When we think of races involving horses that became successful stallions, the standout event is the 1984 French Derby that famously saw Darshaan defeat Sadler’s Wells and Rainbow Quest. The 1996 July Cup won by Anabaa, had Danehill Dancer and Pivotal back in fifth and sixth places. It is early days yet, but we might soon be adding races from the 2005 season to the above list as the likes of Dubawi, Shamardal, Oratorio, Motivator and Footstepsinthesand were all in their classic year, whilst Azamour was enjoying a very successful four year old season. Arakan never competed against the aforementioned horses but he is also enjoying a good start with his first three year olds.
The above thoughts are prompted by the results of the French 2000 Guineas which resulted in a 1-2-3 for second season sires with Lope de Vega (by Shamardal), defeating Dick Turpin (Arakan ex Merrily by Sharood) and Shamalgan (Footstepsinthesand ex Genevale by Unfuwain). Following on from the classic successes of Dubawi’s offspring Makfi and Worthadd and some promising results for Azamour and Oratorio, it looks as if we have an unusually large number of promising sires coming on stream at once. It is much too early to be dogmatic about any of these sires but we can make some reasonable assumptions.
1. Arakan is the least likely to succeed. In one sense he has already surpassed expectations and he has sired a horse (Dick Turpin) of superior racing merit to himself. Arakan never won above Group 3 level despite being kept in training until the age of five, and as a son of Nureyev (who many regard with suspicion as a sire of sires) he didn’t immediately appeal as a likely sire success. The challenge will be to remain above the radar for the next few years until he can hopefully capitalise on the success of Dick Turpin.
2. Motivator has been plagued by bad luck. Injury restricted his first crop size and he has now missed the 2010 breeding season. He had some promising two year olds last year notably Pollenator and Prompter and he seems capable of getting a decent horse but in a fickle market place he needs a big horse to appear quickly.
3. Azamour seems the best source of quality stamina at this stage. Despite being a son of Night Shift who sired more than his fair share of sprinters the early signs are that Azamours progeny will stay as well as he did himself. To date he has sired two Derby trial winners in Azmeel and Puncher Clynch. Eleanora Duse also ran well when a close third in the Musidora Stakes.
4. Darley are currently outscoring Coolmore amongst the younger brigade. The achievements to date of Dubawi outrank those of any of the other sires listed. Shamardal has also achieved more than Coolmore’s Oratorio or Footstepsinthesand. Coolmore will be hoping that Steinbeck can be the big horse that Footstepsinthesand needs, whereas Oratorio looks as if he has a good spread of possible top horses with Lolly for Dolly being a contender for the Irish Guineas and Fencing Master and Beethoven could add to last years achievements. I doubt if they are panicking in Tipperary but it does seem to be a few years since they have added a real star to their roster.