Can you have too much of a good thing?

Frankel’s first foal was born on the 11th of January.  The dam Chrysanthemum was a Group 3 winner trained by David Wachman for Coolmore connections. In truth, in terms of racing performance and pedigree Chrysanthemum was no more than a middle ranking member of Frankel’s stellar first book of mares.

However what is far more interesting is the pedigree cross it represents.  We are by now, well used to seeing variants of the  Sadler’s Wells (and sons) by Danehill cross , the cross that reached its pinnacle with Frankel himself. It has proved hugely successful with Galileo alone having sired  8 Group 1 winners out of Danehill mares. Chrysanthemum is by Danehill Dancer out of a daughter of Sadler’s Wells and it begs the question can you have too much of a good thing?

Sadler’s Wells and Danehill are the giant names of European breeding in recent decades. Coolmore achieved considerable success with the likes of Horatio Nelson (Danehill ex Imagine), Peeping Fawn (Danehill ex Maryinsky and Chevalier (Danehill ex Legend Maker) bred on this cross.  Given the number of high class broodmares they possess with both names in the pedigree it is perhaps unsurprising that they are considering doubling up what has worked in the past.

They would have been encourage by the results to date for Teofilo (Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill) who is similarly bred to Frankel. Teofilo has made a good start to his stud career highlighted by Group 1 success for Parish Hall  (ex Halla Siamsa by Montjeu) and Irish Derby success  with Trading Leather who is out of a Sinndar mare and thus has another cross of Danzig as does Voleuse Des Coeurs (ex Vadorga by Grand Lodge). This new foal is just gone a little further in terms of duplication.

This foal will have Sadler’s Wells 3X3, and Danehill 3X3.  In the first 6 generations Northern Dancer’s name appears 5 times and he appears once more in the 7th generation. Given that Danehill features 2 crosses of Northern Dancer’s dam Natalma, her name appears 8 times in the pedigree! If this was  a human we would be appalled, even if it was a pedigree dog we would be concerned yet when it comes to our friends the thoroughbreds we just think it’s interesting!  As regards the question, whether you can have too much of a good thing,  we will obviously just have to wait until he finishes his racecourse career to answer that one…

Frankel's first foal
6 generation pedigree

Who likes it heavy?

I blame the Chinese for the ‘Summer’ we just endured. Once they stopped burning all that coal in an effort to clean up Beijing’s polluted air for the Olympics they somehow changed the Irish climate for the worse.  Also I’ve developed a new theory on the extinction of the dinosaurs which I suspect was caused by a Summer like this back in 65million BC. This caused all the dinosaurs to drown or to drown themselves due to the unrelenting misery of it all. Anyway given the circumstance I thought it might be opportune to look at those sires whose offspring do best when the ground is heavy. 

Off the top of my head I would have named the best heavy ground sires as Efisio, Pivotal, Diktat and Sadler’s Wells & sons.  I can’t quantify this belief but they are the sires that I’ve noticed seem to do well when the going is heavy.  As an exercise I looked through every Group One race in Ireland, the UK and France over the past five years in which the going description included the word heavy. This amounted to only 12 races and the winners and details are shown below.  The findings threw up a few surprises. Firstly I wouldn’t have guessed that Danehill would have been responsible for a quarter of the wins, but he is via Westerner’s two wins in the Prix Royal Oak and Peeping Fawns win in the Irish Oaks. However as each of these horses were multiple Group one winners, who succeeded at the top level on all sorts of going it is fair to conclude that heavy ground was not needed for them to succeed. Peeping Fawn and Westerner are good examples of the maxim that good horses will win on any ground.

