Newsells Park Stud's broodmare band is renowned for its excellence and the operation's mares are set for some stellar matings in 2024.
The team has a high-profile individual joining its ranks in Sibila Spain, a group 2-winning daughter of Frankel who sold to Jill Lamb for €2,000,000 (US$2,152,517, €1=$1.08) at Arqana's Vente d'Elevage in December. Out of 2003 Irish Oaks (G1) second L'Ancresse, a Darshaan half sister to 2008 Irish Oaks victress Moonstone, the sister to high-class stayer Master of Reality has settled in well to life in Hertfordshire and is due in foal to Dubawi in April. She is set to return to Darley's champion sire.
General manager Julian Dollar said: "I'm thrilled to have her. She's one of the most exciting mares we've ever bought at public auction and could be one of the best young mares we've acquired since I've been here. We do try and buy those sorts of mares, but often they're beyond us.
"I explained to Graham (Smith-Bernal, stud owner) that I couldn't go to Arqana as my dad wasn't very well, but that I didn't think we'd be able to buy her. She'd likely make between two and three (million) and even If we stretched to two, I thought we'd fall short. I was shocked but delighted to buy her because she ticks all the boxes.
"Physically everyone loved her. She has that great race record over a mile, has got a very strong pedigree and she's by Frankel and in foal to Dubawi. On top of that, she also seems to have the most lovely attitude. I hope she can prove very good value in time."
The 'W' family's matriarch Waldlerche is also carrying to Dubawi, but will be rested as she is due to foal her filly late. The dam of 2019 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) hero Waldgeist is no one-trick pony, however, as she is also the dam of Prix de Malleret (G2) winner Waldlied by New Approach. Waldlied's Kingman colt Equitize is a winner who set a course record at Tampa Bay Downs in her 4-year-old debut this year for Chad Brown, but it is Waldlied who is set for a globetrotting adventure to Japan.
Dollar said of Waldlied: "She didn't get in foal to Baaeed last year, and because she's barren we've taken the opportunity to send her to Japan to visit Equinox. She's just arrived and we were delighted they allowed us to send her and are very excited about the opportunity.
"She could stay there another year and go to one of their other stallions as we've thought about sending a mare there for some years.
"It was interesting talking to some of our Japanese friends over the December sales. We've had wonderful clients from Japan for many years, but the number of broodmares with us has dropped over the past few years and I wondered if there were specific reasons for this.
"Reading between the lines, while they continue to have huge admiration for our bloodstock and for our best stallions, I don't think the stallion fees for our best stallions make any sense to them, especially if they end up running the progeny over here in Europe.
"In Japan, Equinox and their very best stallions stand for no more than around £110,000, while they are running in maiden races for the same amount we can only dream about in some of our group races."
Newsells Park's broodmare band is backed up by a number of young mares by the late Shamardal. One is Aljazzi, a winner of the 2017 Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2), who is set to be paired with one of the most exciting young sires around.
Dollar said: "We've got a few exciting, young Shamardal mares at the moment, including Aljazzi, who is in foal to Frankel. She has the most lovely yearling filly by him and will visit Too Darn Hot. We've been very impressed by what he's done, including a group 3 winner and a group 3-placed performer out of Shamardal mares, so it looks like a cross that is working."
Newsells Park celebrated another group 1 success in 2023 through Fillies' Mile (G1) heroine Ylang Ylang, a 1,500,000gns (US$1,803,902) purchase by MV Magnier and White Birch Farm from 2022 Tattersalls Book 1. Ballydoyle's classic prospect is out of the well-related Shambolic, who is due to foal a sibling to the group 1 winner later this year.
"It was something of a relief when Ylang Ylang won the Fillies' Mile, as we expected great things of her throughout the year and also, we've been very fortunate to average a group 1 winner every year over the last decade or so," said Dollar.
"We hadn't had one for a couple of years and the pressure was starting to build, so it was great to see her win the Fillies' Mile, especially her being the first foal out of a young mare."
He continued: "She's back in foal to Frankel and we believe she's carrying a filly, but she's not due to the end of April. Depending on when she foals we'll either send her back to Frankel, or rest her, but we've got four other mares going to him. She has the most beautiful Kingman 2-year-old and I'd be tempted, depending on what he does, to send her back to Kingman at some stage too."
The late, great Shastye left an immense legacy for Newsells. Dollar is hoping her Galileo daughter Secret Gaze can carry on that line. The unraced sister to Japan, Mogul, Sir Isaac Newton, and Secret Gesture had a winner with her first runner, the Lope de Vega filly Liwa Oasis, and there is a 2-year-old filly by Dubawi and yearling colt by Siyouni to look forward to.
Dollar said: "That family is sacred to us and we desperately hope one of her daughters will be a success. It might be Secret Gaze. She had an exceptionally nice Dubawi filly we sold last October and her first foal stays in training and they hope she's good enough for black type. As a full sister to Secret Gesture, Japan, and Mogul I'm ever hopeful and, of course, it's a family we want to invest in. She'll visit Zarak this season, who we hold in big regard."
