Pedigree Page

Benbatl brings reminders of breeding genius Tesio and champion La Mer

Straight out of quarantine, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Irish jockey Pat Cosgrave, Benbatl outgunned another Godolphin runner, Blair House (Pivotal), to prevail by a half-head with Humidor (Teofilo) another two and a quarter lengths back in third place.Time on the good track was 2:00.84 with the last 600m covered in 34.65.

Now likely to oppose the mighty Winx (Street Cry) in the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) on Saturday week, Benbatl is a world class performer with two earlier elite level successes to his name, the Dubai Turf (Gr 1, 1800m) and the Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (Gr 1, 2000m) in Germany while at his previous start on August 22 he had finished fifth in the Juddmonte International (Gr 1, 1m2f) at York behind four of the best horses to race in Europe this season, Roaring Lion (Kitten’s Joy), Poet’s Word (Poet’s Voice), Thundering Blue (Exchange Rate) and Saxon Warrior (Deep Impact).

As an entire, we may one day see Benbatl standing in Australia or New Zealand which would be fitting as his fourth dam is champion New Zealand mare La Mer whose imported second dam Olgiata (Acropolis) was a product of the Tesio studs and from one of his most famous families.

Olgiata’s second dam Tokamura (Navarro) was a half-sister to Italian champion Tenerani (Bellini), remembered as the father of unbeaten champion racehorse and sire Ribot.  

La Mer (1973) was a remarkable and very tough racemare who in three seasons of competition starting as a two-year-old ran 43 times for 24 wins and 13 placings. She won 20 black type races, a number now recognised as Group 1 events, in Australia and New Zealand from 1400 metres to 2400 metres, among them the New Zealand Oaks, the New Zealand Stakes and the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes.

The late Captain Tim Rogers of Airlie Stud, Ireland, was so impressed by the performances and pedigree of  La Mer that he bought her for breeding, paying a reported NZ$300,000 very big money at that time.

Rogers sent her to his stud in Ireland which was then home to a number of prominent commercial sires headed by Habitat (Sir Gaylord) but while La Mer was to produce 11 foals she was something of a disappointment as a broodmare despite being bred to a range of top sires. Six of her foals became winners but only one, Cipriani (Habitat), was able to win a black type race, the Ballycorus Stakes (Gr 3, 7f).

In keeping with many other champion mares throughout the world, La Mer, though, was able to establish in Europe a still thriving family, in her case through minor winner Lady of the Seas (Mill Reef), Benbatl’s third dam.

Lady of the Sea proved a far better broodmare than her famous dam, leaving two stakes winners in Benbatl’s second dam Bahr (Generous) and Clerio (Soviet Star), dam of  New Zealand stakes winner Alamen (Alamosa) and second dam of Toorak Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) winner Our Rokki (Roc de Cambes).

Bahr was a top class filly who ranks as one of the best of La Mer’s descendents as she won the Ribblesdale Stakes (Gr 2, 1m 4f) at Royal Ascot and the Musidora Stakes (Gr 3, 1m 2f) at York as well as placing second in The Oaks (Gr 1, 1m 4f) at Epsom and third in the Irish Oaks (Gr 1, 1m 4f).She also placed in a Grade 1 contest in the United States.

A half-sister to British stakes winner Baharah (Elusive Quality), Bahr was able to pass on to her daughter Nahrain (Selkirk), Benbatl’s mother, her best genes enabling Nahrain to further boost the family in becoming the best middle distance three-year-old filly in Britain of her generation.Nahrain was a dual Group/Grade 1 winner in France where she won the Prix de l’Opera (Gr 1, 2000m) and in the United States where she captured the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (Gr 1,1m 2f ) and she was also runner up in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (Gr 1, about 1m 2f).

Benbatl’s sire Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) has come to be appreciated fully by breeders throughout the world as the father of no fewer than 161 stakes winners, among them 38 Group 1 winners.

Dubawi spent three seasons (2006, 2008 and 2009) shuttling to Darley’s farm in NSW. These seasons resulted in some 19 stakes winners in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, most notable of them Secret Admirer, Shamal Wind, Srikandi and Tiger Tees, all Group 1 winners, as well as Saturday’s Schillaci Stakes (Gr 2, 1100m) winner Ball of Muscle, Catkins and Jungle Edge.

Benbatl’s pedigree is a mix of high class classic and sprinting bloodlines with the nearest horse duplicated being champion racehorse and sire Mill Reef 5m x 4f.

Further back are three crosses of Northern Dancer (Nearctic) and duplications of a host of other big names like Native Dancer (Polynesian), Hail To Reason (Turn-to), Hyperion (Gainsborough), Nasrullah (Nearco), Princequillo (Prince Rose) and Count Fleet (Reign Count), a Triple Crown winner in the United States where he was champion sire in 1951.