Ties To The Past
Whenever we research the background of a brand new Reine-de-Course, we discover that there is not only a core group of foundation horses, but also a core group of foundation breeders.
Where horses are concerned, it is worthwhile noting that Silver Queen, second dam of Sun Mist, is very closely related to Reine-de-Course Herodias. Both are by The Tetrarch, sire also of Reine-de-Course Mumtaz Mahal, and both their dams share a Sterling/Hermit cross combined with the full sisters Nameless (fourth dam of Herodias) and Yessel (eleventh dam of Slightly Dangerous).
So far as human connections go, we find the name of J. J. Maher. Pedlines readers may remember Maher’s name from our story on Reine-de-Course Qurrat-Al-Ain, ancestress of *Gallant Man among others.
A Solid Beginning
Maher bred both Sun Mist and her dam, Silver Mist. Known for achieving remarkable results with a small group of broodmares, Maher liked to start with inexpensive mare lines and breed up from them by using high-class sires.
It was said that he seldom kept more than six broodmares, but from this group he bred Epsom Derby and Two Thousand Guineas winner Manna, Two Thousand Guineas winner St. Louis, St. Leger victors Sandwich and Caligula, Irish Oaks winner Snow Maiden and Eclipse Stakes winner Royal Ministrel. Royal Minstrel was one of two notable half siblings to Qurrat-Al-Ain, the other being Coventry Stakes winner *Hairan. All were out of Harpischord, one of Maher’s foundation mares.
Maher’s farm was named Confey Stud and was located in County Dublin. Turf historian Abram Hewitt wrote that Maher’s yearlings were the strongest and best developed that he had ever seen, yet they were neither stall fed nor fat. (There might well be a lesson in that for modern-day breeders!)
The Silver Mist Line
Silver Mist, a daughter of Craig An Eran-Silver Queen by The Tetrarch, fit the Maher pattern. A half sister to Irish Derby winner Sol Oriens and New Stakes winner Meadow, Sun Mist was herself a moderate runner at best. Neither was her daughter Early Light, by Easton, who is responsible for the most important branch of the family, much at the races.
Early Light did have a half sister, foaled in 1935, named Platinum. A daughter of Sansovino, she is the fifth dam of G1 winner Fairy Heights by Fairy King. But there is little else of note under her contribution.
Early Light produced a filly by His Grace, a full brother to *Blenheim II, in 1946 who would race as Duke’s Delight in the colors of Stanhope Joel. A minor stakes winner, she once defeated eventual Epsom Oaks winner Musidora, but never came up to that level herself. She retired having accomplished little else.
The “Lesser” Branch
Duke’s Delight was one of those horses who showed her quality through the family she spawned rather than via her racing ability. Retired by owner Joel to his farm in Newmarket, Duke’s Delight began her career abroad.
Though her largest contribution would be forged via a U. S. Broodmare of the Year, Duke’s Delight’s time at stud in Europe was not a total loss. There she produced Dawn Chorus by Rising Light, whose own sub-branch of the family would include the marvelous filly Pistol Packer, winner of the French Oaks and second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as well as G2 July Cup winner Saritamer.
This whole group of horses had an inconsistent impact at stud, with Pistol Packer producing only a handful of foals and Saritamer not being a terribly popular sire. However, all is not lost.
A recent printout shows well-bred fillies by Woodman, Singspiel, In The Wings and a handful of others from Piston Packer’s line. Pistol Packer was a fighter on the racecourse. She will not see her family die easily.
Where You Lead
When all is said and done, however, it is the 1970 Raise A Native mare Where You Lead, that had the most say in the family of Sun Mist. She has three major daughter branches – I Will Follow by *Herbager, Idyllic by Foolish Pleasure and Slightly Dangerous by Roberto. The last-named was 1997 Broodmare of the Year in the U. S.
Where You Lead is a daughter of one of the family’s best racehorses, Epsom Oaks winner Noblesse by Mossborough. Herself a Group 3 winner in England who also ran second in the Epsom Oaks, Where You Lead was a sale-topping $1 million (in 1981) purchase by the British Bloodstock Agency (Ire.)
Where You Lead was, by any standard, a remarkable producer. Her daughter I Will Follow foaled Arc winner Rainbow Quest and his full sister Red Comes Up, a stakes producer.
