By Sid Fernando
First-crop European sire Iffraaj, a prolific sire of winners with 31 to date, went to the next level today when son Wootton Bassett took the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-Gran Criterium at Longchamp over 1400 meters (about 7 furlongs) to become his first winner at the highest level. Wootton Bassett is now undefeated in five starts and has more than £500,000 in earnings to date, the bulk of it earned in restricted stakes.
Iffraaj leads all first-crop sires worldwide with 31 winners and is threatening to break Invincible Spirit’s European record of 35 winners. Like that former prolific winner-getter, a son of Green Desert and a top-level sprinter who now routinely gets high-quality horses, Iffraaj has now demonstrated that he can get the Group 1 winner, and he’s bound to get chances to improve on his record with better-quality mares and emulate what Invincible Spirit has done. In 2010, Iffraaj stood for only 6,000 Euros at Darley’s Kildangen Stud in Ireland.
Darley has been on a tear lately with its young stallions worldwide, with such as Street Cry, Dubawi and Shamardal rising to the top ranks, and Iffraaj’s ascension could be another feather in the cap of the sprawling international operation that has a presence in North and South America, Europe, Japan, and Australia.
Iffraaj is a son of Zafonic (by Gone West) from Pastorale, by Nureyev, and he’s from the immediate family of Darley’s top Green Desert (by Danzig) sire Cape Cross and ex-sire Diktat—whose US-bred Dream Ahead is a multiple Group 1-winning 2-year-old in 2010. All three trace to champion 2-year-old filly and Group 1 winner Park Appeal, by Ahonoora. Park Appeal is the dam of Cape Cross, a Group-1 winning miler; the 2nd dam of Diktat, a multiple Group-1 winning sprinter; and the second dam of Iffraaj, a multiple Group 2 winner at 7 furlongs who was second in the Group 1 July Cup over 6 furlongs.
It’s notable that both Diktat’s and Iffraaj’s Group 1 winners, Dream Ahead and Wootton Bassett, respectively, have Danzig in the bottom halves of their pedigrees, recreating internally the Danzig (Green Desert)/Park Appeal combination that created Cape Cross—the sire of Sea the Stars.
Aside from Wootton Bassett, Iffraaj also has a Group-2 placed runner and four Listed-placed 2-year-olds.