BELARDO was trained throughout his career by Newmarket trainer Roger Varian and made an easy winning debut over 6 f. at the small track of Yarmouth as a juvenile, before running fourth in the G2 Newmarket July S. He won stakes for the first time on his third start in the 7 f. Newbury Washington Singer S. and was then 4th in the G2 Doncaster Champagne S. The G1 Newmarket Dewhurst S. is normally the ‘championship’ Group One race for European 2YOs and 2014 was no exception. Belardo put up a remarkable performance to win, being shut in behind horses with little apparent chance of getting into the clear with barely 100m to run. He literally bullocked his way through an infinitesimal gap and shot clear for a relatively comfortable victory. He was justly ranked as Champion European 2YO with a TFR of 119.
His second season, always in the very best company was a relative disappointment although his TFR climbed to 123 and a WTR of 117. After running fourth in the Irish 2000 Guineas, he didn’t regain his touch until the end of the season with a third in the 7f. G2 Newmarket Challenge S. and then was runner-up to the Champion European miler Solow, who was unbeaten in 2015 with five Group Ones to his credit, in the one mile G1 Ascot Queen Elizabeth II S. Settled well back, he came with a long run and took lengths off the winner in the last 150 to go down by a diminishing ¾ length. Behind that day were dual Guineas winner Gleneagles, and such quality gallopers as Kodi Bear, Territories and Intergral.
He was out early as a 4YO and maintained the good form that he had ended with the previous year, winning the listed Doncaster Mile first up and then after a G2 fourth he scored in the prestigious. G1 Newbury Lockinge S over a mile. Once again he produced a sustained burst of speed to pick up a stellar field and record his second elite win with Euro Charline and Endless Drama following him. His final start was in the G1 Queen Anne S. at Royal Ascot (1m), which had attracted an international field headed by the dual American Champion Turf Mare Tepin. The star visitor shot clear of the pack a furlong out, leaving Belardo an awful lot to make up, but he did this in typical determined gutsy fashion to get within ½ length of the great mare at the line. This was rated the best performance by a male at the entire 5 day Royal meeting – an accolade indeed. Many good horses finished behind him in his races including such as Champion Sprinter Limato, Gleneagles, Ervedya, Esoterique, Toormore, Euro Charline and Amazing Maria. His Annual TFR rose to 125 and WTR to 119. He retired to Kildangan Stud in Ireland for the 2017 season.
His sire Lope de Vega (Sharmardal) won both the 2100m. French Derby and French 2000 Guineas and was Champion French 3YO, one of 109 SWs for his sire and one of 3 for his dam. His pedigree is notable for his 3 x 3 inbreeding to Machiavellian, who can be regarded as the perfect foil for Northern Dancer male lines, as he is by Mr. Prospector out of a Halo mare, who is the half-sister, from Natalma, to Northern Dancer. Additionally Halo is a grandson of Almahmoud, who is also dam of Natalma and grandma of Northern Dancer, a sire that also nicks well with Halo’s sire Hail To Reason. All this makes for a bunch of very intricate relationships. Lope de Vega’s dam Lady Vettori is by French 2000 Guineas winner Vettori (Machiavellian) who is out of a Sir Ivor mare from a Nijinsky (Northern Dancer) mare. Besides the inbreeding to Machiavellian, Lope de Vega is balanced to Natalma, Native Dancer, Nearco, Nasrullah and Mahmoud. He went to stud in 2011 and with three crops racing of 3 to 5 YOs he has 24 SWs (4 x G1) at a good ratio of 7.5% SWs/Starters.
Lope de Vega has combined well with Danehill mares to produce Belardo and Very Special (multi-G2 winner; 2nd G1 Newmarket Falmouth S.) and he is also crossed in the second remove with Danehill to give French Fern (G2 ATC Reisling S.), Santa Ana Lane (G3 MRC Zeditave S.) and Royal Razama (G3 Newmarket Cornwallis S.). Several of his high earners like G3 Irish winner Blue de Vega are out of Montjeu mares, also others from the Sadler’s Wells line.
The damsire Danehill has proved an incredible sire in two hemispheres and as a 3 x 3 balanced inbred to Natalma, he provides extra balance to offset the many male lines of Northern Dancer that abound.
The great-grandam sire Marignan (Blushing Groom) was 2nd in the French Derby and he did well as a damsire from limited opportunities his best being Gailo Chop, the winner of 5 group races in France & Australia including the G1 VRC L.K.S Mackinnon S. Next sires along the damline are the Triple Crown winner Nijinsky and Arc winner Saint Crespin.
The female line of Belardo is a famed French line of the number 1 family tracing back to the French 1000 Guineas winner Mackwiller, and forward to Belardo’s fifth dam the flying grey mare Midget (Cheveley Park S., Coronation S., Prix de la Foret, Queen Elizabeth II S.; 2nd 1000 Guineas; 3rd French Oaks). The third dam Makarova was a stakes placed winner of 3 races, she left 7 winners including SW Majinskaya and was grandma of the Champion French Older Female Sprinter Kistena (Miswaki), who won the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp and left a SW to Storm Cat in America.
