Felsetta (GB), 1933

Author: Jana Nemeckova, published: 11th January 2018

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The name of Felstead's daughter Felsetta won't probably ring many bells. But the names of mother-daughter duo of Kyak and Ripeck probably should, as especially Ripeck had a great impact as a broodmare, and she would probably deserve to have this article named after her. But Kyak's granddam Felsetta has another family branch leading to no one else than Thunder Gulch, so it's certainly worth looking at this family from a bit wider angle.


The first sensible name, which this family can be hooked up to, is The Sleeping Beauty, a bay filly bred in Ireland in 1881 by G. Knox. Her major achievement as a broodmare are full brothers Portmarnock and Carrigavalla by Gallinule, winners of the Irish Derby 1985 and 1901, respectively. Their full sister Rock Dove, born a year before Portmarnock, was a good runner too - she won the Cesarewitch Handicap in 1985. The very same year she lost the second place in the Liverpool Autumn Cup to her younger brother. One year later she ran third in the Queen Alexandra Stakes, behind the Sussex Stakes second Pride and great French horse Omnium II, winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and super long Prix Gladiateur, among many other races; he also finished second in the Ascot Gold Cup to Love Wisely. Another good performance of the season for Rock Dove was the third-place finish in the Chester Cup behind The Rush, future runner-up from the Ascot Gold Cup.

Speaking of her family, some of her daughters had only very limited success at stud, if any. Rock Dove herself doesn't have any known foals for an unknown reason. The two producers, who happened to continue the family, were another Gallinule daughters Beauty's Daughter and Ardmore. Ardmore's branch had quite a promising start: her daughter Arda won both the Park Hill Stakes and the Nassau Stakes, and ran third in the Oaks; her grandson Athdara ran second and third in the Dewhurst Stakes and the Two Thousand Guineas, respectively. His half-brother Splendid Spur added the third place in the Eclipse Stakes. The family seemed to have a good potential with both Arda and the Cheveley Park Stakes winner Merry Wife, who was produced by Athdara's half-sister, so it had to be quite a bitter surprise when the family continued simply nowhere. Except for few tiny branches with no success, only three G1 horses emerged in the far future - the Queen's Plate winner Victor Cooley, and New Zealand full sisters L'Amour and Clear Rose - the latter won the local 1000 Guineas and ran second in the Derby.

Historical family scheme:


Bay filly Felsetta was born in 1933 Great Britain. There's no information about her mother Ka-Lu-A; her sire was Amadis, whose biggest success was a victory in the Doncaster Cup, where he defeated Roi Herode and Dark Ronald. But it's worth mentioning that despite their apparent sire success, neither of them was a great racehorse by himself. Amadis didn't do well at stud; he's the fourth damsire of My Love, Nearula, and Noholme, which is too little for a sire. As for Felsetta's sire Felstead, he was really bad two-year-old, who improved dramatically during the winter; he won his sophomore debut easily, ran second at Epsom and added a very promising sixth-place finish in the Two Thousand Guineas. He was still one of the outsiders for the Epsom Derby, but heavily favored Fairway was reportedly upset by Epsom crowd and never threatened; Felstead received a nice stalking trip from Harry Wragg and won easily in the equaled track record of 2:34.4. Shortly after Epsom, Felstead became sore and never returned to the racetrack, even though the attempts were made to bring him back for his four-year-old season. Felstead, for a horse so hard to assess, didn't make a bad sire. His greatest achievement was bay filly Rockfel, the winner of the One Thousand Guineas, the Oaks and the Champion Stakes in 1938; later she produced important Hyperion son Rockefella. Another Oaks winner by Felstead, Steady Aim, is the third dam of Danzig, and Felstead himself is the second damsire of double Ascot Gold Cup winner Fighting Charlie by Ribot, of Kalydon, mostly know for producing top filly Park Top, and Hardicanute, sire of the French Derby winner Hard to Beat. Felstead's son Abbot's Fell, third in the Ascot Gold Cup, is the damsire of Australian-bred Pago Pago, whose really international influence includes the European champion Dancing Brave, Japan champion Kurofune and the U.S. champion filly Untapable.

