Here’s my yearly piece on these 2 studs. The Royal Stud is almost unrecognisable to the stud of 10 years ago, when it was 90% filled with mares from 2 families. As mentioned before the Queen has recently been endowed with fillies from the studs of the Aga Khan, Juddmonte and Darley. At the same time a few purchases of yearling fillies and fillies out of training has, on paper, increased the firepower of the stud. The next few years will see more of this effect in the breeding of her 2yos. For this year 2 youngsters give us a flavour of how things are changing. Recorder colt by Galileo out of Memory (Hannon’s good 2yo filly of a few years back); Wishpoint colt by Street Cry out of Key Point (a half-sister to Kalanisi. More of these later in the year, but how is the Queen placed in 2015. In the 4yo and older category there was a bit of a clear-out at the end of last season. Of this older age group there are now only two representativeOne is the Haggas trained Prince’s Trust, a lightly raced 5yo who could win more races over 7-10f this year. The other is Hannon’s Musical Comedy, who ran only 3 times as a 3yo. He is pounds better on soft ground and should be followed on soft or heavier. Without doubt the Queen enters the new season with the best bunch of 3yos she has had for some time. For a few years she rarely had a 2yo winner but last year had 8 individual winners. It appears that top of the pile are 2 (of 3) colts supplied to the Queen by Darley, and the leader of those two appears to be the Dubawi colt DARTMOUTH (he’s from a good Wildenstein family). He won his second race at Sandown and could go on to be Group class. He is entered in the English and Irish Derbys. Capel Path, again ex Darley, probably hasn’t quite the same aspirations but this Street Cry colt (from the family of In the Wings) won quite takingly on his third start and looked to be the sort to give HM a runner in a handicap at the Royal Meeting. But the Royal stud itself produced six 2yo winners last year: 3 colts and 3 fillies. Of the colts AWESOME POWER (Haggas) looks the pick (to me) but has had only won one small race so far. By Dubawi out of a Fairy King grand-daughter of Highclere he could improve considerably this year especially over 10f. PEACOCK is a bit of an enigma. After winning well first time out he ran poorly at Ascot in July despite Hannon being very positive about him before the race. At the Leger meeting he ran much better in a confusing listed race won by the consistent Nafaqa who went on to run 2nd to Elm Park in the Royal Lodge. In the Doncaster race Peacock looked outpaced but then coming with a run was hampered in the final furlong losing by only ¾ of a length. Being by Paco Boy, he should be suited by 8f and come on as a 3yo: you may just want to watch him first time out. The third colt was Mustard (I told you last year he could be hot) and he won his second race after appearing beaten (the 2nd idled after being clear). A Stoute trained son of Motivator (out of a Darshaan half-sister to Flight of Fancy), he should be able to stay 12f+ but I’d like to see him first time out to see how he shapes. Of the three winning fillies I’d select PACK TOGETHER to be the one to watch. Another Paco Boy trained by Hannon, she won very well first time out but was then 2nd in a Sandown listed event. Hughes jumped off her and declared that she’d run very green as if she hadn’t had a previous race. Despite being later entered for a few bigger races she did not appear again. It’s easily forgotten that Paco Boy was rated only 87 as a 2yo and ran in Class 4 events, and it was only as a 3yo that he began to show the sort of performances that got him up to a cracking good 124 horse. So his offspring may similarly advance and I’d be disappointed if Pack Together (out of a grand-daughter of a half-sister to Highclere) didn’t improve enough to at least be Listed class at about a mile: she’s a valuable mare anyway. If you’d have read certain websites last year you’d have known the dogs were barking about Touchline (an Exceed and Excel filly out of a Nayef mare and trained by Bell) from May onwards. At the end of July she at last ran in a hot maiden at Goodwood and ridden by Moore was supported in the market: she ran poorly. A month later she won a small 6f race at Yarmouth fairly comfortably whereupon she went for a listed event at Salisbury and again disappointed. Of course the dogs could have been wrong but a few good judges noted that Touchline lost her action once the pressure was put on. She did not come under that sort of pressure at Yarmouth, so it wasn’t so obvious. This could be a fault or just immaturity and if it’s the latter there’s every chance she’ll leave her 2yo form behind: best watched first time out. The other winning 2yo was the admirable Kinematic (Balding) who ran consistently throughout the year. She eventually won a 5f Chester race in a record time for a 2yo, but having been given a rating of 85 I feel she’s very exposed and may need to have things go all her own way to score again (tight track, good draw, well away). Of the non-winning 2yos (so this year’s 3yos) PICK YOUR CHOICE (Haggas trained: what an awful name for a horse) should have a future. He is by Elusive Quality out of the Queen’s Listed-winning filly Enticement (by Montjeu and purchased as a yearling in 2007 and who actually started favourite for Sariska’s Musidora). He ran a perfectly acceptable Newmarket race at the end of last season and I’d expect him to start over 10-12f somewhere and to soon win a maiden. I was very keen on Dexterous (Charlton) this time last year but in her only run she was hardly inspiring. If she doesn’t win this year she’ll be the first of her mare’s produce not to. Despite all the 2yo winners and runners last year there are several unraced 3yos this season. Galley Proof (Galileo-Fictitious: with Hannon) and Thames Pageant (full-sister to Mainstream: see below and with Haggas) are two well-bred individuals but there are others. More of them later. Of the 2yos there are a few that stand out on breeding. Along with the already mentioned Recorder, there’s Molten Gold (a New Approach half-brother to Mustard), Mainstream (a Dansili colt out of the Sadler’s Wells filly Golden Stream), Hammer Gun (a Smart Strike colt out of a great grand-daughter of Highclere) and Diploma (a Dubawi half-sister to Pick Your Choice) who all have nice pedigrees: but more of these later in the season. If there are to be early 2yos I’d put my money on Paco Boy produce again in the shape of Husbandry (a first foal colt out of the good winner Humdrum with Balding) and Patent (a colt out of Peacock’s grand-dam with Hannon). Kinematic’s half-sister Ring of Truth (by Royal Applause also with Hannon) should be early, as should Pack Together’s half-sister Loud Applause (also by Royal Applause). I can’t help feeling that things are looking up for the Queen. 2014 was the highest number of wins for some years and I feel 2015 may be even better. The six 2yo winners The Royal Stud bred performances last season augurs well. One last point and that is that Haggas seems to be getting second-best after Stoute, so in 2 seasons he seems to have eclipsed Bell and Charlton as the Queen’s likely main-trainer-of-the-future. The next 2 seasons are going to be key for him if he is to replace Stoute at some stage. One thing that is pleasing is to see Balding sent more and perhaps better bred animals. He has seemed to be at the foot of the table up to now, yet has been pretty consistent: he has more inspiring looking 2yos this year. In contrast Ballymacoll had a poor year in 2014 with their lowest winning prize-money total since 2007 and just 7 wins. Rarely for them, they failed to score with a 2yo (which they did in 2007). The star of the limited show was the 4yo maiden ARAB SPRING who got off the mark in March and went on to win 3 more races including a nice win at Royal Ascot. All sorts of dreams were then revealed, but in his next race he ran a stinker and finished 4th at his first attempt at group company (Princess of Wales Stakes). Arab Spring returns and nothing was said about the reason for his defeat or then long lay-off. This Monsun colt is a walking advert for Aussies interested in buying colts to race down-under. Being by Fiorente’s sire out of the dam of Glass Harmonium (Gp 1 Aus) he has an eyecatching pedigree and could be suited to a couple of seasons racing there having only had 6 races so far. Arab Spring has something to prove and if conditions are right you could see him making his debut in something like the John Porter. If all goes well I expect him to go on to better things.