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Barathea goes against the pedigree grain; Sadler's Wells and broodmare sire Habitat at last have a success in Enrique's father.

THE only logical criterion of a stallion's success is the performance record of his progeny. He should be judged on the racecourse achievements of his first-generation stock, the descendants who carry 50 per cent of his genes and who, it is a fair bet, are most influenced by his contribution.

But that is never enough for breeders, who like the neat and tidy arrangement of lines and families, with sons and daughters emulating their parents by delivering further success. And they are inclined to panic when what they imagine should be a natural consequence simply does not happen or takes a while to materialise.

A lot of heads were scratched over the failure of Habitat to get a son of real consequence at stud. Here was a horse who got fast, precocious, classy products, and it did not seem possible there would be no son to follow suit.

Habitat's daughters duly became outstanding broodmares, and they remain without equal. He is maternal grandsire of the winners of 144 European Pattern races, a remarkable record heightened by the fact that his runner-up Mill Reef can muster just 84.

Then people began to notice that, for all his dominance in that field, Habitat was not the broodmare sire of a single prominent stallion. Even dual Classic hero Reference Point proved a dire flop. It was starting to look as though Habitat might also be a liability to the sons of his daughters.

Meanwhile another of those gloomy perceptions was taking hold. Was it not about time Sadler's Wells had a worthy sire son? With Old Vic switched to the jumps breeding ranks, having made a non-event of his career with Flat mares, and Saddlers' Hall - with only one consequential Flat runner - joining him, where was the expected follow-up for the greatest European sire of the modern era?

Most people's favourite to turn the tide was Barathea, an admirable, top-level performer with grand conformation and an excellent temperament. He had bags of positives. He was also by Sadler's Wells out of a Habitat mare, which the gloom merchants suggested might make him doubly afflicted.

As I never tire of saying, fashion and breeder-perception can count for as much as genetics in what happens within the breed. If enough people had been of the opinion that Sadler's Wells was never going to be a sire of sires, that there never would be a top stallion out of a Habitat mare, Barathea's chances of changing those perceptions would have been seriously diminished.

IN FACT, many breeders either ignored the doubts or allowed him the benefit of them until such time as he should fail. He currently has four Pattern winners from his first crop, he is a huge commercial success, and there are reasons for real hope that he is about to carve an important niche in the stallion ranks.

The latest of the four Group 3 winners is Enrique, who landed the Greenham Stakes in a manner that did not satisfy everyone but who impressed all with a fine turn of foot. Questions remain that only the 2,000 Guineas can answer.

I incline to the view that Enrique may be the most naturally gifted of those scheduled to line up on May 1. But I cannot feel wholly confident about his ability to last the mile.

It is early days to be dogmatic about Barathea's influence on his stock in terms of distance. We remember him as a crack miler who ran respectably in both the Derby and Eclipse but patently failed for want of stamina. He assuredly will get some who stay better than he did.

But the recollection of Enrique's dam, Gwydion, remains vivid, and there seem to be similarities about mother and son in their manner of racing. She sometimes gave the impression that a mile would not be beyond her, and she had good Pattern form over seven furlongs, but she excelled in sprints; she was keen and needed to be covered up in order to make one run tell.

Although Enrique has never yet run at less than seven furlongs, and it is more than possible that Barathea will have grafted on that necessary extra stamina, his Newbury effort did suggest he might be a fair facsimile of his dam.

The evidence supplied by Gwydion's offspring is inconclusive. Her one earlier foal of any note was Piperi, who was better in

sprints than at a mile, but he was by Machiavellian, who tends to defer to his mates in terms of distance. She had a son by Sadler's Wells who won over 11 furlongs, but he lacked class, so that contributes little to the argument.

But there was stamina in the family a while back. Enrique's third dam Commemoration bred Armistice, who won a Grand Prix de Paris when it was run over 15 furlongs. And the best of her US produce, Twice Worthy, proved most effective beyond a mile, recording his best win at four in the 10-furlong Suburban Handicap. Her daughter Papamiento failed to win in eight efforts, and Gwydion was the only stakes winner she delivered from 11 foals.

Whether he turns out to be a Classic winner or 'just' a top-class sprinter, Enrique is surely going to make his mark for the Niarchos family, who can thank their lucky stars the colt's sale as a yearling to the Marquesa de Moratalla fell through.

PEDIGREE ASSESSMENT

SIRE: BARATHEA

Bred by Gerald Leigh. Won 5 (7-8f) of 16 starts, viz. 2 out of 2 at 2 years, 1 (Irish 2,000 Guineas-Gr1) out of 8 at 3 years, 2 (Queen Anne S-Gr2, Breeders' Cup Mile-Gr1) out of 6 at 4 years. Also 2nd in 2,000 Guineas, Queen Elizabeth II S (twice) and Sussex S. Earned pounds 788,417. Timeform 107p at 2 years, 124 at 3 years, 127 at 4 years.

Handsome, powerful, 16.1hh individual. Game, consistent performer with a fine turn of foot. Round-actioned, but seemed effective on any ground (untried on extremes). Best at a mile and failed for lack of stamina in Derby and Eclipse.

By the best European-based sire of the modern era out of a Gr1 winner by a top-class miler and outstanding sire of speed horses. Half-brother to Gr3 winners in US and France. Grand-dam won 4 races, bred Royal Pinnacle and the dam of Desert Style. From a family that has been intelligently

upgraded from sprint handicap level.

Stands at Rathbarry Stud at a fee of Ir25,000gns. Sire of 2 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Barafamy (Gr3), Enrique (Gr3), La Sylphide (Gr3), Red Sea (Gr3).

DAM: GWYDION

Bred by Eaton Farms Inc & Red Bull Stable. $55,000 Keeneland September yearling. Won 4 (5-6f) of 13 races, viz. 2 (inc. Queen Mary S-Gr3) out of 2 at 2 years, 2 (both Listed) out of 9 at 3 years, 0 out of 2 at 4 years. Placed 2nd twice in Gr3, 3rd twice in Gr1 at 3. Earned pounds 79,166. Timeform 112p at 2, 118 at 3, - at 4. Rather small, but strongly made, free mover. Respectable Pattern form at 7f, but better in sprints. Needed holding up, could be wayward, wore blinkers last 2 starts at 3.

One of the best products of her sire (speedy, ran only at 2). The best of 5 winners out of a non-winning half-sister to major stakes winners Armistice (by Worden) and Twice Worthy (by Ambiopoise), Listed winner Decoration Day and Princesse Comnene, grand-dam of Pharly, Comeram and Melyno.

To stud at 5 years, and dam of: Ballet Society (1989 f by Sadler's Wells; unplaced), Box Card (1991 c by Top Ville;

winner), Synergetic (1992 c by Sadler's Wells; Listed winner in France), Keanu (1993 c by Kris; winner), Piperi (1994 c by Machiavellian; winner, Gr2-placed), Eljamil (1995 c by Night Shift; unplaced), Enrique (1996 c by Barathea; Gr3 winner), Silk Glove (1997 c by Hernando; in training with H Cecil). She has no yearling, her foal is a Hernando filly, born on February 27, and she is believed in foal to Barathea.

CONCLUSION

Well bred, and an obviously high-class runner. May well stay a mile, but not guaranteed to excel over that trip at top level.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Morris, Tony
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 22, 1999
Words:1369
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