The Sadler’s Wells tribe are the predominate group. Sadler’s Wells himself appears as sire of Linda’s Lad who won the marathon Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a two year old. It was a weak renewal of the race and it proved his sole success at the top level. He did add a Lingfield Derby trial before being beaten about 10 lengths in Sir Percy’s derby which is a fair indicator of his ability. Sadler’s Wells is also the broodmare sire of Peeping Fawn. Two of his sons are responsible for two winners each. Montjeu is sire of Authorized who won the Racing Post trophy at two and Scorpion who won the St Leger in heavy going. In both cases these horses achieved Group one success on better ground , most significantly Authorized in the Derby and Scorpion who broke a track record in the Grand Prix de Paris. Again these were quality horses who were versatile as to going requirements like Montjeu himself who won the Arc on heavy ground.

Galileo only ran once on heavy ground in his maiden which he won by fourteen lengths. He is the sire of two heavy ground, wide margin classic winners in Soldier of Fortune and Nightime. Soldier of Fortune has since followed up at four in a Coronation Cup on good ground but Nightime never won again and a look at her career seemed to indicate that she needed lots of cut to show her best. The 4 others on the list are a slightly surprising bunch.  There are 2 Mr Prospector line horses in Saoirse Abu a great grand daughter by Mr Greeley and Palace Episode a grandson by Machiavellian. Saoirse Abu defeated Henrythenavigator in the Phoenix Stakes but she also won a Moyglare defeating Listen and was a close third in this years 1000 Guineas. Heavy ground was not necessary for her.  Palace Episode won the Racing Post trophy and on the strength of that was sold to Godolphin. He has never won since and is now running on firm ground in the US.  Its hard to say definitively whether he needed heavy ground or if his lack of subsequent success is due to joining Godolphin, becoming another casualty of the big blue hole.

 Araafa caused a shock when he beat George Washington in the Irish Guineas but showed his ground versatility by following up in the St James Palace on good to firm. Interestingly he has a connection with Pivotal as his dam is a full sister to Pivotal.

The final horse on the list is Reverence who won the Haydock sprint cup. He also previously won the Nunthorpe on soft ground and is one of the few horses on the list who really needed soft ground to perform. On pedigree its hard to see where this affinity comes from- Mark of Esteem never ran on ground worse than good and his dam Imperial Bailiwick who was a tough precocious sprinter who won a Flying Childers but didn’t demonstrate a pronounced going preference. It could be down to his particular confirmation.

 Conclusion.  With such a small sample you can’t be definitive about things. Good horses can handle any going.   Sadler’s Wells and his sons handle heavy ground and make up a big part of the sample. Danehill’s better offspring are also versatile as to going. The others on the list are perhaps good examples of why its important not to be too dogmatic when it comes to breeding. Some of the other sires I mentioned such as Efisio and Diktat are hardly regular sires of Group one winners so it is no surprise that they don’t feature in the small sample above. However it is worth keeping an eye on their runners in bottomless ground as they can often surprise at big prices.











Dam Sire






Saoirse Abu



Mr Greeley



Out too late



future storm



2007 National Stakes



Peeping Fawn









sadler’s wells



2007 Irish Oaks



Soldier of Fortune









erins isle



2007 Irish Derby












indian ridge



2006 Irish Guineas






mull of kintyre






polar falcon



2006 Irish Guineas















2006 Racing Post Trophy






mark of esteem



imperial bailiwick



imperial frontier



2006 Haydock sprint cup



Palace Episode






palace weekend



seattle dancer



2005 racing post trophy












law society



2005 St Leger



Linda’s lad



sadler’s wells









2005 Crit. Saint Cloud















2004 prix royal oak















2003 prix royal oak



Sires in Form- Mere Coincidence?

There is a popular thread on the betfair breeding forum regarding ‘sires in form’.  Forumites diligently monitor and report upon those sires who are having the most winners in a particular month. Thus far in July Royal Applause has had 18 winners, ahead of Bahamian Bounty and Kheleyf. Every month seems to see different sires go through hot streaks and then revert back to normality. So is there an explanation for these streaks, can they be predicted and can punters profit from them?

Possible Explanations:

1.The most likely explanation for these winning streaks is simply that they are random events. If you toss a coin thousands of times you would expect to regularly get sequences of successive heads or tails. Clusters are to be expected in any random pattern. Sires suddenly producing lots of winners is just a random clustering event that cannot be predicted.