Felsetta was sold as a foal in December Sales for 860 guineas and was bought by trainer Joe Lawson for Sidney Hollingsworth. She won at least four races as a two-year-old; she concluded her campaign the next year with victory in Atalanta Stakes over 10 furlongs at Sandown Park. Felsetta produced only five live foals, including two winning daughters. The older one, Bardia by Colombo, became the granddam of the July Cup winner and future minor South African sire Daylight Robbery; let's not forget that by this time, the whole family produced nothing in the last five generations. In 1964, his half-sister by Bleep-Bleep by the name of Winkie was born; as a juvenile, she ran third in the Lowther Stakes. Only five years later came Do Battle, the first son of Daylight Robbery's older sister Death Ray; he ran third in the Greenham Stakes behind Sharpen Up. However, Death Ray produced only two foals in the next five years; an Aggressor colt Open Fire, winless in 68 tries, and a filly Sizzler by Blakeney, winner of a single race.

But the last three foals out of Death Ray did much more than Do Battle promised: More Light, born in 1975, ran second to Tromos in the Dewhurst Stakes; a year later, he placed in a couple of prestigious G2 races and ran second to the future Ascot Gold Cup winner Ardross in the Jockey Club Cup. Ardross was a kind of family Waterloo, as he defeated More Light's four-year-old half-sister Shoot a Line in the Ascot Gold Cup 1981 too. Strangely managed to this two-mile race, Shoot a Line lost the race only by a length. She was one of the top fillies at the age of three, winning the Irish Oaks, the Yorkshire Oaks, and the Ribblesdale Stakes, and according to International Classification, she was co-top rated three-year-old British-trained filly with Mrs. Penny. Shoot a Line's story had somewhat sad ending: after the Gold Cup, she totally failed in the Grosser Preis von Berlin in Germany, and by September, she was able only to finish second in the listed Doonside Cup. As a five-year-old, she was sold and transferred to the United States, winning one allowance race from six starts. Her quite poor produce record had the one lucky exception in Line of Thunder, who ran second in the Cheveley Park Stakes back in England, where she, by the way, defeated double G1 winner (and future great producer) Chimes of Freedom. Line of Thunder herself produced 13 winners from 14 runners, and the oldest one of them was the chestnut Thunder Gulch. He was voted Eclipse champion 3-year-old male after victories in the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, and the Travers Stakes, among other races. Thunder Gulch became renown sire, mostly remembered as the sire of another double classic winner, champion 3-year-old colt and the Horse of the Year Point Given. Thunder Gulch's younger brother Battle Line was the last one bred by Peter Brant, who originally purchased Shoot a Line in Great Britain. Trained in Japan, Battle Line was multiple G3 winner and multiple G1 placed; he was far the best from the rest of the Line of Thunder foals. After Battle Line, Line of Thunder was apparently sold to Fontainebleau Farm in Kentucky, and most of her foals raced in Japan. The two exceptions were Satono Thunder, who won or placed in more than a half of his 40 starts; the second one was hurdler Delacroix, a full brother to Thunder Gulch. From all 10 Japanese runners, 9 of them were winners, but nobody earned more than ten percent of what Battle Line did. The family continues in Japan, but so far, with rather poor results.

It must be said that Bardia's family had one more branch in Death Ray and Daylight Robbery's half-sister Hells Angel by Hook Money. As a dam, she was able to produce Thieving Demon, the third in the Two Thousand Guineas behind Wollow and in the Lockinge Stakes behind Relkino. But from her daughters, only Hellspear was able to continue at least a bit successful family, as she was the granddam of the Moyglare Stud Stakes third Welsh Woman. This bay filly by Welsh Saint was sent to South Africa as a four-year-old, where she was G1 placed too; as for her broodmare career, it took eight years before she produced Celtic Grove, her first foal by the Grand Prix de Paris winner Fort Wood. Celtic Grove won eight of eleven starts, including the South African Guineas, the Triple Crown 1600 and the Gold Challenge, all G1 races. In the meantime, the first daughter of Welsh Woman, Welsh Damsel, produced a G2 winner and G1-placed filly Gay Regina - future granddam of G1 horses Persian Rug and Marinaresco, the latter being the South African champion three-year-old. The family has some young mares, so it won't probably end up anytime soon.

