Perhaps one of the more intriguing anomalies in Thoroughbred breeding are the extraordinary amount of broodmares that were either unraced, or never won a race if they got to a starting gate, that have become heralded matrons in the breeding shed. There are many such mares in the history of the turf that have been grand producers of top class winners, top class stallions and top class daughters who became great producers. These “Magical Matriarchs” have set down a legacy of class and have established themselves as founders of a dynasty. One such matriarch is the outstanding Australasian broodmare Eight Carat.
Eight Carat was bred in England in 1975. She made five starts and never won a single pay check. Consigned to the Tattersalls sales in 1979 as a broodmare prospect, Eight Carat was purchased by Lord Forres who had raced her half sister Great Klaire with some success in Australia. Eight Carat was in foal to My Swanee at the time of the sale. She had the foal in England and was brought to Australia with her little daughter later that year.
The filly was named Cotehele House and was unraced but, she would go on to become a great producer herself in the tradition of her dam. Cotehele House is the dam of group one winner Danewin, winner of the Rosehill Guineas, Caulfield Stakes, Spring Champion Stakes, Doomben Cup, and the Mackinnon Stakes. A full brother to Danewin named Commands became a group three stakes winner, and go on to become one of the more important sire sons of Danehill in Australia leading the sire list three times as to number of winners.
A daughter of Cotehele House by Sackford named Theme Song won two races and later produced group one stakes winner Emerald Dream by Danehill. Another daughter of Cotehele House named Abbaye, by Ahonoora, produced multi graded stakes winner Taimana by Woodman as well as six other winners.
When Eight Carat arrived in Australia, Lord Forres bred her to Sticks And Stones and then sold her and the rest of his stock. Robert Sangster purchased Eight Carat and the resulting Sticks And Stones foal was a brown filly to be named Diamond Lover. Sangster’s luck could not have been better as Diamond Lover became a group one stakes winner when she captured the ARC Railway Handicap covering the 1200 meters in 1:07.73. Diamond Lover then established a very potent branch of the Eight Carat female line.
Diamond Lover is the dam of group one stakes winners Don Eduardo (AJC Derby) and Tristalove (AJC Sires Produce Stakes, Australasian Oaks). The latter was a champion at two and three and then became the dam of Viking Ruler (AJC Spring Champion Stakes), Lovestrista (Waikato Times Gold Cup), Kempinsky (AAMI Vase), Diamond Like (Lightning Handicap)and stakes placed Chimeara, dam of De Beers (Rosehill Guineas).
Two more stakes winning daughters of Diamond Lover are Antwerp and Peruzzi, and both have produced stakes winners. Peruzzi is the dam of Lucida, while Antwerp is the dam of Viscount (AJC Champagne Stakes, AJC Sires Produce Stakes), as well as Helsingborg and the hard knocking stakes placed Dangerous.
Eight Carat was just getting warmed up. Kaapstad became her next foal in 1984. Sired by the great Sir Tristram, Kaapstad won the group one VRC Sires Produce Stakes as well as five other stakes races of which four were group events. Kaapstad stood his stud career in New Zealand and became one of the top sires in the country. He sired more than forty stakes winners including group one winners Catalan Opening, Golden Sword and Sprint By. He is also highly regarded as a sire of stakes producing broodmares. Kaapstad died in 2006.
Sangster sold both Eight Carat and Diamond Lover to Cambridge Stud owned by Sir Patrick Hogan. The next foal from Eight Carat, and first for Cambridge Stud, is Carbonfibre by Danzatore. Carbonfibre was unplaced in three starts and has not left any noteworthy progeny. Hogan then bred Eight Carat back to Sir Tristram and in 1986 a filly named La Brillante was born. This fifth foal from our heroine would be unraced but did produce stakes winner Philidor.
Eight Carat had a filly in 1988 which was unnamed by Sir Tristram that was weak and subsequently put down. The following year she had another Sir Tristram filly named Nine Carat, who won one race, but did produce a stakes winner in the form of Court Of Jewels, a regional sire in Australia with some success.
Not bred for the next season Eight Carat then produced a filly by Gold And Ivory, which would return Eight Carat to the upper echelon of broodmares. The filly was named Marquise and won the group one Captain Cook Stakes, group two Sedgewick Stakes, group three Tesio Stakes and the listed Veuve Clicquot Stakes. Marquise, also known as Our Marquise, is the dam of group one winner Shower Of Roses.
1992 is the year in which Eight Carat produced her most notable foal. This foal is also the first of three foals from her new alliance with Sir Tristram’s son Zabeel. Octagonal raced to become the 1995/96 Australian horse of the year, highlighting a sensational racing career. Octagonal won fourteen of twenty-eight races with seven second place finishes thrown in. Ten of his victories were group one events. Such prestigious races as the W S Cox Plate, AJC Sires Produce Stakes, AJC Derby, Rosehill Guineas, and the VRC Australian Cup adorn Octagonal’s racing resume.
