The regally-bred Van Gogh - by Coolmore’s triple crown-winning shuttler American Pharoah (Pioneerof The Nile) - was crowned Cartier two-year-old colt of the year last week, largely due to his impressive victory in the Criterium International (Gr 1, 1600m) at Saint-Cloud in October and his breeding suggests he could be colt to go straight to the top.
The colt is bred in the purple, being out of the is Imagine (Sadler’s Wells), who won the Oaks (Gr 1, 1m4f) and Irish 1,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1m) in 2001 and in the winning the French Group 1 the Barronstown Stud-bred became not only the second elite level winner for his sire, but also a second top-flight winner for the mare, with Van Gogh’s half-brother fellow juvenile Group 1 winner Horatio Nelson (Danehill).
Imagine has proved herself a good producer with the mare producing a further eight winners, including Group 2-winning pair Viscount Nelson (Giant’s Causeway), Kitty Matcham (Rock Of Gibraltar) and Grade 3 scorer Point Piper (Giant's Causeway) and Group 1-placed Red Rock Canyon (Rock Of Gibraltar).
Imagine herself is out of the unraced Master Darby (Dust Commander) mare Doff The Derby, who produced nine winners headed by successful sire Generous (Caerleon), who landed the 1991 runnings of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1m4f) and the English and Irish Derbys (Gr 1, 1m4f), while he also won the Dewhurst Stakes (Gr 1, 7f) as a juvenile. The mare also produced Listed-winning trio Osumi Tycoon (Last Tycoon), Windy Triple K (Jaklin Klugman) and Strawberry Roan (Sadler’s Wells) and dual Grade / Group 3 winner and Group 1-placed mare Wedding Bouquet (Kings Lake), who is herself the grandam of multiple Group 1 winner Moonlit Cloud (Invincible Spirit), Listed scorer Cedar Mountain (Galileo) as well as Group 2 winner Probably (Danehill Dancer).
Doff The Derby meanwhile is also the gradam of Listed-winning pair Sixth Sense (Shamardal) and Lake Toya (Darshaan), who in turn produced 2017 Prix Saint-Alary (Gr 1, 2000m) winner Sobestu (Dubawi) and the dams of Tower Of London (Raven’s Pass) and Dee Majesty (Deep Impact) who both took out Grade 1s in Japan.
The colt’s third dam is prolific winner Margarethen (Tulyar), whose five winners are headed by 1978 Prix Ganay (Gr 1, 2100m) winner Trillion (Hail To Reason) and she is famed for being the dam of nine-time Group 1-winning champion Triptych (Riverman), while she also produced Group 3 winner Barger (Riverman) - the dam of Italian Group 2 scorer Narrative (Sadler’s Wells) and Group 3 winner Baya (Nureyev), who was also placed at Group 1 level.
Barger also produced winning Caerleon (Nijinsky) mare Caerless - the dam of Tawqeet (Kingmambo), who landed the 2006 Metropolitan Handicap (Gr 1, 2400m) and followed up that win with a victory in the Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) two weeks’ later.
Under the colt’s third dam features Treve (Motivator), who proved herself one of the very best mares of recent years when winning six races at elite level including the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m) in 2013 and 2014.
Some top-class Australian performers feature on the pedigree, including A Little Kiss (Sackford), who landed the 1989 Flight Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) and the Queensland Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) the following year, while 2014 Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) winner and prolific Group 1 placegetter Rising Romance (Ekraar) also appears on the page.
Meanwhile, Rebel Raider (Reset), who landed the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) and South Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) in the 2007 / 2009 season, while 2014 Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) Mossfun (Mossman) also feature on the page.
American Pharoah has made a good start at stud in the northern hemisphere with his first two crops and Van Gogh is joined by Harvey’s Lil Goil, who won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (Gr 1, 9f) at Keeneland as his top flight winners. He has sired another ten stakes winners in his first nothern hemisphere-bred crop including Group / Grade 2 winning trio Four Wheel Drive, Sweet Melania and Pista, who is also placed at Group 1 level.
The stallion, who is currently covering his fourth book of mares at Coolmore Australia’s Jerrys Plains base for a fee of $55,000 (inc GST) and he has been represented by just two runners to date from his first crop in the southern hemisphere.
American Pharoah has 24 lots catalogued for next year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling, while five of his yearlings feature in Book 1 of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Karaka Yearling Sale.