Platonic keeping Monceaux at the top of the pile

The Intello filly out of Platonic who will be offered at Arqana this week

Platonic keeps Monceaux at the top of the pile
By Nancy Sexton 1:51PM 11 AUG 2016

IN THE grand scheme of things, Platonic was not an expensive foundation mare. Granted, a figure of 100,000gns isn't accessible to that many breeders, but much greater has been – and always will be – spent by those in the business of developing studs on a large scale.

In the 12 years since Lucien Urano's Ecurie des Monceaux teamed up with Lady O'Reilly's Skymarc Farm to purchase the mare at the Tattersalls December Sale, Platonic has become a foundation mare for the partnership in every sense.

As the dam of stakes-winning fillies Pacifique and Prudenzia, herself dam of the 2013 Irish Oaks heroine Chicquita, she has done her bit to nurture a family at Luca and Sara Cumani's Fittocks Stud that has long been respected through the achievements of Alexandrova, Magical Romance, Golden Sword and Pongee among others.

In turn, the Platonic family has become a highly desirable commodity at auction, gifting Monceaux and Skymarc no fewer than five seven-figure Arqana yearlings since 2012.

While Monceaux enjoyed an exceptional Arqana August Sale last year thanks to the sale of €12,157,000 worth of yearlings, it was the Platonic family that stole the show, accounting for two of the stud's three seven-figure lots led by the record-breaking €2.6 million Dubawi colt.

"It's one of the Cumanis' foundation families and now it's one of ours too," says Henri Bozo, manager of Monceaux, which also owns Platonic's daughters Pacifique, Prudenzia, Paratonnerre and Prudente.

"The family has done a lot for us and there's so much to look forward to as Platonic has given us so many fillies – you can never have enough of a good thing. The family is part of the furniture here."

Platonic was one of the first mares to join Monceaux when acquired through Suprina in December 2004. At the time, the stud had been under Urano's ownership for just under two years and was in the process of building up a powerful broodmare band.

Platonic was bred by Fittocks Stud out of Listed winner Puce, also dam of their Lancashire Oaks winner Pongee and daughter of one of their own foundation mares, Souk. This has been a tremendous family over the years, yielding the likes of Alexandrova, herself dam of this year's Cheshire Oaks winner Somehow and granddam of Saturday's runaway Newmarket nursery winner Majoris, yet another promising colt by Frankel.

Platonic's half-sister Pongee could also be on the verge of enhancing the family further as the dam of promising three-year-old Materialistic, the winner of her only start at Newmarket last autumn.

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Initially, however, Platonic was not one of the high-flying family members. The daughter of Zafonic ran nine times for Cumani over a variety of distances without troubling the judge.

Yet a placed effort off a mark of 78 at Leicester suggested that the ability to win a small race was there and thus she spent the latter part of her career with Guy Henrot in France, where she managed to get off the mark on her seventh French appearance at the obscure La Gacilly.

By that stage, Platonic was in foal to the Cumani-trained Derby winner Kahyasi. The resulting foal was Hatton Flight, a smart handicapper for Andrew Balding.

Platonic was sold by Fittocks carrying her second foal, a filly by Dansili. "Francois Drion had seen her at the sale and liked her," says Bozo. "So I saw her, liked her and so we decided to buy her in a 50-50 partnership with Skymarc Farm.

"Platonic is a small, light-framed mare but with a lot of quality. She walks very well. I love her, she really is exceptionally good-looking."

Monceaux and Skymarc retained the Dansili filly and with great success. Named Prudenzia, she went on to win the Listed Prix de la Seine before foaling Chicquita.

"Prudenzia also has a lot of quality," says Bozo, "which she passes down along with her walk."

Prudenzia was followed by the Montjeu filly Pacifique, winner of the Group 3 Prix de Lutece, and later by Prudente, a sister to Prudenzia who was highly tried after winning last season at Chantilly.

Platonic also has a two-year-old filly by Frankel named Ghalyah, who was knocked down for €1.15 million to Charlie Gordon-Watson at last year's Arqana August Sale and is with Ed Dunlop. Her yearling filly by Intello is catalogued as lot 93 this time around.

Bozo adds: "Platonic has a nice filly foal by Kingman, who is strong and correct. She's now in foal to Camelot. We were trying to replicate the success Montjeu has had with the family and I like Camelot – I have one in the sale (lot 64), a nice colt with quite a lot of Montjeu about him."

The affinity Bozo alludes to between Montjeu and this family manifested itself in Prudenzia's first foal, Chicquita, who sold for €600,000 to Badgers Bloodstock at the 2011 Arqana August Sale. She went on to capture the Irish Oaks and finish second in the Prix de Diane before commanding €6m from Peter and Ross Doyle on behalf of Coolmore out of the Paulyn dispersal at Goffs in 2013. She now has a filly foal by War Front and is back in foal to War Front.

As for Prudenzia, she has provided Monceaux and Skymarc with yearlings who have sold at Arqana for €1.1m (Sinnamary, a winning daughter of Galileo bought by Agence FIPS in 2012), €1m (Truth, also by Galileo, bought by MV Magnier in 2013) and €1.1m (Craven's Legend, a dual winner this year, and a son of Invincible Spirit, was bought by Mayfair Speculators and Peter Doyle in 2015).

This year, she is represented by a Galileo yearling filly who sells early on Monday evening as lot 97.

Then there is Pacifique, whose first foal by Dubawi smashed the August sale record last year when sold for €2.6m to John Ferguson. Now named Parabellum, he is with Andre Fabre.

While Pacifique isn't represented in this year's sale, Monceaux does offer an Oasis Dream colt out of Platonic's Galileo daughter Astronomy Domine (165) who was bred by Robin Geffen.

Platonic has nine fillies on the ground, allowing ample opportunity for the family to reach further heights. Understandably, various daughters have been extremely well covered, among them the Niarchos-owned Synchronic, a sister to Prudenzia whose yearling Galileo filly is lot 131.

Pacifique and Prudenzia, meanwhile, are in foal to Muhaarar. "I liked Muhaarar enormously when I saw him," says Bozo. "He was an excellent racehorse and I like the cross of Oasis Dream over Linamix, so I have a lot of faith in him."

Those foals may well be the ones lighting up Arqana in 2018. Before that, it is up to this year's representatives to help Monceaux retain its mantle as the sale's leading vendor.

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