The best foal out of Felsetta was Felucca by Nearco, born two years after Bardia. She ran twenty times, won four races and placed in eight more; as a three-year-old, she won the Harston Stakes over seven furlongs, defeating Hycilla, the winner of the New Oaks (war substitute of the Oaks in 1941) and the Champion Stakes. As a producer, Felucca became famous for a trio of the Park Hill Stakes winning sisters Ark Royal, Kyak and Cutter, but each of them deserves a much more detailed view.

Ark Royal was the fourth foal out of Felucca, and the fourth winner after Donatello daughter Donalucca, and full siblings Arctic Lad and Felise by Borealis. Born in 1952, Ark Royal was a member of the same crop as the fillies' Triple Crown winner Meld, by whom she was defeated in the Oaks; while Meld was collecting classic glory, Ark Royal won the Park Hill Stakes, the Ribblesdale Stakes, and the Yorkshire Oaks. At stud she produced a trio of successful runners in miler Eagle by Court Martial, who placed in five races now rated as G1; Petition filly Ocean, who won the Coronation Stakes over the Guineas winner Pourparler, and Aureole colt Hermes, who, unlike his siblings, became good stayer. As a three-year-old, Hermes won both the Dante Stakes and the Great Voltigeur Stakes; the next year, he placed in three kilometers long the Prix Kergorlay, two miles long the Doncaster Cup and three miles long the Prix Gladiateur, in addition to the John Porter Stakes behind the Epsom Derby winner Charlottown. Unfortunately, Ark Royal's family never produced anything better than Ocean's son Baffin, who ran second in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes - behind who else then Ardross. The family was alive for at least four more generations, and also got to the U.S., Japan or Brazil, but soon became obscure.

Kyak didn't have such respected rivals as Ark Royal, with the slight exception of the Yorkshire Oaks winner Indian Twilight, whom she defeated in the Park Hill Stakes; it could help her to finish second and third in the Nassau Stakes and the Ribblesdale Stakes. She also didn't produce any great runners on her own, although she was the dam of at least eight winners; but she was able to continue and ramify the family. Her very first foal was Ribot daughter Ripeck, the winner of one of eight starts; she reportedly ran fourth in an Oaks trial, but she was much better dam than a racehorse. Her first daughter Anchor by Major Portion won the Nell Gwynn Stakes and started her own small branch of the family. Her son Sea Anchor by Alcide was a very good stayer, winner of the Doncaster Cup and third behind Sagaro in the Ascot Gold Cup; it maybe helped to continue the family, as two daughters of Anchor were unraced, two more unplaced and the last one won a single start. But with successes of Kyak and Anchor, they were certainly worth trying at stud, and it paid off. Sea Pageant produced only the Derby Trial placed Welsh Sea, but both her unplaced daughters, Sea Harrier and Sea Port, showed the unsuspected qualities. Sea Harrier by Grundy produced only Irish G2-placed, but Australian G1 winner Water Boatman; his half-sisters by Danehill produced Nannina, top British filly and a double G1 winner, and Pure Champion, G1 horse in New Zealand and Hong Kong. Sea Port was even better, producing Indigenous, a colt by Marju, who was able to fight on the G1 level in Hong Kong for six years - and was a G1 winner or placed in five of them, in a total of 13 races, including the Hong Kong Cup, the Queen Elizabeth II. Cup and the Japan Cup. Indigenous's younger sister De Laroche produced Fenomeno, second from the Japan Derby and winner of the Tenno Sho (Spring), among good efforts in other top Japanese races. Older sisters Fayidah and Sea of Diamonds both continued families towards Australian G1 winners Rosie Rocket and Jessicabeel. Most of these horses were born into the 21st century, so we can assume that family is doing very well.

