ONE of the many sires on show this weekend for the ITM Stallion Trail is the Sunnyhill Stud-based Doyen (Sadler’s Wells). Last weekend he joined that exclusive club of stallions who have shown the ability to sire top-level winners both on the flat and over jumps.
As a racehorse Doyen was accorded the honour of being named champion older horse in Europe as a four-year-old when he was runner-up in the Group 1 Coronation Cup, won the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and capped his fine year with victory in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. As a three-year-old he had shown his class when runner-up to Dalakhani in the Group 2 Prix Niel.
Half of Doyen’s 18 stakes winners on the flat are group winners and the best is the German classic heroine Turfdonna, successful in the 2015 Group 1 Preis der Diana – German Oaks. He is also sire of Group 2 winner Wild Chief who was third in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois (beating Lightning Spear, Toormore and Belardo), Group 2 winner Sneak A Peek who placed in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, and Group 3 winner Adoya who was placed in the Group 1 German Oaks.
From those initial crops Doyen also showed an ability to sire good winners over jumps, notably Valdez, Golden Doyen and Pine Creek.
Retired to Dalham Hall Stud in 2006, Doyen moved to Gestut Auenquelle for his fourth season and after three years there he was acquired by Michael and Sheelagh Hickey to stand at Sunnyhill. His first crop there were foaled in 2013 and what a start they have made. That initial Sunnyhill group includes last Sunday’s Grade 1 Lawlor’s Slaney Novice Hurdle winner Battleoverdoyen, a horse who previously hit the headlines when selling for £235,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham April Sale after landing a point-to-point in Ireland.
Since joining Gordon Elliott Battleoverdoyen has won three times in six weeks, a bumper win at Punchestown being followed up by a maiden hurdle success at Navan. Last weekend he showed that he is still on an upward curve and thoughts now surely will be focused on Cheltenham in March.
Given the outcome of the race at the weekend it is fortunate that breeder Caroline Berry failed to sell Battleoverdoyen’s full-brother, just turned a yearling recently, when bidding reached €13,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland November Sale last year. Twelve months earlier his now two-year-old full-sister made €17,000 when purchased by Tony Harrington.
The pedigree also received a further boost on New Year’s Day when Noel Meade saddled their just turned five-year-old own-brother Swordsman to win over hurdles at Fairyhouse on just his third appearance.
Battleoverdoyen and Swordsman are among three winners from the Sillery (Blushing Groom) mare Battle Over. She won a small race in France at three and was successful four times over jumps the following year. She is one of four winners out of Battle Quest (Noblequest) who was group-placed in France before heading stateside to land the Listed Estrapade Stakes at Santa Anita. One of her winning daughters was Peace And Love (Highest Honor) and she bred Group 3 winner Hippy (Muhtathir) who sold as a broodmare in 2014 for €200,000 at Deauville.