published: 02 Sep 2015 in Stallion profiles

A dual Gr.1 winner from the Danehill male line and from a mare who has produced two multiple Gr.1 winners, Epaulette has all the credentials to make a success of his stud career in both hemispheres. Lovely first foals already on the ground from his first northern and southern seasons at Darley in Ireland and Australia should have breeders beating a path to his door.

WHEN the unraced northern-time three year-old Accessories (GB) arrived in Australia in June 2006 few could have imagined this grandaughter of German Oaks winner Anna Paola would have such an impact on the story of Darley in Australia. Her first three foals were two Gr.1 winners and a Gr.1 runner-up, all colts and now all at stud in Australia and NZ.
  Two of them, Epaulette and Helmet, both multiple Gr.1 winners, are by sons of Danehill and have been retained by Sheikh Mohammed, shuttling north as well as being used locally. Year-older Helmet, foaled in 2008, won six races including the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1, ATC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1 and Champagne Stakes-Gr.1 and the son of champion sprinter Exceed and Excel stands at Northwood Park in Victoria, retiring in 2012 (Ireland 2013) and commanding a fee of $33,000.
  Epaulette is by Commands (ex Cotehele House (GB) by My Swanee), a grandson of star broodmare Eight Carat (GB) and a brother to multiple Gr.1 winner and sire Danewin. Epaulette won five races including the Golden Rose-Gr.1 and Doomben 10,000-Gr.1, retired to stud in Ireland and Australia in 2014 and then did the 2015 northern season in Great Britain. His first live foals from a book of 170 mares covered in NSW in 2014 are arriving this spring and drawing favourable comment from keen judges as are his first northern youngsters who arrived earlier in the year. 
  Epaulette’s fee at Kelvinside, Aberdeen is again $27,500 and he is the subject of this stallion profile. Three-quarter brothers Helmet and Epaulette have a half-brother Bullbars (Elusive Quality (USA)) at stud in NZ. Foaled in 2007 and winner of the C.S. Hayes Stakes-Gr.3 and runner-up in the VRC Australian Guineas-Gr.1, he retired to Highview Stud in 2012 and his 2015 fee is $6000 + GST.
  After foaling those three colts Accessories (Singspiel) had a Street Cry (IRE) filly in 2010. Named Brilliance and unraced, she is due to Exceed and Excel this spring. Accessories missed to Street Cry the following year and in 2012 foaled another filly, Pearls (Exceed and Excel), who won on debut at Gosford (1200m) on August 13 and looks to have a bright future. Accessories missed to Lonhro and went back to that stallion, foaling a filly in 2014 before being covered by Exceed and Excel.
  Second dam Anna Matrushka, a daughter of English Derby-Gr.1, Dewhurst-Gr.1, ‘King George-Gr.1’ and Arc de Triomphe-Gr.1 winner Mill Reef (Never Bend), also did not race but 13 of her 14 foals got to the track and 11 won including three Group winners, among them the filly Annaba, a daughter of In The Wings (Sadler’s Wells), also sire of Singspiel. Much-travelled Singspiel is a half-brother to noted sires Rahy (Blushing Groom) and Rakeen (Northern Dancer) and to short-lived import Rivotious (Riverman), who did such a good job at Westminster Stud near Sydney before his early death.
  Their dam, Canadian Horse of the Year and multiple Gr.1 winner Glorious Song (Halo), who won 17 of her 34 starts and placed nine times, produced Singspiel when she was 16. He went on to win nine races including the Japan Cup-Gr.1, Canadian International-Gr.1 and Epsom Coronation Cup-Gr.1. He was a Champion Turf Colt in the US and Champion Older Male in the UAE and is inbred 5fx4f to Almahmoud and also has a male line of her sire Mahmoud via Cohoes (fourth remove).
  Singspiel shuttled for Darley in 2001, leaving 70 live foals including Gr.1 winner Rewaaya and other stakes winners A Country Girl, Aztec Smytzer, Operetta Lass, Belmonte, Dream Ballad, Pavlova and Tramuntana, a terrific effort from just one crop. His northern runners include Dubai World Cup-Gr.1 winner Moon Ballad, French Oaks-Gr.1 winner Confidential Lady, Yasuda Kinen-Gr.1 winner Asakusa den’En, Sheema Classic-Gr.1 winner Eastern Anthem, dual Gr.1 winner Solow, E.P. Taylor Stakes-Gr.1 winner Folk Opera and Ascot Gold Cup-Gr.1 winner Papineau.
