Seven Days: A Pedigree Nutcase in Paris

There is something wonderfully refreshing about John Hayes. He stands at least 6’6 tall with size 15 ‘lucky boots’ and a towering personality to match. Prior to watching Jannah Rose (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), the filly he bred from his beloved mare Sophie Germain (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}), win the G1 Coolmore St Mark’s Basilica Prix Saint-Alary, he serenaded guests of her owner Al Shira’aa Farms with a ditty about a cross-dressing gold-digger.

It’s the kind of theme that could so easily see people cancelled these days, but there could be no erasing of Hayes’s enthusiasm for the game. A small breeder with two mares in Co Tipperary, he is a self-confessed “pedigree nutcase” who claims to know nothing of conformation. He can rest assured that he has bred a pretty special animal in the unbeaten Jannah Rose, who meets all criteria in that important triumvirate of pedigree, physique and performance.

Hayes spent the flight from Dublin to Paris reading up on Chelandry (GB), Lord Rosebery’s 1,000 Guineas winner and Oaks runner-up of 1897, from whom has sprung the likes of Lester’s Piggott’s first Derby winner Never Say Die, as well as the great High Chaparral (Ire), dual Classic winner Ravinella, and the Kentucky Derby heroes, Tomy Lee, Genuine Risk, and Swale. Chelandry is Jannah Rose’s tenth dam. This is deep-state research, reserved for pedigree lovers/nutcases (take your pick).

In the aftermath of Jannah Rose’s imperious win, Hayes said of her dam, “Her first foal, [Group 2 winner] Creggs Pipes, was winning lots of races while my sister was dying from cancer, so it gave my sister some relief. Today is my mother-in-law’s anniversary; she is looking down on us today, I know that.”

He added, “I’m a dairy farmer, and I wouldn’t know the difference between a good-looking horse and a bad-looking horse. I don’t know anything about conformation but I’m a complete nutcase for pedigrees.

“It’s a big responsibility having a mare like that. It’s all about the mare. That’s all I have to do: do the right thing by her. We love her dearly, she’s the boss. She’s in foal to Kingman now and Shane [Horan] said, ‘Next year, Frankel‘.”

With Jannah Rose becoming Frankel‘s 27th Group 1 winner, Sophie Germain is now a deserved shoo-in for a return to his court. In the meantime, the 16-year-old mare will be eating from some pretty fancy tableware. Brandishing the silver salver he was presented with as winning breeder, Hayes added, “I’m going to take this home and put nuts on it for Sophie.”

Hayes had travelled to Longchamp with Kieran Lalor, who in January had spoken in TDN of his hopes for the then-maiden winner Jannah Rose to continue the solid start made by Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Al Shira’aa Farms. Abu Dhabi-owned, it has its headquarters at the Curragh-based property formerly known as Meadow Court Stud. Those hopes have now been realised, with the statuesque filly having remained faultless in winning the G3 Prix Vanteaux en route to her Group 1 success. 

Hayes said on Sunday, “I’m delighted for Kieran in particular, that his judgement has been vindicated. It’s a big decision to make to advise somebody to spend €650,000 on a yearling. He’s the one who should take the credit.”

Lalor himself had been quick to praise the breeder. “Coming from an operation, a pedigree guru like John, the foundation is all there,” he said. “She’s an absolutely lovely filly, the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. I’m delighted for the boss, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of this journey. I personally think her four-year-old career will be even better.”

He continued, “I always go back to the day I saw her at Goffs. I’ve never fallen for a horse like I fell for her. Everything about her was as cool as a breeze.

“The most important thing is the breeder, as it’s the hardest thing in the world to breed a filly like that, and that’s what we want to do.”

Back at the farm, Al Shira’aa already has in its paddocks another daughter of Frankel, the Group 2 winner Rumi (Fr), who was also trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias. The trainer usually gives himself a special treat each Sunday by riding Jannah Rose. This week he left the job to supersub Christophe Soumillon.

“She always showed me she was good, but between good and Group 1 is a big step,” said Laffon-Parias. Now he knows, and the next stop is Chantilly.

“That’s the target, the Prix de Diane,” he confirmed.

Next Run for the Roses

In the Diane, Jannah Rose will meet the other female star of Sunday at Longchamp, the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches winner Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}). She also represents an up-and-coming breeding operation, this one the Spanish-owned Yeguada Centurion.

