Sibling rivals

Half-sisters Sagaciously and Sagely, first and second in a Goodwood handicap

The EBF Breeders’ Series Veuve Cliquot Fillies’ Handicap might not have been one of the more prestigious events run at Glorious Goodwood (or the Qatar Goodwood Festival as the meeting is now branded) at the end of last month, but from a breeding point of view it resulted in a good story. In the mile and a quarter contest, worth £18,675 to the winner, the four-year-old filly Sagaciously beat her three-year-old half-sister (and stable-companion) Sagely into second.

Both fillies are trained by Ed Dunlop who bought Sagaciously, a daughter of the Prix du Jockey Club winner Lawman, for 20,000 guineas at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. She made a winning debut at Leicester the following September and so, just weeks later, the trainer acquired her yearling half-sister, by the German 2000 Guineas winner Frozen Power, for €35,000 at Tattersalls Ireland.

The Goodwood race, intended for fillies just below listed standard, was a third career win for top-weight Sagaciously who had finished fourth in listed races at Newmarket and Ascot earlier in her career. Meanwhile, Sagely was unable to make a winning debut in the very same race at Leicester which her half-sister had won a year earlier but she has been successful twice this year, in a maiden at Wolverhampton and a handicap at Ripon.

The half-sisters were bred by Keatly Overseas Ltd out of the Peintre Celebre mare Saga Celebre who won a maiden at Fairyhouse at three (for the Aga Khan) and an allowance race at Hollywood on her only outing as a four-year-old in the States. Besides being by an Arc winner herself, so too was Saga Celebre’s grandam the Prix de Royallieu winner Saganeca (by Sagace), while her dam Saga d’Ouilly was a full sister to yet another Arc winner Sagamix. More recently, Saganeca has become the grandam of the 2013 Oaks runner-up Secret Gesture who went on to win last year’s Middleton Stakes at York.

It is rare for siblings to meet in the same race (though it actually happened in this year’s Grand National which was contested by half-brothers Silviniaco Conti and Ucello Conti) and rarer still, of course, for them to finish first and second, but there have been some notable examples.

Coincidentally, another also occurred at Glorious Goodwood and involved stable-companions. This was the 1995 Goodwood Cup in which the four-year-old Double Trigger, recent winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, beat his three-year-old brother Double Eclipse by a neck in a thrilling finish. The Mark Johnston-trained pair met again in the same race two years later (after both finished well beaten in the Gold Cup), Double Trigger winning again and this time having Double Eclipse back in third. Double Trigger went on to win a third Goodwood Cup (and Doncaster Cup) in 1998 by which time his younger brother had been retired. Here’s the 1997 race:

The only other European pattern race since the 1995 Goodwood Cup in which we believe siblings have finished first and second is the 2000 Prix de la Porte Maillot at Longchamp. This time, not only were the pair concerned not stable-companions, they weren’t even trained in the same country. Four-year-old Josr Algarhoud, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, beat his three-year-old half-sister Cap Coz trained in France by Robert Collet.

Frankel often had the services of year-older sibling Bullet Train as a pacemaker in his races (including the Queen Anne Stakes, above) in a rare example of brotherly teamwork, but perhaps the most sustained rivalry between two siblings was that between the Champion Hurdle winning brothers Morley Street and Granville Again. They first met in the 1992 Champion Hurdle in which Morley Street was sixth and Granville Again fell, but it was the following season when they clashed regularly in some of the top hurdle races.

It was Morley Street, two years the elder of the pair, who came out on top in both the Coral Elite Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Aintree Hurdle, with Granville Again runner-up both times. However, in between, Granville Again had been second and Morley Street third in the Bula Hurdle, also at Cheltenham, and this was also the season in which Granville Again won his Champion Hurdle (with Morley Street only twelfth). Their final meeting came in the 1994 Champion Hurdle – the third year running in which they’d clashed in that race – though on that occasion Granville Again was only seventh and Morley Street was pulled up.

More recently at Cheltenham, the five-year-old mare Copper Kay beat her year-younger sibling Which One Is Which into second in a listed mares’ bumper in November 2015; the pair are by Kayf Tara and King’s Theatre respectively, both sons of Sadler’s Wells.

But perhaps the most remarkable one-two for siblings in a major flat race came in the 1953 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. In a twenty-five runner field, the three-year-old filly La Sorellina held on by just a head to beat her four-year-old half-brother Silnet (for footage of race click link below). The pair carried the colours of their breeder Paul Duboscq. La Sorellina had won the Prix de Diane earlier that year, while Silnet had finished third in the previous season’s Prix du Jockey Club.

If anyone knows of any other notable examples of siblings fighting out the finish of a race, please add a comment.

[Image courtesy of]


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