Rapper Dragon and daughters of Natalma

Natalma, bought by E. P. Taylor for $35,000 as a yearling, has become best known as the dam of Northern Dancer, her very first foal. But besides the Kentucky Derby winner who went on to become the twentieth century’s most influential sire, Natalma’s long stud career later resulted in some fillies who have made important contributions to the breed.

Chief among them, it turned out, was Raise The Standard, foaled when Natalma was twenty-one years old. Raise The Standard never raced, but she became dam of Coup de Folie who won the Prix d’Aumale in the colours of Stavros Niarchos. Coup de Folie may have been named for the ‘moment of madness’ which led to her purchase for $825,000 as a yearling, though subsequent events have shown that it was more a ‘stroke of genius’ – her daughter Coup de Genie won the Prix Morny and Prix de la Salamandre to become champion two-year-old filly in France and she also finished third in the 1000 Guineas.

Better still, Coup de Genie’s brother Machiavellian won the same two French Group 1 races and finished second in the 2000 Guineas before excelling at stud, while half-brother Exit To Nowhere won the Prix Jacques le Marois and Hydro Calido won the Prix d’Astarte and was second in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.

Coup de Genie has been the source of Group 1 winners of her own in the Niarchos colours, becoming the dam of the Prix Marcel Boussac winner Denebola and grandam of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Bago and his half-brother Maxios, winner of the Prix d’Ispahan and Prix du Moulin.

Natalma’s other daughter of significance in the longer term was Spring Adieu who became grandam of Danehill. Juddmonte purchased his dam, Razyana, for $350,000 as a yearling. Whereas Coup de Folie was inbred 3×3 to Natalma’s dam Almahmoud (Coup de Folie’s sire Halo was a grandson of Almahmoud), Danehill, as a son of Northern Dancer’s son Danzig, was inbred to Natalma herself.

Another of Natalma’s daughters was Northern Dancer’s sister Arctic Dancer who became the dam of ill-fated champion filly La Prevoyante. She was unbeaten in twelve starts as a two-year-old, including the Spinaway Stakes in which Natalma had been denied her biggest win when demoted from first place. La Prevoyante was named champion two-year-old filly in both Canada and the States, was Horse of the Year in Canada the same year (1972) and later champion older mare there too. Sadly, La Prevoyante was unable to do her bit towards continuing the Natalma female line as she died after her final start as a four-year-old.

When Rapper Dragon won the ten-furlong Hong Kong Derby recently, he became the first horse to be successful in all three legs of Hong Kong’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series after earlier victories in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and the nine-furlong Hong Kong Classic Cup.

Rapper Dragon had originially raced in Australia as Street Rapper where he finished second in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes. His pedigree includes two of the sires mentioned above tracing directly back to Natalma, namely Machiavellian and Danehill.

Rapper Dragon is by US Grade 1-winning sprinter Street Boss (Bing Crosby Handicap and Triple Bend Invitational Handicap), a son of the Machiavellian stallion Street Cry, winner of the Dubai World Cup. Street Boss shuttles between Darley’s bases in Kentucky and Australia as Street Cry also did with such success until his death in 2014; Street Cry was posthumously champion sire in Australia in 2015/16 where his offspring include the brilliant mare Winx, recently winner of her sixteenth race in a row in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill. Rapper Dragon’s dam, the unraced Swing Dance, is by the recently deceased Danehill Dancer, another who followed in his sire’s footsteps with a successful stud career split between the two hemispheres.

Apart from through Machiavellian and Danehill, Rapper Dragon also has a third and much more direct link back to Natalma, though. Natalma is his sixth dam and he descends from a daughter we haven’t mentioned yet, Born A Lady. Foaled in 1981 fully twenty years after Northern Dancer, Born A Lady, a $725,000 yearling, was Natalma’s final living foal and won four races, including a minor stakes.

However, none of the other mares linking Rapper Dragon and Born A Lady were successful. Reading back from Rapper Dragon’s dam Swing Dance, grandam Newscaster was placed in Australia, great grandam Stormy Dream, a daughter of Storm Cat, was third in the USA on her only start, and his fourth dam, Natalma’s Dream, never ran.

Besides Rapper Dragon’s dam, Newscaster’s foals included Group 1 winner Amanpour, the 2015 winner of the Queen of The Turf Stakes over a mile at Randwick, and Turf Express, a full brother to Rapper Dragon’s dam. Turf Express was a listed winner in Australia before he too was exported to Hong Kong, and having won there, has since also been successful in France where he was still racing earlier this year at the age of eleven!

Rapper Dragon’s dam, grandam, a couple of winning half-sisters and Amanpour were all sold as members of the same draft at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in May 2015. Amanpour fetched A$ 1.5 million, while Newscaster was sold to China Horse Club for A$ 525,000.

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