriguing Glimpse (Piccolo) won six, his third dam Running Glimpse (Runnett) won seven times and his fourth dam One Last Glimpse (Relko) bred the Group 2 winner Captain Horatius (Taufan).

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