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Dijon Bleu decisive in the Desert Gold Stakes

Les Young | 24.01.2018

Two Group One tests won by outsiders highlighted a big day of racing at Trentham last Saturday but visually the afternoon’s most impressive winner was Dijon Bleu (Burgundy) in the Desert Gold Stakes (Gr 3, 1600m).

In winning, Dijon Bleu extended her lead in the NZB Filly of the Year series having previously taken the first leg, the Gold Trail Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) then placed in the New Zealand 1,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) and the Eulogy Stakes (Gr 3, 1550m). Her next mission is the Sir Tristram Classic (Gr 2, 2000m) at Te Rapa on 10 February.

Last Saturday, Dijon Bleu came from midfield with a powerful run along the rails, burst clear at the 150 metres mark then drew clear to score by three lengths from Blanco Belle (Cape Blanco) with Milseain (Tavistock) a close third in 1:37.88 on the dead track.

Bred by the Robinson Family Trust, Dijon Bleu was well bought by her group of seven owners for NZ $26,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2016 National Yearling Sale and at the same sale next week on 30 January buyers will be able to bid for her half-brother by new sire Proisir (Choisir), catalogued as Lot 497.

Also winner of the ARC Soliloquy Stakes (Listed, 1400m) from only ten starts, three-year-old Dijon Bleu comes from the first crop of the superbly bred young sire Burgundy (Redoute’s Choice) whose other top runner to date is Hard Merchandize, winner of the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (Gr 2, 1400m) and the Castletown Stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Wanganui.

Burgundy stood at the modest fee of NZ$7,000 (plus GST) last season at Cambridge Stud and some increase looks justified given his pedigree and racing record as a five times black type winner, most important of those victories coming in the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m).

He fully deserves his chance at stud being a son of Redoute’s Choice (Danehill), Australia’s best modern day sire-of-sires (think Snitzel, Not A Single Doubt, Stratum and others) and a three-parts brother to top class performer Darci Brahma (Danehill), one of New Zealand’s leading sires.

What is more, Burgundy is out of Group One winner Grand Echezeaux (Zabeel) who proved herself top class when racing in Australia. As well as being a daughter of one of the greatest sires ever to stand in New Zealand, Grand Echezeaux is closely related to the grand mare Ethereal (Rhythm), winner of the elusive Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) / Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) double and a host of other major winners, among them Howard Be Thy Name (Redoute’s Choice), Stony Bay (Dahar) and Zamoff (Zamazaan).

Dijon Bleu’s unraced dam Pristino (More Than Ready) was bred in Australia by New Zealander David Paykel from American import Pristine Kristine (Spinning World).

Blending the blood of More Than Ready (Southern Halo) and Danehill (Danzig) as is found in Dijon Bleu has been a very successful formula in the production of stakes winners in Australia in a variety of combinations over the past decade or more.

Pristino is a half-sister to black type winners So Pristine (Zabeel) and Restored (Red Ransom). Their dam Pristine Kristine placed as a two-year-old in the United States and is a half-sister to Long Gone Blues (Sovereign Dancer), winner of the Tropical Park Oaks (Listed, 8.5f) at Calder, Florida.

Unraced Blue Sage (Cure The Blues), third dam of Dijon Bleu, was bred in Ireland by noted American breeders, the Firestone family, and is a half-sister to their champion racehorse and sire Theatrical (Nureyev), winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (Gr 1, 12f) and three other Grade One contests before becoming an internationally successful sire and broodmare sire.

Another of Blue Sage’s half-relations, North Of Eden (Northfields), added to the family’s renown by producing Grade One winners Paradise Creek (Irish River) and Wild Event (Wild Again).

Returning briefly to Theatrical, he had the distinction of leaving Group/Grade One winners in the United States, Canada, Ireland, France and in Australia where he is remembered as the father of the 2002 Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle and of the 1996 Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) winner Portland Player.

Dijon Bleu’s fourth dam Tree of Knowledge (Sassafras) is by a French staying star, the first horse to defeat the great Nijinsky (Northern Dancer), while her dam Sensibility (Hail To Reason) is a half-sister to Prince Royal II (Ribot), winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m), so the pedigree has considerable depth.

The construction of Dijon Bleu’s pedigree is also extremely well balanced though dominated by five lines of Northern Dancer (Nearctic), two via his noted son Nureyev. There is also linebreeding to the sisters Show Lady and Minnie Hauk (Sir Ivor – Best in Show) and it is interesting to find that her mother Pristino has three crosses of Hail To Reason (Turn-to).

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