Excellence as a 2YO has been the hallmark of many of Ashford Stud’s most successful stallions, such as Giant’s Causeway, Scat Daddy and Uncle Mo. Air Force Blue excelled at that age in England and Ireland and was rated Europe’s best 2YO with a Timeform rating of 128p, after winning three consecutive Gr.1 races. He took the Phoenix Stakes over six furlongs and both the National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes over seven.
A $490,000 yearling, Air Force Blue comes from the sixth crop by War Front whose previous five crops had all been sired at fees of €15,000 or less. The son of Danzig has amassed an impressive percentage of Graded/Group winners, with 36 among the 399 runners from his first 7 crops – this equates to a world-class figure of more than 9 per cent and War Front seems destined to follow in Danzig’s footsteps as an important sire of sires.
Although Air Force Blue made his name on turf, both his parents and both his grandsires did all their winning on dirt, so he is entitled to prove as versatile as War Front regarding his progeny’s surface requirements. His second dam, Circle of Gold, is a sister to Flanders, America’s champion two-year-old filly of 1994 and dam of another American champion Surfside.
Air Force Blue has the advantage of having none of the SEATTLE SLEW blood which helped Flanders produce the multiple Gr.1 winner Surfside. War Front has sired Graded winners from mares by A.P. INDY and his son PULPIT, achieving an impressive 21 per cent black-type winners with daughters of PULPIT. This suggests daughters of TAPIT could play to Air Force Blue’s strengths.
War Front has several good winners inbred 2×4 to DANZIG, including the Gr.1 winners War Flag, Hit It A Bomb (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf) and Brave Anna. Some of these good winners have dams by ARCH, who was out of a DANZIG mare. Mares by sons of DANZIG will create 3×3 inbreeding.
The great MR PROSPECTOR, who has combined extremely well with the Danzig male line, will be back in the fifth and sixth generations of Air Force Blue’s foals. This means he has plenty of scope to shine with mares from this prolific male line. War Front has Gr.1 winners out of mares by FORTY NINER, MISWAKI, SMART STRIKE and WOODMAN. Other sons of War Front have already sired Graded winners from daughters of GULCH, CITY ZIP and Forty Niner’s grandson TRIPPI. The FAPPIANO branch is another attractive option, as War Front has three black-type winners from his first 20 foals out of UNBRIDLED’S SONG mares, as well as a Gr.2 winner from a GRINDSTONE mare. Air Force Blue is well worth trying with mares by Mr Prospector’s grandsons, such as STREET CRY (War Front has two black-type winners from his first six foals) and ELUSIVE QUALITY.
Mares from the SADLER’S WELLS line should also shine with Air Force Blue. War Front has two Gr.1 2YO winners out of a SADLER’S WELLS mare, two Gr.1 winners out of a GALILEO mare (including 2017 Dewhurst Stakes and Middle Park Stakes winner U S Navy Flag) and a Gr.2 winner out of an EL PRADO mare. Mares by MEDAGLIA D’ORO and KITTEN’S JOY are therefore likeable options.
At least six other grandsons of Danzig have sired Gr.1 winners from STORM CAT line mares, including from daughters of GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, HENNESSY, TALE OF THE CAT and FOREST WILDCAT. Mares by SCAT DADDY should be guaranteed to produce good 2YO’s.
War Front has Graded winners from mares by two BLUSHING GROOM line stallions, including the top-class Declaration of War from a RAHY mare.
The ROBERTO male line should also suit well, as War Front has Graded winners from daughters of DYNAFORMER and RED RANSOM, and from mares by ARCH, a son of KRIS S. He also has Gr.1 and Gr.2 winners with second dams by SILVER HAWK.
European Champion Juvenile Of 2015
Timeform Rating of 128p