Progeny of Epsom achievers: Who do they think they are?

J A McGrath

The burden of famous parentage often proves unbearably heavy, no matter whether it concerns sons and daughters of humans or horses.

Expectation is understandably high, yet the reality can be very disappointing. Not all blue bloods live up to the exploits and reputations of their forebears.

And, in the many levels of testing - for thoroughbreds - the races don't come much more exacting than those Classics run at Epsom, the G1 Derby and G1 Oaks.

So, what if the mating involves the winners of those two iconic races? What is the likelihood of that 'union' producing a horse at least as good as either Classic-winning parent?

The reason such an examination becomes immediately relevant is that Magic Lily, a daughter of Derby winner New Approach and Oaks winner Dancing Rain, carries Godolphin colours in Friday's G1 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket.

Magic Lily won her only start, a Newmarket novice in September, by eight lengths, very impressively. Trainer Charlie Appleby has been greatly encouraged by the filly's recent progress and expects another good performance. She faces 11 rivals.

So, what are the chances of her being as good as either New Approach or Dancing Rain?

I can list four examples that indicate she has an excellent chance of being so, though I must qualify that by saying every single mating is different and absolutely nothing is guaranteed.

In 1995, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Lammtarra won the G1 Derby under Walter Swinburn. He was the product of Nijinsky, the 1970 Derby winner, and Snow Bride, the promoted 1989 Oaks winner.

In 2006, Sixties Icon won the G1 St Leger, run as a one-off at York. He is by Galileo, the 2001 Derby winner, out of the 2000 Oaks winner Love Divine.

The winner of the 2014 Derby, Australia, is another son of Galileo, being also out of the outstanding 2004 Oaks winner Ouija Board.

And as a fourth example of the Epsom Classics working their magic, Ulysses, winner of this year's G1 Coral-Eclipse and G1 Juddmonte International, is a result of Galileo meeting 2007 Oaks winner Light Shift in the breeding shed.

With the above information at our fingertips, it is perfectly logical to predict a bright future for Magic Lily. Whether Epsom comes into her story, only time will tell.