Majinskaya’s 8 runners were all winners including 3 times listed SW Modeeroch (by Mozart, son of Danehill), G1 SP Chinese Whisper (Montjeu), Maskaya (Machiavellian) the dam of California (azamour) who won the G3 Goodwood Lillie Langtry S. and G1 placed Drumbeat (Montjeu). Majinskaya’s daughter Danaskaya, was Champion Irish 2YO Filly and was 2nd in G2 York Lowther S. & 3rd in G1 Newmarket Cheveley Park S. Her six winners to date include Belardo, G3 SW Berling (Montjeu) and G2 SP Diamond Sky (Montjeu).
If we examine the distaff side of Belardo’s chart we see inbred Danehill bred on the Northern Dancer/Ribot cross, while the grandam Majinskaya is a reversed same sex nick as paternal great-grandsire Giant’s Causeway, the nick being between Blushing Groom and Northern Dancer, the latter through Nijinsky. Belardo’s dam Danaskaya is balanced to Natalma, Hyperion, Tom Fool, Menow and Nearco.
It must already be quite obvious that Belardo is going to provide an outstanding opportunity to all those many mares that carry Northern Dancer male lines. Both sire and dam of Belardo are balanced extensively and Belardo himself is sex balanced to Natalma, Native Dancer, Petition, Nearco, Nasrullah, Hyperion, Menow and Mahmoud. There are nicking patterns between Northern Dancer/Blushing Groom on both sides of the chart, also between Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector and Sir Ivor/Nijinsky on the sire’s side and Northern Dancer/Ribot/Native Dancer on the distaff.
In order to add additional sex balance in prospective progeny, we might seek the following that might be available that are not balanced in Belardo. Sons of Roberto, Riverman, Sir Ivor, Nijinsky, Buckpasser and Caro, and daughters of Northern Dancer, Storm Bird, Storm Cat, Giant Causeway, Danzig, Mr. Prospector, Petingo, Sir Gaylord, Kalamoun, Kenmare, Sharpen Up, Robot, Blushing Groom, Red God, Fortino and Aureole.
A study of available broodmares sires that would suit Belardo reveals an extremely wide variety of horses, not just through the obvious Northern Dancer connection.
One potential avenue of interest is the fact that grandsire Sharmardal’s dam Helsinki is full sister to the major sire Street Cry. There are two sires in New Zealand by Street Cry – Per Incanto and Shocking, both proving successful. The latter is out of a Danehill mare and this raises the question of inbreeding to him that seems to be racking the brains of pedigree researchers. Bare statistics indicates that this is not successful, although there are exceptions. My own view is that without the duplication being sex balanced it comes in the same category as multiple male lines of Northern Dancer or any other sire and ends up being of little consequence.
Whilst I must stress the wide variety of potential choices that have more than a little going for them I particularly liked anything carrying Stravinsky e.g Rip Van Winkle. Additionally Swiss Ace, Battle Paint, Mastercraftsman, Ekraar, Raise The Flag, Azamour, Pour Moi all held some appeal, as did Shinko King, Road To Rock and Gallant Guru.
In conclusion, I believe that Belardo has what it takes to be a successful sire and should be able to draw on the Northern Dancer familial connections, whilst the two Street Crys could be matings worth a try. Montjeu and his sire Sadler’s Wells also seem to fit with this respect.
All mares carrying Northern Dancer can be considered premium matings with Belardo. Almost all of the stallions listed carry Northern Dancer at least once in their pedigree.
Northern Dancer line stallions: Encosta de Lago, Yamanin Vital, Personal Escort, Elusive City, Iffraaj, Patapan, Tavistock, Captain Rio, Fast n Famous, Raise The Flag, Red Giant, Road to Rock, , Sakhee's Secret, Swiss Ace, Shinko King, Thewayyouare, Thorn Park, Volksraad, Zabeel, Duelled, Mastercraftsman
Sadler's Wells line stallions with a particular affinity with Belardo are: Carnegie, Montjeu, Montjeu, Tavistock, Pour Moi, Gallant Guru
Danzig and Danehill-line stallions with a particular affinity with Belardo are: Cape Cross, Commands, Danasinga, Danske, Dalghar, Mastercraftsman, Flying Spur, Redoute's Choice, Fastnet Rock
Stallions with Mr Prospector within their pedigree with a particular affinity with Belardo are: Encosta de Lago, Personal Escort, Exploding Prospect, Elusive City, Stravinsky and his sons such as Chinese Dragon & Patapan, Captain Rio, Falkirk, Iffraaj, Le Bec Fin, Makfi, Postponed, Road to Rock, Showcasing, Street Cry, Thewayyouare, Dalghar, Mastercraftsman, Swiss Ace
Stallions with Sir Ivor within their pedigree with a particular affinity with Belardo are: Don Eduardo, Kaapstad, Grosvenor, Savabeel, St Reims, Showcasing, Makfi, Thorn Park, Volksraad, Zabeel