by Nigel Pullen ©
Back in 1966, the previously unbeaten three-year-old colt, Graustark, was completing his preparation for the Kentucky Derby, when disaster struck. In the Blue Grass Stakes he fractured a coffin bone when narrowly defeated by Abe's Hope, bringing his racing career to a premature close.
Instead of competing for the U.S. Triple Crown, his owner John Galbreath, allowed Graustark to cover three mares, chiefly to check his fertility for the following year. One of these mares was Chandelle, who had slipped and proved barren in two of the last four years. Chandelle had an excellent pedigree being by Swaps out of Nasrullah's full sister Malindi.
Amazingly, the union bore fruit the following spring, in the shape of a filly foal. Subsequently named Oh So Fair, she recently became the ancestress of her third English classic winner, when Ameerat won the English 1,000 Guineas. Oh So Fair crossed the Atlantic to carry her breeder's colours in Ireland, where she raced just three times; finishing second on both her juvenile starts, before winning a 10 furlong maiden at three.
The mating which produced Oh So Fair may have been hurriedly conceived, but it certainly had merit, as it brought together 2x2 the close genetic relatives Flower Bowl and Swaps; both being by a son of Hyperion out of a daughter of Beau Pere.
Oh So Fair wasted no time making her mark as a broodmare. Her first foal Roussalka, a daughter of Habitat, won seven races, including both Coronation Stakes (G2) and back-to-back Nassau Stakes (G2). Two years later Oh So Fair produced Etienne Gerard (by Brigadier Gerard) whose three victories were climaxed by the Jersey Stakes (G3) at Royal Ascot.
A return visit to Habitat in 1976 resulted in the 1,000 Guineas runner up Our Home, however, the best was still to come. In 1981 Oh So Fair visited the champion miler and first season stallion Kris. The result was Oh So Sharp, who became only the eighth filly in history to win the English Fillies' Triple Crown of 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St. Leger.
Oh So Sharp did pretty well when she was retired to the paddocks, producing the G1 Prix Saint-Alary heroine Rosefinch (by Blushing Groom), along with Shaima (by Shareef Dancer). The latter numbered the G2 Long Island Handicap amongst her success, before becoming the dam of English St. Leger (G1) winner Shantou (by Alleged).
Returning now to Oh So Sharp's half-sister, Roussalka, her best offspring proved to be the G1 July Cup runner-up Gayane (by Nureyev), but her 1980 produce by Lyphard named Summer Impressions, is the focus of our attention. She came to the racecourse as a two year old with a big reputation, staring an even money favourite on her debut, but finishing a disappointing fifth. Unraced again until the following spring she again disappointed in the Nell Gwyn Stakes, and the nearest she came to winning a race was when finishing second on her fourth and final start that season in a ten furlong maiden.
Summer Impressions produced Ameerat's dam Walimu in 1989, after being covered by French Derby winner Top Ville. Walimu proved a much better racehorse than her dam, winning a trio of events at three over distances ranging from eight to twelve furlongs. There was not too much to get excited about in her pedigree, but that is not the case as we now turn our attention to the genetic background of her daughter Ameerat
Just like Oh so Sharp, Ameerat was a daughter of a champion miler and first season stallion; her sire being Mark Of Esteem (by Darshaan - Homage by Adjal - Home Love by Vaguely Noble - Homespun by Round Table). The real interest in Ameerat's pedigree centres on the relationship between the dams of both her sire and dam. Mark Of Esteem's dam Homage, is a granddaughter of Northern Dancer, and Homage's granddam Homespun has a pedigree featuring Princequillo, Nasrullah, Challenger II and Sir Gallahad III close up.
Now compare this with Ameerat's granddam Summer Impressions. She is also a granddaughter of Northern Dancer, and her maternal grandsire Habitat has a genetic background blessed with Princequillo, Nasrullah's three quarter brother Royal Charger, Challenger II and Sir Gallahad III's full brother Bull Dog. Princequillo, Royal Charger and Bull Dog are all present here via balancing sons or daughters. Just for good measure both Homage and Summer Impressions have a horse (Vaguely Noble and Oh So Fair respectively) inbred to Hyperion.
The more you look at this relationship between Homage and Summer Impressions the more you find. Summer Impression's sire Lyphard traces tail female to the mare Cerda, a very close relative to Homage's ancestress La Flambee. Next we have Home Love with a double of Feola and Oh So Fair with two strains of Beau Pere; and amazingly these two also share very similar genetic backgrounds. Feola is out of a daughter of Son-In Law, and Beau Pere is by that same stallion, but the relationship between Friar Marcus (sire of Feola) and Cinna (dam of Beau Pere) is the real clincher. In their first three generations they share Cyllene, Illuminata and St Simon, as well as other genetically similar ancestors in Gas/Ladas, Persimmon/Baroness La Fleche, Perdita/Maid Marian, Cicero/Polymelus and La Morlaye/Bona Vista.
Last but not least, Summer Impressions traces tail female to Malindi; who is reflected in Homage by her full brother Nasrullah. Ameerat will now seek to enhance her standing amongst the best three year old fillies in Europe in Royal Ascot's Coronation Stakes.
Copyright by Nigel Pullen 2001.