Polly Soleil

published: 01 Jun 2014 in Matriarchs

ALTHOUGH beaten when odds-on favourite in the 2014 Australian Oaks-Gr.1, recent Gr.1 winner Lucia Valentina is the latest star of the emerging family of the New Zealand based foundation mare, Polly Soleil (GB). Bred in England in 1977, Polly Soleil (Roi Soleil-Polairia by Polic) was imported to New Zealand in 1985, and became one of the stalwarts of a highly successful band of broodmares developed by Graham and Helen Bax.

   Purchased from Denby Lodge proprietor Ron Denby for $80,000, Polly Soleil is a direct descendant of the Champagne Stakes winner Cotillion (Partisan), her 14th dam (family 22) and from the more immediate family of Vernon’s Sprint Cup-Gr.2 winner and sire Green Gold (Red God), and Australian bred Gr.1 stars Easy Rocking and Fairy King Prawn. She has become the ancestress in a remarkably short time, of 12 stakes winners including 10 Group winners in only four generations.

  Thames Valley farmers, Graham and Helen Bax, operating as W.G. and H.G. Bax Bloodstock Limited, became interested in thoroughbred breeding about 35 years ago and have had great success. In the late 1990s they sold their Thames farm and, in partnership with their daughter Kylie, bought the famous stud property Blandford Lodge at Matamata, which had been dispersed as a result of the 1987 share market crash. Subsequently Kylie sold her share in Blandford to family friend Sir Owen Glen and he has partnered Graham and Helen in the ongoing rejuvenation of the stud. To add to the Sydney Autumn success for the Blandford Lodge-bred Lucia Valentina, Sir Owen is also owner of another Sydney Autumn and Championship star in Criterion, winner of the Rosehill Guineas-Gr.1 and the Championship’s $2m Australian Derby-Gr.1.

  Polly Soleil had had two foals in England before her importation, an unnamed filly and a colt foal by Morston who accompanied her to New Zealand. Named Pollysun, and in the name of Mr G.D.T. Ratcliffe, the colt was unraced and in five seasons at stud got only eight foals, five being minor winners in New Zealand, but better things were in store.

  A brown or black mare, Polly Soleil won in England over 10f, while her dam Polaria won three races at 7f and is a half-sister to the Ascot Victoria Cup-LR winner Galiano (Galivanter). Her sire Roi Soleil, was a well performed son of the Golden Cloud horse Skymaster. Winner of the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot and the Prix Djebel at Saint-Coud, Skymaster was third in the English 2000 Guineas and in France’s most important mile race, the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville. He was a moderate success at stud, getting eight stakes winners including Polly Soleil’s brother, the Ayr Gold Cup-LR winner Polly’s Brother, the well performed Lucky Wednesday, and successful Tasmanian sire Poacher’s Moon (IRE).

  Polly Soleil is also a three-quarter sister to the very good sire Avon Valley (GB), the sire of 15 stakes winners in New Zealand and from the immediate family of a sprinkling of other good sprinters, while her second dam is half-sister to the second dam of Stanley Wootton’s notable imported foundation mare Expulsion (GB), based at Baramul Stud.  

  Expulsion became dam of VATC Debutante Stakes winner Selsey (by Biscay), and stakes placed Extradite (by Bletchingly), and is matriarch of a family, developed by Wootton’s daughter Catherine Remond, who has produced Twiglet, Easy Rocking, Crevette, Anise, Royal Courtship, Facile, Poor Judge, Proud Player, Chic Choice and Distillation, all good stakes winners on Australian tracks in recent years, as well as 
Fairy King Prawn, Horse of the Year and four times champion in Hong Kong.  

