Pedigree spotlight 9 May - George Washington

Filed on 9 May 2006 @ 11:31

George Washington (IRE)

3 b c Danehill (USA) - Bordighera (USA) (Alysheba (USA))

Owner: Susan Magnier
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien
Breeder: Lael Stables

Saturday 6 May 2006 will forever be a red-letter day for Roy and Gretchen Jackson.

Within the space of eight hours, the Pennsylvania-based couple became the breeders of both a British Classic winner and a Kentucky Derby victor.

These were not ordinary winners, either. Barbaro, the hero of Churchill Downs racing in the colours of his breeders' Lael Stables, registered the Kentucky Derby's largest margin of victory for 60 years when burning down the straight six and a half lengths clear of his rivals.

George Washington, who showed an equally electric turn of foot to gallop away from Sir Percy in the 2000 Guineas, made a deeper visual impression in the Newmarket Classic than any of its winners since Zafonic in 1993.

Success for Danehill

This Guineas victory came a year after George Washington, a member of Danehill's penultimate crop, had made his debut on the same course. The far-sighted punters who snapped up 50-1 about his Classic chance before that run were not totally disheartened back then to see him finish third, still clearly very green.

George Washington's next four outings came at The Curragh. A maiden victory was followed by a cosy success in the Group Two Railway Stakes before he ran away with the Group One Phoenix Stakes by eight lengths. His winning margin
was less extravagant - a pushed-out two lengths - when capturing the Group One National Stakes on 18 September, and he was not to run again for nearly eight months.

Newmarket on 6 May, however, was not the first time that he has made a splash in the town renowned as British Flat racing's headquarters.

At Tattersalls' 2004 October Yearling Sale he had achieved the sale's highest price when John Magnier, bidding in person rather than via one of Coolmore's agents, went to 1.15 million guineas to see off Japanese agent Nobutaka Tada. "Our people liked him a lot and the mare has already produced one very good one," said Magnier at the time, noting that his acquisition was a half-brother to Grandera.

Private purchase

The colt was prepared for the Jacksons' Lael Stables at Paul and Sara Thorman's Trickledown Stud in Hampshire and George Washington's dam Bordighera was bought privately by the Jacksons following the exploits of her multiple Group One-winning son Grandera, who was originally owned by the
American couple but later sold to Godolphin.

The now 14-year-old Bordighera, who was Listed-placed at Chantilly, produced a minor French winner, Fifty Five (an Ir4,600gns yearling), before Grandera put her on the map. Grandera, bred by Moyglare Stud's manager Stan Cosgrove, was a remarkably inexpensive IrĀ£30,000 yearling.

Subsequent sales prices have been rather more eyecatching. Four-year-old Ampelio has yet to justify his 800,000gns price tag at the 2003 Houghton Sale, while at last year's October Sale the Jacksons chose to buy back Grandera's own-brother, now named Wyeth and in training with James Fanshawe, for 420,000gns.

Bordighera, who was moved to Bobby Donworth's Round Hill Stud in Co Limerick, has produced a Pivotal filly foal this year and will visit Tiger Hill.

The last-named is a son of George Washington's sire Danehill, for whom the Guineas meeting was yet another great posthumous advertisement, not least because of Speciosa's victory in the 1000 Guineas. She provided an initial Classic success for Danehill's Coolmore-based son Danehill Dancer.

Filed on 9 May 2006 @ 11:31