MAGAZINE - The blending of French and US bloodlines proves a hit

04.03.2019

MAGAZINE - The blending of French and US bloodlines proves a hit

None of the divisional leaders in the French PA three-year-old domain could ever lay claim to boasting the paternity of a US sire until the 2018 season changed all that: Marid being a son of TM Fred Texas. Furthermore, Munjiz, the top French PA four-year-old of 2005, was in fact the last product of a US-born sire to go to the head of the class.

The presence of US bloodlines was omnipresent in the bloodlines of English thoroughbreds in Europe during the1990s, until their importance declined. However, they have made a gradual comeback during the course of the last few seasons thanks to the successes that US sires such as Scat Daddy (Johannesburg), Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado) and Kitten’s Joy (El Prado), have enjoyed via their European turf performers. In the domain of the Purebred Arabians, Burning Sand (San Lou Romirz), the top US stallion on 13 occasions in terms of numbers of winners generated, seems particularly effective as a sire when bred to mares with French bloodlines. So a phenomenon which initially manifested itself in the US is certainly becoming more prevalent.

The dirt is their kingdom. Fully in line with expectations, US horses continue to distinguish themselves on the dirt surfaces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) tracks on a yearly basis. Goshawke (Thoroughbred) is a notable example. An honest turf performer, he has taken his game to a whole new level on dirt, as denoted by his impressive success in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 Sponsored By Mina Hamriya (Gr1 PA, 2,200m). His two grandams are French and both the sire and dam underscore a familiar theme: a US stallion bred to a mare from the Nevada II line (Djanor), a name readily associated with the breeding academy of Jean-Marc Saphores, Sand Witchh, the dam of Goshawke, was a dual Horse of the Year in the US. She is also the product of an outcross which has achieved great things on the other side of the Atlantic, the fusion of Burning Sand blood with mares from the Nevada II line. This breeding template is also evident in the two Dubai Kahayla Classic winners: Reda (Burning Sand ex Barour de Cardonne) and TM Fred Texas (Burning Sand ex Kong ex Ala Croixnoire). This was also the recipe for success regarding the best US-born PA performer to have graced the Stateside scene for many years: Paddy’s Day (Burning Sand ex Virgule Al Maury). The first US-bred PA performer to have bankrolled a $1 million, he won eight times at the top level. The recipient of three PA US Horse of the Year awards, Paddy’s Day was never really at home on turf. When switched to dirt, he won the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (Gr1 PA) over 1,600m at Meydan. However, when upped in trip for the 2,000m Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (Gr1 PA), he failed to cope with two French-breds, Ziyadd (Bibi de Carrère) and Barnamaj (No Risk Al Maury). In Round 3 of the same challenge, but this time over 2,200m, he was again beaten by Barnamaj. In mitigation, it should be pointed out that the US champion had enjoyed little respite as the demands of a heavy US season racing were followed by a UAE campaign spanning nine races.

The French influence in the US. The success of this outcross can also be partially explained by the exporting of a number of French stallions with Nevada II blood to the US where they were to prove successful. One can also cite the examples of Virgule Al Maury (Kesberoy), who twice topped the US stallions’ list in terms of the number of winners, plus Falina des Fabries (Dormane), Câlin de Louve (Djelfor), Nivour de Cardonne (Manganate), Kong (Djouras Tu), Ala Croixnoire (Tidjani) and Câlin du Loup (Manganate). The success of French-blood on the other side of the Atlantic has been facilitated by the fact that certain "FR" breds, despite having raced exclusively on turf, have gone on to enjoy considerable success on dirt. One obvious example is that of the dual US Horse of the Year Valiant Boy (Darweesh). Further examination reveals that 11 of the last 13 winners of the PA US Horse of the Year title have French blood in the first two removes of the pedigree, a further breakdown reveals that seven of these had a parent which bore the "FR" label. Media sources in the US reveal that the first French Purebred Arabians arrived in the US in 1921, and that William Robinson Brown was the driving force behind this. The prime aim at the time was to boost the numbers of horses available to the US military. Even allowing for the fact that the descendants of this ‘first wave’ of imports can still be traced to this day, the genesis of the ‘French wave’ so to speak really starts in the 1990s. The success of the French-bred Câlin de Louve, the top US four-year-old of 1993, was a big contributory factor to this. A few years later, TH Richie, himself a son of the French-bred Câlin du Loup and a US mare by ZT Ali Baba, became the first horse to lift the US PA Triple Crown. Still on the subject of the US, the mating between the sire Dormane (Manganate) and a US mare resulted in Fryvolous. A dual Gr1in his homeland, the latter captured the Dubai Kahayla Classic (Gr1 PA) on the dirt at Nad Al Sheba, followed by the National Day Cup (Gr1 PA) on the turf at Abu Dhabi.

