Sentimental Miss claims a Group One first for her sire Reliable Man in the New Zealand Oaks.

Ever since the Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks at Trentham three weeks ago, I have been kicking myself for not including SENTIMENTAL MISS among my selections.

I had identified the Reliable Man filly as one of several in the field with superior pedigrees, that her Te Rapa run (second to Imelda Mary in the Gr. 2 Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic) entitled her to respect and that she was likely to stay. I even advised punters to ignore her ninth placing in her previous start in the Lowland.

I think what must have swung it was the fact that she had won just once in 10 career starts. Nevertheless, she should have been very tempting at $21.

Sentimental Miss races from Lisa Latta’s Awapuni stable for one of Albert Bosma’s very successful Go Racing syndicates. She raced twice as a late juvenile, being run down late on debut and then finishing fourth in the Listed Castletown Stakes.

The following season she cleared maiden grade in her third start at Otaki and stepped up to the Gr. 3 Wellington Stakes over 1600 metres. She could have been a bit unfortunate to be a long-neck third behind the future Derby winner Crown Prosecutor and Swords Drawn. She just battled away when out of the money in the Eulogy Stakes and Desert Gold Stakes, by now clearly needing extended trips.

At Te Rapa in February for the 2000-metre Sir Tristram Classic, she got that chance, settling back, all of 15 lengths off the leaders. At the turn she still trailed, but hooked wide by Johnathan Parkes, she mounted a huge run to fail by only three-parts of a length with Queen Of Diamonds third. She looked likely to have got up in a few more strides.

On that run, in the Lowland over 100 metres further, she should have been involved. But she was buried down on the fence and never got a run, and so we all forgot about her Oaks chances.

Leading jockey Lisa Allpress, who is involved in a daily battle royal with Parkes to be the 2018-19 champion, took the mount in the classic. Sporting blinkers for the first time, the grey filly got into a handy space just behind the lead.

Around 300 metres from the finish it looked as if the fates had intervened yet again as she became unbalanced after a bit of jostling. However, with her equilibrium restored, she ran on strongly with the utmost gameness and was going away at the finish to win by a length and a quarter.

The Oaks winner’s sire Reliable Man was a high-class racehorse on both sides of the world. He won the 2000-metre French Derby in 2011, and then as a five-year-old in Australia he won the Gr. 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over the same distance, beating Dundeel no less.

He retired to Westbury Stud, shuttling to Germany initially and now to France. His first German crop produced a couple of Group Three winners from 34 runners, and his two-year-olds of 2018 include a Listed winner among nine to the races.

With much more opportunity here, he has Belle Du Nord (Gr. 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes; 2nd Gr. 1 Levin Classic, Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes), SWs Hypnos (also 2nd Levin Classic) and Main Stage, also some very good black-type winners like Sully, Kapoor and recent Gr. 1 Sistema Stakes placegetter Aalaalune.

Reliable Man has long been threatening to take high rank as a sire and is now about to take off as his stock mature and race over longer trips – not so easy to find in New Zealand, but did I get a hint this week that transtasman co-operation might soon change this?

The damsire Quest For Fame is also stout and won on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Derby and the Hollywood Turf Handicap. His stud career was mostly in Australia with 43 stakes winners including champion two-year-old Dracula, champion two and three-year-old Viscount, champion Australasian filly Unworldly, Tributes (VRC Oaks), De Beers (Rosehill Guineas) and Sarrera, also Famous Digger (Del Mar Oaks).

His daughters’ 58 stakes winners include our own major sire Tavistock, also Complacent, Norzita, Famous Name (20 stakes winners) and Sidestep – shooting to fame as first-crop sire of the Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi.

The sire of the grandam is Kaoru Star (36 stakes winners), sire of such as Planet Ruler, Luskin Star, Marceau, Full on Aces and Mighty Avalanche. The 73 stakes winners from his daughters include Pins, Danzero and True Version.

The female family is the No. 2 line through Medmenham, a mare imported to Australia in the mid-1920s and closely balanced to the greats St. Simon, his sire Galopin and Isonomy. There she produced Ajax, who features in Kaoru Star’s chart.

“Reliable Man has long been threatening to take high rank as a sire and is now about to take off as his stock mature and race over longer trips.

Her granddaughter Lady Pirouette (Gr. 1 AJC Champagne Stakes) is fifth dam of the Oaks victress, and herself left Kilshery, whose four Group One wins included two All-Aged Stakes. She also left two-year-old winner Waltz, dam of multiple stakes winner Paravane and granddam of stakes winner Awesome Mover.

The third dam of the Oaks winner was Waltz’s daughter, three-time Sydney winner Party (Lunchtime), whose nine winners included superior sprinters Festal (Gr. 1 Telegraph Handicap) and Masked Party (Gr. 1 Galaxy). Her descendants include Australian Guineas winner Wandjina, Hong Kong Sprint victor Inspiration and Lucky Unicorn.

However, as is often the case, it is the non-winner, once-raced Awards Ceremony, that excelled at stud. She left seven winners, three of them at stakes level including champion two-year-old Dracula (three Group Ones including the George Main Stakes). Stakes winners from her daughters include Gr. 1 Spring Champion Stakes victor Complacent, Gr. 3 Golden Pennant winner Screen and now Sentimental Miss.

The Oaks-winning grey is out of Sydney placegetter Nostalgic, a full-sister to Dracula. Sentimental Miss is by far the best of her seven winners to date.

Apart from the already noted stamina displayed by her sire and damsire, pedigree analysts will have noted that the bottom quartile is largely based on speed, which indicates to me that the reason that she stays so well can be found in the two sires already mentioned and the overall construction of her chart.

The sire Reliable Man is bred on that most successful dominant stamina nick between Shirley Heights, his son Darshaan and grandson Dalakhani with Sadler’s Wells, whilst the Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector combo also features.

His construction is as follows: Shirley Heights – Djebel – Astronomie (2) – Umidwar – Mr. Prospector (Raise A Native) – Tom Fool – Princequillo – Sicambre – Donatello / Northern Dancer – Hail To Reason – Fair Trial – Donatello – Polynesian – Spy Song. Balance is to old faithfuls Hyperion, Nearco, Northern Dancer and Polynesian.

The distaff side has the dam balanced to Djebel, Menow and the mare Alora, and construction is Blushing Groom – Raise A Native, Northern Dancer – Spy Song – Sicambre – Djebel – Fair Trial – Alora/Star Kingdom – Djebel – Bahram – Pantomime (Medmenham – Brueghel) – Tom Fool – Umidwar – Alora – Bahram – Hecuba (Brueghel – Medmenham).

It should be plain to see that this was a very well-designed mating with much pattern matching and wide sex balance at a distance in the chart that so often characterises a stayer’s pedigree.

In the sixth and seventh removes, the sex-balanced crosses are to Raise A Native, Nasrullah, Nearco, Native Dancer, Sicambre, Hyperion, Djebel, Menow and Umidwar.

Sentimental Miss seems to act on variations in the track surface – it was a Good3 at Te Rapa and a Dead6 at Trentham – so we can expect her to put up a good showing in Sydney if she is to go over for the Australian Oaks. We know she stays 2400 metres on a big track, and with a touch more luck at the top of the straight she would have won the Trentham classic with even more ease than she did. Go Racing!