Andrew Fletcher is back with his second installment of his 2012 Epsom Oaks series, looking at the pedigree of the main contenders for the Epsom Oaks on Friday 1st June. Missed Andrew’s first installment? Read it here!
I continue my Oaks series this week with a look at a filly trained by John Gosden called The Fugue. She is owned by Lord Lloyd-Webber and was bred at his Watership Down Stud.
Her racing career began at the end of October, in the second division of a Fillies’ Maiden over 7f at Newmarket. On leaving the stalls they split into two groups and she was in the group going down the middle of the track. She was kept towards the rear before making progress 4f out, she was shaken with 2f to go and asked to chase the leader. She was soon getting on top without her jockey getting too serious and she won fairly comfortably by 1½ lengths. The second placed filly was Salacia, who had the advantage of a run having finished 6th in aYarmouth maiden over a mile. The third filly, Dutch Diamond was beaten seven lengths by the front two and has since won a 9f Wolverhampton maiden and the fourth, No Compromise won a 7f maiden at Southwell. The fact that she was not seen until the end of October and her odds on the day of 14/1 supports the idea that she was expected to be better at three. The Racing Manager to Lord Lloyd-Webber had said they were hopeful and she certainly showed plenty of ability in breaking her maiden.
The next time The Fugue saw a racecourse was in the 1000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarketat the beginning of May. She was held up in the early stages and was squeezed for room with a few fillies running around a bit. She was switched to the far side 3f out and was under pressure with 2.5f to go. The winner drew well clear and The Fugue ran on but had little at the finish ending the race in fourth. Homecoming Queen was the winner having won a Group 3 over 7f at Leopardstown on her previous start. Second was Starscope, The Fugue’s stablemate who won the first division of the maiden that she won in October and 3rd was Maybe, who was unbeaten in five starts at two including the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. John Gosden commented that she was ‘struck into’ in the Guineas and that perhaps better ground would suit her, although it was always going to be difficult to go from a maiden to the Guineas.
It was only ten days before The Fugue was on the racecourse again, showing that she had appeared to come out of the Guineas fine. She was entered in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes over 10f at Yorkwith a view to going to Epsom for the Oaks. This time she tracked the leaders in 3rd before making some headway 2f out. She joined the leader Twirl on the bridle and only once inside the final furlong did she draw clear under nothing more than hands and heels to win easily by 4½ lengths. The second filly Twirl was a maiden winner over 7f and had finished ahead of the 1000 Guineas winner Homecoming Queen in a Group 3 event in March. Back in third was Esentepe, a winner of the Group 3 Nell Gwyn over 7f at Newmarket. This performance by The Fugue in the Musidora in particular showed that she is a filly with plenty of class and ability. The extra two furlongs in the Oaks would appear to suit but does her pedigree reflect the impression she gave in winning at York?
Her dam is Twyla Tharp, who was also trained by John Gosden and she won a 9f maiden at three as well as being second in the Group 2 Ribblesdale (12f) when Royal Ascot was atYork. She is a half-sister to Summoner, who won the 2001 Group 1 QEII over a mile and Compton Admiral, the winner of the Group 3 Craven Stakes over 8f and the Group 1 Eclipse over 10f. As a broodmare, she has only had one other runner, Susan Stroman who was a winner over 14f at Wolverhampton and over two miles at Kempton. She was by Monsun, a winner of three Group 1s in Germany over 12f and a renowned influence for stamina, his produce include Prince of Wales’s Stakes (10f) winner Manduro and Coronation Cup (12f) winner Shirocco.
Twyla Tharp’s sire is Sadler’s Wells, from the Northern Dancer line and himself a winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas, Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes. At stud he has proved an excellent sire over a range of distances having produced 80 separate Group 1 winners and was crowned Champion sire in Britain and Ireland on 14 occasions. His most successful products include Montjeu, a winner of 6 Group 1s including the Prix du Jockey Club (12f), Arc de Triomphe (12f) and King George (12f). As well as Galileo, the 2001 winner of the Derby, Irish Derby and King George and now a top sire in his own right. Finally High Chaparral, the winner of the 2002 Derby, Irish Derby and dual winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf. In his capacity as a sire of broodmares Sadler’s Wells has also been successful; his daughters have produced Sakhee, winner of the Juddmonte International (10f) and Arc de Triomphe (12f) and Henrythenavigator, a winner of four Group 1s including the 2000 Guineas and the Sussex Stakes. Perhaps the best of the fillies his daughters have given us is Peeping Fawn, another four-time Group 1 winner whose wins included the Irish Oaks (12f) and Nassau Stakes (10f) at Goodwood.
The Fugue’s sire is Dansili, a triple Group winner over a mile inFrancewho was also second in the French Guineas, Queen Anne, Sussex Stakes and the Prix de la Foret (7f). Standing at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud, he has also become a sire of quality at a range of distances, siring eight separate Group 1 winners worldwide. The best of his progeny are Harbinger, a five time Group winner at 12f+ and an 11 length winner of the Group 1 King George atAscot. Rail Link was a dual Group 1 winner, victorious in the Grand Prix de Paris and the Arc de Triomphe and Delegator won the Craven Stakes over 8f and Group 2 Duke of York Stakes over 6f. Also, when combined with a daughter of Sadler’s Wells he has produced the likes of dual Group winner over 12f Testosterone, another winner of the Musidora in Passage of Time and King Edward VII (Gr2 12f) winner Father Time.
To conclude, she gave the impression at York that she was certainly a filly to consider for the Oaks as shown by her position in the market. Based on her pedigree I think that there is plenty of stamina on the dam’s side based on the exploits of her half sister. The introduction of Dansili instead of Monsun into the equation will provide more speed to the pedigree whilst still retaining a suitable amount of stamina. For me the question is whether she is good enough rather than her ability to stay and this is something that will only be answered on the day next Friday.
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Photo 1 The Fugue winning the Musidora www.guardian.co.uk
Photo 2 Peeping Fawn winning the Nassau Stakes www.bbc.co.uk
Photo 3 Passage of Time from same cross as The Fugue sporthorse