While inspecting and measuring yearlings last fall in Newmarket for Book 1 of the Tattersalls yearling sale, I saw a lot of really nice yearlings. But even among the well-grown and athletic prospects on the spacious grounds at Tattersalls, there was a filly who stood out as extra special.
Walking across one of the yards Tattersalls uses to house its sales yearlings, I nearly gave myself whiplash when a bay filly walked by.
Big, strongly made with scope and quality, she had a slashing walk and the presence of a queen.
The racing public may have thought the same thing on Sept. 29 when Fairyland stood in the winner’s enclosure at Newmarket racecourse a near-year after her sale across town. For Fairyland was the filly who so emphatically turned my head.
Nor was I the only one.
A strong bay with black points, Fairyland sold for 925,000 guineas as Hip 161. That, in itself, was a stunner. As a daughter of the Danehill stallion Kodiac out of the unraced Pivotal mare Queenofthefairies, Fairyland was not pedigreed to be a market leader.
But that is what she became through the excellence of her distinctive individual qualities, showing more size and scope than most of the stock by her sire, and even so, one well-informed sales reporter observed, “She very nearly has to win the Cheveley Park to worth that.”
That the filly has accomplished exactly that feat now makes Fairyland worth quite a bit more for owners Evie Stockwell, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
She is the second stakes winner from three winners out of her dam, who is a half-sister to leading European 2-year-old Dream Ahead (Diktat), who won the G1 Middle Park Stakes and Prix Morny at 2. He then progressed to become the next season’s leading sprinter also, with victories in the G1 July Cup and Prix de la Foret.
The 10-year-old Dream Ahead has sired G1 winner Al Wukair (Prix Jacques le Marois) last season and 20 total stakes winners to date.
Prior to Fairyland, Dream Ahead’s half-sister Queenofthefairies had produced stakes winner Now or Never (Bushranger), winner of the G3 Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial and then third in the classic itself. Sent to race in Australia, the filly won the G2 Rose of Kingston Stakes.
Fairyland’s second and third dams are stakes winners Land of Dreams (G2 Flying Childers Stakes; by Cadeaux Genereux) and Sahara Star (G3 Molecomb Stakes; Green Desert). Fourth dam Vaigly Star ran second in the G1 July Cup against colts and is by Arc de Triomphe winner Star Appeal.
This is a family with a great deal of speed and a fair bit of quality black type that seems to be upgrading generation by generation. It has reached a new high with the winner of the Cheveley Park.
As things stand today, Fairyland is no less elite on pedigree through her sire, but that has not always been the case. The simple fact is that Kodiac did not accomplish nearly enough in his racing career. With only a second in the G3 Hackwood Stakes as his single black-type accomplishment from 20 starts and four victories over the course of racing from ages 2 through 5, Kodiac might well have been a negligible sire if even given such an opportunity.
But, as fate would have it, Kodiac is a half-brother to five stakes winners, most importantly G1 winner Invincible Spirit (Green Desert), who is four years the senior. Kodiac was born the year his famous older brother was rated the top older sprinter in Ireland, and Invincible Spirit added the G1 Haydock Sprint Cup to his accomplishments the following year.
After Kodiac’s 5-year-old season, Invincible Spirit was on his way to becoming a sire of significance, and the younger half-brother was given a chance as an inexpensive sire for Tally-Ho Stud. That might have been the end of the story, but the genetics that power some sires have made Kodiac a star in Irish breeding. The sire of a record 61 2-year-old winners last season, and 46 stakes winners overall, the 17-year-old Kodiac has risen year by year to become a stalwart of the European breeding community.
Speed up to seven furlongs was his forte, and nearly all of his stock have speed. Place them well, and they will win. But the best of them also have surprising class, and Fairyland is the third G1 winner for the sire. His first was Tiggy Wiggy, a fast and precocious juvenile who also won the Cheveley Park and was recognized as the best 2-year-old filly in England and Europe. This year, Kodiac is also represented by his second G1 winner, the 4-year-old Best Solution, winner of the Grosser Pries von Baden and the GP von Berlin, both over 12 furlongs.
Even allowing that Best Solution is an outlier for this well-proven sire, the scope and size of Fairyland give her a fair chance of staying a mile, and she has already proven that she has the dash and class to win at the top level.