Doff your hat to an influential producer

Sobetsu: yet another descendant from star broodmare Doff The Derby

PICTURE: RACINGFOTOS.COM Doff your hat to an influential producer
By Nancy Sexton 1:30PM 22 SEP 2016

IN 2001, Doff The Derby became the first mare in 87 years to produce winners of both the Epsom Derby and Oaks. The daughter of Master Derby had already compiled an outstanding record for owners Barronstown Stud, primarily as the dam of Generous, who had lit up the 1991 season with brilliant, wide-margin victories in the Derby, Irish Derby and King George, and in her final foal, Imagine, she left behind a dual Classic winner who signed off her career with victory in the Oaks.

In turn, Doff The Derby's progeny were keenly sought after on the rare occasions they came up for auction and in 1997 she featured in another landmark of racing history as the dam of Padua's Pride, a brother to Generous who sold to Joss Collins of the BBA on behalf of Satish Sanan for 2.5 million guineas, then a world record for a foal at auction.

Doff The Derby left behind six daughters, all of whom were naturally well covered, with the result that today her family continues to grow in influence worldwide.

This year alone Doff The Derby's web boasts four stakes runners. They include Dee Majesty, one of the best three-year-old colts in Japan who beat Makahiki in this year's Japanese 2,000 Guineas, and Point Piper, who became a fourth Group/Graded stakes winner out of Imagine when successful in the Longacres Mile Handicap at Emerald Downs last month.

Perhaps they will be joined in due course by Godolphin's Sobetsu, a great-granddaughter of Doff The Derby who could hardly have been more impressive when the ten-length winner of the fillies' maiden at Newmarket on Saturday. On what was a productive weekend for the family, her win was followed by that of Dee Majesty in the Group 2 Asahi Hai St Lite Kinen – a trial for the Japanese St Leger – at Nakayama a day later.

Both are grandchildren of Doff The Derby's placed daughter Shinko Hermes, a Sadler's Wells sister to Imagine; Dee Majesty was bred by his owner Masaru Shimada and is the last recorded foal out of Hermes Tiara, an unraced Brian's Time mare foaled during Shinko Hermes's time in Japan, while Sobetsu was bred by Darley out of the Darshaan mare Lake Toya, winner of the Listed Gillies Fillies' Stakes for Saeed Bin Suroor in 2006.

Doff The Derby's story pays another credit to her breeder Nelson Bunker Hunt, the famed Texan oilman whose colours will always be associated with Dahlia alongside other Classic winners such as Empery and Youth. Hunt bred Doff The Derby, a daughter of 1975 Preakness Stakes winner Master Derby, out of 1966 Margate Handicap winner Margarethen, by Tulyar.

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By the time Doff The Derby was foaled, Margarethen had already struck notoriety as the dam of Hunt's European champion Trillion, winner of the 1978 Prix Ganay. As talented as Trillion was, however, she would later breed one better than herself in Triptych, whose nine Group 1 victories included the 1985 Irish 1,000 Guineas and two runnings of the Champion Stakes.

Since then, this branch of the family has reached greater heights still through the achievements of Treve, a great-great-granddaughter of Trillion.

It was during the era of Triptych that Doff The Derby came into the possession of David and Diane Nagle's Barronstown Stud. Doff The Derby was unraced but that was by accident, with the mare having suffered a broken tail in an accident as a yearling.

Instead, Doff The Derby was covered in California as a two-year-old by the Californian Derby winner Jaklin Klugman, the result of which was the June-foaled Windy Triple K, a Listed winner at Santa Anita (another example of a particularly young mare breeding a good horse is Outsource, who foaled Grade 1 winner Commentator as a three-year-old).

Doff The Derby did not produce a foal after that until 1987. By then based in Ireland, she was sent to a succession of Coolmore sires starting with King's Lake, to whom she bred the Group 1-placed Wedding Bouquet. Trained by Vincent O'Brien and owned by his wife Jacqueline, she won the CL Weld Park Stakes and later became the granddam of the brilliant Moonlight Cloud and Group 2-winning juvenile Probably. Cumberland Lodge Stakes winner Hawaafez and Solario Stakes winner Talwar are other descendants of Wedding Bouquet.

Champion Generous, subsequently a relatively successful stallion from a variety of international bases, was Doff The Derby's third foal, followed by the Last Tycoon colt Osumi Tycoon, a Listed winner and sire in Japan.

Her 1992 foal, the Royal Academy filly Matikanebenizakura, also wound up in Japan, where she foaled a pair of stakes winners.

Shinko Hermes was the first of four living foals by Sadler's Wells out of the mare, a move that reaped major rewards in her later career through Imagine, winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas in addition to the Oaks, and 1997 Irish 1,000 Guineas runner-up Strawberry Roan.

Now 22 years old, Strawberry Roan has bred just a single stakes runner, the Group 1-placed Berry Blaze, although she is also granddam of Rockfel Stakes winner Cape Dollar.

By contrast, Imagine has been an outstanding producer for Barronstown as the dam of Horatio Nelson, the ill-fated Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner, Rockfel Stakes winner Kitty Matcham (whose three-year-old Sam Missile has won twice for James Fanshawe this year), Group 2 winner Viscount Nelson and Grade 3 winner Point Piper to a variety of stallions from different sire lines.

Viscount Nelson embarked on his own stallion career in Chile in 2013 while another out of Imagine, the Group 1-placed Red Rock Canyon, is sire of the Group 1-placed Invader from his early crops in Brazil.

As a Japanese Classic-winning son of Deep Impact, Dee Majesty will be popular when the time comes for him to join the growing band of Doff The Derby descendants at stud. In the meantime, given his progressive profile – he is the winner of four of seven starts – further Group 1 success seems likely.

As for Sobetsu, the Fillies' Mile and Prix Marcel Boussac were mooted as potential targets following her romp at Newmarket. Should she line up in either, she must go with a strong chance of becoming a first European juvenile Group 1 winner for Dubawi.

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