Ripeck's other daughter Fluke by Grey Sovereign wasn't so successful, as she's only a granddam of German G2 winner Flying Squaw. Fluke was followed by Buoy, very elegant colt by Aureole and natural stayer - at the age of three, he won the Great Voltigeur Stakes after the third-place finish in the Irish Derby behind Weavers Hall; he went on to finish second in the St. Leger behind Peleid. As a four-year-old, Buoy was in a great form, winning the Yorkshire Cup and the Princess of Wales's Stakes, both G2 races. But the highlight of his career was the Coronation Cup, where he defeated the Grand Prix de Paris winner Tennyson and great Dahlia, who won the King George VI. and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Benson and Hedges Gold Cup earlier in the season. As a stallion, Buoy was sent to Australia, where he had only random G1 winners among his progeny in future generations. In the production of Fluke, Buoy was followed by two unimportant daughters, and Balinger, a Welsh Pageant colt, who won 10 of 14 starts, but his best result was a G3 victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. One year after him Ripeck gave birth to Bireme, a chestnut filly by Grundy. Her biggest victory - and last career start - came in the Oaks 1980, but it's worth saying that she defeated Vielle, very good juvenile filly and second from the Yorkshire Oaks, who got to her best a year later, when she ran second in both the Prince of Wales' Stakes and the Eclipse Stakes, and third in the Coronation Cup, each time against males. However, Bireme was somewhat of a failure at stud; she produced several winners, but the only stakes winner among them was a brown filly Yawl by Rainbow Quest. Twenty years later, Yawl became the granddam of another Oaks Stakes winner in Talent by New Approach, who added the second place in the St. Leger to her score a few months later. However, a year younger Boathouse by Habitat was a far better producer than Yawl - despite being only G2 placed, she produced Dry Dock, the third-place finisher from the St. Leger 1987; more importantly, her daughters were good producers too. Norse Dancer and Mail the Patrol were born both in 2000; Halling colt Norse Dancer became the Two Thousand Guineas placed, and later European proven G1 warrior; the latter, a filly by Desert Prince, was a G1 winner at two and G1-placed at three. Another filly from the family, Daffodil by No Excuse Needed, won both the New Zealand Guineas and the Australian Oaks.

Ripeck's branch was the biggest and the most successful part of Kyak's family, although it's well visible that none of its branches was neither extremely successful, not much progressive. Still, the family was able to produce G2 and G1 horses for a few generations, and it seems very probable that the family isn't done yet.By the way, aside Ripeck, Kyak produced two more broodmares. Grecian Craft by Acropolis became the dam of Italian G2 winner Nemr; Packet was much more successful, as she produced a British G2 stayer Capstan, and became the ancestress of Dash For Cash, Australian multiple G1-winning and placed colt. Finally, their brother Mariner by Acropolis was a G2-winning stayer too.

But we should return one more generation back, to siblings of Kyak, which are a little less known part of the family. Her three half-brothers were good racehorses: Arctic Lad by Borealis placed in the King Edward VII. Stakes, Dahabeah by Aureole placed in the Hardwicke Stakes, and Carrack by Acropolis was the winner of the Princess of Wales's Stakes. As for sisters, Dinghy, a full sister to Arctic Lad, became the granddam of two G2 horses, Irish colt Palace Dan and Australian Lotka's Star. But it was Cutter by Donatello, who was the second great hope of family aside Kyak, who was both good racehorse and broodmare. She ran third in the Epsom Oaks behind Bella Paola, and won the Yorkshire Cup against males the next season - she defeated Agreement, double Doncaster Cup winner, and Miss McTaffy, winner of the Great Metropolitan Handicap against males too. Cutter's daughter Cuttle produced two Irish classic winners in Sharp Edge and Cut Above; Cuttle's half-brother Torpid added the second-place finish in the Prix Royal Oak. Cutter's sons Sloop, Baggala, and Tepukei were all G2 horses, and so was Upper Deck, son of Sloop's full sister Bedeni. The family reached new heights with the last of the siblings, Piroque, who produced the Ascot Gold Cup winner Longboat, and became the granddam of Bolas, the Irish Oaks winner of 1994. Bolas's half-sister also produced Onerous, second from the Prix Grefullhe. Overall, the family has quite a good number of relatively young mares, so we can wait for what next generations will bring.

Which, actually, works for the whole family.

Felsetta's family scheme