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Breeders Corner \ Aurora

21 August

Breeders Corner \ Aurora

Some mares are great performers on the track, while others save their best for the broodmare paddock and establish their dominance through the efforts of their offspring. Today we look at a mare who had above average in ability on the racetrack, but not a great mare, yet became one of the most influential broodmares of her time .... her name #Aurora.

A chestnut mare by the Derby winner #Hyperionand out of the #Swynford mare #RoseRed#Aurora was born in 1936. As a 2YO she was placed three times including a second in the time-honoured Cheveley Park Stakes of 1938.

At three, #Aurora won a maiden at Newmarket before finishing second to the high class #GalateaIII in the One Thousand Guineas, and was later unplaced in The Oaks.

#RoseRed - the dam of #Aurora - was a sister to #SweetLavender from whom #AmbiorixII#PerfumeII (dam of #MyBabu & #Sayani), and the famous American stakes winner and sire #TurnTo, who sired #SirGaylord and was responsible for the #SirIvor #SirTristram #Zabeel sire line which has performed so well in New Zealand.

It is fair to say #Aurora was a capable performer without being top drawer, but it is through her four sons #Alycidon#Borealis#Agricola, and #Acropolis that she has made such an influential impact on the breeding world.

#Borealis - by Teddy's son Brumeux - was the first foal for #Aurora, born at amidst the devastation of WWII in 1941. #Borealis showed little quality as a two-year-old, but with maturity he won the Shelford Stakes upon his return as a 3YO and finished second to the top rated colt Tehran in The St Leger. At four, #Borealis won the Coronation Cup over 1.5 miles beating Oceana Swell, the Great Yorkshire Stakes (also over 1.5 miles) at York, and the Wood Ditton Stakes.  

At stud, #Borealis proved to be more than a successful sire, producing One Thousand Guineas winner Northern Gleam, Irish St Leger winner Magnetic North, Futurama (Ribbesdale Stakes), Queen of Light (Falmouth Stakes), Amber Light (Queen Anne Stakes) ..... and many more quality performers.

It was as a broodmare sire that #Borealis really made a name for himself (and propelled the bloodlines of his dam #Aurora) in the thoroughbred world. His daughters producing the likes of Highclere (Prix de Diane & One Thousand Guineas), Discorea (Irish Oaks), Force Ten (Champion Stakes), Ancient Lights (Dewhurst Stakes), Crystal Palace (Nassau Stakes), Picture Light (Hungerford Stakes), Frontal (Prix Hocquart) .... all in all 51 stakes winners as a broodmare sire and an amazing 13% stakes winners to runners ratio.

In 1945 #Aurora produced a chestnut colt by Derby winner #DonatelloII who would prove to be her best performer on the track. Bred by 17th Earl of Derby, the colt was named #Alycidon and took time to mature, but when he did, he proved to be the best stayer seen in England for many years.

#Alycidon was unplaced twice as a two-year-old, and other than being a lazy trackworker, little was known of his ability. At three he was left at the start at his first start before showing progress when he posted his first win over one mile at Thirsk. He then finished second in the Chester Vase before winning the Royal Standard Stakes at Manchester.

#Alycidon headed to Royal Ascot next to contest the King Edward VII Stakes over 1.5 miles abnd finished an unlucky third after being hampered in the running and many thought he should have won the race. #Alycidon proved the form right when he won his following two races, the Princess of Wale's stakes at Newmarket and St George Stakes at Liverpool, and showed himself to be a horse of real class.

#Alycidon had three further starts as a 3YO, running second to Black Tarquin in the St Leger after leading for the majority of the race. At his next start he went on to win the Jockey Club Stakes from Cadir, and at his final appearance for the season he won the King George VI Stakes over two miles from Djeddah, who won the Eclipse Stakes the following year.

As a 4YO #Alycidon was a dominant force in the staying ranks and was unbeaten that season with victories in the Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup, Doncaster Cup, Ormonde Stakes, and Corporation Stakes and recognised as one of the best stayers of his time.

From his first crop at stud #Alycidon produced two top fillies in #Meld (The Oaks, The One Thousand Guineas, and the St Leger) and GloriaNicky (Cheveley Park Stakes & Falmouth Stakes). #Meld was later to make a significant input to New Zealand breeding scene through her son #Mellay who was a Champion sire from his base at White Robe Lodge.

#Alycidon went on to become a highly successful stallion with 33 stakes winners from 155 runners (21%) with his son Alcide taking the mantle as his top colt with victories in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Ascot, The St Leger, & Great Voltigeur Stakes among his 8 wins. #Alcide went on to be a very successful sire, producing 35 stakes winners of which two - #Oncidium and #SeaAnchor - made their way to New Zealand to make successful stallions.

