Blood will tell, the old saw says, and Champs Elysees (GB) certainly lived up to his on Jan. 19. Despite a wide trip and a slow pace up front, the Juddmonte Farms homebred simply flew past his field to win the San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) in style. His next target has yet to be determined, but don’t be surprised to see him in grade I company soon; he has already tried the waters once in North America, finishing second to Sunriver in the Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) Dec. 8, and was previously group I-placed in Italy.
Champs Elysees is one of six graded/group stakes winners produced by the fabulous Hasili (IRE), who must be accounted the unchallenged star of the Juddmonte broodmare band following the pensioning of Toussaud. Both of these super broodmares have four grade/group I winners to their credit, and Hasili may just make it five if Champs Elysees lives up to the hopes placed on him. If that happens, she will become the first Northern Hemisphere broodmare to accomplish the feat. (Two Southern Hemisphere-based matrons have produced five grade/group I stakes winners each: Eight Carat (GB), dam of Diamond Lover (AUS), Kaapstad (NZ), Our Marquise (NZ), Octagonal (NZ), and Mouawad; and Chaldee (ARG), dam of Argentinean-breds Potrichal, Potridee, Potrinner, Potrizaris, and Potro Rex.)
Five of Hasili’s six foals to race are by the great international sire Danehill, who died in 2003 following a paddock accident. A multiple champion sire in both Australia and Europe, Danehill was one of those rare stallions who could fit two separate mare populations. He was also an example of the axiom that, when close inbreeding works well enough to produce a high quality racehorse, it can often result in great prepotency. In Danehill’s case, the inbreeding is 3 x 3 to Natalma, dam of his paternal grandsire Northern Dancer, and of his maternal grandmother Spring Adieu.
Herself a juvenile stakes winner in France, Hasili is by the Ever Ready Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I) winner Kahyasi (IRE), out of the winning High Line (GB) mare Kerali (GB), a half sister to 1995 Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) winner So Factual (by Known Fact) and 1997 TNT International Aviation July Stakes (Eng-III) winner Bold Fact (also by Known Fact). Hasili’s racing performance and pedigree were sufficient to earn her assignations with top sires, and Juddmonte hit on the perfect combination on the very first try, sending the mare to Danehill in 1995.
The resulting colt was Dansili (GB), who won the 2000 Prix de Muguet (Fr-II) and two group III races and placed in six grade/group I events. Now standing at Banstead Manor Stud in England, Dansili is the sire of Rail Link (GB), winner of the 2006 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (both Fr-I) and highweighted in France over 11 to 14 furlongs that year.
Hasili did not produce a foal in 1997, but in 1998, Dansili’s full sister Banks Hill (GB) arrived. U.S. champion turf female in 2001 off a win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), Banks Hill also won the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at 3 and the Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at 4 and placed in eight other grade/group I events during her career.
Hasili’s first two foals had not yet proven themselves on the course when Hasili was mated to Green Desert (who, like Danehill, is a son of Danzig) in 1998. The resulting filly was hardly a waste, however. Named Heat Haze (GB), she ranked among the leaders in the U.S. turf female division in 2003 by winning the Beverly D. Stakes and the Matriarch Stakes (both gr. IT).
Returned to Danehill for her 1999 breeding, Hasili produced Intercontinental (GB) the following spring. The aptly named filly was a stakes winner in France at 3 before following her elder sisters to North America, where she became a grade I winner at 4 by winning the Matriarch Stakes. At 5, Intercontinental won five graded stakes and emulated Banks Hill by winning both the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and honors as 2005 U.S. champion turf female.
Cacique (IRE) was next on Hasili’s list of high-class runners. A full brother to Dansili, Banks Hill, and Intercontinental, he won two group races in France at 3 but was not quite up to handling champion Bago (FR), who beat him into second in both the Prix Jean Prat and the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (both Fr-I). His frustrations in top company continued at age 4, when he won the Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord (Fr-III) but could do no better than third behind Valixir (IRE) and Elvstroem (AUS) in the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I). Sent to the United States at 5, however, Cacique won the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) and the Man o’ War Stakes (gr. I) and placed in three other grade I turf races before a tenth-place finish in the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) sank his chances for a championship. Cacique is now standing alongside Dansili at Banstead Manor.
Champs Elysees is not Hasili’s last chance at a fifth grade I winner, for she produced a Sadler’s Wells colt in 2005 (now named Raise the Flag (GB)) and a Storm Cat filly in 2007. Nonetheless, the son of Danehill is currently in a position to upgrade what is already one of the most remarkable groups of full siblings in Thoroughbred history. And, should he do so, he will provide Juddmonte with a potential embarrassment of riches as a stallion prospect, for Juddmonte already stands his two elder brothers. That, however, is a problem for the future, and one that most breeders would love to have.