  Graham and Helen Bax owned Polly Soleil throughout her breeding career and retained all her fillies for breeding for most of their producing life. Her stud record follows: 

1983 Unnamed (GB), bay filly by Swing Easy

1984 POLLYSUN (GB), chestnut colt by Morston 
Unraced, sire in New Zealand as detailed above.

1985 Not served

1986 SOLEIL ROUGE, brown filly by Red Tempo (NZ)
POLLY Soleil’s first foal conceived in New Zealand was Soleil Rouge. She did not take long to strike form, winning two juvenile races at Waikato and Avondale and resuming at three years with a win at Pukekohe, a third in the Listed ARC Guineas Trial and fourth in the Desert Gold Stakes-Gr.2 at Wellington.

  Soleil Rouge continued her good form with placings in four stakes and two more wins at three years. At four years she broke through for her first stakes win in the weight-for-age Challenge Stakes-Gr.3 at Rotorua. At five she won the Great Northern Challenge Stakes-Gr.2 at Ellerslie. She had a busy racing career of 37 starts in four seasons, for seven wins and 15 placings including six stakes. 

  After two foals in New Zealand, both unraced fillies, called Red Slippers and Red Century, Soleil Rouge became the property of Lam and Feng Thoroughbreds in Queensland and South Australia. For them she bred the Flemington winner Red Covet (by St Covet), Hawke’s Bay winner Incredible (by Marscay) and Regal Thrills (by Royal Academy (IRE). Regal Thrills raced in Australia and New Zealand to win four races 
at Moonee Valley, Morphettville (two) and Hawke’s Bay and was stakes placed when second in the STC Darby Munro Stakes-LR. 

  Red Covet went on to produce the stakeswinning filly Adaline (by Court of Jewels), winner of the ARC Royal Stakes-Gr.2 at Ellerslie, and placed in the ARC New Zealand Stakes-Gr.1 and Eight Carat Stakes-Gr.2. Red Century (by Centaine) has produced two stakes winners for Mr G. Carvell of Queensland, both by Show a Heart. Gotta Have Heart won seven races, four on Melbourne tracks including the MRC Sandown Stakes-Gr.3 and Victoria Stakes-Gr.3.

  Crossyourheart, was foaled in New Zealand where she was ranked the Champion 2YO Filly, her six wins including the Counties Challenge Stakes-LR and the Waikato New Zealand Bloodstock Classique-RL. She is the property of Mr D.R. Fleming, for whom she has produced the Newcastle winner Juantorena, a three year-colt by Pins, and subsequent foals by Sebring, Redoute’s Choice and Commands. 

  Soleil Rouge’s other unraced daughter, Red Slippers (by Citidancer (USA)), is also the dam of a stakes winner in All Thrills Too, a gelding by St Covet who has a brilliant record in Hong Kong. He won the Hong Kong International Sprint-Gr.1 and the Hong Kong ranked Group race, the International Sprint Trial-HKGr.3, ran second in the Centenary Sprint Cup-HKGr.1, Chairmans’ Sprint Prize-HKGr.1 and third in the Hong Kong Sprint-Gr.2, Bauhinia Sprint Trophy-HKGr.1, Centenary Sprint Cup-HKGr.1 and Juvenile Sprint Trophy-HKGr.3.

  Regal Thrills is already the dam of the winner Angel Child (by Anabaa (USA)), while two more unraced daughters of Soleil Rouge, Barree Stud’s Legal Thrills (by Indian Danehill (IRE)) and Lady Thrills (by Danewin), have produced winners and have younger foals by leading sires waiting in the wings. In the ownership of Widden Stud, Soleil Rouge bred one more foal, Sole Strada (by Strada), now an unraced six year-old, was not covered the next three years, and died in August 2013.

1987 BLACK SUN, brown colt by Otehi Bay (AUS)
POLLY Soleil’s next foal, by the Biscay stallion Otehi Bay, was her second stakes winner. He raced in New Zealand and Australia at three to five years, winning seven races and running 11 placings in 35 starts. His stakes win came in the Marton Metric Mile-Gr.3, and his best Australian performances were third in The VATC Toorak Handicap-Gr.1 and fourth  in the VRC A R Creswick Stakes-LR. 

