18 November 2023
Plenty of horses give the people associated with them all winter to consider the prospect of a Classic victory.
When the dream can become reality only for such a precious few, perhaps there is something to be said for those, like Mammas Girl, who are more of a surprise gift that appear almost out of thin air.
Little more than a fortnight ago, Richard Hannon and Amo Racing’s filly was a 50-1 chance for Sunday’s Qipco 1,000 Guineas and had looked unlikely to be changing that situation when still at the back of the field two-thirds of the way through the Nell Gwyn Stakes.
Her stylish response to Sean Levey took her flying past rivals and a near-three-length win at odds of 16-1 put her alongside representatives from the world’s powerhouse thoroughbred operations at the head of the Guineas betting.
Mammas Girl’s breeder, Robert Cornelius, was at Newmarket to see her trial. The Yorkshire-based entrepreneur has had a terrific run of results from his broodmare Mamma Morton, now the dam of 11 winners from 12 racing-age foals.
By Elnadim, she had been placed a few times in Ireland for Nelson Bunker-Hunt, the colourful American oil tycoon who had the likes of Empery and Dahlia in his earlier years, and was bought for Cornelius for 40,000gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale through bloodstock agent Richard Frisby.
It is a family that includes the Park Hill winner Noble Rose and French Derby third Simeon, and Mamma Morton’s dam, Gharam, had been third in the French Guineas of 1990 for Hamdan Al Maktoum and Alec Stewart.
“When we bought Mamma Morton, Robert was keen to buy into a strong winner-producing taproot female family,” says Frisby.
“The late Sheikh Hamdan had been developing this family for some time and had a number of mares in his broodmare band from the immediate family of Mamma Morton. They were all being well mated, which obviously is an attraction for any breeder.”
Among Mamma Morton’s other winners are Master Of War, who took the Listed Rose Bowl at Newbury and placed in the Richmond, Solario and Mill Reef Stakes for Richard Hannon snr in 2012.
Now 19 and based at Copgrove Hall Stud near Harrogate after a previous residency at Whitsbury Manor Stud, Mamma Morton has several more colts for the camp to look forward to in future, a yearling by Dandy Man and an Ardad foal.
“Robert has a deep knowledge and interest in pedigrees and always undertakes an enormous amount of research before deciding on his matings,” says Frisby.
“Over the years he has bred many winners and several stakes performers, including the very useful Master Of War and [Jeff Smith-owned Listed winner] Tropical Treat, but Mammas Girl, although still fairly unexposed, would appear to be the best Robert has produced to date.”
Mammas Girl is providing Whitsbury Manor’s new sensation Havana Grey with a Classic runner from his very first crop and was bought by Hannon’s agent associates Ross and Peter Doyle for £35,000 at the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale.
She had been prepared for that sale by WH Bloodstock, the Berkshire-based operation run by young consignors Mimi Wadham and Violet Hesketh, for whom it is also a pleasant development.
“We had her for two months’ prep for the breeder,” says Hesketh. “She had a very good temperament and stood out to us as a very laid-back, relaxed filly. She grew a lot with us as well during the prep, but was always a very nice physical.
“I think we were pleased with what she sold for at the time, although obviously now she looks a lot more valuable!”
Hesketh adds: “We were kept in the loop about her, we knew she was going to Richard Hannon and that they always liked her. She won very well first time [at Newmarket last October] and we do keep an eye on all our graduates; we would remember her just as a very sweet and kind-natured filly who did everything you asked of her.”
A result would continue to keep WH Bloodstock, formed by the pair in 2018 and involved in pinhooking and boarding as well as sales-related services, in the spotlight.
“We’ve been very fortunate as we sold Magical Lagoon as a yearling and she won the Irish Oaks, so this could be our second Classic winner in consecutive years,” says Hesketh.
“We also had Once More For Luck, who we pinhooked, win at last month’s Craven meeting as well. As the moment some graduates are coming through, which is very exciting.”
Article: Racing Post