Dosage: Pedigree & Performance
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Rainbow Quest (USA)
b.h., 1981 (Blushing Groom-I Will Follow, by Herbager)
(September 14, 2006)
by Steve Miller

Rainbow Quest

Introduction: The following is part of a continuing series of articles by Mr. Steve Miller on the selection of European-based chefs-de-race. Mr. Miller is a Thoroughbred owner and correspondent from the UK and an acknowledged pedigree authority.  Rainbow Quest is assigned as the 206th chef-de-race in the split Classic/Solid category.    

Rainbow Quest far from over

TWENTY-FIVE years old and one hundred stakes winners not out, talk of Rainbow Quest’s demise is decidedly exaggerated. The son of Blushing Groom (Brilliant/Classic chef-de-race) has reached the milestone of 100 stakes winners (in US terms at least) following Daramsar’s win in the Grand Prix de Clairefontaine-Haras du Logis in France. As if to mark the occasion the stallion has also become the latest member of the chef-de-race (chief of breed) roster as a split Classic/Solid influence. In terms of what we in Britain refer to as black-type winners (Group and Listed races) he is the sire of 93 winners, 17 Group/Grade 1 winners and seven Classic winners from 144 black-type performers.

Rainbow Quest, who stands at Khalid Abdullah’s Banstead Manor Stud in Cheveley near Newmarket, still covers at least 40 mares a season and has always been limited to 75. Simon Mockridge, the stud manager at Banstead Manor, explained that the stallion has never been made to take on big books of mares and is still hale and hearty as a result.

As a colt, the Jeremy Tree-trained son of Blushing Groom was Champion three-year-old stayer in England in 1984 and joint top-rated horse in Europe in 1985 – the winner of six races between two and four, including the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Coronation Cup and the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes. He was placed second in three other Group 1s: the Irish Derby, the Eclipse and the Dewhurst Stakes, as well as the Group 3 Craven Stakes and placed third in the Prix du Jockey Club (behind Darshaan and Sadler’s Wells) and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. He also ran fourth in the 2,000 Guineas.

As a two-year-old he was runner-up to the brilliant El Gran Senor in the Dewhurst and second to the same horse in the Irish Derby at three. At four he was runner-up to Pebbles in the Eclipse and placed in the King George before saving the best for last in winning perhaps the world’s greatest all-age race at Longchamp – following disqualification of first past the post Sagace who was adjudged to have twice bumped Rainbow Quest.

Rainbow Quest had the distinction of achieving Timeform ratings of at least 130 at the ages of two, three and four (130, 131 and 134 respectively).

His sire Blushing Groom was Champion 2-y-o in France in 1976 and Champion Miler in Europe in 1977. He notched up seven wins, including five Group 1s and in addition to Rainbow Quest is the sire of Nashwan, Arazi, Blushing John, Mount Livermore, Snow Bride, Groom Dancer, Baillamont, Sillery, Rahy, Al Bahathri, etc.

Rainbow Quest's progeny includes Derby winner Quest for Fame, Arc winner Saumarez and St Leger winners Millenary and Nedawi. His haul includes 93 black-type winners, 17 Group/Grade 1 winners and seven Classic winners from 144 black-type performers. His Group/Grade 1 winners and their principal victories are:

Quest For Fame (Group victories include: Derby, Hollywood Turf Handicap, etc); Spectrum (Irish 2000 Guineas, Dubai Champion Stakes, etc); Millenary (St. Leger, Yorkshire Cup, Doncaster Cup [twice], Jockey Club Stakes, Princess of Wales's Stakes [twice], Jockey Club Cup, Gordon Stakes, Chester Vase, etc); Nedawi (St. Leger, Gordon Stakes, etc); Knight’s Baroness (Irish Oaks); Bright Generation (Italian Oaks); Saumarez (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Grand Prix de Paris, Prix du Prince d’Orange); Croco Rouge (Prix d’Ispahan, Prix Lupin, Prix Greffulhe, etc); Fiji (Yellow Ribbon Handicap, Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap, Santa Barbara Handicap, Santa Ana Handicap, etc); Sunshack (Coronation Cup, Prix Royal Oak, Criterium de Saint-Cloud, Prix de Conseil de Paris, etc); Raintrap (Prix Royal Oak, Rothman's International, San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, etc); Rainbow Dancer (Hollywood Turf Handicap, Oak Tree Turf Championship Stakes, Del Mar Handicap, etc); Urgent Request (Santa Anita Handicap, San Marcos Handicap, Oak Tree Mile Handicap, Rose Of Lancaster Stakes, etc); Sought Out (Prix du Cadran, Prix Kergorlay, etc); Armiger (Racing Post Trophy, Chester Vase, etc); Special Quest (Criterium de Saint-Cloud, Prix de Noailles, etc); Edabiya (Moyglare Stud Stakes).