Octagonal has been a very influential sire with the likes of Laverock, Suntagonal, Niello and his full brother Lonhro. Lonhro has been an exceptional sire after completing an exceptional racing career that saw him win twenty-six of thirty-five races against the best of his generation. Eleven wins were in group one races including the Australian Cup, Caulfield Guineas, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, C F Orr Stakes, Mackinnon Stakes, George Ryder Stakes twice and the Yakumba Stakes twice.
Lonhro has stood beside his sire Octagonal at Darley’s Woodlands Stud and has also done duty in Kentucky at Darley’s Jonabell Farm. He is the sire of Pierro (Golden Slipper Stakes, Sires Produce Stakes, and Champagne Stakes etc). Additional group one winners include Beaded, Denman, Mental, Benfica and Bounding. Pierro and Denman are enjoying very good careers as sires. Lonhro, who is a dark brown almost black horse, has been a leading sire in Australia.
Returning to Eight Carat, her next foal was a colt also by Zabeel. His name is Mouawad and he would be the fifth group one stakes winner produced by his dam. Mouawad captured the VRC Australian Guineas, the Futurity Stakes and the George Ryder Stakes, adding the listed Debonair Stakes and the Moet & Chandon Stakes to his career total. Unfortunately for his connections, Mouawad was infertile and has not been a contributor to the legacy of his illustrious family in the breeding arena.
Eight Carat had one more foal, a colt by Zabeel named Colombia that went unraced. Colombia would have an opportunity at stud due to his impeccable pedigree and has sired stakes winners Addictive Habit, Sterling Prince, Thrive, Valley Chief and Tiger King.
The pedigree of Eight Carat is well constructed and is full of class and vigour. Her sire Pieces Of Eight is a son of the very good Relic, a stallion on the Man O’ War sire line that was imported to France. The dam of Pieces Of Eight is Baby Doll, a daughter of English Derby winner Dante, who is in turn by the great Nearco. This represents a wonderful blend of European and American blood from the first half of the twentieth century.
The dam of Eight Carat is Klairessa, a daughter of the very good French stallion Klairon, winner of the classic Poule d’Essai des Poulins. Klairon is a direct tail-male descendant of the epoch French stallion Tourbillon, the foundation sire to legendary breeder Marcel Boussac’s breeding program. Klairon is from the Djebel branch through Clairion. Klairessa’s dam Courtessa is by Supreme Court, a son of the great stamina influence Precipitation, a son of Hurry On.
The tail-female line of Eight Carat has the most intrigue to me however. She is a sixth generation descendant of the extraordinary “Flying Filly” Mumtaz Mahal. The fifth dam of Eight Carat is Mumtaz Begum, who produced the legendary sire Nasrullah, as well as Eight Carat’s fourth dam Sun Princess, who in turn is the dam of the important sire Royal Charger. Both of these great sires are by Nearco.
Tessa Gillian is the third dam of Eight Carat and is a full sister to Royal Charger. Therefore Eight Carat is in bred to Nearco 4×4. Furthermore, the dam of Nearco, Nogara, is also the dam of Niccolo Dell Arca, who is found in Eight Carat’s pedigree as the sire of Bebe Grande, the second dam of Pieces Of Eight. Eight Carat is therefore line bred to Nogara 5x5x5. Nicola Dell Arca is a grandson of Hurry On, which brings in another cross of this stamina influence deeper in the pedigree of Eight Carat.
Klairessa not only produced Eight Carat who would extend her name to future generations, but also champion Habibti by Habitat. Habibti won the July Cup, King’s Stand Stakes and the Prix de l’Abbaye during his excellent career as a sprinter. Habibti is a direct tail-male descendant of Royal Charger (fourth generation).
When looking at the pedigree of Eight Carat, one can see that she had every reason to be the great producer she proved to be. Eight Carat had a very dark, almost black coat with a white star and blaze, which came down to her nose. Many of her offspring had her colouring as did many of her children’s offspring. She stamped her foals with her image. The great stud careers of Octagonal, Commands and Danewin has kept her name prominently in the pedigrees of many worthwhile Thoroughbreds. Her daughters have also passed on the magic. Recent multi stakes winner Rain Affair is inbred to Eight Carat 3×3, and has proven that such a breeding pattern can by quite successful.
Eight Carat was by all accounts a lovely mare to be in the company of. She was well loved and she gave back to her handlers a good dose of affection in return. The great black mare passed away at Cambridge Stud in 2000 at the age of twenty-five due to her advanced age. She is now buried at the farm beside Sir Tristram. Two legends together making an apropos setting for visitors to pay homage.
The influence of Eight Carat will be ongoing for many more generations, this I have no doubt. Five group one winners from ten foals and a legacy of class and brilliance. She is a true “Magical Matriarch”.
(Photo courtesy of Cambridge Stud)