One of the season’s broodmare success stories that might have gone largely unnoticed is that of Dani Ridge. Several of her offspring have reached a higher level than she did herself on the track, while 2015 has been a particularly good year for the family.
A daughter of Indian Ridge, Dani Ridge won three times for trainer Eric Alston in the north of England over six furlongs. She was a good handicapper, good enough to be tried a few times in listed company, but not quite up to earning black type, once finishing fourth in a listed race at Haydock behind Tante Rose who went on to win the Sprint Cup at the same track.
Dani Ridge’s full brother Blomberg won the Diomed Stakes at Epsom over an extended mile but her own offspring have been sprinters like their dam. Her first foal Ridge Wood Dani (by Invincible Spirit) also won three races for the Alston stable (later successful too in Qatar), while the fillies that followed were both placed in good two-year-old races at Ascot, Danidh Dubai (by Noverre) finishing third in the Albany Stakes and Full Mandate (by Acclamation) second in the Princess Margaret Stakes.
We’ll return to Danidh Dubai below. Acclamation has been a regular mate for Dani Ridge, responsible for another of her successful fillies, four-time winner Badr Al Badoor. All seven of Dani Ridge’s foals to have raced so far are winners, three of them successful this year.
Seven-year-old gelding Invincible Ridge, a full brother to Ridge Wood Dani, gained the fifth win of his career when successful over five furlongs at Redcar in May, while another by Invincible Spirit, three-year old colt Profitable, became Dani Ridge’s first stakes winner the same month when winning the listed Westow Stakes at York, also over five furlongs.
Dani Ridge’s third winner this year is her four-year-old daughter by Bushranger, Ridge Ranger, who has progressed from winning three handicaps, including one at the Glorious Goodwood meeting, to being beaten just a nose on her latest start in the Group 3 World Trophy at Newbury. Ridge Ranger carries the colours of her breeder Con Harrington, and like Invincible Ridge is trained by Eric Alston whose best horses have included the 2006 Sprint Cup winner Reverence and the durable gelding Tedburrow who won 21 races, including the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle at the age of ten.
Dani Ridge’s yearling filly by Mastercraftsman went through the ring at Tattersalls last month but was bought back by her breeder for 110,000 guineas.
While her own offspring have done plenty to upgrade Dani Ridge’s stud record this year, it is her German-trained grandson Gamgoom who has been the family’s most extraordinary success story of 2015. He’s by Exceed And Excel out of the aforementioned Danidh Dubai. Gamgoom failed to win in four starts in Britain at two before his move to Germany. Unraced there for Andreas Wohler, he was sold on for just €5,000 before finally making his German debut for Mario Hofer’s stable in January.
Despite being off the course for more than a year, Gamgoom won easily on the sand at Neuss in what was to be the first of no fewer than ten victories – so far – this season. He soon added a couple more wins at the same track, including his first handicap which he took by 13 lengths!
Bizarrely, Gamgoom’s fourth win of the year came in a ‘maiden’ race at Mulheim in April. In Germany, horses that have not won on turf are eligible for maidens on grass even if they have been successful on the all-weather. Another handicap win came at Hoppegarten in Berlin in May, but it was his sixth success of the year, at the same course in July, which did most to raise Gamgoom’s profile.
This took the form of an old-fashioned match at level weights, the result of Gamgoom’s owner Guido Schmitt throwing down the gauntlet to the owner of rival Ach Was. The subject of much hype beforehand, the race proved rather one-sided in Gamgoom’s favour, with subsequent events proving that Ach Was faced an even stiffer task than was appreciated at the time.
By the time August was out, Gamgoom had won another three races to take his total to nine. They included another two handicaps, at Hoppegarten again and the big Baden-Baden meeting, while in between Gamgoom had travelled to Belgium to take the ‘Groot Criterium van Oostende’.
Gamgoom’s biggest test to date came in the listed Premio Cancelli at Milan in September over five furlongs. But his first attempt in stakes company brought him a tenth win of the year which is believed to be a modern record for a German-trained horse. Who is to say that Gamgoom has stopped winning yet? He’s had thirteen races in all this year so far, two of his defeats coming at around seven furlongs which is probably further than ideal for him, even though his ‘maiden’ win on turf came at that trip.
His year-younger half-brother Nabhan (by Youmzain) is also a seven-furlong winner in Germany, successful at two, at which age he also gained some black type with third place in the listed Junioren-Preis at Dusseldorf. Nabhan is entered in Tattersalls’ Autumn horses in training sale.
[Mr Con Harrington’s silks courtesy of JockeyColours]