Rainbow Quest’s Group/Grade 1 winners, ranked in order of most stamina potential to least stamina potential, according to the Dosage index (DI), are:

Horse (Dam sire)      Profile      DI       CD
Edabiya (Darshaan) 8-0- 9- 3-10 = 30 0.71 -0.23
Quest for Fame  (Green Dancer)  9-0-11- 4- 4 = 28 1.07 +0.21
Sought Out (Charlottown) 10-0-10- 2- 6 = 28 1.15 +0.21
Croco Rouge (Alleged) 12-3- 9- 7- 5 = 36 1.18 +0.28
Knight’s Baroness  (True Knight) 10-0- 6- 4- 4 = 24 1.18 +0.33
Special Quest (Nureyev) 10-0-22- 2- 4 = 38 1.24 +0.26
Fiji (Explodent) 9-0- 7- 2- 4 = 22 1.32 +0.36
Millenary (Dancing Brave) 9-1-12- 2- 4 = 28 1.33 +0.32
Sunshack (Roberto) 10-2-20- 2- 4 = 38 1.38 +0.32
Raintrap (Roberto) 10-2-20- 2- 4 = 38 1.38 +0.32
Rainbow Dancer (Riverman) 12-6-13- 3- 8 = 42 1.40 +0.26
Nedawi (Northern Dancer) 13-1-14- 2- 6 = 36 1.40 +0.36
Bright Generation (Young Generation)  10-0- 6- 4- 4 = 22 1.44 +0.45
Spectrum (Irish River) 9-4- 9- 2- 4 = 28 1.67 +0.43
Armiger (Northern Dancer) 14-2-18- 2- 4 = 40 1.67 +0.50
Urgent Request (Caro) 10-4-10- 2- 4 = 30 1.73 +0.47
Saumarez (Welsh Pageant) 16-0-10- 2- 4 = 32 1.91 +0.60

Looking at these as a group the DIs look bigger than they should for a bunch of essentially 12 furlong-plus and Cup race performers (with just one with a DI below 1.00 and a negative CD).

Examining data from Weatherbys’ The Statistical Record for winning distances of sires progeny (three-year-olds and above) Rainbow Quest has an average winning distance (AWD) for his progeny of 10.9 furlongs. The distribution of winning distances from a sample of 415 winners is as follows:

5f 6f 7f 8f 9f 10f 11f 12f 13f 14f & 14f+
0 6 19 62 21 83 39 108 20 57

21% of the sample was successful at up to a mile, with just over a third (34.5%) successful at 9-11 furlongs. The remaining 44.5% were successful at a mile-and-a-half, or more. With just over 20% winning at up to and including 8 furlongs, 79% of the sample won at middle distances or beyond. 18.5% won at distances in excess of 12 furlongs. The distribution of winning distances for the sample shows prepotent influence for stamina over speed with a concentration (over 55%) at 10-12 furlongs inclusive.

Looking at Classic/Solid chef-de-race Sadler’s Wells – a direct contemporary of Rainbow Quest – with a very similar headline AWD of 11.1 furlongs, yields interesting comparison:

5f 6f 7f 8f 9f 10f 11f 12f 13f 14f & 14f+
0 1 20 65 52 215 78 208 26 107

11% of the sample of 772 winners were successful at up to a mile, with just below 45% (against 34.5% for Rainbow Quest) successful at 9-11 furlongs. The remaining 44% were successful at a mile-and-a-half or more against a similar figure for Rainbow Quest. 17% won at distances in excess of 12 furlongs (against Rainbow Quest’s 18.5%). The concentration at 10-12 furlongs inclusive for Sadler’s Wells is 65% (compared with Rainbow Quest’s 55%).

Consequently, although both Rainbow Quest and Sadler’s Wells have AWDs on or around 11 furlongs (based on these samples, 10.9 and 11.1 respectively) the shift to stamina has slightly more emphasis with Rainbow Quest. Despite Rainbow Quest also having a greater percentage of winners at up to and including a mile than Sadler’s Wells the greater intensity of Sadler’s Wells at 10-12 furlongs also causes Rainbow Quest to have a little more bias toward stamina. Expressed differently we might say that Rainbow Quest’s distribution is more dilute across the distance range than his contemporary, but essentially similar.

This overall distribution places Rainbow Quest in either a Classic/Solid (like his dam sire Herbager) or an outright Solid category (in the stamina wing of the scale). Sadler’s Wells’ split Classic/Solid designation is also biased toward stamina, but more intense at the centre of the scale. Nevertheless, we are talking a difference of degree rather than kind and it is clear from this that Rainbow Quest is (like Sadler’s Wells) showing prepotentcy for his progeny in the same general range (i.e. middle-distance plus).