Unraced Idyllic foaled G1 winner Scenic, G2 producer Well Away, G1 producer Flabbergasted and G1 placed Ithaki, all by Sadler’s Wells. One of the more fascinating horses in the immediate family falls under Idyllic. Named Without Connexion, he is a G1 placed son of Rainbow Quest and therefore is inbred 2 x 2 to half sisters I will Follow and Idyllic (or 3 x 3 to Where You Lead).
Finally, of course, there is Epsom Oaks placed Slightly Dangerous, a legend in her own time as a Broodmare of the Year and dam of champions Warning and Commander In Chief, as well as classic placed Deploy and Dushyantor.
The tragedy here is that Commander In Chief was sent to stud in Japan and Warning was never really appreciated at stud.
Slightly Dangerous’ Unique Lineage
On the surface, Slightly Dangerous appears to be a rather “outcrossed” individual, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Throughout her lineage runs some of the world’s best bloodlines, many of them very all-American for a mare who has produced so many excellent European performers.
One thing which immediately stands out is the name Mossborough (sire of Noblesse). Slightly Dangerous was the second Broodmare of the Year in the mid-1990’s which carried a Mossborough cross, the other being Northern Sunset (1995). The importance of Mossborough is difficult to overstate; he is one of the few major stallions who owns a daughter line of Selene, as he is a son of All Moonshine, Selene’s best producing daughter and a Reine-de-Course in her own right.
Crosses of All Moonshine are far more common in other parts of the world (especially Australia and New Zealand) and they should be treasured, since son crosses of Selene (*Sickle, *Pharamond II and Hyperion) are very common and equally difficult to balance. In the case of Slightly Dangerous, this balance occurs *Sickle/All Moonshine in a 6 x 4 pattern supported only by her dam, Where You Lead.
What is unique about encountering two Broodmares of the Year (almost) in succession with a daughter line of Selene is that this balancing factor may have been the difference between a very good broodmare and a great one. Either way, daughter lines of Selene are a plus wherever you find them.
Slightly Dangerous’ pedigree contains an ‘internal cross’ which worked very well at Spendthrift Farm and that is Raise A Native/Nashua. Nashua’s dense bone and good substance acted as a balancing factor to Raise A Native’s massive body type which often came equipped with very fragile ankles.
One of the two most interesting crosses within the pedigree of Slightly Dangerous is her linebreeding to Reine-de-Course Padua, which she inherits from her sire’s double contribution of Blue Larkspur and her broodmare sire line of Raise A Native. Blue Larkspur is inbred to Padua via Padula and Padilla and Raise A Native’s fourth dam, Bill And Coo, is a Padua daughter.
Another intriguing Reine-de-Course combination comes via a 5 x 5 cross of three-quarter siblings Flaming Swords and American Flag. Both are by Man o’ War and while American Flag is out of Lady Comfey, Flaming Swords is out of one of Lady Comfey’s daughters, Exalted.
A third cross of closely related horses comes via Roberto’s double contribution of *Blenheim II and Where You Lead’s cross of His Grace, a full sibling to *Blenheim II. Finally, there is a very far removed cross that is worth mentioning and that is linebreeding to Madame Eglentine (1857).
How It All Began
Of course, it is Sun Mist’s pedigree that is the foundation for Slightly Dangerous’ brood. And a fine foundation it is.
Most notable is her dam, Silver Mist’s, cross of full brothers Persimmon and Florizel II (both by St. Simon-Perdita II by Hampton). St. Simon appears twice more, via little-known son Soliman and daughter St. Bees.
Bend Or is linebred to x4 as well via Kendal, Bona Vista x2 and daughter Ornament. And as we have come to expect in these older pedigrees, Pocahontas is well represented by Stockwell x2/King Tom x4.
A Return To Her Roots
It is interesting that Sun Mist, whose roots are very European, should still be doing her best work in that venue. From Pistol Packer to Kissing Cousin, to Noblesse to Rainbow Quest, and from Warning to Commander in Chief, this family is a grass family that belongs right where it is – in Europe.
It is a classic family by any standard and we are proud to add it to our list of Reines-de-Course. New such matrons are Sun Mist, Dawn Chorus, Noblesse, Where You Lead and Slightly Dangerous. We’ll watch as always, but with a special eye and affection for Pistol Packer’s descendents. Now there was a racemare!
Reprinted from Pedlines #109, June 2005