Pedigree notebook: Frankel hits Royal Ascot triple, follows up with Curragh juvenile

July 4th, 2023

Frankel deserved the pedigree notebook treatment for siring three Group 1 stars at Royal Ascot, but the Juddmonte great is a moving target. He has continued to supply more material in the interim, most significantly a juvenile filly who broke her maiden over Irish Derby weekend.

This flurry comes in the wake of Frankel’s classic success this term. His colt Chaldean won the 2000 Guineas (G1) and daughter Soul Sister landed the Oaks (G1) at Epsom. Moreover, Frankel’s son Cracksman is making a splash himself through his colt, Ace Impact, the French Derby (G1) record-setter.

Frankel’s Royal Ascot feat was furnished by three sons over a range of distances. Triple Time won the one-mile Queen Anne (G1), Mostahdaf blitzed the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales’s (G1), and Courage Mon Ami outstayed them all in the 2 1/2-mile Gold Cup (G1). Let’s catch up with that trio before turning to his recent Pontefract scorer, Voodoo Queen, and seven-furlong debut winner at the Curragh, Ylang Ylang.

Frankel was a two-time Royal Ascot star himself

Masterfully trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil, Frankel won twice at the Royal meeting during his perfect 14-for-14 career. Both came in mile features on opening day.

In 2011, the son of Galileo captured the St James’s Palace (G1) on the round course. But the race unfolded in unexpectedly suspenseful fashion. Frankel overhauled his tearaway rabbit too early. With his margin shrinking in deep stretch, he had to be urged by a frantic Tom Queally to see off the rallying Zoffany by three-quarters of a length. They never cut it that close again. Finishing seventh was another stellar sire, Wootton Bassett, who just had the exacta in Sunday’s Railway (G2) at the Curragh, Bucanero Fuerte and Unquestionable.

Fast forward to the 2012 Queen Anne on the straight course, and Frankel delivered one of his most lopsided victories. His electric burst of speed propelled him 11 lengths clear of familiar foe Excelebration, who was a multiple highweight miler in his own right. Yet Frankel obliterated him.

Frankel exacta in Queen Anne

Frankel bestrode the June 20 renewal of the Queen Anne through his progeny. Triple Time, an unheralded 33-1 shot, edged the well-fancied Frankel filly Inspiral to top an exacta for their sire.

Inspiral brought the superior resume of the two, as a multiple Group 1 winner who romped in the 2022 Coronation (G1) during the Royal meeting. Yet Triple Time had hinted of ability in his stop-start career, consisting of only six races going into his 2023 reappearance in the Queen Anne.

Trained by Kevin Ryan, the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum homebred had captured last fall’s Superior Mile (G3) at Haydock off a year-long layoff, then disappointed in seventh in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein (G2) on Arc weekend. Triple Time was better than that, but was he good enough to beat the older mile elite at Royal Ascot?

In the front rank throughout, Triple Time grabbed the lead until Inspiral pounced. Just when it looked like she would assert, Triple Time found extra to prevail by a neck.

His name proved prophetic because Triple Time is also the third Royal Ascot winner for his dam, Reem Three, after Ostilio (2018 Britannia H.) and Cape Byron (2019 Wokingham H.). She nearly has four, since her daughter Ajman Princess was runner-up in the 2016 Ribblesdale (G2). Ajman Princess would go on to score her signature win in the 2017 Prix Jean Romanet (G1).

Reem Three, by the high-class miler Mark of Esteem, has produced seven black-type performers in all. Ostilio and Cape Byron also won at the Group level, while Third Realm is a Group 3-placed multiple stakes winner, Imperial Charm was Group 1-placed in France, and her current sophomore, Captain Winters, landed the May 16 Heron S. at Sandown.

Frankel’s one-three in Prince of Wales’s

Mostahdaf has been a talented type all along, but he’s a revelation in the vicinity of 1 1/4 miles this season. In the form of his life at the age of five, the John and Thady Gosden trainee had far too much turbo for his Prince of Wales’s foes, who all looked dour in comparison to his turn of foot. Mostahdaf drew four lengths clear of Luxembourg, with Adayar another half-length back to give Frankel the third-placer as well.

Both Mostahdaf and Adayar, the 2021 Epsom Derby (G1) hero, are bred on the productive Frankel/Dubawi cross. Other notables sired by Frankel from Dubawi mares are last season’s Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) victress Homeless Songs; Godolphin’s globetrotting siblings Dream Castle and With the Moonlight; Adayar’s brother Military Order, successful in the May 13 Lingfield Derby Trial before flopping at Epsom; and recent Prix Melisande queen Left Sea. American Grade 1 veteran McKulick sports a similar pattern, being out of a mare by Dubawi’s son Makfi.

Mostahdaf is the second Group 1 winner produced by Handassa. The Shadwell broodmare first commanded attention courtesy of her champion daughter Nazeef, who went on a six-race winning spree, including the 2020 Duke of Cambridge (G2) at Royal Ascot and the Falmouth (G1). The homebred added the Sun Chariot (G1) back at Newmarket that fall to rank as Europe’s highweight older female in the mile division. Handassa has another up-and-comer to watch, Mostabshir (by Dark Angel), a lackluster sixth in the St James’s Palace but eligible to keep progressing in the right spots.

