FOLLOWING the very successful ITM stallion trail last weekend, and after some conversations I had with people on it, I was reminded that you will often hear the phrase “most stallion careers end in failure”.
While this is not something that anyone would wish to dwell on, and much of the excitement is in trying to predict the future when it comes to mating, I took to wondering how true this is in fact. The first thing to say, of course, is that one man’s or woman’s definition of success will be another’s failure.
Stallions could sire four or five Group 1 winners in their time at stud, and yet have failed to live up to expectations. Another could retire and stand for a small sum, enjoy unprecedented success with his runners, be popular with breeders and trainers, and yet get just one or two who win at the top table.
This led me to consider carrying out a quick, non-scientific exercise. Pick a year in the not too distant past and have a look at some of the stallions who went to stud in that year, in Europe, and see how they have fared. Many dreams were realised, some were burst, and yet some of the latter cohort will still appear in pedigrees in the future thanks to their daughters being successful at stud.
The year chosen was 2013, a decade ago. It was to allow enough time for a sire to have had plenty of chances with his runners, those on the flat being represented by seven crops of racing age until the end of 2022. I have generally omitted sires who went to stud for National Hunt purposes principally, though a few that are mentioned have ended up now in that sector.
What has been my assessment of the new recruits for that 2013 season? Perhaps it was not a typical one, but the group contains one superstar, a large number of Group 1 sires, some who disappointed connections but were far from complete write-offs, and a handful who will not be remembered in the future. Success was more common than I imagined it would be, and I won’t dwell on the failures.
Juddmonte’s Frankel was among the group of sires who commenced stud duties a decade ago, and he sets an incredibly high standard. The son of Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) is out of a stakes-winning daughter of Danehill (Danzig), and he went through his racing career undefeated. Those 14 starts included a dozen stakes races and 10 at the highest level.
Banstead Manor Stud became home for his second career, and Frankel has already cemented his place among the greatest global stallions. Now 15, champion sire in 2021 and with many more productive years ahead, one can only imagine what heights he will yet reach. Last year saw no fewer than nine of his offspring gain success at Group and Grade 1 level, and they are among 26 who have done so to date.
He stands alongside Bated Breath (Dansili) who also went to stud in 2013. Now here is a stallion with a single Grade 1 winner, but who can claim to be a success. Bred in the purple, he gets quality winners time and time again, and can be considered unlucky not to have sired four Group/Grade 1 winners.
Group/Grade 2 winners Daahyeh (runner-up in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf), Space Traveller (second in the Frank E Kilroe Mile Stakes and Woodbine Mile Stakes) and Beckford (second in the National Stakes and Phoenix Stakes at two) all just missed out on winning at the highest level.
A champion at three and four on the racecourse, winning the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes, Nathaniel (Galileo) has also enjoyed immense success at stud. Three of his six Group 1 winners landed classics, including last year’s Epsom Derby hero Desert Crown, but he will forever be known as the sire of the brilliant 11-time Group/Grade 1 winner Enable.
Coolmore Australia’s 10-time Group 1 winner So You Think (High Chaparral) won in two hemispheres, beating over 75 individual Group 1 winners, and all of his nine Group 1 winners have been down under. They are Quick Thinker (Australian Derby), Inference (Randwick Guineas), Nakeeta Jane, La Bella Diosa (NZ 1000 Guineas), Think It Over, D’Argento (Rosehill Guineas), Knights Order (Sydney Cup), Sopressa (Australasian Oaks) and Nimalee.
I could go on and on about some of the others who went to stud that year, but instead I will just list them alphabetically, with a short comment on their best achievement at stud.
Standing at stud in France now, Born To Sea (Invincible Spirit) was bred to have success at stud, but his best runner has been the Grade 1-winning hurdler A Wave Of The Sea. A Group 1 winner at two, Casamento (Shamardal) stood in Ireland and England under the Darley banner, but sadly died after a single season at Sunnyhill Stud. He sired a Group 1 winner in Australia.
Delegator (Dansili) stood only a handful of seasons at Overbury Stud but sired the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes winner Accidental Agent. Bred in Australia and a stakes-winning three-year-old in England, Elzaam (Redoute’s Choice) sired the Group 1 Matron Stakes winner Champers Elysees, and he has covered 250 mares in the last two seasons at Joe Foley’s Ballyhane Stud.
Excelebration (Exceed And Excel), now at the Moroccan National Stud after time at Coolmore, was tired to seeing the back of Frankel as a racehorse. He sired a single top-level winner but a good one, four-time Group 1 winner Barney Roy. Former Whitsbury Manor Stud resident Foxwedge (Fastnet Rock) got the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes winner in Europe, but sired four Group 1 winners in the southern hemisphere.
Harbour Watch (Acclamation), the former Tweenhills Farm sire, sired two multiple Group 1 winners in Pyledriver (Coronation Cup, King George VI &and Queen Elizabeth Stakes) and Waikuku (The Stewards’ Cup twice and The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup in Hong Kong). Former Dalham Hall sire Helmet (Exceed And Excel) got the four-time Group 1 winner Thunder Snow.
Burgage Stud’s Jukebox Jury (Montjeu) is a Group/Grade 1 sire under both codes, siring the hugely popular Princess Zoe (Prix du Cadran) on the flat, and Farclas (Triumph Hurdle) and Stuke (in Italy) over jumps.
Mayson (Invincible Spirit) stands at Cheveley Park Stud and his best runner has been the Group 1 July Cup and King’s Stand Stakes winner Oxted.
Group 3 winner No Risk At All (My Risk) is at Haras de Montaigu and he has become a leading National Hunt sire, his Grade 1 winners being Epatante (six Grade 1s including the Champion Hurdle), Allaho (four Grade 1s including the Ryanair Chase twice) and Esprit Du Large.
Group 2 Rajsaman (Linamix) stands at Longford House Stud and his best winner is the Group 1 dual French classic hero Brametot. Darley’s Sepoy (Elusive Quality) stood for a few years at Dalham Hall, but enjoyed most success with his Australian crops. He sired Group 1 winner Salute The Soldier while in Europe, and the top-class three-time Group 1 winner Alizee (Flight Stakes, Yulong Futurity Stakes, and Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf Stakes) in Australia.
Having commenced his stallion career at Tally-Ho Stud, the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes winner Sir Prancealot (Tamayuz) has ended up in California, by way of a few seasons down under. He is popular now thanks to getting a number of good winners in the USA, notably the Grade 1 American Oaks heroine Lady Prancealot.