Let’sbefrankbaby (Frankel), who broke through at stakes grade in Saturday’s SA Fillies Classic (Gr 3, 2500m) at Morphettville, packs enormous promise for more and higher success through a staying pedigree brimming with European blue blood.
Take the stallions filling the first three columns of her pedigree. As British Isles breeding royalty goes, you can picture them waving hoofs at fans from a balcony: Frankel (Galileo), Galileo (Sadler’s Wells), Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer), Danehill (Danzig), Invincible Spirit (Green Desert) and Green Desert (Danzig).
While that’s only six and there could be seven, it’s because – all jokes about in-breeding and balcony-wavers aside – one of the juiciest aspects of Let’sbefrankbaby’s pedigree hits you right in the face. She has a gender-balanced 2×3 duplication of the mighty Galileo, as sire of her sire Frankel – who’s looking as awesome at stud as on the track – and as damsire of her mum Baby Pink, the stakes-winning daughter of Invincible Spirit.
Four of those six stallions have Champion Sire crowns in their closet in Frankel, Galileo, Sadler’s Wells and Danehill – sire of Frankel’s dam Kind (Danehill), with his multiple titles in both GB & Ireland and Australia. Throw in Danzig at 4×4, through Danehill and Green Desert, and Northern Dancer siring five sons at 4, 5 x 5, 5 and 5, and Let’sbefrank’s pedigree looks a case of no-brainer ballistic breeding.
Duplicating Galileo might have affected some strength in Let’sbefrankbaby but, to be frank, it hasn’t quite proven a magic formula for everyone. In-breeding him in the first five generations has produced 60 winners from 151 runners, including six stakes victors, who all have the doubling-up in their first three removes.
Perhaps more important in this pedigree lies in those two non-champion sires behind Let’sbefrankbaby’s dam – Invincible Spirit and his sire Green Desert. When paired with Frankel as maternal grandsires, they’ve produced two of his more potent worldwide nicks, at remarkably similar levels.
Invincible Spirit mares have brought Frankel 13 winners from 16 runners, including three stakes-winners for a stakes-winners to runners ratio of 18 per cent. With Green Desert mares, it’s nine winners from 11 runners, with two stakes-winners for, again, 18 per cent.
In Britain and Ireland, Invincible Spirit is Frankel’s equal top nick on percentages for winners to runners (with 10 or more runners), with eight out of 10. Green Desert sits at a perfect five from five.
Frankel, who claimed the GB & Ireland title in 2021 before six-time runner-up Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) broke through to relegate him to second last year, is posting some highly impressive numbers in Australia.
Let’sbefrankbaby is Frankel’s 16th stakes-winner here from just 80 runners, at a blistering 20 per cent, with 54 winners among those 80 at 67.5 percent.
The unbeaten phenomenon, Timeform’s highest-ever rated horse (147), and who now stands for the equivalent of AU$518,000 – has had three Group 1 winners in Australia, in Converge and Hungry Heart, who both tasted victory at the highest level twice, and ATC The Metropolitan (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Mirage Dancer.
Overall, the 15-year-old has sired 27 Group 1 winners from 706 runners, at a superb rate of one in every 26. That puts him second worldwide amongst current stallions for frequency behind the impressive – albeit from a far smaller sample size – Extreme Choice (Not A Single Doubt), who’s had three from 69 at one-in-23.
There’s a long way to go for Let’sbefrankbaby to become another top-tier winner for her sire in Australia, but all has gone to plan so far.
Her story began when Coolmore’s MV Magnier, Mayfair and Patrick and Ross Doyle paid 450,000gns, double the sale average, for Baby Pink as a yearling from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2016. A daughter of Galileo mare Dress Rehearsal, who won a Listed race in Ireland and a Grade 3 in the US, Baby Pink won the last two of her seven starts, both on heavy tracks in Ireland, the latter in Listed class over 2450 metres at Galway.
After being purchased by Blandford Bloodstock for 160,000gns at the Tattersalls July Sale in 2018, Baby Pink was then sent for a southern-timed mating with Frankel – who was then standing for a mere AU$331,000 or so – with a view to selling to Australia. Offered in-foal at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale of 2019, she was bought for $700,000 by young Victorian farm Glentree Thoroughbreds, in conjunction with Badgers Bloodstock.