The man behind it, Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals, has put his faith in some young members of the French racing and breeding scene to fulfil his dreams and they are making a damn good fist of it. In the winner’s circle after the race, Blue Rose Cen’s trainer Christopher Head chatted with Guillaume Garcon of Haras de l’Hotellerie, who is entrusted with boarding the Yeguada Centurion mares. Despite demonstrating a little more Gallic cool than our Irish friends, the delight on their faces was plain to see. 

Garcon said of Blue Rose Cen’s dam Queen Blossom (Ire) (Jeremy), “She will return soon from Coolmore and she is back in foal to Churchill–of course! We love Churchill, we’ve sent him lots of mares.”

He boards 30 mares for the same owner-breeder, including Hardiyna (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), the sister to dual Derby winner Harzand (Ire) and dam of Prix du Jockey Club favourite Big Rock (Ire) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), who is also trained by Head.

“Both mares were bought quite inexpensively and it is wonderful to see him have this success,” Garcon noted.

When your surname is Head, there’s a fair chance that the racing world will sit up and take notice. Christopher Head is the son of legendary former jockey and trainer Freddy, and is the cousin of Patricia Laffon-Parias, the wife of Jannah Rose’s trainer. He would certainly not have struggled to have broken into this sphere, but nevertheless he started his training business in modest circumstances. When TDN first encountered Head four years ago, he was sweeping the yard outside the handful of boxes he rented in Chantilly from Pascal Bary.

“I still sweep the yard,” he said on Sunday. Now, however, it is the yard vacated by his father on his retirement and bought by Christopher earlier this year. 

Blue Rose Cen, his first Group 1 winner last season in the Prix Marcel Boussac, is now his first Classic winner, as she was for jockey Aurelien Lemaitre. It would be no surprise to see her stable-mate Big Rock become their second on June 4. 

Marching Orders for Epsom

Not since Persimmon and Diamond Jubilee, in 1896 and 1900, have full-brothers won the Derby. At Lingfield on Saturday, a tantalising prospect was suggested by Military Order (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) that he could follow his brother Adayar (Ire) to Epsom after winning the Fitzdares Lingfield Derby Trial.

His success brought up a trial double for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby after Eternal Hope (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), who only made her debut on February 13, took the Oaks Trial. 

Adayar was only second in the Lingfield Derby Trial two years ago but his early career took a similar path to his younger brother, with two runs as a juvenile at the back end of the season before a seasonal resumption at the end of April.

Military Order now shares the top spot in the Derby betting with Aidan O’Brien’s Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

Not far behind them is Arrest (Ire), bred by Des Leadon and Mariann Klay at Swordlestown Little, who sparked a fine week for Frankel when winning the G3 Chester Vase by more than six lengths. Juddmonte’s star stallion has already been responsible for the 2,000 Guineas winner Chaldean (GB) this season and it would be no surprise to see him feature as the sire of another Derby winner, too.

His own sire Galileo (Ire) could yet have a say in this season’s Classics, with his daughter Savethelastdance (Ire) having routed her rivals by 22 lengths in the Cheshire Oaks. If she makes it to Epsom, one hopes that the new Oaks favourite has a less dramatic experience there than her dam Daddys Lil Darling (Scat Daddy), who bolted to post for the Oaks during a lightning storm, causing jockey Olivier Peslier to bail out in an alarming incident.

Quote of the Week

You can always rely on the inimitable Richard Kent to come up with a good line or two, and the Mickey Stud maestro didn’t disappoint in his interview after the success of the Dave Evans-trained Radio Goo Goo (GB) at Chester last week.

Kent could take particular delight in this result, as he bred both the filly’s sire, Havana Grey (GB), with the late Lady Lonsdale, and her dam, Radio Gaga (GB), who is by the former Mickley resident Multiplex (GB). But he reserved the greatest praise for grand-dam Gagajulu (GB) (Al Hareb), the roach-backed mare who proved that handsome is as handsome does. Among her 16 runners were 11 winners and the black-type quartet of Ardbrae Lady (GB), One Gold (GB), Under My Spell (GB), and the aforementioned Radio Gaga.

Recalling Gagajulu with fondness, Kent said, “[She] won five races in 11 weeks for Dave as a two-year-old. She’s been a fantastic mare: she paid for two barns and a divorce…I could have built 10 barns with [what it cost for] the divorce.”


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