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Hellenic legacy continued by her daughters at Ballymacoll.

Byline: Richard Griffiths

IT DOESN'T take too long a conversation with Peter Reynolds to understand the unbelievable impact of Ballymacoll Stud broodmare Hellenic, who has been put down at the age of 24 due to chronic arthritis.

A top-class filly herself, Hellenic produced 14 foals since retiring to stud in 1991, including six black-type performers headed by Islington, winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, Nassau Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks and Musidora Stakes.

"She was such a lovely mare and what she has done for the stud is remarkable, no-one could have foreseen what an influence she would be," Reynolds said. "We retired her last year and unfortunately she has had trouble with chronic arthritis. It is one thing to be dealing with in July but it would have been a lot harder for her in the winter months and the one thing you don't want to see is a horse suffer, so we did what we felt was the kindest thing for her."

Hellenic's influence provided Reynolds with the confidence to stick to trusted broodmare families. "We tried to bring in some mares with new blood but it didn't work out half as well as sticking with the old ones," said Reynolds, who has managed Ballymacoll for 39 years and can remember Hellenic's fourth dam Country House being on the farm when he joined.

It is also important to remember that Ballymacoll, especially since the death of its patrons Lord and Simon Weinstock, needs to balance its books as much as any other stud. And it's not just on the racecourse that a top broodmare's progeny play such an important role. Ballymacoll has raised significant sums through sales such as Hellenic's son Mountain High to Ballydoyle; equally, all five of Islington's foals have been fillies, allowing Ballymacoll the freedom to auction, for example, her $2.4 million foal by Gone West in 2006.

Islington, in foal to Oasis Dream, is one of four daughters of Hellenic at the stud, the others being Desert Beauty (in foal to Montjeu), Olympienne (Fastnet Rock) and La Divina (Dansili).

Hellenic's dynasty is due to be represented at Goodwood this week by King Edward VII Stakes runner-up Fiorente (by Monsun), who is likely to start a hot favourite for the Gordon Stakes. He is out of Desert Bloom, an unraced granddaughter of Hellenic.

Friday five A QUICK reminder of the value of the Racing Post Yearling Bonus. On Friday, the connections of five juveniles landed a bonus of pounds 10,000 each. That pounds 50,000 payout was double the winning prize-money pool, even though two of the five races were at Ascot and one was at York. Says a lot, really.

Swiss account growing BLIMEY, no sooner do we raise the prospect of Swiss Diva becoming a fourth winner this season for her dam Swiss Lake, then her spoilsport six-year-old half-brother Swiss Franc wins at Newmarket. The four-year-old Swiss Cross, three-year-old Swiss Dream and juvenile Swiss Spirit have all won, meaning that if five-year-old Swiss Diva were successful her dam would complete a five-timer of her progeny of successive ages winning in one season.

"It would be even more remarkable if Swiss Diva could be the fifth.

However, it might be a tall order as she will be running in Group 1 and 2 races when she gets soft ground," says their breeder Trevor Harris, owner of Newmarket's Lordship Stud. Swiss Lake has a Dansili filly foal - "we havent thought of a name yet, but it just might be Swiss something!" - and is carrying a sister by Pivotal to Swiss Diva.

Further examples of highperforming broodmares have come this week from Timeform's John Ingles, who with eagle eyes has spotted that the mare Forever Bond has also had four winners: five-yearold Forever's Girl (Monsieur Bond), four-year-old Hoof It, three-year-old Ladies Are Forever and the juvenile Bopit. This is another remarkable achievement; all were bred by Reg Bond and the first three are by his Gladness Stakes winner Monsieur Bond, while Bopit is by another Bond-raced son of Danehill Dancer in Misu Bond.

Both Bond and Harris are getting amazing value from their mares: Hoof It won the Skybet Dash at York yesterday, while Swiss Dream won the Boylesports Mobile Handicap at Newmarket and Swiss Cross and Swiss Franc are due to take each other on at Ascot today (5.10).

Ingles also points out that if the last year's Lincoln winner Penitent were to win at Pontefract today, then his dam Pious would have had four successive winners this season aged from three to six.

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Hellenic wins the 1990 Yorkshire Oaks from the Aga Khan's Kartajana
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 24, 2011
Words:775
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