Ask anyone who has ever studied breeding to take a peak at Saturday’s Derby final sextet and they will probably smile. No matter how deeply you delve into the bloodlines, it will always be an inexact science: freakish breeding make you question whether it is all down to luck, and family connections that prove that it isn’t.
The big black is responsible for half the field and a glance at his pedigree shows the source of his ability.
With all respect, his sire Duke Special was not a huge success at stud, his offspring included the likes of Jaytee Lightning and Racenight Jenny, but he never featured in the top levels of sires tables.
(For those with a decent memory, beaten Golden Jacket favourite Jenny had an unusual career in that she produced her first litter of pups at 16 months old – before she had began her racing career)
Droopys Sydney’s dam Droopys Laramie was prolific. Her Ace Hi Rumble litter included stud dog Droopys Cain and the prolific Irish marathon winner Droopys Alexus.
To Blackstone Gene she threw Ashford Castle, and in addition to Droopys Sydney, her Duke Special litter included Racenight Jenny.
Laramie was herself a half sister to Puppy Derby/Romford Puppy Cup winner Rayvin Giovanni.
Madgies Wish, the dam of Deerjet Sydney and Smurfs Machine could hardly be described as ‘obvious’ future brood.
She went to traps on 15 occasions, winning just two, the fastest of which was 29.17 at Curraheen Park.
But clearly owners Eddie and Eileen Lingane saw something and took her first to Droopys Jet, to whom she produced 28.53 winner Burgess Eddie.
The two Derby finalists were from Wish’s second litter which also features Nottingham A2 runner Leons Machine, and Crayford A7 runner Click And Go.
But if you are looking for the source of the ability, you don’t have to search far. Shades Of Soul contested the 2009 Irish Oaks final won by Skywalker Queen.
Soul was actually more prolific over 750 yards as you might expect from the Martinstown dam line.
Southwood Jet is by the leading open race sire in Britain and Ireland Droopys Jet, who already has an Irish Derby winner in Lenson Bocko.
Jet finished fifth in a 2012 English Derby semi and finished in a similar position in the 2013 decider.
Dam Luminous Queen was a prolific minor open race winner for Martyn Wiley and Peter Goodfellow.
Her Jet litter includes Murlens Lola and Celtic Diva (Monmore D3), Moaning Kate (Harlow D4) and Catunda Tilley, who had her card marked in A1 at Monmore and has since re-graded.
(Is there a lesson about the luck of picking the right one in the litter?)
Queen has produced a couple of litters previously, the best progeny being 28.04 Monmmore winner Image Coches.
Where does Jet’s pace come from? Lady Climber is a sister to You Said So, whose progeny include Irish Derby winner He Said So and stud dog Black Shaw.
(The) Wolfe is a son of the lightly used but highly rated Tyrur Big Mike, who progeny include Irish Derby winner Ballymac Matt.
Dam Jalingo had four races, winning two, and was retired before her second birthday.
Wolfe was from her first litter which also included the fast but unlucky Garryvoe Noah.
There is no doubting where the family ability traces from on the dam line. Jalingo’s littermates included Arc winner Garryvoe Bobby and the dual Irish Derby finalist, Sonic.
Go further along the dam line and you find Minnies Sparkler (Maxie Rumble), and a family that produced Spiral Nikita, Tina Marina, Heres Andy etc etc
Ballydoyle Valor is a son of Kinloch Brae – champion sire from 2016-2018.
Larry Dunne’s 2013 Regency and Yorkshire Leger winner Fear Emoski has been an outstanding brood. Her Brae litter includes Roxholme Butt though her list of open racers is extensive including the likes of Sidarian Blue Ray, and a whole host of ‘Ballydoyles’, Grace, Henry, Frank etc.
Emoski is a sister to Munster Derby winner Universal Dream and a half sister to the great Ballydoyle Honey (by Brett Lee).
Kildallon Maid won an Irish Puppy Oaks and the Tote Retention 575. Go back even further and you find that Valor shares the same maternal great great grand dam as Deerjet Sydney and Smurfs Machine – Martinstown Gold.
Coolavanny Chick is from an outstanding litter that includes Unlock Unlock, plus Coolavannys Bani and Keyser.
Toms Delight had previously thrown Kirby Memorial winner Cable Bay (by Foleys Folley), Irish Derby finalist Jaytee Taylor (by Laughil Blake), Towcester Puppy Derby runner-up Innocent Times (by Tyrur Big Mike) and Grand National winner Parkers Delight (by Kinloch Brae) – to name but a few!
Delight didn’t do a great deal on the track but was a sister to the multi Oaks finalist Priceless Spark and National Sprint runner-up Kilmalday Fox.
To Westmead Hawk, Woodhill Spark threw the Harrison stars Shellam Delano and Shellam Maeby. To Ace Hi Rumble she threw crack Irish open racer Priceless Rumble, and to Rumble Impact she threw that top stayer Groupie Doll.
Spark is also a litter sister to Ballydoyle Valor’s grand dam Kildallon Maid – and once again Martinstown Gold appears on the dam line.
Readers of a certain vintage may recall Gold as a top class staying bitch in Dublin who, with litter brother Kilmessan Jet, finished down the field behind Frisby Flashing in the 1999 Guinness 600 Final at Shelbourne Park.