US performers prove very adept on turf.  TM Fred Texas, a son of Burning Sand and a mare that is three parts French, trumpeted his arrival as a stallion of genuine international stature in no uncertain terms during 2018. The Dubai Kahayla Classic winner enjoyed considerable success when bred to mares by Amer (Wafi). Of the four representatives indicative this particular cross in France last year, three graced the winner’s circle – with two gaining black type! We are referring to Daloob (second in the Qatar Derby, Gr3 PA) and Marid (Qatar Arabian Trophy des Poulains & Al Rayyan Cup - Prix Kesberoy, Grs1 PA), the best colt of his generation. When TM Fred Texas was crossed with a mare of Franco-Tunisian origin, the result was Amir Al Cham (Qatar Derby, Gr3 PA and third in the French Arabian Breeders' Challenge - Poulains, Gr2 PA). Before this, Munjiz (Kesberoy) and Mahabb (Tahar de Candelon), themselves out of two high class US mares, had already largely proved the merits of blending speed, and the resulting influence provided by US horses, when bred to French mares. Burning Sang had the distinction of shattering the 1.200m PA course record at Delaware Park. His son, TM Fred Texas, was a three times Gr1 PA winner on dirt, namely at Meydan and twice in the US. However, he also showed a certain quality on turf, having proved a narrow loser of the Qatar Cup - Prix Dragon (Gr2 PA).

The other side of the coin. French stallions, or those of French lineage, have consequently proved very successful in the US. Although it’s a rare occurrence in a French context, and namely a reverse type mating, which entails a US broodmare being bred to a stallion with a French pedigree, has also yielded some interesting results. So much so that certain US families have French roots.

One such example is CR Samborsta (Sambor) whose seven US successes included the AJC Delaware Oaks (Gr1). No less than five of her progeny went on to gain French black type, including Dariya (Dormane), the winner of the Zaabeel International Stakes and the Coupe de France at Chantilly (Grs1 PA), in addition to Sahlambo (Munjiz), the Critérium des Pouliches (Gr2 PA) heroine. CR Samborsta is also the grandam of Tallaab Al Khalediah (Jalood Al Khalidiah). This French-bred clocked up some impressive wins on the dirt in Saudi Arabia, and was a stunning winner of the Dubai Kahayla Classic (Gr1 PA).

A sector in trouble. During the course of three decades, the US racing scene has seen the number of racing Purebred Arabians plummet. Figures show that 1,200 Purebred Arabians

raced in each season during the 1980s, but by 2016 this figure had dwindled to 200. Lynn Ashby, the winner of eight US PA champion trainer titles, said in an interview with the Arabian Race Horse: "I love the European racing. It is frustrating with no turf races out here, we have all these French bred horses, but they don’t run on dirt in France! It’s all grass. You can see why they are suited to turf, but we don’t get the opportunity here. We really want to get some turf races run at Delaware."

PA US HORSE OF THE YEAR - DARLEY AWARDS

Edition  Winner (Country of birth) French ancestry spanning three generations
2017  PADDY’S DAY (US) Two out of eight.
Burning Sand (US) & AK Loretta (US), (Virgule Al Maury (FR)
2016 PADDY’S DAY (US) -
2015 PADDY’S DAY (US) -
2014 VALIANT BOY (FR) Six from eight
Darweesh (GB) & Thumb Print (FR), (Barour de Cardonne (FR)
2013 SO BIG IS BETTER (US) None from eight
Burning Sand (US) & WW Mirror Image (US), (ZT Ali Baba (US)
2012 VALIANT BOY (FR) Six from eight
Darweesh (GB) & Thumb Print (FR), (Barour de Cardonne (FR)
2011 TM FRED TEXAS (US) Three from eight
Burning Sand (US) & Queen Kong (US), (Kong (FR)
2010 SAND WITCHH (US) Four from eight
Burning Sand (US) & Tornade du Loup (FR), (Tornado de Syrah (FR)
2009 SAND WITCHH (US) -
2008 THOROUGHBRED (US) Four from eight
T C Tomtyr (US) & Vanessa du Loup (FR), (Manganate (FR)
2007 FRYVOLOUS (US) Three from eight
Dormane (FR) & Fryga (US), (Wielki Raz (US)
2006 MD BLUE CHIP (US) None from eight
Patriot Missle (US) & Valours Golly G (US), (By Golly (US)
2005 TH RICHIE (US) Four from eight
Câlin du Loup (FR) & Char Rich Louise (US), (ZT Ali Baba (US)
2004 DA ADIOS (US) None from eight
Wiking (US) & Sanibel IA (US), (Samtyr (US)
2003 RW COUNTRY GENT (US) None from eight
Wiking (US) & Dunasamba (US), (Dunajec (US)