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World Of Breeding: Promising Bowman on way to emulating nillustrious parents.

Byline: Tony Morris

IT is a generally acknowledged fact that most stallions, whatever their merit as runners and however they are bred, do not succeed at stud. They are more reasonably assessed in terms of their degree of failure.

Upwards of 90 per cent do no more than supply runners to the racing industry, while the percentage of those who make an enduring mark on the breed is low enough to render a prediction of such influence in any individual case a rash act.

It is not all about genetics. Promotion and marketing can be influential, fashion is an important factor, and lack of fashion may be devastating to the prospects of numerous worthy horses. The perceptions of breeders are invariably crucial.

Ideally, what most breeders want from a young stallion is a replica of himself. They like him to get stock in his own image, and if they are to keep faith, they need some evidence that he can get runners with his own aptitude and class. The horse who cannot satisfy those requirements - and quickly - tends to get neglected and rejected.

Given that scenario, which has been in place now for decades, it seems remarkable that Irish River, at the age of 26, now enjoys a retirement at Gainesway Farm that is wholly honourable. He took a long time to deliver what breeders expected of him and never really did so dependably, but he made them alter their perceptions and keep supplying him with chances. In return he has rewarded them, and in each of his first 20 crops he has had at least one winner at Pattern or Graded level.

Irish River was a top-class runner, precocious enough to land the Prix Morny at Deauville, progressing to undisputed leadership of the juvenile class in France. At three his brilliance as a miler was in no doubt, though there was dispute over whether he ranked as the best in Europe. Timeform rated his British-based contemporary Kris as 4lb better, while the compilers of the International Classifications declined to separate the pair. Unfortunately, neither ventured out of his own parish, so their relative merits were not easy to establish.

What was clear was that Irish River, from the third crop of the admirable Riverman, had class in abundance, could turn on an electrifying burst of speed, and - in spite of the blinkers that were an invariable accoutrement - was a thoroughly honest athlete to boot. As the best son of his sire, and as gifted as his sire, he seemed to possess outstanding qualifications for stud.

It might also have been construed as being to his advantage that, as he retired to stud in France in 1980, Riverman departed for Kentucky. But it was not quite like that.

There had been a whispering campaign to Riverman's detriment for a while. He should have done better with the chances he had enjoyed, it was said, and he seemed to be spreading bad knees among the population. There was anything but a hue and cry on his departure, and his son found himself under suspicion from the outset.

By the end of 1980 Riverman was France's champion sire, with winners of the Prix du Jockey-Club (Policeman) and the Arc (Detroit). After a single season at Etreham, Irish River was off to join his sire at Gainesway, where breeders gave him the respect that a horse of his class warranted.

But as the years rolled by, where was the runner in Irish River's image, the speedy two-year-old who developed into a cracking miler at three? The filly Seven Springs, from his first Kentucky-conceived crop, had the precocity, but that was the best of her. His two top-level winners from the third crop gained honours at 14 furlongs, Orban in the Premio Roma at four, and Mashkour, astonishingly, in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at eight.

It was not until 1992, 13 years after Irish River had scored in the Prix du Moulin to retire unbeaten in five efforts at a mile - four in Group 1 company - that he had a performer to achieve comparable distinction over the distance. Then he had not one, but three, all in the space of four months - Hatoof in the 1,000 Guineas, Brief Truce in the St James's Palace Stakes, Exit To Nowhere in the Prix Jacques le Marois. No less remarkably, there have been none in Europe since then.

Irish River's stock are not suited to America's dirt tracks and they have rarely shown his brand of speed. Only Drapeau Tricolore, in two Grade 3 handicaps, has managed a prestige victory on dirt, and only Sandtrap and Yokama have reached the heights of Grade 3 on grass at sprint distances.

Paradise Creek, who excelled at ten furlongs, has been his real star turn in the States, though Leariva, Navarone, Hatoof, River Bay and Irish Prize have also emulated Mashkour as Grade 1 winners on American turf courses.

As for getting stock with his racing aptitude, Irish River has at least got three winners of the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau, the race in which he launched his own brilliant 1979 campaign. Neither With The Flow (1998) nor Berine's Son (2000) achieved the follow-up that he accomplished, but there are perhaps higher hopes for Bowman, who landed that prize on Sunday only two weeks after losing his maiden status.

At the end of a slowly-run race, Bowman's margin over Medecis was by no means emphatic, but Landseer (a Group 1 runner-up in the Dewhurst and the Criterium International) was third, and this was a distinctly promising performance. He will not be out of place in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, the race which provided his sire's second step on the road to glory as a three-year-old.

Bowman is the third foal of that fine sprinter Cherokee Rose, and easily her most distinguished to date. She was no great shakes at two, experienced a virus-stricken second season, and at four came back from a mile to reveal hitherto unsuspected pace and acceleration for Group 1 wins in the Prix Maurice de Gheest and Haydock Sprint Cup. That was not what daughters of Dancing Brave were supposed to do, but those accomplishments made her his best filly.