1988 Missed

1989 LIGHT OF NIGHT, chestnut filly by Star Way (GB)
SENT to Australia, Light of Night raced four times in Queensland, winning a maiden handicap at the Gold Coast as an early three year-old. She was returned to Blandford Lodge in New Zealand in May 1994 and bred five fillies for Graham Bax. Three of her foals were winners, the best being Casual Way, by Casual Lies (USA), who won five races in Queensland, one at two years at Eagle Farm, and was placed four times at Eagle Farm, also running fourth in the Listed Ken Russell Classic at the Gold Coast. 

  For NSW breeder, Mr K.S. Lee, Casual Way was a good broodmare before her premature death at 12 years in 2007. She had three living foals, all of them winners. Her best performer was Dao Dao, a gelded son of Shinko Forest (IRE) who won seven races including the Listed STC Royal Parma Stakes and two other Sydney races. He proved himself a classy, if unlucky, performer by running second in three Gr.1 events, the VRC Cantala Stakes, MRC Futurity Stakes and STC George Ryder Stakes, as well as three other Group races, the VRC Blamey Stakes, STC Expressway Stakes and NJC Newcastle Newmarket Handicap.

  In the middle of his career Dao Dao raced in Hong Kong, where he won his other four races, and ran second in the Hong Kong Champions Mile-Gr.1. His total prizemoney was $A1,456,685. Dao Dao’s sister Shao Shao is at the Evergreen Stud in NSW where she has produced the Macau winner Southern Lucky Star (by Dubleo (USA)) and has three foals by Evergreen Stud’s sire, Where’s That Tiger (USA) in the wings. Light of Night’s other two winners, Peluche (by Tale of the Cat (USA)) and Putra Singa (by Danasinga), are dams of recent winners.

1990 SOLEIL A’MOUR, brown Filly by Kaapstad
SOLEIL A’Mour was unraced and produced only five foals before dying in December 2001 at the early age of 11. Two of her foals won and included the Danske gelding Daniel Samson who won six races in 
New Zealand and was placed in the Listed Levin Stakes, Soleil A’Mour’s other fillies included Bise Moi (by Kaapstad), the dam of four winners in Australia in recent years.

  The lightly raced Dan’s Amour (by Danasinga) is the dam of Paisley Street (by Jahafil (GB)), winner of four races, and the Daggers Drawn filly Agavera, the winner of two races at Avondale, and stakes placed third in Levin’s Ryder Stakes-LR. Another daughter is the unraced En Passant, by Defensive Play (USA), who has produced for Burnham Bloodstock, the four times New Zealand winner Mr Difficulty. She is now back at Blandford Lodge, where she has produced the three year-old Thorn Pass (by Thorn Park), a winner at Marton this season

1991 ROI NOIR, brown gelding by Sky Chase (NZ)
RACED in the ownership of R.E. Bax and B.E. Harper, Roi Noir won three races in New Zealand and placed nine times from 24 starts over six seasons from three to eight years.

1992 Missed to Star Way (GB)

1993 SOLEIL ETOILE, brown filly by Star Way (GB)
SOLEIL Etoile is the second dam of Lucia Valentina, the filly whose performances sparked this article. Soleil Etoile was unraced, but like her female siblings, became a successful broodmare. Of her 11 foals, all of whom raced, 10 were winners, and the other a placegetter.
Silky Red Boxer
Her best was Silky Red Boxer, a gelding by Casual Lies. He raced 30 times in New Zealand from two to five years, winning six races including the Bay of Plenty Japan-New Zealand Trophy-Gr.2 and Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes-Gr.3. He was also placed in the WRC Thompson Handicap-Gr.3 twice, Wellington Stakes-Gr.3 and CJC Canterbury Gold Cup-Gr.3, and fourth 
in the Easter Handicap-Gr.1 at Ellerslie. 

  After one race in New Zealand as a six year-old, running another fourth in the ARC Easter Handicap-Gr.1, Silky Red Boxer came to Australia for the Winter Carnival, running six times and placing third in the Tattersalls (Qld) Tattersalls Mile-LR and fourth in the Scone Cup-LR and STC Civic Handicap-LR. Silky Red Boxer remained in Australia for his seven year-old season, adding four Sydney wins to his record, including the Listed STC Parramatta Cup. He retired the winner of $416,536.

