A Sire-Source Mare With Benefits

Since the Reine-de-Course series began, we have contemplated making Malva a member of the list for no other reason than that she is the dam of *Blenheim II.  And without *Blenheim II of course there would be no *Nasrullah and no *Mahmoud and therefore there would be no Mr. Prospector or Northern Dancer.  The former is out of a Nashua mare, the latter a *Mahmoud mare.  Nashua is by *Nasrullah, *Mahmoud by *Blenheim II himself.


Malva was bred by the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, and was according to Abram Hewitt in Sire Lines, rather a ‘low class sprinter’.  Nevertheless, she won three five furlong races at two and three.  Neither her dam nor second dam, Wild Arum or Mariliacea, were of much account, though the fourth dam, Flitters was “a decent winner” according to Hewitt.  Lord Carnarvon acquired the family via the third dam, Mariliacea, as a three year old.

If the name “Lord Carnarvon” rings a bell, it should.  This particular Earl’s father, the fifth Earl, was famous for discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun along with Howard Carter.

Imagine all that history, and named for a castle as well (the ancestral home of Winston Churchill)!  Perhaps Blenheim the horse (who became *Blenheim II when imported to the U. S.) thus named was meant to make his own place in history.

Sold by the Aga Khan to a syndicate headed by A. B. “Bull” Hancock for $250,000, it was reputed that the Aga (who was roundly damned by the British for the sale) had been told that the horse would live only a short time.  When he died at Claiborne, he was 31 years of age. (Malva herself lived to the ripe old age of 22, so there was obviously some inherent strength in the family tree from the outset.)


Malva was a member of the No. 1 Bruce Lowe family, branch 1-E.  Her sire, Charles O’Malley was a male-line descendent of St. Simon out of Goody Two Shoes (taproot for *Rough Shod II, etc.)  And if that also sounds familiar, then you are a fan like ourselves of the Round Table/*Rough Shod II cross that gave us Apalachee, King Pellinore, Drumtop, Brahms, Take Your Place and several others.

Malva’s dam, Wild Arum, was inbred to half siblings Rose of Lancaster/Bend Or (x2 Rouge Rose) and to full siblings Feronia and Violet (x2 Woodbine).  Sire Charles O’Malley was inbred to half siblings Wenlock and Kisber (x2 Mineral).

Overall, the pedigree shows five lines of Pocahontas (Stockwell x3/King Tom/Rataplan); a 5 x 5 cross of three-quarter siblings Carnival and Macaroni and multiples of Galopin (St. Simon/daughters Atalanta and Flitters) and Newminster (all via sons Hermit x2/Lord Clifden x2).

*Blenheim II and His Brothers

While there is little doubt that *Blenheim II is Malva’s greatest contribution and is largely responsible for her being considered a ‘sire source’ mare, his male is almost gone today, something that breaks our heart because we liked him so well.  But he is no more truly gone than is his six-year-younger full brother, His Grace, who lives on through such descendents as great mares Pange, Duke’s Delight and Dumka and their descendents Theatrical, Rainbow Quest and Zarkava.

It is well worth knowing that *Blenheim II not only sired Epsom Derby winner *Mahmoud, and Italian Derby winner Donatello II (he sire of 1957 Epsom Derby winner Crepello), but also Kentucky Derby winners Jet Pilot and Whirlaway (the 1941 Triple Crown winner).  In addition, he was damsire of Kentucky Derby winners Ponder, Hill Gail and Kauai King and Carry Back’s dam was by a son of *Blenheim II, Star Blen.

Determine, who won the Derby in 1954, was out of a *Mahmoud mare and he in turn got 1962 Kentucky Derby winner Decidedly.  Ponder is part of the ‘triple chain’ of Derby winners shared only by Reigh Count-Count Fleet-Count Turf as tail-male sire-grandsire-great-grandsire of Derby winners.

Ponder (1949) was sired by Pensive (1944).  Ponder then sired 1956 Derby winner Needles.

King Salmon (Salmon-Trout), was born the year that *Blenheim II won the Epsom Derby.  He in turn ran second to Hyperion in the 1933 Derby and is also not absent from modern pedigrees.  Find him today most often via horses like Theatrical, Marju and Northern Spur.

Yet as a tail-male descendent of Herod, the odds were against King Salmon.  Today, this line lives on almost exclusively via Ahonoora and the branch from which King Salmon sprang, The Tetrarch, is most famous for producing Mumtaz Mahal, the “flying filly” from whose taproot sprung *Nasrullah and *Mahmoud.

Nevertheless, King Salmon got champion filly Herringbone, the excellent broodmare sire Kingstone, whose produce included 1972 Broodmare of the Year Moment of Truth II, dam of Convenience and four other major winners including 2000 Guineas placed Night Alert.  Moment Of Truth II is still found today in the pedigree of active sire Lido Palace (CHI), whose broodmare sire Quick Decision by *Pronto, was a stakes placed son of *Moment of Truth II.

King Salmon was a leading broodmare sire in Brazil and in addition to champion miler King’s Bench, he was also broodmare sire of St. Leger winner Alcide.  It is true that blood never really sleeps – it takes but one line to assure that a prominent line lives on and so it is with King Salmon.

Daughter Branches

For a time it seemed that Malva’s sons would always outshine her daughters, but this is no longer the case.  Today she has two very strong and viable daughter branches via Frankly (GB), 1925 by Stockwell-line Franklin, and *Lily of the Valley, 1931 by =Tetratema and thus a close kin to King Salmon (both are by sons of The Tetrarch out of Malva).

Frankly’s branch includes top German sire Platini (no, he’s not on the printout, we had to stop somewhere but he descends from Prairie Rose) and the strong daughter line of Croda Alta, which includes classic winner Footstepsinthesand and champion filly Superstar Leo (IRE).  This branch is also the taproot for leading broodmare sires Summertime (GB) and Crest of the Wave (GB), top ranking in Australia and New Zealand respectively.

*Lily of the Valley’s line did well down under for a time and has recently sprung to life again in Europe under Minstrel Girl II’s line, accounting via =Kitty’s Sister (IRE) most recently for =Grey Lilas (IRE), a filly by Danehill who won the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and ran second in the French 1000 Guineas and 3rd in the French Oaks.  This year, =Grey Lilas’ daughter, =Golden Lilac (IRE) by Galileo did her dam one better and won both those classics, scoring in both the French 1000 and French Oaks.  It is safe to say they have successfully resuscitated this branch of the family for the foreseeable future.

New Reines-de-Course

It is always difficult to know where to draw the line with a family this old, but we shall attempt to do our best.  Thus new Reines-de-Course are Malva; her daughter =Frankly (GB) and her descendents =Croda Alta, *Croda Rossa; =Prairie Song (GB); and =Prairie Rose (GER).   Malva’s daughter *Lily of the Valley and her descendents *Minstrel Girl II, =Sky Fever; and Kenmist (GB) are also named.  If evidence becomes stronger, we can always go back and add to the family, so we tend to error on the side of keeping the number of new Reines to a minimum.

We do feel, however, that this is a truly great family.  And after all the years of thinking of it as largely just the contributor of *Blenheim II, it is lovely to see the daughter lines vibrant once again.

Family 1-E