The first skirmishes in the battle to be Champion First Season sire have already taken place, with three freshmen sires making early headway.
Havana Grey, and the Coolmore pair of Sioux Nation and U S Navy Flag lead the pack, with three winners each. Havana Grey has recorded his three winners from 15 runners,
Sioux Nation has his three from nine runners, U S Navy Flag has needed just four starters to find his way to currently head the First Season Sires Table. Ocean Vision got the ball rolling for the son of War Front on the 12th April with a win on debut at Dundalk for trainer Kieran Cotter. He is declared to run in the Listed First Flyer Stakes at The Curragh on Monday.
Second to add his name to the U S Navy Flag’s winner list was the Wardstown Stud-bred Kaasib. He won a Salisbury novice by a decisive two lengths on the 20th April. Out of a Kodiac half-sister to Gr.2-winning sprinter Magical Memory, he was an €80,000 yearling purchase by trainer Clive Cox.
The third of U S Navy Flag’s winners came at Keeneland on Friday night, when Wesley Ward’s Love Reigns put up what is potentially the most impressive juvenile performance in the Northern Hemisphere so far this season.
Hustled to the lead after only a fair start, Love Reigns recorded a rapid 22.04 first quarter and sustained that early pace to win by nine and three-quarter lengths from stablemate Rivka.
A half-sister to Gr.1 Sword Dancer Stakes winner Glorious Empire (Holy Roman Emperor), she was bred by Patrick Grogan and purchased at the Goffs Orby sale for €160,000 by agent Ben McElroy for Stonestreet Stables.
The filly will now aim to emulate Lady Aurelia and Campanelle in becoming a third winner of the Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes for her connections.
This early promise was however to be expected. A hardy juvenile who raced 11 times at two, U S Navy Flag became the first horse since Diesis in 1982 to follow up in the Gr.1 Dewhurst Stakes after winning the Gr.1 Middle Park stakes, a race he won in the fastest time ever. Not just a flashy juvenile however, U S Navy Flag trained on at three to win the Gr.1 July Cup and in doing so became the first horse ever to win the “Newmarket Sprint Triple Crown”.
This unique race record is perhaps trumped though by his pedigree as the biggest draw for prospective breeders. By War Front, the sire of seven Gr.1 winning juveniles, U S Navy Flag is from one of the most productive two-year-old families in the stud book.
He is out of the Champion Two Year-Old Filly Misty For Me, a winner of the Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac, where she beat Helleborine, now better known as the dam of Gr.2 Coventry Stakes winner Calyx. Like her son, Misty For Me trained on at three to win the Gr.1 Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Gr.1 Pretty Polly Stakes, by six lengths from the wonder filly Midday.
Misty For Me is also the dam of Roly Poly, who like her brother had a strong liking for Newmarket. In the Falmouth and Sun Chariot Stakes, she won a pair of Group 1s at HQ and was also triumphant in the Gr.1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville.
As would be expected with her genetics, Roly Poly was also a top juvenile, winning the Gr.2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and running a close second in the Gr.1 Cheveley Park Stakes to Brave Anna, another daughter of War Front.
Misty For Me is not the only Champion Two-Year-Old in U S Navy Flag’s immediate pedigree. Ballydoyle, a sister to Misty For Me, followed up a defeat of Minding in the Gr.2 Debutante Stakes to win the Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac five years after her elder sister. This is also the family of European Champion TwoYear-Old and sire Fasliyev.
A lot more can be expected from U S Navy Flag as the season progresses. Among first crop sires, his yearling average was behind only that of fellow Coolmore sire Saxon Warrior and Tweenhills’s Zoustar. He had a number of highlights, including the €220,000 paid by Al’Shira’aa for the half-sister to Gr.1 2,000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare and the €290,000 paid by Dwayne Woods for the half sister to Gr.1 Del Mar Oaks winner Going Global.
- European Bloodstock News
Love Reigns winning at Keeneland