  Soleil Etoile’s foals included two other black type performers in Go Go Lightly (by Danasinga) and Gretchen (by Bahhare (USA)). Go Go Lightly won eight races in South Africa and was placed in the Turffontein Flamingo Stakes-LR. Retained by the Bax family, Gretchen won three races at three years (two at Caulfield) and ran second in the SAJC Australasian Oaks-Gr.1 and Listed VRC Matron Stakes. She was 
also stakes placed at four years, running second in the SAJC Centaurea Trophy-LR, third in the MVRC Coongy Handicap-Gr.3 and fourth in the AJC Craven Plate-Gr.3. 

  Gretchen has already produced three winners including metropolitan winners King Gladiator (bv Galileo (IRE)) and Mephisto (by Royal Academy (USA)) and the Peter Moody-trained Fastnet Rock filly Miralago, a winner at Geelong and placed at Sandown this season. Gretchen has an unnamed two year-old filly by Fastnet Rock and a weanling filly by Savabeel waiting to add to the family record.

Lucia Valentina
Sired by Savabeel, Lucia Valentina is a daughter of Soleil Etoile’s sole non-winner Staryn Glenn, by Montjeu (IRE). Staryn Glenn’s first foal was Malandrino (by Darci Brahma), who won the Manawatu Classic-Gr.3 before racing in Hong Kong in the name of Best Show. Lucia Valentina is Staryn Glenn’s second foal, and she has a 2011 colt by Mastercraftsman (IRE) and a 2012 filly by Darci Brahma on the ground, 
and has a September covering by Exceed and Excel this season.

  Purchased at the 2012 New Zealand National Sale by agent Bruce Perry Bloodstock for $60,000 for JML Bloodstock Ltd (Managed by Mr L. Petagna), Lucia Valentina was trained in New Zealand by 
Stephen Marsh and was transferred to Newcastle trainer Kris Lees when she moved to Australia. 

  Unraced at two, Lucia Valentina, immediately showed her quality at three. She won first up on a dead track at Tauranga and after an unplaced run on good going, took out the Wellington Guineas-Gr.3, again on a dead surface. A disaster loomed at her next start when she fell heavily nearing the turn in the Great Northern Guineas-Gr.2. However, she was unhurt and raced only five days later, running second to Rising Romance in the Royal Stakes-Gr.2 at Ellerslie. 

  Lucia Valentina had a nine-week break before her first start for Lees in Australia. She ran third on a dead track in the Surround Stakes-Gr.2 at Warwick Farm, and then finished down the course in the all ages Kennedy (Coolmore) Classic. At her third start for Lees, the filly broke through for a brilliant win on heavy ground in the Storm Queen (Vinery Stud) Stakes-Gr.1. 

  A hot favourite for the $1m Australian Oaks, run on a dead track on the second day of The Championships, Lucia Valentina, appeared to be given a tough task when she was running last in a big field of 15 as they approached the home turn. It is now history how she finished better than any of the other fillies in the race to run an unlucky third behind Rising Romance, who had finished fifth behind her in the Storm Queen. Lucia Valentina’s third placing took her earnings to $420,649, from three wins and three placings from nine starts. It is interesting to note that, apart from her fall in the Great Northern Guineas, Lucia Valentina’s two unplaced runs have been on good tracks. She should have a bright future. 

1994 Not served,

1995 KATIE O’NEILL, bay filly by Zabeel
POLLY Soleil’s last foal was another unraced filly in Katie O’Neill, but she continued the family tradition of being a magnificent producer. Her record so far is eight winners and a placegetter from nine foals 
to race. Three of her winners are black type performers, the Strategic filly She Will Be Loved and stakes placed Mya and Thorn Dancer. Mya, a daughter of Desert King (IRE), was her first foal. Trained by Peter Moody, she won races at Moonee Valley and Ballarat and was placed in the VRC Batman Stakes-LR from eight starts. For Westfield Holdings Ltd, she has produced the winners Catalina Sounds (by Testa Rossa) and Showmya Miss (by Show a Heart), and has unraced future contenders by Alamosa and Road to Rock in New Zealand.

