Diamond mare still leaving a rich legacy

7 min read
As Karaka approaches, John Berry reminds us of the influence of Eight Carat (GB); arguably the greatest broodmare ever to have lived in New Zealand. Her influence remains very strong today, with direct descendants Hiyaam and Queen of Diamonds recent stars from the great mare.

Another year has been and gone. Another year in the unceasing equine diaspora which sees legions of thoroughbreds leaving the British Isles for racing and breeding in all corners of the racing world.

Some of those who passed through the British and Irish auction houses in 2018 will prove to have been well bought and some won’t – but it is doubtful whether any will turn out to have been the bargain which Eight Carat (GB) (Pieces Of Eight {USA}) proved to be after she was purchased by Lord Forres at Tattersalls’ December Sale in 1979 for 9,400 guineas.

She ranks as arguably the greatest broodmare ever to have lived in New Zealand and her influence remains very strong.

Eight Carat (GB)

2018 saw a further expansion of Eight Carat’s legacy. Hiyaam (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}), a grand-daughter of Marquise, became the most notably successful member of her family during the year when taking the G1 Vinery Stud S. at Rosehill in March.

Later in the year, though, we saw another filly from the family who may go on to be its next Group One winner: Queen Of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel), whose dam Love Diamonds is by Danehill out of Tristalove, was an impressive winner in December in the China Horse Club colours of the G3 Eulogy S. at Awapuni on only her fourth start, and can surely graduate to higher levels.

Eight Carat ranks as arguably the greatest broodmare ever to have lived in New Zealand and her influence remains very strong. - John Berry

The stallions descending from Eight Carat continue to flourish, with Commands having had yet another good year thanks to Melody Belle (NZ) and Eighth Wonder (NZ), a full-brother to Don Eduardo, responsible for the multiple Group One-winning sprinter Start Wondering (NZ). It is possibly also worth mentioning that the excellent Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo {Ire}), winner in 2018 of the G1 Makybe Diva S. and the G1 Memsie S. and in 2017 of the G1 Australian Cup, is another member of this wonderful family as he is a great-grandson of Eight Carat’s top-class half-sister Habibti.

Hiyaam, a grand-daughter of Marquise

A descendant of the 'flying filly'

Eight Carat had never been placed in three seasons in training with Mark Smyly in Lambourn when she arrived at that December Sale as a four-year-old, but she boasted a lovely pedigree and she was in foal to the Petition stallion My Swanee (GB). Lord Forres particularly appreciated her credentials because he had previously exported her half-sister Great Klaire (GB) (Great Nephew {GB}) to Australia, where she was doing well as a racehorse in Sydney and would subsequently do very well indeed at stud.

"Lord Forres particularly appreciated her credentials because he had previously exported her half-sister Great Klaire (GB) (Great Nephew {GB}) to Australia." - John Berry

Another notable horse from the immediate family to have headed Down Under had been Test Case (GB) (Supreme Court {GB}), one of England’s top two-year-olds of 1960 who had gone on to enjoy a successful stud career in New Zealand. It was a family rich in speed, with D’Urberville (GB) (Klairon {Fr}), a full-brother to Eight Carat’s dam Courtessa (GB), having won the King’s Stand S. at Royal Ascot in 1968 and Eight Carat’s brilliant half-sister Habibti (Ire) (Habitat {USA}) soon to win that same race (in 1984).

Eight Carat’s wider family provided further appeal. She descended from HH Aga Khan II’s foundation mare Mumtaz Mahal (GB) (The Tetrarch {Ire}), the ‘Flying Filly’ who had progressed from brilliant sprinter to massively influential broodmare, the bedrock of the Aga Khans’ studs. By this time she had already been ancestress of the likes of Mahmoud (Fr) (Blenheim {GB}), Nasrullah (Ire) (Nearco {Ity}) and Petite Etoile (GB) (Petition {GB}) and her family would subsequently supply the likes of Shergar (Ire) (Great Nephew {GB}) and Zarkava (Ire) (Zamindar {USA}).

