Oh So Sharp still influencing the ‘Classics’

Former Fillies’ Triple Crown winner is the paternal grand-dam of Sunday’s Tasmanian Derby winner Methuselah, sired by her son Savoire Vivre more »

Monday, February 6, 2012

In the early days of Sheikh Mohammed’s career as a breeder, his two star broodmares appeared to be Pebbles and Oh So Sharp. Each had been a champion on the track for him. Pebbles had started her racing career in the colours of her breeder Captain Marcos Lemos, for whom she had won the 1,000 Guineas in 1984, but she was bought by Sheikh Mohammed in advance of her subsequent Group One triumphs, which included the Eclipse, Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1985. Oh So Sharp, on the other hand, was owned by Sheikh Mohammed throughout her life, her dam Oh So Fair (carrying Oh So Sharp) having been part of the package when he bought Dalham Hall Stud in October 1981.

An outstanding trifecta in the 1,000 Guineas of 1985: Oh So Sharp (right) beats Al Bahathri and Bella Colora

As things turned out, Pebbles turned out to be a very moderate broodmare, but Oh So Sharp did well. Winner of the fillies’ Triple Crown (1,000 Guineas, Oaks, St Leger) in 1985, Oh So Sharp understandably proved unable to produce anything quite as talented as she herself had been, but she still bred one Group One winner (Rosefinch, successful in the Prix Saint-Alary in 1992) as well as the US Grade Two winner Shaima, who in turn bred the 1996 St Leger winner Shantou.

Now Oh So Sharp has posthumously made her mark on another ‘Classic’, albeit a lesser one. Oh So Sharp visited Sadler’s Wells as a 14-year-old in 1996, the mating resulting in Savoire Vivre, whom John Gosden trained for Sheikh Mohammed. Savoire Vivre was seemingly not the most straightforward of horses because he only raced twice in his two seasons in Gosden’s care, winning a 10-furlong three-year-old maiden on his debut at Ascot in July 2000 before finishing second in the Group Two Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury the following month. Those two runs, though, clearly established him as a horse with ability, so he duly joined Godolphin.

Unfortunately, Savoire Vivre’s progress stalled once he had changed stables: on his only run for Godolphin (the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp in October 2001) he was pulled up. Retirement beckoned.

As Savoire Vivre had not done enough to justify a place on the Darley stallion roster, he was sold, finding his way to Armidale Stud in Tasmania. There he has turned out to be what his pedigree suggested: a good stallion. He comes up with a solid flow of winners on the island, and last weekend he enjoyed arguably his best day so far, being represented by three winners on the card at Hobart, headed by the victory of Methuselah in the Tasmanian Derby.

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