The most notable matriarch of recent years, a parent whose progeny have not been washed away, is Height Of Fashion, who was sold by The Queen to Hamdan Al Maktoum at the end of her racing career. She has been mated with the best stallions in the world and rewarded her owner with outstanding results.
On Mother's Day she can count on cards from Nashwan, the Guineas, Derby, Eclipse and King George winner of 1989, and other Group performers in Alwasmi, Unfuwain, Mukddaam and Bashayer.
This season, though, has seen the emergence of another horse with a knack for nurturing talented offspring, the Green Dancer mare Youthful. As a competitive animal in France, Youthful was little more than average, winning just a minor event at Longchamp, but the brood she has produced since retiring has been outstanding.
Her first foal was the six-times winner Dorset Duke, her latest of racing age the promising Rainbow Quest two-year-old Dreams, and in between have come Jeune and Beneficial, who completed an unusual Group Two double at Royal Ascot last month when they took the Hardwicke Stakes and the King Edward VII Stakes respectively.
Beneficial has shown enough form this year to suggest his omission from the Derby entries actually had a material effect on at least the placings at Epsom. His campaign next season is expected to include the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, an event which is on the agenda this year for Jeune.
If the four-year-old is to be any sort of match for the likes of Commander In Chief, User Friendly and Opera House at Ascot later this month, he will have to emerge from his prep-race this afternoon, the Princess Of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket, with either a good win or an even better excuse. (This Group Two race, incidentally, was won in 1982 by Height Of Fashion and six years later by her son Unfuwain). Apologies should not be needed, though, as Jeune (3.40) can repeat the result at Ascot and beat Red Bishop.
The other Group race on the card, the Cherry Hinton Stakes, gives Pat Eddery the opportunity to make up for a ride which was more akin to Postman Pat 10 days ago over course and distance. The Irishman managed to make Rohita look the best filly in the race and still get beaten as he finished fast into second behind Snipe Hall.
The trainer of the winner, John Wharton, is one of the few who considers his runner can now confirm the form, even on 3lb worse terms. 'I was a little bit upset that my filly didn't get the publicity she deserved at Newmarket,' he says. 'Rohita got into trouble but mine didn't get the run of the race either. She had to come round the outside and must have lost some ground doing that, while Rohita just sat where she was and waited for the gaps to come.'
This, though, is as close to wishful thinking as makes no difference, and Rohita (next best 3.05) should be the winner from Richard Hannon's Lemon Souffle.
The other two televised races are handicaps with a 'guess the number of marbles in a jar' futility about them. But there do look to be two horses in there with both reasonable prices and chances, the filly SHEILA'S SECRET (nap 4.10) and Self Expression (next best 2.35), from the bold-punting yard of Lynda Ramsden. Get on before the betting- shop manager pins the papers up.