The highlight on Saturday’s race card at the Curragh in Ireland was undoubtedly the win of the in-foal Chinese White (Dalakhani – Chiang Mai, by Sadler’s Wells) in the G1 Audi Pretty Polly Stakes. The lovely grey Dalakhani 5yr old, in-foal to Cape Cross, ended her racing career in style when landing her first G1 win. It was also a great occasion for her owner-breeder, Lady O’Reilly of Castlemartin Stud – as it was her first G1 winner. Chinese White has been a tough and consistent performer the past couple of seasons, with wins at listed, G3 and G2 level, but until now that first G1 win had proved elusive for her. Coming into the Pretty Polly Stakes, Chinese White had run 3rd to last year’s Irish Derby hero Fame and Glory in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup – his 7.25 length victory over Chinese White that day is indicative of what a good four year old that colt is this season according to Chinese White’s jockey Pat Smullen.
The victory of Chinese White in the G1 Pretty Polly Stakes marked a big race double for the trainer/jockey partnership of Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen, with Precious Gem victorious in the previous race, the G3 Ballymacoll Stud Celebrating 50 Years International S. It was the pedigree of Precious Gem that caught my attention and I thought it might be worth a mention.
Precious Gem(IRE), ’06 filly (Sadler’s Wells – Ruby, by Danehill). Precious Gem is the first foal out of the unraced mare Ruby (Danehill – Offshore Boom, by Be My Guest). Ruby is a full-sister to 7-time G1 winner Rock of Gibraltar. “The Rock”, as he was referred to during his racing days was Champion 3yr old in Europe in 2002 and is now a leading sire, both in Ireland and in Australia, where he stands with Coolmore Stud.
Precious Gem, bred by J Crowley, Crystal Bloodstock, A.P and Mrs. O’Brien, was a €230,000 yearling, bought by Mrs. C. L. Weld at the 2007 Goffs Million Yearling Sale. Trained by Mrs. Weld’s son Dermot, and ridden by Pat Smullen, the filly now has 4 wins, a second, and a third placing from 10 starts. Winning impressively by 1.75 lengths from the Giant’s Causeway colt Shintoh (Giant’s Causeway also sired the 3rd home – another colt, Grand Admiral). Precious Gem is now aimed at the G1 Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville on August 22nd.
Offshore Boom (Be My Guest – Push A Button, by Bold Lad), dam of Rock of Gibraltar and of Ruby, and 2nd dam of Precious Gem, also produced the useful filly Nell Gwyn, who placed 2nd in the G3 Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardtown. Nell Gywn is also by Danehill, a sire who proved to nick wonderfully well with Offshore Boom.
Offshore Boom is out of the Bold Lad mare Push A Button. Push A Button is closely related to the French Classic winner and highly influential sire on both sides of the Atlantic – Riverman. Both Push A Button and Riverman are out of the Prince John mare River Lady and are by Nasrullah line sires – Push A Button is by a grandson of Nasrullah in Bold Lad (by Bold Ruler), and Riverman is by Never Bend, a son of Nasrullah. As a consequence, Precious Gem is inbred 6m x 6m to that leading sire Nasrullah (by Nearco).
Precious Gem is inbred 2m x 4m, 4m to Northern Dancer (a grandson of Nearco) and as a result she has 4 crosses of his dam Natalma, within her first five generations (3m x 5m, 5f, 5m). She also has the wonderful racehorse and sire Hyperion 5f, 6m.
Precious Gem (pictured below holding off the colts in yesterday’s G3 International S.) is regally bred, and she may well improve to become a G1 performer as the season progresses. Trainer Dermot Weld: “she’s a very progressive filly and was bred to be progressive”. However, she has already lived up to her name and is going to be a very precious commodity at stud when the time comes – precious gem indeed.