Pedigree advisor Alan Porter continues his series of pedigree profiles and this week he takes a look at the family behind, Black Caviar.
Black Caviar has yet to win a group one event, but that is about all she lacks for superstar status. Ten days ago the powerful brown filly took her record to five-to-five with a victory in the Mazda Australia Stakes (G2) (registered as the Stanley Wootton Stakes), becoming the first three-year-old of her sex to take the race. The Australia Stakes marked a comeback off a layoff necessitated by a torn muscle sustained when she broke awkwardly in the Danehill Stakes (G2), and Black Caviar will attempt to correct the grade one omission in the William Reid Stakes (G1).
Black Caviar is from the third crop of the Eliza Park Stallion, Bel Esprit, a horse who has been on something of a roll lately, with two more of his offspring, Silver Bullion and Beltrois winning stakes in recent weeks.
Bel Esprit is one of best runners sired by Royal Academy – a son of Nijinsky II, out of the grandam of Storm – who Lester Piggott rode to a thrilling victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). Most unusually, Bel Esprit made every one of his 19 starts in stakes events, winning eight times, and earning another five places. At two, his triumphs included the Blue Diamond Stakes (G1), Maribyrnong Plate (G2), Blue Diamond Prelude (G3), and Blue Diamond Preview (G3). The following year he added three more black-type events, including the Doomben 10000 (G1) and H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (G3), and took second in four other grade one events.
Bel Esprit sired four black-type winning daughters in his first crop, including the Robert Sangster Stakes (G1) victress Bel Mer; Gabbidon, who took the National Stakes (G3); and the How Now Stakes (G3) winnerVivacious Spirit. From his second crop came the geldingMooring – a brother to Bel Mer who captured the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, a Singapore grade three event – and his current stakes horses Beltrois andSilver Bullion. Black Caviar is obviously the star of the third crop.
A $210,000 yearling, Black Caviar is from a rapidly-emerging family. Her dam, Helsinge, a daughter of Desert Sun, is half-sister to Flying Spur’s sprint star Magnus – winner of the The Galaxy (G1) and Linlithgow Stakes (G2) – and to Wilander, a son of Exceed and Excel who took both the Schillaci Stakes (G2) and Blue Diamond Prelude (G3). Actually, Helsinge is a little closer related than half-sister to to Magnusand Wilander, as they are both by sons of Danehill, and Helsinge is by a son of Green Desert, likeDanehill, a son of Danzig.
Black Caviar’s grandam is another very fast filly, Snippet’s daughter, Scandinavia. She won the QTC Cup (G3) and Blue Diamond Preview (G3), and also took seconds in the Salinger-Victoria Racing Club Stakes (G1) and Goodwood Stakes, and third in the Lightning Stakes (G1) and Newmarket Handicap (G1). Scandinavia was half-sister to three other stakes winners: Russian Tea Room, a colt by Raise a Cup; Midnight Sun, a daughter of Western Symphony (another Nijinsky II line stallion which means that she was bred on similar lines to Black Caviar); and the Christmas Tree gelding,Frosty the Snowman. The third dam, Song of Norway, is by Vain, out of Love Song, who must be one of the very few mares foaled in Denmark to be imported to Australia. She was a daughter of theSovereign Path stallion, Warpath, from a family that is probably best-known for producing Amerigo, a high-class unner in England and the U.S., and a successful, but short-lived sire; good English stayer, and useful sire, Hornbeam; and Australian sire Ruantallan.
Black Caviar is a Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer cross through Nijinsky II and Danzig (as is Bel Esprit’s stakes winner Silver Bullion), but also has significant inbreeding and linebreeding to the distaff side of Bel Esprit’s pedigree. Firstly, she is inbred 3 x 4 to Black Caviar’s broodmare sireVain, a horse who is also duplicated in the pedigrees of Bel Esprit stakes winners Bel Mer, Mooringand Belcentra – that’s four of her sire’s eight black-type scorers. We can note that Vain’s grandsires Court Martial and Orgoglio also reappear in Bel Esprit stakes winners.
Bel Esprit’s second dam, is by Adios, a son of Silly Season from the family of Grey Sovereign, and Silly Seaon also appears in the dam of Black Caviar through Lunchtime/Snippets (who is from the family of Grey Sovereign). For good measure Snippets also appears as the broodmare sire of Bel Esprit’s graded scorer Vivacious Spirit. Doubling Silly Seaon, also doubles his sire, Tom Fool, and this might be significant here. Tom Fool – an all-time North American great – was by Menow out of a mare by Bull Dog. Royal Academy has two crosses of Menow, one through Nijinsky II’s dam, Flaming Page (by a son of Bull Dog out of a mare by Menow), and Royal Academy’s third dam, First Rose (by Menow out of a mare by Bull Dog’s brother, Sir Gallahad III).
We can’t leave Black Caviar without noting how well these connections are structured in the pedigree, as Bel Esprit is by a Northern Dancer line stallion out of a mare bred on a Vain/Silly Season cross and Black Caviar’s dam is by a Northern Dancer line stallion out of a mare bred on aSilly Season/Vain cross.