Dual Group One winning sprinters Exceed And Excel and Response meet… and what better name for the result than De Gaulle?

A strong name for a strong with a strong pedigree; perfect!

Unfortunately De Gaulle, who stands at an imposing 16hh, did not – due to early injury – get to show us just what he was made of on the track but the Peter & Paul Snowden trained colt did display plenty of promise at the trials.

At his first Randwick trial clear in the fastest time of the day, De Gaulle put 2 1/2 lengths on Diamond Tathagata who just a few weeks later (en route to Gr.2 success in the Skyline Stakes) at debut ran second to subsequent Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign.

Meanwhile De Gaulle was taking part in his second trial, this time proving too strong for Banish who would go on to enjoy Gr.2 success in the Moonee Valley Classic. He would have a third hit-out, finishing a close second 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Pariah who two weeks on won the Gr.3 Canonbury Stakes on debut, later on adding the Gr.3 San Domenico Stakes to his resume.

And so, whilst De Gaulle who’d had the Golden Slipper in sight did not race, his trial form stood up for months afterwards… making his retirement due to tendon injury all that harder to cop for connections.

But his superior bloodlines ensured that he would be given a chance at stud. And that decision was made even before his one year younger half-sister made it to the track.

Such an outstanding type that it took $1.7 million to secure her at last year’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, Estijaab debuted with a stunning four length victory at Randwick in late January. Since then she has raced three times, tasting defeat (at the hands of the brilliant Sunlight) just the once having been taken on early in the Gr.2 Silver Slipper Stakes.

She atoned for that loss by taking out the Gr.2 Reisling Stakes at her next start and at her fourth, the Gr.1 Golden Slipper in which she was dominant on pace from a tricky wide gate.

Which is when the phone starting ringing, De Gaulle’s owners Richard Anderson and John Pratt content to have the exciting young serve their own mares – and all the happier when interest from outside started to gain momentum.

And so the decision was made to move De Gaulle from Brooker Park to Bombora Downs, Anderson noting that “we are only set up for 20 – 30 mares so we thought it best to have the horse where he can be more accessible to other mare owners.”

Whilst De Gaulle is a son of Danehill Exceed And Excel, Estijaab is by Danehill’s grandson Snitzel… and their dam Response has also produced the stakes placed city winner After Call by Fastnet Rock; proof that this family excels with the ever flourishing Danehill line.

It is still early days for Exceed And Excel (sire of 146 stakes winners with progeny earnings in excess of $150 million) as a sire of sires but already four of his sons have sired stakes winners including Helmet, sire of this year’s Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow… as well as leading Victorian Sire Reward For Effort.

All studies show that Group One mares make great broodmares and Response is an excellent example, each of her first three foals showing above average ability and she has a couple of nice ones to come; two full sisters to Estijaab.

Successful at the elite level on two occasions – taking out the Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville and the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield – Response hails from an historic local family that has been producing topliners for generations.

Such as the big race winners Visit, Farnworth and Emblem… as well as the champion Wenona Girl.

All 22 of the mares served by De Gaulle during his debut season last spring got into foal and Anderson is looking forward to the arrival to his first foals, confident that they will carry a stamp of their exceptionally good looking sire.

“De Gaulle is a magnificent horse,” Anderson enthused, adding that everyone who has had with the still maturing three-year-old is taken by his presence.

“He is an absolute gentleman,” he said, recalling the day of a photo shoot when a nearby horse got loose… “De Gaulle did not bat an eyelid.”

“And when the camera started clicking he really started to show off, he knows he is good.”

For further details on De Gaulle, an ideal VOBIS horse who stands at a fee of $5500 (incl gst) Richard Anderson on 0412 560 051.

Kristen Manning is a freelance writer and pedigree analyst based in Melbourne. A keen owner/breeder who loves every aspect of thoroughbred , she has written two books focusing on the deeds of Fields Of Omagh and Prince Of Penzance.