Bobby Zen

They say that good things come in threes. The team at Dalham Hall Stud could be forgiven for bending that old adage a little to say that good things come from Reem Three. 

This time 12 months ago one of the breeding stories of Royal Ascot week came in the very first race when Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s homebred Triple Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}) won the Queen Anne S. to become not just the second Group 1 winner for his dam, Reem Three (GB) (Mark Of Esteem {Ire}), but also the mare’s third winner at the royal meeting. 

Triple Time was following the example of his half-brothers Cape Byron (GB) (Shamardal), who won the Wokingham S. in 2019 before returning later that year to win the G3 Bengough S., and Ostilio (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), the winner a year earlier of the Britannia S., which he followed with victory in the G2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein. And it will be no surprise to see the next generation of this family play a leading role again this week, as indeed certain members have been doing since the start of the season. 

Reem Three was represented by two of her grandsons in this year’s 2,000 Guineas. Runner-up Rosallion (Ire) went on to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas for trainer Richard Hannon and is second-favourite for the G1 St James’s Palace S. Inisherin (GB), who, like Triple Time, represents Kevin Ryan’s stable, was sixth behind him in the Guineas. Dropped  back to six furlongs for his next start, Inisherin took the notable scalp of Vandeek (GB) when winning the G2 Sandy Lane S. He is now clear favourite for Friday’s G1 Commonwealth Cup following Vandeek’s defection. 

The two colts both represent a sire-line which is becomingly increasingly significant for the Godolphin and Darley operation. Inisherin, out of Reem Three’s other Group 1 winner, Ajman Princess (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), is by the late Shamardal, himself a former winner of the St James’s Palace S. in the year Ascot was run at York. More importantly, Rosallion is the star of the first crop of Shamadal’s son Blue Point (Ire), whose most notable achievement on the racecourse was winning two Group 1 sprints at Royal Ascot within the same week back in 2019. He now looks set to be represented at Ascot this week by his other Group/Grade 1 winner to date, Big Evs (Ire), along with Pocklington (GB), Skukuza (GB), Blue Lemons (Ire) and Kind Of Blue (GB), as well as second-crop members Ingot (GB), Spherical (GB), and Make Haste (GB).

 

 

Reem Three, now 21, is back in foal to Triple Time’s sire Frankel and lives in close proximity to her son as well as to her daughter Ajman Princess on the connected studs that are now collectively known as Dalham Hall Stud. Rosallion’s dam, the unraced Rosaline (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), is currently at Kildangan Stud in Ireland. 

Liam O’Rourke, Darley’s director of studs, stallions and breeding, understandably takes great pleasure in reflecting on the burgeoning success of the family, whose connection to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid began with his purchase of Reem Three’s granddam Donya (GB) (Mill Reef), a daughter of the Prix de Diane and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud victrix Dunette (FR) (Hard To Beat {Ire}), from her breeder Vincent O’Brien.

“It now spans over five generations, back to Donya,” he says. “There were a couple of quieter generations in between, but this has been very much one of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s creation, and it has been his great passion.

“He, of course, encourages us to use the the best quality stallions around. Some of them are Godolphin and Darley [stallions], which is a positive on virtually all fronts, but it’s very much his creation and it’s come a mighty long way.

“We’re now arriving at the stage where we are hopefully creating very high-class animals. Group 1 winners in certain cases already, Classic winners very recently, and perhaps a couple of nice stallion prospects as well for the future. So it has come a long way, but he must take all the credit.”

Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, the cousin of Godolphin’s owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has already been influential in the fortunes of the Darley stallion ranks as the owner of Dubawi (Ire). Triple Time is now several boxes down from the former champion sire in the Dalham Hall stallion wing, where the newcomer covered 161 mares this season, including his owner’s G1 Sun Chariot S. winner Fonteyn (GB) (Farhh {GB}). It is only a matter of time before Rosallion and Inisherin find themselves in a similar position.

