ST Mark’s Basilica has a debut fee of €65,000 and looks certain to be among the busiest stallions in 2022, with a quality of book that most stallions could only dream of having at stud. He was Europe’s champion juvenile, topped the rankings again in an undefeated classic season that saw him crowned Cartier Horse of the Year, represents one of the hottest stallions on the continent, and is a half-brother to a popular young classic star.
The son of Siyouni (Pivotal) was held in such early high regard that he was fifth, as favourite, for the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes before even winning his maiden. That first success came a few weeks later, beating Loch Lein over six furlongs at the Curragh, and then he finished third to Thunder Moon in the Group 1 National Stakes over seven furlongs.
His defeat of Wembley in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes on his fifth and final outing of 2020 guaranteed the two-year-old championship title. It also provided him with the first leg of a remarkable Group 1 five-timer.
St Mark’s Basilica easily won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains-French 2000 Guineas at ParisLongchamp on his seasonal reappearance and followed that with an almost two-length defeat of the subsequent Champion Stakes victor Sealiway in the Prix du Jockey Club-French Derby.
Leading sires Shamardal and Lope De Vega are two who previously achieved that classic double.
A month later St Mark’s Basilica took on older horses for the first time and soared to the top of a strong three-year-old division with an impressive Coral-Eclipse Stakes performance, beating Addeybb and Mishriff by three and a half lengths and a neck.
The now 127-rated bay then added the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, beating the multiple Group 1-stars Tarnawa and Poetic Flare by three-quarters of a length and a nose in a memorable finish.
In addition to being a son of Pivotal’s heir apparent, and so by the sire of his Prix du Jockey Club-French Derby and Arc-winning fellow Coolmore teammate Sottsass, who covered 132 mares in 2021, St Mark’s Basilica is out of a Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes winner in Cabaret (Galileo). The half-sister to Group 3 Solario Stakes scorer Drumfire (Danehill Dancer) is also responsible for Magna Grecia (Invincible Spirit).
That 2000 Guineas and juvenile Group 1-winner is also a Coolmore stallion, three of his initial foals fetched six-figure prices in Newmarket, and he too will surely receive another triple-digit book of mares this season.
Former leading Irish juvenile filly Ugo Fire (Bluebird), who won the Group 3 C L Weld Park Stakes and was runner-up in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, appears under the third generation of the pedigree, whereas those of note under the fourth include the Group 1 Prix Vermeille heroine Pearly Shells (Efisio) and last year’s Group 1-placed dual pattern winner Pearls Galore (Invincible Spirit).
St Mark’s Basilica should get some high-class juveniles but, like his half-brother, looks likely to make his strongest impact with three-year-olds and older horses, mostly from a mile and upwards.
ST MARK’S BASILICA (FR), Bay 2018. Champion 2yr old colt in Europe in 2020. Won six races, £2,196,080, from 6 furlongs to 1 mile 2½ furlongs, at 2 and 3 including, Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, Gr.1, Eclipse Stakes, Sandown Park, Gr.1, Irish Champion Stakes, Leopardstown, Gr.1, Poule d’Essai des Poulains, ParisLongchamp, Gr.1, Prix du Jockey Club, Chantilly, Gr.1, also placed third in National Stakes, Curragh, Gr.1.
Retires to Stud in 2022.
Stands at: Coolmore Stud, Fethard, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, E91 XK26, Ireland.
Contact: Christy Grassick, David O’Loughlin, Eddie Fitzpatrick, Maurice Moloney, Gerry Aherne, Jason Walsh, Tom Miller, Mark Byrne, Neil Magee, Kevin Buckley, or Hermine Bastide
Telephone: +353 (0)52 6131298