A triple Gr.1 winner of the Irish Derby, the Irish 2000 Guineas and the National Stakes, Desert King has proven himself to be a classy and consistent stallion in both hemispheres.
A study of the pedigrees of his best runners to date – his 27 stakes winners, reveals that there are certain pedigree patterns well worth noting.
Firstly there is the one rule of line-breeding that seems to work with every Danehill stallion– that the duplication of Northern Dancer is a very good thing indeed!
Desert King is bred on a 3mx3m cross of Northern Dancer via Danzig and Nureyev and he has the extra strain of Northern Dancer's dam Natalma through Danehill - and he is not at all adverse to further strains – the champ Makybe Diva’s third dam Katsura being a daughter of Northern Dancer.
Multiple Gr.1 winning warrior Desert War also carries three crosses of Northern Dancer, his third coming via Lyphard. European Gr.1 winner Chelsea Rose meanwhile is out of a mare line-bred to Northern Dancer via Viceregal and Nijinsky II.
Queensland Derby-Gr.1 victor Lachlan River is out of a Last Tycoon mare whilst Gr.3 winner Maranilla is another to carry a strain of Lyphard.
The stakes winners Petit Calva and Grand Opening have Be My Guest in their dam lines whilst Red Briar has Nijinsky II and Pretty Tough Sadler’s Wells.
Closer line-breeding is carried by the English Gr.3 winner Mango Mischief who is bred on a 3mx4m cross of Danzig and by the Listed winner Always King who boasts a 3fx3m cross of Nureyev.
In summary 11 of Desert King’s stakes winners carry multiple strains of Northern Dancer.
Another three – Qui Es Tu, Maranilla and Basra are line-bred to Northern Dancer’s family. The former is out of a mare by Arctic Tern – his grandam Almahmoud the grandam of Northern Dancer and the fourth dam of Danehill. Maranilla is out of a mare by Bering, a son of Arctic Tern.
Closer to home and the Royal Stakes-Gr.2 winner Basra has as her second dam sire Nostrum, a little known half brother to Northern Dancer.
Typically Danehill’s sons have fared very well with strains of Star Kingdom and Desert King is no exception.
Desert War is out of a Canny Lad mare, Listed winner Roman Squire's grandam is by Ideal Planet (by Planet Kingdom), Basra’s dam is by Bletchingly and star Perth mare Real Love has Kaoru Star as her second dam sire.
One of Desert King’s northern hemisphere bred stakes winners in Sundrenched has Star Kingdom; in her case via Noholme II whose grandam Orama is also grandam of Nearula, Desert King’s fourth dam sire.
With this in mind it is worth seeking strains of Noholme II as well as his brothers Todman, Faringdon and Shifnal.
A family proving influential in Desert King’s success is that originating from the fine matriarch Marchetta. She appears in Desert King’s pedigree via his second dam sire Bustino.
Her descendants (in particular Turn-To, My Babu and Klairon but also Borealis, Alycidon, Sayani and Ambiorix) feature prominently in the pedigrees of Makybe Diva, Mr Dinos, Desert War, Darsalam, Lachlan River, Basra, Maranilla, Place Rouge, Rageman, Mango Mischief, Always King, Red Briar, Desert Fantasy, Bygone Days, Bowmore, Banana Man and Mohican Brave.
The prolific families of Lady Josephine, Pretty Polly, Feola, Gondolette, La Troienne and Plucky Liege are also influencing Desert King as is that of Simon’s Shoes – ancestress of his dam sire Nureyev.
Lancashire Oaks-Gr.3 winner Place Rouge is out of a mare by Lear Fan whose dam sire Lt Stevens is a full brother to Nureyev’s grandam Thong – hence a 6fx5m cross of Rough Shod II.
The Irish Listed winner Desert Fantasy is out of a mare by Mansooj whose grandsire Thatch is a full brother to Nureyev’s dam Special – providing for a 5fx5m cross of Special.
French Listed winner Pretty Tough is out of a Sadler’s Wells mare, Special being his grandam. Desert King has had seven runners out of Sadler’s Wells mares and five have been winners including the stakes placed Gemini Diamond.
Mohican Brave, Petit Calva, Grand Opening, Always King and Chelsea Rose also carry strains of the Simon’s Shoes family.
A mare harder to duplicate, but one who has made her presence felt in this part of the world is Red Sunset to whom the champion Sunline is line-bred. She is the grandam of the Epsom Derby-Gr.1 hero Crepello, grandsire of Bustino. Further strains are worth finding – especially her son Sunny Way, second dam sire of Tolomeo – in turn second dam sire of Desert War.
Red Sunset can also be found via her son Rasper II who features in the pedigree of Gulch.
Another influential mare worth seeking is Flower Bowl, dam of Danehill’s dam sire His Majesty. Danehill’s fine son Mozart was line-bred to her as are his Gr.1 winning granddaughters Anamato, Camarilla, Danni Martine and Rena's Lady – and Desert King’s stakes winning daughter Petit Calva.
Look for strains of Graustark and Whiskey Road.
Desert King’s best European runner – the dual Gr.1 winning stayer Mr Dinos, is line-bred to Samovar. She is Desert King’s sixth dam whilst her son Rustam features close up in Mr Dinos’ dam line. Another of her descendants is the great Frankel.
Prix de Conde winner Rose O'Lynn is another mare to note. She is the dam of Desert King's multiple Gr.1 winning third dam sire Venture VII. Real Love and Roman Squire (who are both out of Salieri mares) are both line-bred to her, carrying a strain of her other son Buisson Ardent. Look for him as well as Buisson D'Or and note that Zamazaan is a descendant.
Stallions apart from Northern Dancer who have been important for Desert King include Native Dancer, Nearco, Forli, Crafty Admiral, Relic, Tom Fool, Crepello and Ribot.