History has a funny way of repeating itself in the intertwined worlds of racing and breeding, and there could be a serious case of deja vu when the first runner from the highly anticipated second crop of Frankel is unleashed at Newbury on Friday.
John Gosden saddles Juddmonte homebred Westerland in the 6f maiden at 2.00 - a fitting starting point as Frankel’s very first foal, runner and winner Cunco grabbed the headlines with a successful debut in a division of this very race last year.
If Cunco and his first-crop contemporaries exceeded expectations at two, Frankel's second crop promises to be every bit as captivating. Conceived in 2014, his second book included 143 mares, of which 95 - 66 per cent - are black type performers, with Westerland’s dam Arabesque one of 76 stakes winners covered by the dual world champion son of Galileo.
The daughter of Zafonic was trained by Henry Cecil to win a Pontefract Listed event back in 2000, but has gone on to bigger and better things since retiring to the paddocks. Westerland’s siblings include four black type performers, notably Gimcrack Stakes winner Showcasing and his Listed-winning half-brother Camacho, both of whom have since gone on to carve out successful stallion careers - with the former supplying Wednesday’s impressive Duke of York Stakes scorer Tasleet.
Westerland's pedigree also received a notable update during the Dante meeting’s opening day, as Musidora Stakes winner Shutter Speed appears beneath his second dam, the Cheveley Park Stakes winner Prophecy.
While Westerland never went through the sales ring, 14 of Frankel’s current crop of two-year-olds did come under the hammer during the 2016 yearling sales. And if price can be taken as a guide to future ability, the Banstead Manor Stud resident could well be on course to build on last year’s results.
In 2016 Frankel’s yearlings sold in Britain and Ireland averaged 593,985gns - with his colts averaging 721,650gns, and his fillies 423,761. That represents a significant increase on the returns achieved by his first crop at public auction, with his 2015 yearlings averaging 486,915gns.
Having set the bar so high in 2016, Frankel has set himself no easy task this time round. His 15 British- and Irish-trained winners scored at a strike-rate of 50 per cent; while six of his progeny won black type races around the world, including the Japanese Grade 1 winner Soul Stirring.
But Frankel seemingly has all the ammunition he needs for another barnstorming season with his juveniles. Waiting in the wings are the likes of Elarqam, a 1,600,000gns colt out of 1,000 Guineas winner Attraction; a colt out of Midday named Midi; First Eleven, a half-brother to crack miler Kingman; and an unnamed colt out of dual Oaks winner Sariska.