'Courage' under fire in Gold Cup

Frankel is no newcomer as a sire of stayers, having sent out 2018 Prix du Cadran (G1) winner Call the Wind in his very first crop, and getting 2019 St Leger (G1) star Logician. Even so, siring a Gold Cup winner reinforces his profile as a stallion of historically versatile proportions.

Courage Mon Ami was the wildcard going into the Gold Cup, with a dominant 3-for-3 record versus lesser, going nowhere near this marathon distance. But he proved to have the heart of a gladiator by subduing favored Coltrane at the conclusion of the 2 1/2-mile test.

Like Triple Time and Mostahdaf, Courage Mon Ami has Royal Ascot in his blood on his dam’s side as well. He is out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Crimson Ribbon, whose full brother Bronze Cannon captured the 2009 Hardwicke (G2), and half-brother Across the Stars scored in the 2016 King Edward VII (G2).

Their dam, Victoria Cross, is by Mark of Esteem, mentioned above as the broodmare sire of Triple Time. Mark of Esteem’s paternal grandsire, Mill Reef, also lurks as a significant actor in Adayar’s pedigree. Adayar’s dam is inbred to Mill Reef, as is Triple Time’s dam.

Courage Mon Ami is the fourth black-type performer for Crimson Ribbon, following multiple Group 3-placed stakes winner Crimson Rosette, stakes-placed Purple Ribbon, and Group 3-placed stakes scorer Astronomos in Australia.

Chaldean, The Grand Visir turn in honorable placings

Frankel remained in sight in several other Royal Ascot events, albeit as a presence in defeat. His classic-winning son Chaldean was second in the St James’s Palace. Frankel has previously sired a winner of that feature, Without Parole (2018), who like Courage Mon Ami was produced by a Lemon Drop Kid mare.

The Grand Visir did double-duty in the meeting’s longest undercard races. Wheeling back from an eighth (of 19) in the 2 1/2-mile Ascot S., he missed by a half-length in the June 24 finale, the Queen Alexandra S., at about 2 11/16 miles.

Frankel figured to have a major hand in the 1 1/2-mile Ribblesdale, with four fillies in the line-up led by odds-on favorite Al Asifah. But she sustained her first loss in a flat sixth. Frankel already appears on the honor roll as the sire of 2020 Ribblesdale winner Frankly Darling.

Even a couple of the sprints had entrants by Frankel. Frankness was sixth (of 26) in the five-furlong Palace of Holyroodhouse H., and Covey wound up ninth (of 15) as the favorite in the seven-furlong Jersey (G3).

Voodoo Queen at Pontefract

The day after Royal Ascot wrapped up, Voodoo Queen broke through with her first stakes laurel in the 1 1/2-mile Pontefract Castle S. The Merry Fox Stud homebred was moving forward from a third in the 1 3/4-mile Bronte Cup (G3) at York, and trainer Roger Varian is forecasting continued progress as she steps back up in class.

“She’s four years old and still a touch unfurnished,” Varian told “I think she’ll only improve and hope she can win a Group race.”

Varian also conditioned Voodoo Queen’s dam, Group 1 heroine Cursory Glance, by Distorted Humor. An entirely different type, Cursory Glance was a top two-year-old who won the 2014 Albany (G3) at Royal Ascot and the Moyglare Stud (G1).

Voodoo Queen descends from 2001 Musidora (G3) winner and French Oaks (G1)-placed Time Away, by Darshaan (another Mill Reef scion). Time Away is a granddaughter of champion Time Charter.

Ylang Ylang bound for the top

In light of that overview of Frankel’s marquee winners among the older brigade, it’s auspicious that Ylang Ylang won well at first asking for Aidan O’Brien. Moreover, she did so in an historically informative maiden on Friday’s opening day of the Irish Derby Festival.

Hammered into 8-13 favoritism in a field full of debutantes, Ylang Ylang glided to the early lead, repelled a challenger, and pulled 2 3/4 lengths clear.

The approximately $1.8 million Tattersalls October yearling purchase is out of Shambolic, a Shamardal half-sister to one of Hong Kong’s most celebrated champions, Viva Pataca. Interestingly, Mill Reef turns up as an influence in the female line, again via his son Shirley Heights (who is also the sire of Darshaan and grandsire of Mark of Esteem, both mentioned above).

Ylang Ylang, a natural type for the course-and-distance Moyglare Stud on Irish Champions Weekend, also holds an entry in the Aug. 12 Phoenix (G1) versus males. She doesn’t figure to shorten up to six furlongs for the Phoenix, with the seven-furlong Debutante (G2) a more logical stepping stone to the Moyglare, but the nomination is notable in itself.

“She’s probably going to come on leaps and bounds,” O’Brien told “It was nice to see her doing that. Ryan (Moore) said she was only playing in front. He just gave her a back-hander to get down and stretch.

“She's working with the good colts no problem, which is usually a very good sign.”