  His imported son Au Revoir (GB) (ex First by Highest Honor (FR)) won the 2014 MRC Zipping Classic-Gr.2, while Ludka (ex Laleta (IRE) by Danehill), who was imported in-utero, won the 2011 Hobart Guineas-LR before going to stud for Darley where she has so far produced fillies by Bernardini (USA) and Lonhro and 
a colt by Street Cry (IRE).
  As mentioned earlier, Anna Matrushka, second dam of Epaulette, is by champion Mill Reef, a European Horse of the Year whose record of six consecutive Gr.1 wins stood for many years and whose peak Timeform was 143. A grandson of Nasrullah via his son Never Bend and from a mare by Princequillo, his line has been nurtured in Europe via the Aga Khan, who shuttles his great-grandson Dalakhani (Darshaan), a European Horse of the Year and sire of eight Gr.1 winners, to Cornerstone Stud in SA.
  The cross of Sadler’s Wells-line horses over mares from the Mill Reef line (and the reverse) has been extraordinarily successful in Europe. For example, Dalakhani’s Gr.1 winners Conduit, Reliable Man and Chinese White are all out of daughters of Sadler’s Wells. Galileo’s Australian bred South African champion Igagu has a second dam by Darshaan, while imported Cox Plate winner Adelaide is a son of Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) while his third dam is by Mill Reef. 
  Epaulette is an example of a current prolific cross as his dam is bred on the Sadler’s Wells-Mill Reef cross and he is by a son of Danehill, a horse who does marvellously well with Sadler’s Wells and his tribe. Champion Frankel (Galileo/Danehill) a case in point as are Gr.1 winners Noble Mission, Golden Lilac, Teofilo and Roderic O’Connor, all by Galileo from Danehill daughters. Danehill’s champion three year-old daughter Peeping Fawn is from a daughter of Sadler’s Wells while Exceed and Excel’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-Gr.1 winner Outstrip is from a daughter of El Prado (Sadler’s Wells) and he has Group winners from daughters of Sadler’s Wells and his brother Fairy King as well as In the Wings.
  The best two runners from daughters of In The Wings are Ave (by Danehill Dancer) and Luas Line (by Danehill), while the Danehill (or sons, grandsons)/In The Wings cross has also produced Group winners Lost in The Moment, Nideeb, Coulsty and Master Carpenter. Singspiel daughters have also produced the German Group winner La Saldana (Fastnet Rock) and stakes winners Arts (Ontario), Aussie Reigns (Aussie Rules) and High Esteem (Redoute’s Choice in addition to Helmet and Epaulette.
  Paximadia, a Gr.2-winning son of Commands, has a dam by Fantastic Light (by Rahy) and a second dam by Sadler’s Wells. Rahy, a half-brother to Singspiel, is a son of Blushing Groom (also the Nasrullah male line) and this line has also done well with Danehill and Sadler’s Wells, particularly using Rainbow Quest and his imported Derby-winning son Quest For Fame (GB)), but also via Arazi and Rahy.
  Continuing our journey along Epaulette’s female line we come to his third dam Anna Paola, who was Champion 2YO in Germany in 1980 and Champion 3YO Filly the following year when successful in the German Oaks-Gr.2. Winner of five of her eight starts, she is a daughter of Prince Ippi (Imperial-Princess Addi by Agamemnon), a seven length winner of the Preis von Europa and a 2.5 length victor of the Gran Premio d’Italia and a noted sire in Germany whose sire and damsire both trace to Dark Ronald (as does Gainsborough).
  Anna Paola and her descendants have been very kind to Sheikh Mohammed and her six winners include Annaba (In The Wings), a multiple Gr.2 winner in France and dam of German stakes winner Antonym (Bahri); French Gr.2 winner Pozarica (Rainbow Quest), Park Hill Stakes-Gr.3 winner Anna of Saxony (Ela-Mana-Mou) who is first, second and third dam of stakes winners. Anna of Saxony’s minor winner Amalia is dam of US Gr.1 winner Ave (Danehill Dancer (IRE)), while Anna Matrushka’s unplaced daughter Anna of Kiev is the dam of Italian Gr.1 winner Anna Monda (Monsun). 
