Andrew Fletcher is back with his fourth installment of his 2012 Epsom Oaks series, looking at the pedigree of the main contenders for the Epsom Oaks on Friday.
As the Oaks approaches, I continue my series looking at the potential contenders for the race. This time I am looking at one of the six fillies that have been declared by Aidan O’Brien and her name is Kissed.
She started her racing career at Navan in October when she lined up for a Fillies Maiden over a mile. She was positioned towards the head of the field on leaving the stalls and travelled nicely in 3rd position. She continued to travel well into the straight before being shaken along with 2f to go and asked to chase the leader. She was always getting on top in the final stages and started to pull away to win comfortably by 1½ lengths. The filly in second that day was Violet Lashes who is still a maiden following three subsequent starts and in fifth was Voleuse de Coeurs (2nd fav), who was second in a Dundalk 11f maiden before winning over 12f at Wexford. Kissed was well fancied on debut, going off as 6/4 favourite but what was impressive was how relaxed she was and how she showed few signs of greenness on her first outing.
It was the end of April before she was seen again in the Listed Salsabil Stakes over 10f at Navan. This time she was asked to lead by her jockey Joseph O’Brien and set a good pace before turning the screw with about 3f to go. At this stage she was still on the bridle but in the final two furlongs she was gently pushed clear to win easily by 8½ lengths. In second was Aaraas, who had won a 6f maiden and was 3rd behind Nephrite in the Killavullan Stakes (7f), since then she has finished 2nd in the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes ahead of Kissed’s stablemate Was. Back in 3rd was Cleofila, who had won a 7f maiden at the Curragh and also ran in the Blue Wind finishing fourth.
It is probably not unfair to say that we have yet to see Kissed really stretched on the racecourse considering the ease with which she dispatched her first two sets of rivals. These performances showed that she is a quality filly but it also means that it is difficult to judge whether she will get the extra two furlongs in the Oaks and perhaps her pedigree will provide us with a better idea.
Kissed dam is an unraced mare Gwynn. She is a half sister to Fermoy, a dual winner over 10f, by Champion 2yo and Champion Miler in France, Irish River. She is also a half-sister to Highest Accolade, a winner of a 10f maiden by the Derby winner Shirley Heights. Gwynn has produced 4 winners to date including Kissed and all of them are products of the Sadler’s Wells male line. Rendezvous (Sadler’s Wells) was a winner over 8f at Chantilly beating Cirrus Des Aigles on debut. Gagnoa, another product of Sadler’s Wells was a dual Group 3 winner at 8f and 11f respectively and was also placed in three Group 1s including the Irish Oaks. Perhaps her best produce to date is a son of Montjeu called Pour Moi, who won the Group 2 Prix Greffuhle over 10f and the Epsom Derby last year before being retired to stud.
The damsire of Kissed is Darshaan, a winner of the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (10f) and the Prix du Jockey Club (12f) during his racing career. At stud he has produced 12 separate Group 1 winners and his progeny tend to run at distances of 7f and upwards. His best progeny include the 2000 Guineas and QEII winner Mark of Esteem as well as Kotashaan who won the Breeders’ Cup Turf over 12f. He also sired Dalakhani, who was only beaten once in nine starts and won four Group 1s including the Prix du Jockey Club and the Arc. As a damsire, his daughters have been very successful when crossed with stallions from the Sadler’s Wells male line. Products of this cross include High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells) who won the Racing Post Trophy, Derby and Irish Champion Stakes. Others include Milan (Sadler’s Wells) winner of the Great Voltigeur and St Leger and Islington (Sadler’s Wells) who won the Nassau Stakes (10f) as well as being twice victorious in the Yorkshire Oaks (12f).
The sire of Kissed is a winner of the Derby, Irish Derby and King George in Galileo. He has been a massive success at stud having already sired 37 separate Group 1 winners and has been crowned Champion sire on three occasions (2008, 2010, 2011). His best produce include the highest rated horse in the world at present in Frankel, who is unbeaten in 10 starts having won races such as the 2000 Guineas, QEII and Lockinge Stakes. He has also sired Cape Blanco, a winner of five Group 1s including the Irish Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Arlington Million. When put to a Darshaan mare, Galileo has produced 41 winners from 59 runners. The best of which being Midas Touch who won the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (10f) as well as finishing second in the Irish Derby (12f), Great Voltigeur (12f) and St Leger (14f).
There is no doubt that Kissed is from a wonderful family and that combined with her conformation explains why Coolmore paid 900,000 Guineas for her at Tattersalls as a yearling. She has confirmed her ability in two starts to date but these have both come on soft ground which is not something that would be forthcoming at Epsom. This comment has been supported this morning with Ballydoyle suggesting Kissed will not run unless there is ease in the ground. I feel that the extra two furlongs will not prove a problem for her given her pedigree is packed with stamina and if she lines up at Epsom she must have a serious chance. However, if her entry at Epsom is withdrawn on account of the ground, she would probably still be worth keeping an eye on the Prix Diane (10.5f) or the Irish Oaks (12f) where she would be more likely to get ground on the softer side of good.
Back Kissed to win the Epsom Oaks with Ladbrokes at 6/1 using a £50 free bet using code FB50!
Missed Andrew’s first three installments? Read them here:
Epsom Oaks Series I – Was
Epsom Oaks Series II – The Fugue
Epsom Oaks Series III – Vow
Follow Andrew on Twitter @ginge210!
Photo 1 Kissed winning on her second outing racingpost.com
Photo 2 Last year’sDerbywinner Pour Moi is a half-brother to Kissed telegraph.co.uk
Photo 3 Midas Touch is from the same cross as Kissed guardian.co.uk