“Triple Time has been extremely well supported and his best win obviously was a year ago in the opening fixture of Royal Ascot, beating Inspiral – a wonderful way to kick it all off,” says O’Rourke. “He’s a wonderful looking horse, beautifully bred and he’s already a stallion prospect and a stallion in his own right, and hopefully he’ll be a very successful one. And now on the same page now we’ve got Rosallion, a Classic winner – it could just be a serious stallion page emerging. And of course, we’ve got the Group 2 winner Inisherin close up on the same page as well. It’s an exciting family.”

 

Triple Time and owner-breeder Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, second left | Racingfotos

 

O’Rourke’s office affords him one of the best views in European bloodstock: from his desk he can see across the lawn to the luxurious stables occupied by Dubawi and co. Behind that desk hangs a portrait of Istabraq (Ire), one of the greatest hurdlers of all time whose image serves as a reminder for O’Rourke of his late and much-missed friend, John Durkan. It is the Flat which is the main focus of attention for the Godolphin operation, however, and as a behemoth of the breeding world, developing families and creating stallions is what it’s all about. 

In a quiet corner of the stud we visit Reem Three, now 21 and back in foal to Frankel. She is carrying her age well and though she is probably faintly bemused at having her hooves oiled to greet her visitor, she takes this interruption to her day of quiet grazing with good grace. Her paddock mate has come along to keep her company and she is almost equally noteworthy as a mare who is fast developing her own dynasty: Modern Ideals (Ire) has already produced the five-time Group/Grade 1 winner Modern Games (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) – another new recruit to the nearby stallion yard – as well as last year’s 1,000 Guineas heroine Mawj (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}). She is now back in foal to Dubawi.

Of the relatively small bay mare Reem Three, whose sire Mark Of Esteem was also a former Dalham Hall resident, O’Rourke says, “She began from fairly humble beginnings. She was Listed-placed herself, and we sent her initially to Street Cry. She bred a very good horse from two matings to him, Naqshabban, who was trained by Luca Cumani, who trained most of the family. Because she was an all-quality mare, she wasn’t a difficult one to mate up physically and, of course, she has some wonderful crosses of Mill Reef and Never Bend on her page as well, so she suited a variety of stallions. I don’t think there was any real rocket science attached to it. Sheikh Mohammed Obaid is very much a person who favours sprinter-milers, perhaps milers slightly over sprinters, but he does like a degree of, or an injection of speed and encourages us to do that. 

“So we used what we felt were the most sensible stallions about, and just used common sense really in our approach. She’s a very correct mare so she was never hard to mate.”

Reem Three’s highest-achieving daughter, at least as far as racing is concerned, is Ajman Princess, who won the G1 Prix Jean Romanet as well as finishing second in the G2 Ribblesdale S. Now 11, she produced Inisherin as her second foal and her current two-year-old is a Dubawi colt named King Of Cities (Ire).

“Ajman Princess is emerging now as a Classic type of broodmare,” O’Rourke says. “She’s a beauty, she’s a Group 1 winner herself as well. She won over a mile and two furlongs and a mile and a half as well, so there’s versatility, and now she has bred a sprinter who looks like he’s probably just as effective over seven furlongs if it ever comes to that, but there’s versatility right across the page.”

He continues, “Rosaline, again, has bred a Classic winner. She’s one of the few in the family who didn’t race – it’s a very sound family as families go, and she had shown ability, but she was injured and couldn’t race. But she had been in training with John Oxx and had shown a fair degree of ability at the time.”

That soundness – and ability – in the family is borne out by the fact that eight of Reem Three’s offspring have earned black type, the latest being three-year-old Bolsena (Ire) (Kingman {GB}), who was recently second in the Listed Agnes Keyser Fillies’ S. at Goodwood. The next to surface will hopefully be Reem Three’s juvenile filly Triple Tempest (GB) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), who is in training with Karl Burke. She has another filly coming through in the yearling by Pinatubo (Ire) and she was not covered last year. 

“She’s one of those mares who is much better off, and happier, pregnant,” O’Rourke explains. “She’s had a foal just about every year. She was late foaling last year, so we gave her the year off and, if she was all right and looking the part, we said we would have one more go with Frankel this year. She got in foal first cover, looks tremendous, and she’s got a grin on her face again.”

 

The post Three’s a Charm: The Wonder Mare Set to Star Again at Ascot appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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