“We liked her as an individual, and she had good ability herself, being a stakes-winner,” Glentree’s Luke Simpson told It’s In The Blood.
“Her mother was by Galileo, which we liked, and the Frankel mating meant the offspring would be closely inbred to Galileo. But she had a beautiful mix of blood in the pedigree regardless of that.”
Events would unfold in a most heartening way for Glentree. In October, 2020, as they were preparing the yearling Let’sbefrankbaby for Inglis Easter, Baby Pink’s year-younger sister Traisha won at Listed class at Bath over 2800 metres.
And later that month Mac Swiney (New Approach), an entire also inbred 2×3 to Galileo, won the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (Gr 1, 1m) at Doncaster, a Group 1 win he’d replicate the following May in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1m).
Although doubling Galileo has returned average numbers so far, Mac Swiney’s timing didn’t hurt. The yearling Let’sbefrankbaby went to Easter 2021 and fetched $400,000, sold to Robbie Griffths and Mathew de Kock, with the latter’s connection to leading South African breeding and racing empire Drakenstein Stud partly behind the buy.
“We were specifically in search of a Frankel for our clients from South Africa,” said De Kock, who was awestruck by the stallion while witnessing his racing career during a working stint with the National Stud in England. “There were three or four Frankels in the sale, but we really liked her the most and were fortunate enough to purchase her.
“We weren’t after a filly particularly, but it probably made more sense because of the residual value, although they do still have to go on and race well to be worth anything.
“But her pedigree really stuck out as a horse under the radar, because she wasn’t that typical Australian speedy sales horse. For the right clients willing to be patient she was the right type of horse.”
Let’sbefrankbaby showed from early on she could make a racehorse.
“We loved her physically – she was a well-put together horse,” De Kock said. “She was lightly-framed, but she was always mentally very advanced. You could ask her to do any task and she gave it 120 per cent, even if she was not physically ready. She was so willing, which was great.”
Carrying Drakenstein’s famous cornflour blue with a white square, and part-owned also by De Kock-linked South African heavyweight owners in businessman Larry Nestadt and Hollywood-based film producer Gary Barber, Let’sbefrankbaby didn’t trial until a June two-year-old. She then had one run before turning three, for a second at Bendigo.
Freshened up, she won her second start at Sale before an ambitious Melbourne spring program in which she was fourth in the Ethereal Stakes (Gr 3, 2000m), fifth in the Wakeful (Gr 2, 2000m) and a six and a half lengths sixth in the VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m).
Brought back this autumn, she won first-up in a 1600-metres Benchmark 64 at Cranbourne at odds-on, finished a length and a quarter third in Adelaide’s Auraria Stakes (Gr 3, 1800m), won again at odds-on at her home track Cranbourne over 2080 metres, then franked her burgeoning reputation with her fourth career victory last Saturday, when $3.10 favourite.
“She’s still immature physically,” De Kock said. “Everything she’s doing is just on her courage. She’s got a good set of lungs, and she’s a good natural athlete, and she’s got a nice, big action. When she’s galloping she carries herself a lot bigger than she is; she looks bigger in her action than when walking around.
“She’s got plenty of stamina in her pedigree, and you can see it in the way she races. She’s racing like her pedigree suggests.”
De Kock said Let’sbefrankbaby had been nominated for Saturday week’s Queensland Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m), but the stable opted yesterday not to accept, wary of overburdening the still-developing filly. Instead she’ll be freshened for her four-year-old spring. She looks a staying mare on the rise, though again she’ll be given time.
“We’ll get her ready for handicap races over staying distances, like the Geelong Cup,” De Kock said. “We’ll nominate for the Melbourne Cup, but she’d have to jump out of the ground to get there. But we’ll let her dictate how deep into the ocean we throw her.”
As for Baby Pink, Glentree will retain her yearling filly by Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice), and offer her weanling colt by the same sire at next year’s sales, while she’s now in-foal to Toronado (High Chaparral).
Simpson said the ten-year-old Glentree was pleased with the $400,000 they received for Let’sbefrankbaby. Given the imposing early strides by that first foal of the eight-year-old Baby Pink, the farm looks likely to surge well ahead on their $700,000 purchase of the mare.