• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Saturday 08 Nov 2014
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

The Indian breeding industry was hard hit by Independence. Firstly, prime horse breeding areas, Renala Stud, then India's leading stud farm and a sizeable mare population found themselves in Pakistan. Then, uncertainty over the future of racing in India and socialist economics meant that imports, so necessary to improve the quality of bloodstock, were reduced to a trickle. The silver lining of this dark cloud was that it gave an opportunity to some Indian families to come to the fore and establish themselves. Kashmir's Aurelie, Bhopal's Daring Dance and Neolight, Star Witness of Greenacres, Byerly's Star of Vintage and others became influential, sought after tap-roots but none of them outshone Yeravada's Stella Marina. By 1980, the descendants of Stella Marina had won 34 Classics and the Wenonah (to whom Stella Marina traced) family was the premier source for classic material. Wenonah family's numero uno status was to last for another 28 years. When Sans Pareil won the Calcutta Oaks in 2008, Wenonah was knocked off the pedestal and Schiaparelli was crowned the new queen.

The year 1980 mentioned earlier is significant because that was the year when the first mare descending directly from Schiaparelli came to India. That mare was Crown Evidence which was imported by Ruia Stud. She produced two foals in India of which one was a minor winner. Crown Evidence died young. The next batch of mares from the Schiaparelli family came in 1982 and they included Charenzaccio and and her weanling daughter Schiaparelli [HOL]. It is the mother-daughter duo which kick-started the Schiaparelli explosion. Today, the Schiaparelli clan has the most Classic winners to its credit in India. The Schiaparelli family was the Champion Family for the year 2013-14:-

1. Schiaparelli 130 72 120 Rs. 6,17,39,233
2. Pretty Polly 143 72 116 Rs. 5,22,66,427
3. Admiration 71 27 54 Rs. 4,91,00,722
4. Mumtaz Mahal 93 42 69 Rs. 4,53,15,091
5. Flying Witch 79 35 63 Rs. 3,89,36,870

Bi-polarism is a feature of Indian breeding. It is the Poonawalla Farms and Usha Stud which dominate the race to be the Champion Stud. Razeen and Placerville fought tooth and nail, fist to become the Champion Sire and now to get the Champion Maternal Grandsire crown. As far as the families are concerned, it is two way fight between Schiaparelli and Pretty Polly. Pretty Polly was on top last year. Schiaparelli has hit back immediately to claim its ninth title. Pretty Polly has won seven Championships.

When one talks of Poonawalla Farms, one is apt to speak of Malvado, Riyahi, Placerville and Alnasr Alwasheek. The contribution of the Schiaparelli family has been equally weighty. After Charenzaccio and Schiaparelli[HOL], they imported Ratifia in 1990 and Ratifia's daughter Rasant in 2001. These four mares and their daughters have provided 21 Classic winners of 56 Classics which, in any reckoning, is a substantial contribution. There are five other Classic winners in India going back to Schiaparelli who have been bred at five different farms and they have won 9 Classics.

It should be mentioned, as an aside, that about 25 years before Crown Evidence landed in India, Royal Calcutta Turf Club had imported a mare called Collosol whose dam was a Caerleon half-sister to Schiaparelli. Collosol later became the dam of Calcutta Derby winner Glasgow Courser.

Schiaparelli (b 1935 Schiavoni - Aileen) was bred by 17th Earl of Derby. Trained by Walter Earl, she was a winner of five races (some accounts say seven), four of which were over the Classic distance of a mile and a half. Average on the track, she proved to be a very good broodmare getting eight winners. Her first foal was a filly called Herringbone (by King Salmon) who won the One Thousand Guineas and the St. Leger. Swallow Tail (by Bois Roussel) was beaten two heads in the Epsom Derby won by Nimbus. Swallow Tail later became a successful stallion in Brazil as did another son of her, Masthead (by Blue Peter), in Australia.

While Schiaparelli was at Stanley House Stud, Lord Derby had an outstanding stallion in Hyperion. Schiaparelli visited Hyperion in 1949 and produced a filly called Barley Corn who failed to win in five starts. Barley Corn was very interestingly bred. Selene, the dam of Hyperion and Schiavoni, the sire Schiaparelli were three-parts related and duplicated into the pedigree of Barley Corn strains of two outstanding broodmares in Canterbury Pilgrim and Serenissima. All the mares at Poonawalla Farms are from the Barley Corn stirps.