Like #Borealis, #Alycidon made an outstanding contribution as a broodmare sire, and it is through his daughters (and generations gone by) that his presence is still felt today. The daughters of #Alycidon produced 67 stakes winners including #Petingo #Charlottown #NeverTooLate #Lupe #Parbury and #Elviro.

In 1952 #Aurora produced a second colt by #DonatelloII, this one was named #Acropolis who showed far more precociousness than his brother #Alycidon. #Acropolis won three races as a juvenile including the Acomb Stakes over 6 furlongs at York against 18 opponents and put up was described as an 'impressive performance'.

At three #Acropolis raced six times for four wins and two placings. Among his wins were the Great Voltigeur Stakes, Newmarket Stakes, and Commonwealth Stakes, while #Acropolis started favourite for The Derby, and finished third behind Phil Drake & Panaslipper, in addition to finishing second to Vimy in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Ascot.

As a sire #Acropolis didn't reach the heights of #Borealis or #Alycidon but nevertheless still managed to produce 27 stakes winners. However, the influence of #Aurora shone through his daughters and as a broodmare sire #Acropolis was a significant contributor with his daughters producing 47 stakes winners including #Dibidale (Irish Oaks) #FleetWahine (Yorskshire Oaks) #AthensWood (The St Leger) #PacificPrincess (Delaware Oaks) and #MountainLodge (Irish St Leger).

#Aurora's final foal was a colt by #Precipitation named #Agricola. Born in 1956, #Agricola won the Newmarket Stakes over 1.25 miles as a three-year-old which proved to be his career highlight on the track. But there was plenty more in store for #Agricola as he was purchased for stud duties in 1960 to stand in New Zealand where he became a leading sire, and like his brothers before him, a leading broodmare sire also.

#Agricola was a wonderful success at stud, siring champion fillies and champion colts with a string of high class performers throughout Australasia. Among #Agricola's top male horses were #GeneralCommand (Sydney Cup, Metropolitan Handicap, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) #RomanConsul (LKS Mckinnon Stakes) #ElGordo (AJC Derby) #BahramStar (QTC Derby) #Soulman (Adelaide Cup #Vaccum (SAJC Derby) .... while his fillies included the great #Lowland (AJC Oaks, Sydney Cup, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) #FarmersDaughter (VRC Oaks, AJC Oaks) #TeParae (SAJC Oaks) #PersianBronze (SAJC Oaks) and #Visit (Toorak Hp) among his 33 stakes winners.

The influence of #Aurora (through her sons) continued as #Agricola became yet another son of the great producer to make into a top broodmare sire with his daughters responsible for #Dayana (VRC Derby, Perth Cup, AJC Derby) #ShowEgo (VRC Oaks, QTC Oaks, WATC Oaks) #Tang (NZ 1000 Guineas, NZ Oaks, Royal Stakes) #Kip (Australian Cup) #OurBoyfriend (NZ Cup) #Lucozade (Avondale Cup) #TriumphalQueen (QTC Oaks #Interstellar (Canterbury Guineas) #GrandCidium (Caulfield Guineas) #BottledSunshine (QTC Derby) #PrinceofAll (SAJC Derby) #Rationale (Great Northern Guineas) #ChillFactor (Prime Ministers Cup) and many more.

The modern day influence of #Aurora is still felt today and one prime indication of this was seen a few seasons back when studying the pedigree of Jameka (Leading Older Female on 2017 World Thoroughbred Rankings (Long) & the Champion Stayer in Australia in 2016-17).

#Jameka is by the Group 1 winning 2YO #Myboycharlie and out of the #GeneralNediym mare Mind Games, so one would ask where does #Jameka gain her staying prowess from. 

As it happens #MyBoyCharlie carries a line of #Alycidon in his pedigree, #GeneralNediym carries lines of #Alycidon and #Agricola on his female side and #Jameka's sixth dam #Alyxia is also by #Alycidon .... so in all, #Jameka carries four lines of the great #Aurora - a coincidence, I think not!

Other stallions carrying #Aurora in their immediate pedigrees are #DeepImpact, #Galileo, #GeneralNediym, #Astern, #Choisir, #DivineProphet, #ExtremeChoice, #Hellbent, #HighlandReel, #Jukebox, #MongolianKhan, #Nadeem, #NotASingleDoubt, #Outreach, #Proisir, #RewardForEffort, #ReliableMan, #SaxonWarrior, #Showtime, #Sizzling, #SpiritofBoom, #Squamosa, #StarTurn, #SuperSeth, #TheAutumnSun, #TrapezeArtist, and #WrittenBy.

Pictured \ Aurora's great son Alycidon