With a Classic/Solid designation factored in for Rainbow Quest’s Group/Grade 1 winners we get a shift from DIs above 1.00 and positive CDs (seen in the table above), to DIs typically below 1.00 with CDs either side of zero (in the table below). The order in which they appear is also reshuffled:

Horse (Dam sire)      Profile      DI       CD
Edabiya (Darshaan) 8-0-17-11-10 = 46 0.56 -0.33
Knight’s Baroness  (True Knight) 10-0-14-12- 4 = 40 0.74 0.00
Sought Out (Charlottown) 10-0-18-10- 6 = 44 0.76 -0.04
Fiji (Explodent) 9-0-15-10- 4 = 38 0.76 +0.00
Bright Generation (Young Generation)  10-0-14-10- 4 = 38 0.81 +0.05
Croco Rouge (Alleged) 12-3-17-15- 5 = 52 0.82 +0.04
Millenary (Dancing Brave) 9-1-20-10- 4 = 44 0.83 +0.02
Special Quest (Nureyev) 10-0-30-10- 4 = 54 0.86 +0.03
Nedawi (Northern Dancer) 13-1-22-10- 6 = 52 0.92 +0.09
Sunshack (Roberto) 10-2-28-10- 4 = 54 0.93 +0.07
Raintrap (Roberto) 10-2-28-10- 4 = 54 0.93 +0.07
Spectrum (Irish River) 9-4-17-10- 4 = 44 0.95 +0.09
Rainbow Dancer (Riverman) 12-6-21-11- 8 = 58 0.96 +0.05
Urgent Request (Caro) 10-4-18-10- 4 = 46 1.00 +0.13
Armiger (Northern Dancer) 14-2-26-10- 4 = 56 1.07 +0.21
Saumarez (Welsh Pageant) 16-0-18-10- 4 = 48 1.08 +0.29

This is much more consistent with a group of St Leger, Prix du Cadran, Prix Royal Oak, Chester Vase, Derby, Arc and assorted Cup race winners.

Broodmare sire attributes
Rainbow Quest’s dam I Will Follow was one of 64 stakes winners sired by Herbager (Classic/Solid chef-de-race). I Will Follow, like Oaks runner-up Slightly Dangerous, was a daughter of Where You Lead. Slightly Dangerous produced Warning, Commander In Chief, Dushyantor, Deploy, Yashmak and Jibe.

Rainbow Quest was leading broodmare sire in 2003 and 2004 with 23 individual black-type performers including North Light (Derby), Rakti (Italian Derby), Powerscourt (Arlington Million), Meteor Storm and Polish Summer. Other major winners to which Rainbow Quest is the dam sire include Kris Kin (Derby) and Footstepsinthesand (2,000 Guineas). His Group/Grade 1 winners as a dam sire ranked in order of DI are:

Horse      Profile      DI       CD
Powerscourt 7-1-23-11-2 = 44    0.80     0.00
Meteor Storm 3-0-13- 2-0 = 18 1.12 +0.22
Kris Kin 4-4-23- 3-0 = 34 1.34 +0.26
Cosmo Sunbeam 4-0- 9- 1-0 = 14 1.55 +0.50
North Light 4-4-16- 1-1 = 26 1.60 +0.35
Rebelline 4-3-16- 1-0 = 24 1.67 +0.42
Polish Summer 4-5-20- 1-0 = 30 1.73 +0.40
Tradizione 5-3- 7- 3-0 = 18 1.77 +0.56
Footstepsinthesand  6-1- 9- 2-0 = 18 1.77 +0.61
Rakti 4-5-18- 1-0 = 28 1.80 +0.43
Have A Champ 8-2-11- 3-0 = 24 1.82 +0.63
Marotta 3-5- 8- 2-0 = 18 2.00 +0.50

Again only one has a DI of below 1.00, but with a Classic/Solid designation for Rainbow Quest factored in, we get:

Horse      Profile      DI       CD
Powerscourt 7-1-27-15-2 = 52 0.70 -0.08
Meteor Storm 3-0-17- 6-0 = 26 0.79  0.00
Cosmo Sunbeam 4-0-13- 5-0 = 22 0.91 +0.14
Kris Kin 4-4-27- 7-0 = 42 1.05 +0.12
Tradizione 5-3-11- 7-0 = 26 1.08 +0.23
Footstepsinthesand  6-1-13- 6-0 = 26 1.08 +0.27
North Light 4-4-20- 5-1 = 34 1.13 +0.15
Rebelline 4-3-20- 5-0 = 32 1.13 +0.19
Marotta 3-5-12- 6-0 = 26 1.17 +0.19
Have A Champ 8-2-15- 7-0 = 32 1.21 +0.34
Polish Summer 4-5-24- 5-0 = 38 1.24 +0.21
Rakti 4-5-22- 5-0 = 36 1.25 +0.22

All now have a DI of 1.25 or less (rather than 2.00 or less before factoring in the Classic/Solid designation) with three below 1.00 (rather than just one before). One (Powerscourt) moves to a negative CD (from zero) and another (Meteor Storm) to zero from positive. Many of these are by stallions who impart influence for sharper distance aptitude than Rainbow Quest, but it seems clear that Rainbow Quest is adding prepotent stamina where it is lacking. North Light (by Danehill, who is not a chef-de-race), for example, no doubt derives his stamina through the Rainbow Quest mare Sought Out (winner of the Prix du Cadran). In the case of North Light, a DI and CD of 1.12 and +0.14 respectively point to a typical Derby-winning profile, whereas without the Classic/Solid influence factored in North Light’s figures of DI 1.60 and CD +0.35 look short of what is required for the Derby.

I am very comfortable that by joining his dam sire Herbager as a Classic/Solid chef-de-race that Rainbow Quest improves the Dosage system through his inclusion.

STEVE MILLER                                                             September 2006