  Four foals and four winners later came the Strategic filly She Will Be Loved, winner of the VRC Edward Manifold Stakes-Gr.2 and another race at Flemington. On her retirement, She Will Be Loved was highlighted further when sold at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale for $2.4m. She was in foal to Redoute’s Choice, and after spirited bidding with Patinack Farm, the winning bid was from Macau-based Deborah Ho. However, Ho bred only one living foal from She Will Be Loved before the mare was offered again (in foal to Husson) at the Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale 2010. This time Patinack Farm secured her for less than a quarter of the price at $500,000.

  She Will Be Loved’s Redoute’s Choice colt was named Veteen and to date is the winner of four races and $128,050, in Brisbane and Perth. Her next two foals, a two year-old filly by Husson and a yearling filly by Casino Prince, are as yet unnamed.

  In 2006, Katie O’Neill produced a colt by Thorn Park who was sold at the New Zealand National Yearling Sale for $100,000. The buyer was New Zealand Bloodstock Ltd, acting for Mr A.G. Tan. Named Thorn Dancer, the colt was trained in Western Australia by Frank Maynard and won three races, at Ascot, Belmont Park and Pinjarra, running second in the Western Australian Guineas-Gr.2 and third in the Western Australian St Leger-LR. The winner of $129,950 in stakes, he is in his third season at Mr Tan’s property in Western Australia, but is serving very few mares. 

  Katie O’Neill’s 2002 filly Red Queen, a Sydney winner by Redoute’s Choice, has bred four foals for NSW breeders, R.A. and J.E. Ferguson. The first of these is the very good Perth horse Luke’s Luck (by Show 
a Heart), who has amassed $622,350 in prizemoney, owned by Mt Hallowell Stud, and trained by Daniel Morton. So far, Luke’s Luck now a four year-old gelding, is the winner of three races at two years including the Karrakatta Plate-Gr.2 and WATC Sires’ Produce Stakes-Gr.3 and has been placed in the WATC Lee Steere Stakes-Gr.2, Prince of Wales Stakes-Gr.3, A.J. Scahill Stakes-Gr.3, three Listed races, and fourth in the WATC Northerly Stakes-Gr.3. 

  Another of Katie O’Neill’s foals is Dulcine’E, an unraced daughter of Pins, whose first foal, a colt by Rip Van Winkle (IRE), sold for $375,000 to Sydney trainer Bryce Heys at this year’s New Zealand National Yearling Sale. Domiciled in NSW for the Bax family, Dulcine’E has a weanling filly by Foxwedge and has been covered this season by Sepoy.  Katie O’Neill was covered in the 2013 season by Rip Van Winkle. 

1996 Not Served

1997 Missed to Casual Lies (USA)

1998 Missed to Kingdom Bay

1999 Missed to Roger de Triano (GB)

THERE are few broodmares who could match the winner-getting consistency and prolific producing record of Polly Soleil and her daughters. Through four generations they have produced 142 named foals, 
108 runners for 78 winners, a massive ratio 72.2% winners to runners.
  As the family has grown in reputation, mainly due to the judicious matings at Blandford Lodge, the quality of the sires used has soared and the recent progeny, both in New Zealand and Australia, are bound to add considerably to Polly Soleil’s impressive family record. 

A summary of her stakes winning descendants follows: 
Group One winners: All Thrills Too (1997), 
Lucia Valentina (2010)
Group Two winners: Soleil Rouge (1986), 
Silky Red Boxer (1999), She Will Be Loved (2003), Adaline (2006), Luke’s Luck (2009).
Group Three winners: Black Sun (1987), 
Gotta Have Heart (2003), Malandrino (2008).
Listed winners: Dao Dao (2003), 
Crossyourheart (2004). n

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