  Others of note in this immediate family include Germany’s Champion 3YO Sprinter Smoother Operator (Big Shuffle) and stakes winners Sugar Baby Love (Second Empire), Autumn Glory (Charnwood Forest), Sadler’s Wings (In The Wings), Anno Luce (Old Vic), Lady Pimpernel (Sir Percy), Middle Club (Fantastic Light) and Piping Rock (Dubawi).
  Anna Poala’s dam Antwerpen (Waldcanter) left eight winners including Champion German 2YO and sire Aspros (Sparkler), whose daughter Diasprina is the third dam of Kentucky Derby winner and Arrowfield shuttler Animal Kingdom (USA). Her descendants also include Germany’s Champion 2YO of 2005, Aspectus (Spectrum), Gr.1 runner-up Willie the Whipper (Whipper) and the E.P. Taylor Stakes-Gr.1 winner Fraulein (Acatanengo), along with Listed winner (16 wins) Flashmans Papers (Exceed and Excel) and Gr.3 winner Le Giare (Monashee Mountain).
  Epaulette’s ninth dam Arianna (Signorino) counted the Italian Oaks, St Leger and Grand Criterium among her wins and hails from the same branch of family 7f as Caulfield Cup winner Yangtze and outstanding Australian sire Midstream (GB)). Further back in this family come English Derby winners and sires Diamond Jubilee and Persimmon and their Gr.1-winning brother Florizel II (all by St Simon). Persimmon became a champion sire and his superb daughter Sceptre is the fourth dam of Petition (sire of Danzig’s second dam and also of Cotelehe House’s sire My Swanee). Another Persimmon son Rose Prince, is the grandsire of Princequillo. Both appear in Epaulette’s pedigree 
as Commands has Petition 5fx3m and Mill Reef’s dam is by Princequillo. 
  Commands was something of an enigma on the track where the son of nine time Champion Australian Sire Danehill (Danzig-Razyana by His Majesty) won four races including the Missile Stakes-Gr.3 (1100m) at two, and was runner-up in the AJC The Galaxy-Gr.1 (beaten a head by Black Bean) and also third in the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1. With his mind set on the breeding barn and not the turf, he was retired to stud in Australia in 2000 (shuttled to France in 2002) and immediately showed he was a force to be reckoned with. He became Leading Sire of Winners three times and runner-up on the sires’ list by earnings in 2010-11 and 2012-13 and died in 2014. He left 1565 foals in 14 seasons at stud, starting off at $10,000 and with his fee rising to a high of $66,000.
  To mid-August he had left 1360 named foals, 1122 starters, 791 winners (70.5% of starters) of 2566 races and earnings topping $95m. His 67 stakes winners represent 6% of starters and his winning distance index is 1334m. He is the sire of four-time Gr.1 winner Appearance (Grand Lodge; Danzig 3mx4m) and dual Gr.1 winners Epaulette, Undue (Bletchingly; Relic 5fx4f, line breeding to Fair Trial) and Purple (Zabeel) and Gr.1 winners Paratroopers (Sanction), Commanding Jewel (Zabeel), Russetting (Bluebird), Skilled (Quest For Fame), who retired to Darley’s Northwood Park in Victoria in 2012 and stands at $6600 and Erewhon (Quest For Fame).
  His Gr.2 winner and four-time Gr.1 runner-up Rain Affair has an intriguing pedigree as his dam is by Octagonal (Zabeel-Eight Carat (GB) by Pieces of Eight) and his second dam is by Marauding (by Zabeel’s sire Sir Tristram (IRE) from Biscalowe by Biscay). He has Eight Carat 3fx3m and his dam has Sir Tristram 3mx3m.
  The Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 placed First Command (Hurricane Sky) has a dam inbred to Star Kingdom, while Gr.2 winner El Cambio’s dam is by Canny Lad (Bletchingly). Short lived sire, the Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 placed Court Command is from a mare by Zoffany (USA) and there are other Group winners from daughters of Night Shift (USA) (several), Fantastic Light (USA), Red Ransom (USA), Good and Tough, Quest For Fame (several), Grand Lodge (several), Octagonal, (the Gr.2 winner Altar, Eight Carat 3fx3m), Christmas Tree, Unbridled’s Song, Machiavellian (Gr.3 winner Girl in Flight, has a son [Northern Dancer x2] and two daughters of Natalma [Spring Adieu and Raise the Standard] 4,4x4,4 plus a line of Natalma’s half-sister Cosmah), Prego (GB) and Brief Truce (USA).
