Iffraaj is on track to beat Invincible Spirit’s record of 35 first-crop winners.

Darley’s freshman sire IFFRAAJ (Zafonic) has gotten off to a great start at stud. On Friday he posted his 30th individual winner when Rudyard, trained by John Hammond, won at Marseille-Borely. Iffraaj is one of only six stallions to have sired 30 individual winners in their first crop, and impressively, Iffraaj has reached this milestone faster than the current record holder for first-crop winners; INVINCIBLE SPIRIT (Green Desert) – who had 35 individual winners in his first crop. Last year, Champion First Season Sire (by winners), DUBAWI (Dubai Millennium), went close to breaking Invincible Spirit’s record, with an impressive tally of 34 individual winners to his name. However, Iffraaj has also gotten to the landmark 30 faster than Dubawi did.

Both Iffraaj and Dubawi represents two branches of the Mr.Prospector line – Iffraaj via his son Gone West, sire of Zafonic; and Dubawi via Mr.Prospector’s son Seeking The Gold, sire of Dubai Millennium.

Iffraaj is from the family of fellow Darley sire Cape Cross (Green Desert), and the family of international sire Diktat (Warning).

Pastorale (Nureyev – Park Appeal, Ahonoora), dam of Iffraaj, has also produced the G3 winning filly KAREYMAH, a full-sister to Iffraaj. Pastorale is a half-sister to successful sire CAPE CROSS (sire of World Champion SEA THE STARS). She is also a half-sister to Arvola; dam of DIKTAT (Champion Older Sprinter in Europe in 1999) and a half-sister to G3 winner VINCENNES (King’s Best) and listed winner GREAT BRITAIN (Green Desert).

Iffraaj’s second dam is the blue hen mare PARK APPEAL (Ahonoora) – winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1), and the Cheveley Park Stakes (G1). Her 9 winners from 9 runners include the afore mentioned stakes winners Cape Cross, Vincennes and Great Britain.

Iffraaj is by the 4-time G1 winner ZAFONIC (Gone West – Zaizafon, The Minstrel). Zafonic, a brother to Juddmonte sire ZAMINDAR (sire of Champion fillys DARJINA and ZARKAVA), was a high class 2yr old, with wins in the Dewhurst Stakes (G1), Prix de la Salamandre (G1) and the Prix Morny (G1) contributing to his title of Champion 2yr Old Colt in England and in Europe. At 3yrs he won the Two Thousand Guineas (G1). Zafonic died at the relatively young age of 12yrs as a result of a paddock accident in Arrowfield Stud, NSW, Australia. However he is still responsible for siring over 50 Stakes winners.

Six-generation in-breeding for Iffraaj: Northern Dancer 4m x 3m; Native Dancer 5m, 6f x 5f; Hyperion x 6f, 6m; Nasrullah 6m, 6m x 6m; Gold Bridge 6m x 6f; The Phoenix x 6f, 6f. One of the less familiar names mentioned is Gold Bridge. Gold Bridge (FR), 1929, is a son of Golden Boss (GB) and Flying Diadem (FR). Inbred 3m x 3m to the great Orby (IRE), 1904; reinforcement of Gold Bridge in a pedigree is renowned for being a speed influence, and in this regard Iffraaj seems no exception.

Gold Bridge is probably best remembered for siring the wonderful matriarch Rough Shod (GB) [known as Rough Shod II in North America]. Rough Shod is the dam of Thong (grandam of Nureyev).

Reinforcing close relatives The Minstrel (broodmare sire of Zafonic) and Nijinsky and close relatives Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev look to be a good bet with Iffraaj. Further line breeding to Hyperion would reinforce the speed influence already present in his pedigree.

Iffraaj had two starts at 2yrs, finishing 3rd on debut and 1st next time out – both over 7f. At 3yrs Iffraaj finished 4th of 20 runners in a handicap – his only start that season. It was at 4yrs that Iffraaj got a chance to shine, winning 4 of his six starts – the highlight being a win in the G2 Park Stakes at Doncaster, 7f, beating SLEEPING INDIAN, COURT MASTERPIECE and ARAKAN. Iffraaj trained on at 5yrs, starting 4 times. He was unlucky to be beaten a head by LES ARCS in the G1 Darley July Cup, 6f. His racing career finished on a high, with 2 wins in G2 events, including his second Park Stakes victory in as many years. In total Iffraaj had 13 starts: 7 – 1 – 1 and £375,547 in earnings.

This week saw Iffraaj’s son Wooten Basset extend his unbeaten record to four, with earnings now exceeding £350,000. Wooten Basset is currently the second-highest rated 2yr old in Europe, with a Timeform rating of 116p. Nine of Iffraaj’s progeny have gone on to win more than once, including the unbeaten filly Stay Alive. Iffraaj has also sired the promising stakes-placed trio of Free Art, King David, Zacynthus, and the Group 2-placed Musharakaat.

Iffraaj’s half-brother, Makeynn, by Dubai Destination (Kingmambo) broke his maiden this week, on his second start, for Godolphin’s Saeed Bin Suroor. Makeynn made easy work of his oppossition in the 1m.5f maiden stakes at Wolverhampton, beating Retreat Content (also by Dubai Destination) by 4-and-a-half lengths. Interestingly, like his half-brother Iffraaj, Makeynn also descends from the Mr.Prospector line, via that sire’s famous son, Kingmambo.

Currently Iffraaj is Leading First Crop Sire in GB/IRE. He has 53% winners/runners and whether you believe a first crop sire should be judged by number of winners or by earnings, he is still in the lead, a long way ahead of his closest rival HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR (Danehill).

Iffraaj (GB), b., 2001, 16 1.5HH, Zafonic – Pastorale (Nureyev). Iffraaj stands at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in Ireland. His 2010 fee was €6,000. He also shuttles to Haunui Farm, New Zealand and his current stud fee is $10,000 + GST (free return).