Home support for Nathaniel includes the high-class One Voice and Dollar repeated the belief he has in the son of Galileo, now the sire of eight individual group 1 or grade 1 winners. Two of them came last year via Goodwood Cup (G1) victor Quickthorn and British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes winner Poptronic.
"The penny has finally dropped for most breeders this year that he's a very good stallion and the proof of that is that he's basically full already," said Dollar. "There has always been that discussion about whether he is or he isn't (a good stallion), but with Desert Crown and two new group 1 winners last year, it takes his total of group 1 winners to eight, including three from a single crop, and you can't not be a good stallion and achieve that.
"Seven of those have come in classics and major group 1 races in the major racing jurisdictions in Europe, so finally there's that cementing of opinion that he's just an exceptional sire."
Dollar said: "The family has just exploded, she's got a spectacular Dubawi yearling filly who Graham would love to keep, but commercially I suspect we'll have to sell. Sadly she lost her pregnancy to Dubawi at 60 days last year, but we're going to pair her with Siyouni, who has got a good strike rate with Shamardal mares."
Other exciting mares with high-class matings include Over All, another set for Too Darn Hot based on the Galileo cross that produced his group 2 winner Darnation, as well as Harzand's half sister Hazaranda, who heads to Sea The Stars, plus Date With Destiny, the sole offspring by George Washington. The 16-year-old goes to Sea The Stars' best son in Baaeed.
On the initiative that Newsells Park has formed with Hazaranda, Dollar explained: "She and Sibilia Spain are part of a new breeding and bloodstock fund with the aim of attracting new investors and people into the industry.
"It's made up of 50% investment from Newsells Park and 50% from investors who want to dip their toe in the water in an equal partnership. It'll follow the same pattern as our wider business model; that is to get the best mares we can afford and develop and breed strongly, with a view to selling them at the yearling sales.
"We realize we're breeding strongly in a year that looks like it could be facing strong industry headwinds, but we're happy to continue to breed to the best stallions we can and we continue to have confidence in our yearlings at the sales."
Dollar retains plenty of faith in Luminate, a dual group winner by Lawman whose Dubawi daughter sold to Godolphin for 800,000gns at Tattersalls in October. That filly's Dubawi brother, Highland Spring, is in training with William Haggas and should come into his own this year, while Luminate is set for a date with Frankel.
He said: "Her Galileo was sadly unraced but her second foal, by Dubawi, is held in high regard by William Haggas and should improve as a 3-year-old. We sold a beautiful Dubawi filly in October who we thought was exceptional, while she's in foal to Lope de Vega on an early cover and then she'll go to Frankel."
Another going to Frankel is Yummylicious, a stakes-placed daughter of Dubawi and Yummy Mummy.
Dollar said: "She was a winner and well-rated enough to earn some black type. She's beautiful too, so we're going all out and she'll visit Frankel for her first mating. It's a magic cross and we just couldn't resist the temptation."
As for Yummy Mummy, there will be one final hurrah for the 19-year-old daughter of Montjeu and sister to Fame And Glory. The dam of the top-class Legatissimo has been a fine servant for connections and will be heading over the Channel to France.
Dollar said: "She's an old favorite of the team's here. She's getting to the end of her career, but still looks a queen and she's still something of a diva! She didn't get in foal to Zarak last year, but had the most beautiful Siyouni filly in 2023, but that foaling nearly killed her and she hemorrhaged badly. She's had nearly a year off, looks great and we feel she warrants one last cover and that's to Zarak."
Moon A Lisa was a Tattersalls December Mare Sale purchase in 2022 in foal to Wootton Bassett, now a yearling filly, and is due to Frankel before heading to Lope de Vega, while Ottoman Fleet's dam Innevera is also carrying to the champion sire. She returns to Sea The Stars for 2024, while Maurimo, a winning Kingman half sister to Cannock Chase and Star Catcher and another December Mare Sale purchase in 2022, is also Ireland-bound for Wootton Bassett.
It is not all about the girls in 2024, either. Without Parole has his first 2-year-olds hit the track, something Dollar awaits with anticipation after the St James's Palace Stakes (G1) winner's first yearlings were well received last year.
He said: "He's going really well, I feared the worst as it is the fourth year and also the fact there are three new sons of Frankel standing in the Newmarket area, but he's going just as well as this time last year. That's largely because his first yearlings made such a good impression and sold really well.
"We're supporting him with nice mares again, including My Special J's and Lady Darshaan to name just two."
The third member of the team is A'Ali, a triple group 2 winner at 2 and a dual group winner at 3. The talented sprinter's first foals were in a very similar mold to their Norfolk (G2) and Flying Childers Stakes (G2)-winning father and were accordingly popular.
"I thought they were very well received and we got plenty of positive feedback," said Dollar. "They ought to be the sorts of horses who will sell well as yearlings, Because with A'Ali's yearlings, you're not just selling to one market, but two—the trainers and the breeze-up boys, as he was an exceptional breezer himself, don't forget."