My first blog entry has to be about Sadler’s Wells. I regard him as an old friend. I started following horse racing in 1987, and Sadler’s first 2 year olds arrived on the track in 1988. We got off to a good start when I backed Kyra who was his first winner in Ireland (and the first for Classic Thoroughbreds Plc). He indirectly thought me some valuable lessons. I remember a dispute that I had with the cashier after Prince of Dance had dead-heated with Scenic. I argued that I was entitled to half the odds and he said I was entitled to half my stake at full odds and that it made no difference. I won the argument but still only got settled for half my stake:)
I remember the early Coolmore ads hyping him up and talking about how he fulfilled the five requirements of ‘Hancocks Law’. With 6 Group 1 winners in his first crop he never needed the services of the hype machine again.
I thought I knew everything about him and he proved me wrong on every point. I ‘knew’ there was a curse on him and he would never sire an Epsom Derby winner after all those placed horses. Then along came Galileo followed by High Chapparal. He would never have a proper sire son (El Prado or Fort Wood didn’t count as they were out foreign and In the Wings was as close as he came). Then along came Galileo and Montjeu.
Eventually there was only one truth, that he would never sire a sprinter. Last year Liscanna won the Ballyogan Stakes over 6 furlongs at Leopardstown. It’s a good thing I wasn’t laying on betfair that day.
My selection of highlights from his career are as follows:
Irish Derby 2002 1,2,3,4 with High Chaparral, Sholokov, Ballingarry, Nysaean
Irish Derby 1999 1,2,3 with Montjeu, Daliapour and Tchaikovsky
Oaks 2001 1,2,3 with Imagine, Flight of Fancy and Relish the Thought
Champion hurdles 1998,1999 1,2 Istabraq and Theatreworld.
His consistency and longevity are the makings of his legend. The 14 sires championships, the hundreds of Group winners and now his record as broodmare sire make him a phenomenon.
I’ll finish by assessing him as a sire of sires
Genuine Superstars: Montjeu, Galileo
Foreign superstar: Fort Wood
Gobsmacked that he succeeded: El Prado
Top Class: In the Wings
Respectable and a bit unlucky: Barathea
Great Dual Purpose Sires: King’s Theatre, Poliglote
Great Jumps Sires: Old Vic, Accordion
Good Jumps Sires: Oscar, Kayf Tara
Disappointing Jumps Sire: Saddler’s Hall
Just needed to move 20k miles to succeed: Scenic
Flops: King of Kings, Entrepreneur
Too early to write off but….: High Chaparral, Beat Hollow
Abject Failures who ultimately Triumphed: Old Vic