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Caroline Norris

Toormore: Another Good Horse for Arakan

A member of his sire's fifth crop, the 2-year-old colt is now 3-for-3.

A look back through the records of major races will soon demonstrate that almost any stallion can sire one good horse. Thus, it wasn't particularly notable when Arakan—who retired to stud in Ireland for €5,000—came up with Dick Turpin from a first crop of 108 foals. Despite crossing swords with such as Goldikova, Canford Cliffs (a stable companion), Lope de Vega, and Makfi, Dick Turpin was good enough to win nine of 20 starts, six in group races, including the Prix Jean Prat (Fr-I) and Gran Premio Vittorio di Capua (Ity-I).

There was nothing of similar merit in Arakan's second crop, which numbered 39, but from only 15 foals in his third crop he was represented by Trumpet Major, a four-time group winner in England. There is an oft used saying that "two swallows does not a summer make," but Arakan now has a third swallow, albeit an autumnal one, in the shape of Toormore.

A member of his sire's fifth crop, which numbered 43 and were conceived the year after Dick Turpin's promising 2-year-old season, Toormore only had a neck to spare when scoring on his debut at Leicester at the end of May. On his second start, Toormore took the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (Eng-II) by a similar margin over Outstrip, who himself was an impressive winner of the At The Races Champage Stakes (Eng-II) on Sept. 14. Just a day after Outstrip had franked the form, Toormore scored the first daylight victory of his life, leading throughout to defeat Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) winner Sudirman by 2 1/2 lengths for the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (Ire-I). After the race, a stable representative stated that Toormore may not run again before next year's Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), and given the way he came home over seven furlongs here, the mile of that classic seems unlikely to be a problem.

Often when sires rise through the ranks in the way that Arakan has, we find they are a lightly-raced horse who showed brilliance but whose potential was never realized at the track—Malibu Moon , Red Ransom, and Danzig being among those who come to mind. Arakan, however, was cast from a totally different mold. With 24 starts over four seasons, Arakan's record gives a very clear idea of what he was as a racehorse. The picture that emerges from his endeavors shows Arakan to have been a tough, progressive performer who was good enough to win group races but was some way short of the best.

Placed twice at 2, he won a one-mile maiden first time out at 3, then added a seven-furlong handicap at York before taking second in the Jersey Stakes (Eng-III) at Royal Ascot over the same trip. Although Arakan did not add to the win column over the remainder of the year, he did confirm that he belonged in group company with a second in the Lennox Stakes (Eng-II) and a third in the Victor Chandler Challenge Stakes (Eng-II). The following year, Arakan gained his first black-type victories, taking the NGK Spark Plugs Abernant Stakes and the Bango Criterion Stakes (Eng-III). Despite having good form at six furlongs and a mile, Arakan seemed to be one of those seven-furlong specialists, and as a 5-year-old he made his final six starts over that trip. Successful in the VCBet City of York Stakes in August, Arakan showed himself to be as good as—if not better than—ever on his final two outings, taking the Merbury Catering Consultants Supreme Stakes (Eng-III) and finishing third to group I winner Le Vie Dei Colori in the VCBet Challenge Stakes (Eng-II).

While Arakan's race record is not out of the top drawer, there is more to be said for his pedigree, at least, when one really digs into it. He is a son of Nureyev, and his dam is half sister to group/graded winners Donkey Engine and Petit Poucet (also third in the group I French Two Thousand Guineas), who are both by Nureyev's three-quarter brother Fairy King. The family goes quiet for a couple of generations, but Arakan's fourth dam, Georgica, is a half sister to Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victor Cannonade. They are out of Queen Sucree, a half sister to Halo and daughter of Cosmah. Arakan's third dam, Rythmique, is by The Minstrel, and so is 4x4 to Almahmoud, who appears as granddam of The Minstrel's sire, Northern Dancer, and as dam of Cosmah. Rhythmique is also similarly-bred to the French Two Thousand Guineas captor L'Emigrant, who was by The Minstrel out of Cosmah's granddaughter Suprina.

By coincidence, Toormore's dam, Danetime Out, is by Danetime, who like Arakan had rather humble beginnings as a sire. A son of Danehill, Danetime never won a black-type event, although he was good enough to place third in both the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) and Haydock Park Sprint Cup (Eng-I). Despite initially attracting mares of modest quality, Danetime would go on to prove himself a very good sire in two hemispheres, getting 32 stakes winners, 20 of them at the group/graded level, including the group I-winning Myboycharlie, Bushranger, and Megatic.

Toormore's second dam, Matila, by the Bold Ruler grandson Persian Bold, produced six winners from seven starters, but only one, the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-III) second Easaar, earned black-type. The third dam, Peace Girl, was a daughter of Dominion, who some might remember carrying Dogwood Stable's colors with distinction in the 1970s before returning for a very successful stud career in England. Peace Girl captured the Nishapour Curragh Stakes (Ire-III) at 2, an effort that was good enough to earn her a rating as co-champion 2-year-old filly in Ireland. Although she never produced a stakes winner, Peace Girl does also feature as the second dam of David Wilson Homes Jockey Club Cup (Eng-III) scorer Hawridge Prince and stakes winner Hero's Journey. The family goes back to even better juvenile in Star of India, the champion English 2-year-old filly of 1955. She is ancestress of numerous outstanding runners, including One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) heroine Mrs. McArdy; champions Admire Cozzene and Ruby Tiger; and group I winners Gitano Hernando, Sweet Secret, and Seazun.

Rated A++ by TrueNicks, Toormore follows Trumpet Major as the second group winner sired by Arakan out of a Danzig line mare. In this regard, it's interesting to note that Danetime, whose dam was by Lear Fan (whose broodmare sire is Lt. Stevens, a brother to Thong), did very well when crossed over mares carrying Thong's descendents such as Sadler's Wells, Fairy King, Nureyev, and Thatch. Of course, Toormore, a son of Nureyev, reverses that pattern.