For anyone catching the pedigree bug in the late twentieth century, the stand-out broodmare of the time was Fall Aspen. She was a Grade 1 winner herself, at two in the Matron Stakes at Belmont, but it was as a producer that she has achieved lasting fame. For a start, 13 of her 14 foals were winners which is a rare enough feat. Four of those were successful at Group/Grade level; Timber Country, Northern Aspen, Hamas and Fort Wood, while another four were Group 2/3 winners; Colorado Dancer, Elle Seule, Bianconi and Mazzacano. Besides being very good, Fall Aspen’s foals were also a remarkably diverse bunch, excelling on both turf and dirt and over a range of distances.
Timber Country, for example, a son of Woodman, was champion two-year-old colt in the USA, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and training on to win the Preakness Stakes. Hamas and Bianconi, both by Danzig, were sprinters, winning the July Cup and Diadem Stakes respectively, whereas Mazzacano, a son of Alleged, won the Goodwood Cup (over its old distance of nearly 2m5f, when it was only a Group 3).
Better than all her own foals, though, was Fall Aspen’s outstanding grandson Dubai Millennium out of Prix de Pomone winner Colorado Dancer. A record of nine wins from ten races (he failed to stay in the Derby), including the Dubai World Cup and Prince of Wales’s Stakes on his last two starts, promised plenty for his stallion career but that was cut tragically short and would have had little lasting impact had it not been for Dubawi featuring in his only crop of foals.
Among several other direct descendants of Fall Aspen’s to take up stallion careers, apart from her own sons, are Medaaly and Charnwood Forest (both out of Fall Aspen’s unraced daughter Dance of Leaves), Intello and Mondialiste (both descending from Prix d’Astarte winner Elle Seule, more of whom below), Pyledriver’s sire Harbour Watch (a grandson of Fall Aspen’s daughter Sheroog) and Ribchester who we’ll also return to.
While Sheikh Mohammed reaped the rewards of buying into the family through Colorado Dancer, Sheikh Hamdan benefited from the acquisition of Elle Seule, then aged seven, at the 1990 Keeneland November Sale. She was already the dam of two fillies by Lyphard by then, including Only Seule who raced for Jacques Wertheimer, producing the Prix de la Foret and Prix Maurice de Gheest winner Occupandiste, later the dam of Mondialiste and grandam of Intello.
Sheikh Hamdan paid $1.5m for Elle Seule, who was in foal to Nureyev at the time, and that investment had a fairly quick return as the filly she was carrying was Mehthaaf whose biggest win came in the Irish 1000 Guineas. Elle Seule produced ten winners in all, her other Group 1 winner for Sheikh Hamdan being Elnadim, a son of Danzig like Hamas, and who emulated his ‘uncle’ by winning the July Cup. Elnadim also won the Diadem Stakes a year before his other uncle Bianconi won it.
Other good winners out of Elle Seule were Khulood (by Storm Cat), who won the Nell Gwyn Stakes as Mehthaaf had done, and Elnadim’s sister Ashraakat who was second in the Nell Gwyn and also a dual listed winner.
Like her grandam and dam before her, Mehthaaf was a fine producer of winners, though none of her nine foals was as good as she was herself. Best of them was the Godolphin filly Najah, a daughter of Nashwan. She made her racecourse debut in the listed 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown when finding only Speirbhean (later the dam of Teofilo) too good, and then ran in the Oaks on just her second start but ended her career winning the Group 2 Premio Lydia Tesio at Rome.
More successful as a broodmare, however, was Najah’s Darshaan half-sister Tanaghum. She ran only five times for John Dunlop, who trained many from this family for Sheikh Hamdan, and made a belated but successful debut at three in a mile and a quarter maiden at the Newmarket July meeting. Her best effort in her subsequent quest for black type came in the listed Harvest Stakes over a mile and a half at Ascot.
Tanaghum produced several winners for Shadwell, among them Tactic, a staying type by Sadler’s Wells who won the Group 3 Curragh Cup and Zahoo, a daughter of Nayef who was runner-up in a listed race at Doncaster. It was with that less than exciting stud record that Tanaghum was culled by Shadwell at the age of 14 when sent to the Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale in 2014 but, as it turned out, her best days as a broodmare were still ahead of her.
In fact, the following year her three-year-old filly Yaazy (by Teofilo), became another black-type winner for her dam in Sheikh Hamdan’s colours when landing the listed Prix Joubert over a mile and a half at Saint-Cloud. However, Tanaghum’s greatest success came for her new owners Barronstown Stud who bought her at Goffs for €250,000.
Tanaghum’s first foal produced at Barronstown was Matterhorn (by Raven’s Pass) who first made a name for himself on the all-weather in Britain, winning seven races in 2018/19, including the valuable Easter Classic at Lingfield, and later gained a Group 1 success in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge in Dubai. He was followed by Bangkok (by Australia), a 500,000 guinea purchase by King Power Racing. He too proved adept on the all-weather, winning the 2021 Easter Classic, but had some good wins on turf, including in the Classic Trial at Sandown (which earned him a crack at the Derby) and last season’s Group 2 York Stakes. Bangkok becomes the latest colt from the Fall Aspen line to take up stud duties and stood his first season at Chapel Stud in Worcestershire this year at a fee of £3,000.
He therefore joins his relative Ribchester in the stallion ranks. Champion miler in Europe at both three (when winning the Prix Jacques Le Marois) and four (Lockinge, Queen Anne and Prix du Moulin), Ribchester was the first foal of Tanaghum’s very modest daughter Mujarah (by Marju) who failed to finish within ten lengths of the winner in any of her five starts. Ribchester’s first crop are three-year-olds this year headed by Commonwealth Cup runner-up Flaming Rib.
Tanaghum’s latest foals to reach the track are both by Churchill and both have been promising winners in recent weeks. Three-year-old filly Perotan has won both her starts for Aidan O’Brien, including the listed Her Majesty’s Plate at Down Royal last time. She runs in Friday’s Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes at Cork and later on holds an entry in the Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot.
Two-year-old colt The Foxes, a 440,000 guinea yearling, became Tanaghum’s eleventh winner when successful in the seven-furlong maiden on the final day of Glorious Goodwood. Like Bangkok, he was a winner for Andrew Balding in the colours of King Power. He holds an entry in next month’s Royal Lodge Stakes.
Goodwood has been a happy hunting ground for Fall Aspen’s descendants. Apart from Mazzacano in the Goodwood Cup, Dubai Millennium won the Predominate Stakes there, Mehthaaf won the Celebration Mile and Harbour Watch won the Richmond Stakes on what proved to be his final start. The Foxes wasn’t the only success at the Sussex track for Tanaghum as earlier in the week her grandson Marbaan (by Oasis Dream), out of Zahoo, completed a hat-trick in the Vintage Stakes for Charlie Fellowes in the colours of Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum. He too holds a Royal Lodge entry among several big autumn engagements that also include the Dewhurst.