Other studs to have benefitted from the merit of Mumtaz Mahal’s clan include Lanwades, thanks to the Aga Khan-bred Alruccaba (Ire) (Crystal Palace {Fr}); while Mumtaz Mahal’s global influence was further extended a few years ago by South Africa’s 2011 Horse of the Year Igugu (Aus) (Galileo {Ire}).

Creating a legacy

Once Eight Carat’s My Swanee foal (a filly) had been born, mother and daughter headed down to Australia. The foal was named Cotehele House (GB) and eventually became dam of the top-class Danehill horses Danewin and Commands as well as Theme Song (NZ) (Sackford {USA}) whose mating with Danehill in 1995 produced Emerald Dream (Aus), winner in 2002 of the G1 Waikato International S. over 2000m at Te Rapa.

In Australia, Lord Forres had Eight Carat covered by the Star Kingdom-line stallion Sticks And Stones (Aus) (Farringdon {Aus}) and subsequently sold her to Robert Sangster. The result of that mating was Diamond Lover, who became the first of Eight Carat’s five Group One winners when breaking Ellerslie’s 1200m record in taking the Railway H. in 1987 in a time of 1:07.79.


By this time, Eight Carat was owned by Patrick and Justine Hogan of Cambridge Stud in New Zealand. She (and Diamond Lover) became as much part of the furniture at Cambridge Stud as the great father-and-son stallion team of Sir Tristram (USA) and Zabeel (NZ).

Matings with these two great sires yielded numerous top-liners, with Eight Carat producing Kaapstad (NZ) to Sir Tristram followed by the Zabeel full-brothers Octagonal (NZ) and Mouawad (NZ). She also produced the successful sire Colombia (NZ) to Zabeel; while her visit in 1990 to a less successful Cambridge Stud stallion, Gold And Ivory (USA) (Key To The Mint {USA}), produced the G1-winning filly Marquise (NZ).

To Sir Tristram, Diamond Lover produced the outstanding filly Tristalove (NZ) and Antwerp (NZ); to Zabeel she produced 2002 G1 AJC Derby winner Don Eduardo (NZ) and Peruzzi (NZ). Antwerp was a very good broodmare, producing Viscount (Aus) (Quest For Fame {GB}); while Tristalove was a superb one, repeat matings with Danehill yielding several good winners headed by Viking Ruler and Kempinsky.

Gone, but not the end

Eight Carat died at Cambridge Stud in 2000, aged 25. Her total of five individual Group One winners marked her down as a true diamond, as did her hat-trick of NZ Broodmare of the Year Awards (1995, ’96, ’97).

One of her most notable achievements is that she remains the only broodmare to have produced an Australian Horse of the Year who himself went on to sire an Australian Horse of the Year (Octagonal, sire of Lonhro).

Her influence has continued to develop since her death as the broodmares and stallions descending from her continue to churn out good horses, and there looks to be further stars coming along in years to come, as Book One of Karaka 2019 reminds us.

There are sure to be several Eight Carat diamonds in the mine with Cambridge Stud offering five Tavistock colts descending from Diamond Lover (Lots 177, 432, 622, 677 and 680) and one Tavistock colt descending from Cotehele House (Lot 257); a Tavistock filly descending from Diamond Lover (Lots 180); and one Power filly (Lot 283) descending from Diamond Lover; one Power colt (Lot 266) descending from Cotehele House and one Power filly (Lot 55) descending from Marquise.

Lot 680: Tavistock x Diamond Smile colt, one of several descendants of Eight Carat on offer at Karaka 2019

Furthermore, Waikato Stud offers a Savabeel colt descending from Marquise (Lot 550), Jamieson Park offers a Showcasing colt descending from Marquise (Lot 561) and Pencarrow Stud offers a Pins colt descending from Diamond Lover (Lot 628).

Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan sold Cambridge Stud to Brendan and Jo Lindsay in November 2017. The Lindsays, along with their manager Henry Plumptre, attended Tattersalls’ December Sale in Newmarket last month to bolster the Cambridge Stud broodmare band.

Eight Carat, of course, had come out of that same auction 39 years previously. Her shoes are massive ones to fill, but the glorious uncertainty of the game is that anything is possible, even if it might be asking a lot for lightning to strike twice and another diamond as bright as Eight Carat to emerge.