It is generally believed that the mare was named after the great Italian fashion diva Elsa Schiaparelli. Since one of her sons was named Designer and a daughter Cutaway, it is indeed plausible. However, Lord Derby was also deeply interested in astronomy and the name could have been inspired by the Schiaparelli who did tremendous work in observing Mars. Doesn't really matter, though; Elsa was the niece of the astronomer !


For those who may be interested, the family table showing the descent of all 26 Classic winners from Schiaparelli is given below.

 SCHIAPARELLI (b 1935 Schiavoni - Aileen by Nimbus)

   Herringbone (b 1940 by King Salmon)

      Dilettante (b 1953 by Dante)

         She Wolf (b 1965 by Hugh Lupus)

            Wolverine (ch 1970 by Relko)

                 Carcajou (b 1975 by High Top)

                     Ghanayem[IRE] ( ch 1981 by Ballad Rock)

                         Galiceno (b 1986 by Treasure Leaf[USA])

                              STAR SUPREME (b c by Razeen[USA])

      Fisherman's Wharf (ch 1959 by Alycidon)

         Bandit Queen (b 1973 by Jim French)

            Chalina[IRE]) (b 1983 by Be My Guest)

               Lyrical Fantasy (b 1980 by Mas Media)

                   COUNT THE STEPS (b c 1995 by Riyahi[IRE])

   Cutaway (b 1943 by Fairway)

      Scollata (b 1952 by Niccolo dell'Arca)

          Irish Lass II (b 1962 by Sayajirao)

             Sanctus Lass (b 1969 by Sanctus)

                 Bright and Bold (b 1978 by Bold Lad[USA])

                     Albufeira[IRE] (b 1989 by Be My Guest)

                         PURPLE PRINCESS (b f 1998 by Foyer[GB])

   Barley Corn (b 1950 by Hyperion)

       Dame d'Atour (b 1955 by Cranach)

            Ruta (b 1960 by Ratification)

                 Ratifia[IRE] (b 1980 by Ashmore)

                     Rasant[CAN) (b 1986 by Assert)

                         RAIN SPLASHER (b f 2003 by Placerville[USA])

                             ISN'T SHE SPECIAL (b f 2010 by Ace[IRE])

                     Stunning (b 1990 by Ascot Knight)

                         SMART CHIEFTAN (b g 1996 by Placerville[USA])

                         CLASSICAL ACT (b g 1999 by Placerville[USA])

                         Priceless Glory (b f 2002 by Placerville[USA])

                              SOUTHERN BAY (b f 2008 by Alnasr Alwasheek[GB])

                         SOUTHERN EMPIRE (b g 2003 by Placerville[USA])

                         CHANGE OF LUCK (b f 2006 by Placerville[USA])

                Delightful Time (b f 1981 by Manado)     

                    Beautiful Ballad[IRE] (b 1993 by Ballad Rock)

                        Sandslash ( b 2002by Don't Forget Me[IRE])

                             PRONTO PRONTO (ch g 2008 by Major Impact[USA])

       Chanel (dk b 1961 by Pan)

            Charenzaccio[FR] ( b 1974 by Lorenzaccio)

                 Schiaparelli[HOL] (b 1982 by Sanhedrin)

                     VESUVIUS (b c 1986 by Malvado[CAN])

                     ADLER (b c 1989 by Riyahi[IRE])

                     Imperial Satsuma (b 1991 by Malvado[CAN])

                         Razzpazaz (b 2002 by Placerville[USA])

                              ROYAL BLUE STAR (b c 2008 by Sunday Doubt[USA])

                         CLASSIC SKY (b f 2004 by Placerville[USA])

                         BUSINESS TYCOON (b c 2007 by Placerville[USA])

                     Sans Egale (b 1997 by Placerville[USA])

                         SANS PAREIL (b f 2006 by Burden of Proof[IRE])

                 DIVINE LIGHT (b f 1984 by Riyahi[IRE])

                      MYSTIC MEMORY (b f 1991 by Malvado[CAN])

                           MYSTICAL (b g 2002 by Alnasr Alwasheek[GB])

                           Mystic Dancer (b f 2005 by Alnasr Alwasheek[GB])

                               SOUTHERN EMPEROR (b g 2010 by Placerbille[USA])

                      DIVINE DREAMS (dk b f 1992 by Malvado[CAN])

                      Crown Collection (b 1993 by Malvado[CAN])

                          GUEST CONNECTIONS (b f 2003 by Placerville[USA])

                  MINISTRELLA  (dk b f 1986 by Malvado[CAN])

                      MINISTERIAN (b g 1996 by Foyer[GB])

                  MINISTERIAL (b c 1993 by Riyahi[IRE])