By Frances J. Karon
When Campanelle cantered to victory under Frankie Dettori in Sunday’s Prix Morny, she gave her sire Kodiac (Danehill) his fifth career Group 1 winner. Five Group 1 winners might not sound like a big number for a 19yo stallion who stands for €65,000, but it is remarkable for several reasons.
Kodiac is a horse whose pedigree, and not his accomplishments on the racecourse, handed him a spot at stud. Not many with his credentials make it to the breeding shed, and of those that do, few succeed with consistency at Group level, as he has done. (His grandsire Danzig is one of the best examples of a non-black-type winner to make it as a sire.) Kodiac raced for four years, placing third in his only start at two before disappearing for 416 days between his debut and his second start, which, now a 3yo, he won. He followed up with a pair of wins at four and one more at five, racing for owner Prince Faisal, who bred him in the name of Nawara Stud. In 20 starts, Kodiac had four wins — three in England when trained by John Dunlop, and one in Dubai for Erwan Charpy between stints with Dunlop; two seconds; and two thirds. His sole line of black-type was from a second at 25/1 in the G3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury as a 5yo.
With that race record, if he were not by an excellent sire/sire of sires in Danehill (Danzig); a half brother to G1SW Invincible Spirit (Green Desert, by Danzig); and out of a quality racemare — Prix de Diane-French Oaks winner Rafha (Kris) — Kodiac would likely have struggled to find a home at stud, but instead, Irishman Tony O’Callaghan and family’s Tally-Ho Stud took him on, advertising him for a €5,000 fee his first two seasons (2007 and 2008). It was still early days at the time for Invincible Spirit, too soon to know what a good sire he would turn out to be — his oldest foals, Classic winner Lawman among them, turned three the year Kodiac was covering his first mares — so much credit is due to the O’Callaghans for their foresight. Invincible Spirit, standing at the Irish National Stud, now has 128 SWs, and he and Kodiac, both of whom are 6% sires of SWs to foals, have 188 black-type winners between them. Twenty-eight, or nearly half, of Kodiac’s 60 are GSWs. Adding even more value to this family, this year’s Prix du Jockey Club-French Derby was won by Mishriff (Make Believe), whose granddam is a half sister (by Bahri) to Invincible Spirit and Kodiac.
There were 82 Kodiac foals in 2008, and four of those became SWs, followed by three SWs from 68 foals in 2009. By his third year, his fee had dropped to €4,000 and he sired only 33 foals, one of which was a SW. There was just a single GSW from his first four crops combined: Jamesie, a member of his sire’s first crop and the winner of a G3 when he was six, but Kodiac’s first Group winner, achieved three days before Jamesie’s Group win, actually came from his fifth crop: Tiggy Wiggy, whose three stakes wins at two in 2014 included the G1 Cheveley Park and the G2 Lowther.
But with the incentive of a bargain covering fee to lure the small breeder, Kodiac had done enough with his first 2yos that his fourth crop rebounded to 98 foals, though there were only two black-type winners among them, led by Besharah, a G2/G3 winner. From there, Kodiac’s fee began a gentle ascent, baby steps that were at first so small they were barely noticeable, going from €4,000 to €6,500 to €7,500 to €10,000, before leaping to €25,000, €45,000 and, the year Campanelle was conceived, €50,000. He’s been at €65,000 for the past two years; those foals will get to the racecourse in 2020. And he’s remained popular with each hike of his fee; his crops now regularly number in the mid-to-high 100s.
Although 2yos like Campanelle and G2SW Nando Parrado, a Royal Ascot-winning colt who was second behind Campanelle in the Morny, are one of Kodiac’s specialties — which is particularly remarkable for a horse who won for the first time in September of his sophomore season — he’s proven himself to be a source of quality. It took a few years for that to become evident, but his ability to get class is without question; he has at least two GSWs from every crop from 2012 to 2016 (which yielded seven GSWs from 12 SWs overall) and 2018. His lone blip is his 2017 crop, from which he’s represented by zero SWs, but there is still time for them. While most of his progeny, such as all three of his 2020 Royal Ascot winners — 3yo Hello Youmzain (dam by Shamardal), six-furlong G1 Diamond Jubilee; Campanelle (Namid), five-furlong G2 Queen Mary; and Nando Parrado (Roy), six-furlong G2 Coventry — are best over short distances, his G1SW Best Solution (Kingmambo) is a three-time G1SW at 12 furlongs, including a win in the G1 Caulfield Cup in Australia. By the way, no stallion had more winners at this year’s Royal Ascot meeting; his tally matched that of Dark Angel, Dubawi, and Sea the Stars…and Kodiac is the only one of the four whose winners were all SWs, let alone Group winners.
Campanelle’s sire and second dam are bred on the same cross: Kodiac is by Danehill and out of a Kris (Sharpen Up) mare, while her granddam Lady Dominatrix is by a son of Danehill out of a mare by a son of Kris. Campanelle herself is one of 2 SWs from 17 foals by Kodiac out of mares by Namid (Indian Ridge), with G3SW Shaden.
This year, Kodiac has had his first SW as a broodmare sire and is starting to make waves as a sire of sires, too. His freshmen sire sons Prince of Lir (at Ballyhane Stud in Ireland), who won the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, sired the 2020 Norfolk winner The Lir Jet, denying Campanelle’s stablemate Golden Pal (Uncle Mo) by a neck, and French G3SW Coulsty (Rathasker Stud, Ireland) has G3 Princess Margaret winner Santosha.
Tally-Ho, who bred the Morny winner, had bought her dam Janina for 39,000 guineas in foal to Exceed and Excel (another son of Danehill) and sent her to Kodiac to get Campanelle after that Exceed and Excel filly was born. Campanelle was a 190,000 guineas Tattersalls October Book 1 yearling, scouted and purchased by Ben McElroy on behalf of U.S. owner Stonestreet Stables. A lovely mover, she outsold her catalogue page many times over; the pedigree was so light that it had space to show five dams — that’s never a positive selling point — and the only black-type under the first four were her five-furlong Listed-winning dam Janina and second dam Lady Dominatrix, a speedy five-furlong G3-winning daughter of Danehill Dancer. Connections are considering stretching Campanelle out in distance in her next start, with an eye on next year’s 1,000 Guineas. Frankie Dettori, who rode her to both of her Group wins, feels that a mile is within her scope.
Of course, that catalogue page looks a lot better now. Campanelle is undefeated in three starts — her maiden win at Gulfstream, the Group 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, and now the Group 1 Prix Morny over six furlongs at Deauville. The latter two races were also won by Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy), who was co-owned (with George Bolton and Peter Leidel at the time) by Stonestreet and trained by her trainer Wesley Ward, giving Stonestreet and Ward a second Queen Mary/Morny double.
One more remarkable achievement realized on Sunday is that U.S.-based trainer Ward has now won the Prix Morny as many times as Aidan O’Brien (Orpen, 1998; Fasliyev, 1999; Johannesburg, 2001) and more than Andre Fabre (Zafonic, 1992; Earthlight, 2019) and John Gosden (Shalaa, 2015). Ward’s winners are No Nay Never (2013), Lady Aurelia (2016), and Campanelle, and his only other starter, Hootenanny, was second in 2014.