Cherokee Rose's speed was an endowment from her family, long associated with class over shorter distances; fourth dam Mesopotamia was a flying machine, even with Gold Cup hero Zarathustra as her sire.

With Group 1 celebrities as sire and dam, Bowman is entitled to make a mark. It will be fascinating to see whether he can emulate them at the top level.

Pedigree Assessment

Sire: Irish River

Bred by Mme Raymond Ades in France. Won 10 (5-9.2f) of 12 races, viz 5 (inc. Prix Morny-Gr1, Prix de la Salamandre-Gr1, Grand Criterium-Gr1) out of 6 at 2 years, 5 (Prix de Fontainebleau-Gr3, Poule d'Essai des Poulains-Gr1, Prix d'Ispahan-Gr1, Prix Jacques le Marois-Gr1, Prix du Moulin de Longchamp-Gr1) out of 6 at 3 years. Earned Ff2,705,000. Timeform 126 at 2, 131 at 3.

Strongly-made, athletic individual, 16.1hh. Speedy, precocious type who developed into a top-class miler (unbeaten in 5 starts at the distance). Outstayed in only effort at 10f. Effective on any ground, perhaps best on firm, with impressive powers of acceleration. Always wore blinkers, but thoroughly game and resolute.

The best son of an outstanding sire, out of a 12f winning sister to Pattern-placed Kaliopi, from family of Turn-to and Ambiorix.

Retired from stud service at Gainesway Farm, Lexington, Kentucky; last advertised fee (2001) $25,000 (live foal). Sire of 20 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Ballinderry (Gr2), Grand Pavois (Gr2), Kings River (Gr3), Seven Springs (Prix Robert Papin-Gr1, Prix Morny-Gr1), Mashkour (San Juan Capistrano H.-Gr1), Orban (Premio Roma-Gr1), Grand Fleuve (Gr3), Lascaux (Gr2), Aim For The Top (Gr3), Bricassar (Gr3), Drapeau Tricolore (Gr3), Madjaristan (Gr3), Seven Rivers (Gr3), Leariva (Washington DC International-Gr1), Rouse The Louse (Gr3), Bog Trotter (Gr2), Exit To Nowhere (Prix Jacques le Marois-Gr1), Navarone (Oak Tree Invitational H.-Gr1), River Traffic (Gr3), Brief Truce (St James`s Palace S.-Gr1), Hatoof (1,000 Guineas-Gr1, Champion S.-Gr1, Beverly D S.-Gr1), Paradise Creek (Manhattan S.-Gr1, Arlington Million-Gr1, Washington DC International-Gr1), Tuesday`s Special (Gr3), Irish Forever (Gr3), Fairy Path (Gr3), River Bay (Hollywood Turf Cup S.-Gr1, Charles Whittingham H.-Gr1), Sandtrap (Gr 3), Yokama (Gr2), Hula Queen (Gr3), Moonlight Paradise (Gr3), Natalie Too (Gr3), Galic Boy (Gr3), With The Flow (Gr2), Irish Prize (Shoemaker Mile S.-Gr1), Louve (Gr3), Slip Stream (Gr2), Terek (Gr3), Berine`s Son (Gr3), Navesink (Gr2), Bowman (Gr3).

Dam: Cherokee Rose

Bred by Sheikh Mohammed in Ireland. Won 5 (6-7f) of 14 races, viz 1 out of 3 at 2, 0 out of 4 at 3, 4 (Prix du Palais Royal-Gr3, Prix de la Porte Maillot-Gr3, Prix Maurice de Gheest-Gr1, Haydock Park Sprint Cup-Gr1) out of 7 at 4. Timeform 122 at 4.

Strong-quartered, quite attractive sort. Ordinary form at 2, hampered by virus at 3, developed into high-class sprinter at 4, with fine turn of foot. Best at 6f, useful at 7f. Best with give in ground.

Fastest daughter of her sire, an outstanding 8-12f performer with an inconsistent stud record. Half-sister to UAE stakes-winner Keltoi (by Soviet Star) and Gr2-placed and successful NZ sire Volksraad (by Green Desert). Dam Listed-placed at 10f. Half-sister to Gr3 winner Celtic Heir (by Czaravich) and Gr2 winner Molesnes (by Alleged).

To stud at 5 years and dam of: Moesii (1997 f by Diesis; winner in French provinces), Fort Pulaski (1998 c by Gulch; unraced), Bowman (1999 c by Irish River; Gr3 winner). She has a 2-y-o colt by Carson City, a yearling filly by Seeking The Gold, is due this year to King's Best, and will be covered by Sunday Silence.

Conclusions

Strongly progressive, well-bred colt who should prove a major factor in Poule d'Essai des Poulains.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 18, 2002
Words:1649
Previous Article:Beverley: Fahey fires in a quick double.
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