October 20, 2014
Since its inauguration, Ascot’s G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. has been won by some of the sport’s all-time greats. Ribot was an early hero, while in the 1970s alone, Nijinsky II, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, and Dahlia won in succession. More recently, horses like Montjeu (Ire) and Galileo (Ire) captured the race before going on to superstardom in the breeding shed.
So when the Irish-bred German invader Novellist (Ire) carved two seconds–seconds–off the stakes record in 2013, it was obvious that this was a very serious horse.
Now, North American and international breeders have an opportunity to acquire the dam of this six-time champion, the Lagunas (GB) mare Night Lagoon (Ger), at the upcoming Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Selling in foal to War Front–whose yearlings averaged $591,353 in 2014–Night Lagoon indeed represents one of the most exciting opportunities for high-end breeders this season.
Hailing from the widely respected racing and breeding operation of Dr. Christoph Berglar, Night Lagoon and Novellist embody the notion that champions beget champions. Traditionally, it’s those best racemares who, more often than not, pass on their regal genes to another generation of outstanding performers, and that was the case with Night Lagoon.
Night Lagoon is a daughter of the good German stakes winner Nenuphar (Ire) and is a half-sister to Night Tango (Ger), a stakes winner who was second in the 2005 G1 Deutsches Derby. Tracing back to the German juvenile champion Night Music (Ger) and from the family of further champions Novelle (Ger), Next Desert (Ire), Naxos (Ger) and several others, Night Lagoon lived up to her lineage on the track, earning champion juvenile honors for trainer Andreas Schutz.
Her 3-year-old campaign was cut short before she was able to build on her resume, but Night Lagoon carried those championship credentials to the breeding shed…and more than lived up to expectations.
Mated to the leading sire Monsun (Ger), Night Lagoon produced Novellist, a striking dark bay with a white snip on his nose and huge appetite for winning.
Novellist romped by 8 lengths in his only start at two. His first three sophomore starts yielded three victories by a combined 16 lengths, including facile wins in the G3 Fruhjahrs-Preis and G2 Oppenheim-Union-Rennen.
At odds-on in the 143rd G1 Deutsches Derby, Novellist suffered his first loss when a fast-closing second to Pastorius (Ger), but he soon got back on track with a victory in the G1 Gran Premio Del Jockey Club Italiano–his first Group 1. From there on in, he wouldn’t taste defeat again.
Returned to the track at four, Novellist was nothing short of brilliant in 2013. He warmed up with a tally in the G2 Grosser Preis Der Badischen Unternehmer, then shipped to France to best the likes of Cirrus Des Aigles (Fr) in the important G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
In what was meant to be his toughest task to date, the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S., Novellist was his typically brilliant self, streaking away along the far-side rail while leaving Cirrus Des Aigles, the G1 Irish Derby winner Trading Leather (Ire), the recent G2 King Edward VII S. winner Hillstar (GB) and the eventual G1 Hong Kong Vase winner Red Cadeaux (GB) to fight it out for the minor placings. He came back to Germany as a conquering hero–and a 1-5 shot in the Grosser Preis Von Baden–and once again was brilliant in victory.
Unfortunately, Novellist spiked a fever and was forced to miss a tilt at the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and was retired to stud at Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Stallion Station in Japan. His credentials were impeccable. Novellist had 9 wins from 11 starts and over $1.8 million in earnings, and in addition to being highweighted in Britain, France, Italy, and Germany, Novellist was Europe’s top-rated horse at 11-14 furlongs in 2013.
Night Lagoon’s next two foals were also stakes runners, and with her offspring yet to race including a weanling colt by Bernardini, there are plenty of exciting things happening in this pedigree.
Night Lagoon, in foal to War Front? Let the dreaming begin.