  There is little to be said about Danehill (USA) that hasn’t already been covered hundreds of times. Suffice to say he is the horse who has changed the face of Australian breeding and whose line dominates the sire charts today. A Gr.1-winning sprinter and inbred 3mx3f to Northern Dancer’s dam Natalma (Native Dancer-Almahmoud by Mahmoud), he has had several sons who have been Australia’s champion sire including Redoute’s Choice (dam by Canny Lad), Fastnet Rock (dam by Royal Academy (USA)), Flying Spur (dam by Mr. Prospector) and Exceed and Excel (dam by Lomond (USA)).
 Commands hails from the Eight Carat family that has been so successful here with the likes of Octagonal, Viking Ruler (Danehill) and Viscount (Quest For Fame) and traces to Mumtaz Mahal (as does Mossman and newcomers Shooting to Win and Deep Field, the latter two from the branch tracing to Cotehele House). Daughters of Viscount (third dam Eight Carat) could be a good fit with Epaulette as could daughters of Lonhro as that son of Octagonal (pedigree has Sadler’s Wells three-quarter brother Nureyev and Eight Carat) has a great record with mares whose pedigrees feature Sadler’s Wells and Danehill. Lonhro’s champion son Pierro is from a mare bred on the Mill Reef/Sadler’s Wells cross.
  Epaulette started his career on the track on a positive note, winning by 1.25 lengths on debut over 1200m at Rosehill on Boxing Day 2011 for trainer Peter Snowden, then in charge of the Darley training operation. Put away until March 11, 2012, the talented colt resumed with a strong win over Faustus in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra and then went down by a nose to Pierro in the Todman Slipper-Gr.2 at Rosehill on March 24 before an unplaced run in the Golden Slipper behind Pierro in early April.
  Off the scene until August 21 when he tuned up with a 900m barrier trial win over Raceway, Epaulette was then third in the Run to the Rose-Gr.3 (1200m) behind Pierro and Your Song before beating stable mate Albrecht and Ashokan in the Golden Rose-Gr.1 to give young rider Tommy Berry his first elite level win. “When he let rip, he really let rip and stuck his head out at the right time,” Berry said.
  “He’s a great colt,” Snowden said after the Gr.1 win. 
“I feel there is a lot more improvement to come from him. He goes to the Caulfield Guineas Prelude in a fortnight and then hopefully the Guineas, and I’m sure he’ll run well.”
  Epaulette was again on song in the Prelude-Gr.3, beating Let’s Go Lenni and Awesome Bro over the Caulfield 1400m, running 1:24.26 on a good track before finishing third, beaten a tack over two lengths by All Too Hard and Pierro in the Guineas-Gr.1 (1600m) on October 13. He was sent for a spell and reappeared on April 13, 2013 in the T.J. Smith-Gr.1 (1200m) at Randwick, running a brave second (three lengths) to unbeaten world champion sprinter Black Caviar in her final start, and with Bel Sprinter third in 1:09.65 on a dead track.
  His remaining starts were all in Gr.1 company for a sixth in the All-Aged Stakes on April 27 and then a strong win in the Doomben 10,000 on May 25.  
He beat Sea Siren by two lengths to claim his second Gr.1, running the 1350m in 1:18.85 and with Buffering third after being worse than mid-field of the 15 runners at the top of the straight as Buffering and Your Song played cut-throat in the lead.
  “This fella put up a great effort today,” Kerrin McEvoy said. “These visors that Pete decided to throw on, the horse welcomed them and so did I because when the horse let go today, he just flew. He gave me a great feel.”
  Peter Snowden said Epaulette had spent some time at Darley Australia’s Osborne Park after his sixth placing in the All-Aged Stakes as “maybe I did too much work with him before that race”. “We call it boot camp out there where he did a bit of jumping which was something new for him. He had a bit of down time after the All-Aged and it worked wonders for him.”
  An unplaced run in the Stradbroke was followed by a break and the horse was retired after he failed to flatter in two unplaced runs in the Moir Stakes and VRC Sprint Classic in late September and early November 2013. He was given a World Thoroughbred Ranking of 120 and left the track as the winner of five races and with two seconds and two third placings in 14 runs for earnings of $1,717,750. n