2. Ground Conditions. Many stallions produce offspring with definite going preferences. If we have an unusually wet summer and the ground is heavy then it would be no surprise to see a sire like Efisio sire lots of winners. Similar logic would apply to firm ground stallions. Interestingly if ground conditions were the explanation then we would expect to see fewer such ‘hot streaks’ on the all-weather where ground is not as variable.

3. Linked to trainer form. Many trainers have favourite stallions and will have a disproportionate number of the offspring of those horses in their stables. Aidan O’Briens stable is full of Montjeu’s Galileo’s and Danehill Dancers. When Ballydoyle goes through a purple patch then Montjeu, Galileo and  Danehill Dancer have lots of winners. Michael Stoute trains for Cheveley Park and he would have lots of Pivotals and Mediceans and other trainers also have there favourites usually dictated by budget. When the stable is in form then the sires popular with that trainer would be also expected to have plenty of winners.

4. Linked to opportunity. If a sire happens to do well with stayers and there are lots of staying races during a period then it is logical he will do better during that time. Similarly a sire whose two year olds need at least a mile to be seen to best effect won’t get many two year old winners before the Autumn. What appears to be a sire going through a ‘hot streak’ is in fact simply that his offspring are finally getting an opportunity to run at their optimum trips.

5. Trainer perceptions. One Cool Cat had a great start with his two year olds from March-June. Trainers expected his offspring to be precocious and accordingly had them ready to run early in the season. Conversely few trainers had their Sulamani two year olds ready to go early in the season because naturally trainers would have viewed them more as needing time. The trainers perceptions determined the training of the horses. These perceptions meant that One Cool Cats offspring were ready to run and mop up the early season two year old races which are typically somewhat easier to win.

6. Time of Year. It was famously said of the offspring of Ribot that they were better with ‘the sun on their backs’ and it is likely that due to maturation issues some sires have offspring that are better earlier or later in the year. Springtime could see winning streaks for sires who sire precocious two year olds and conversely for sires whose offspring improve with age. The logic here is that the horses would be having their first runs of the new season but they would still be running off ratings achieved when they were too immature to show their full potential.


It is impossible to be definitive as to the reasons why sires seem to undergo sudden hot streaks. I think there is some truth in all of the above explanations. Accordingly I propose a new all-embracing theory that I modestly call Sheahan’s Theory.

6. All of the above-cycles and the handicapper. In statistics it is believed that over time everything regresses to the mean. A typical stallions offspring might win 15% of the races in which they run. If that sire goes through a ‘hot streak’ in which his offspring win 25% of their races in a month, it is still likely that the average at the end of the year or period under review will be close to the long term average.  However within racing there is another factor which quickly ends winning streaks namely the work of the handicapper and of fixed penalties. If a horse wins he will be penalised by the handicapper and will have to improve to win again. If lots of two year olds are winning maidens, next time out they will find themselves competing in higher class conditions or stakes races or alternatively carrying a lot of weight in nurseries. Unless the horse has improved they will not win next time out and indeed they will probably need a few unsuccessful runs before dropped by the handicapper back to a winnable mark.  A random cluster of wins by the offspring of a stallion could be followed by a lull when all of these horses ran next time out under penalties  until the horses were dropped by the handicapper. It is then possible for them all to come good again in a cluster later in the year. These factors would be reinforced by ground/trainer or opportunity issues. For example imagine the offspring of stallion X are best as three year olds with firm ground over trips in excess of 12 furlongs. When they ran early in their three year old days they would probably be competing over 8-10 furlongs. When stepped up in trip we would expect more of them to win and this could be amplified by suitable ground. This period might be their hot winning streak. If it was a wet summer they would be inconvenienced and they would also be running under penalties after the hot streak. We could expect many to struggle to win over their next few runs and the handicapper would drop them again. Come late August the combined effect of the drop by the handicapper and perhaps an improvement in going could see another hot streak. In racing nothing is as random as it seems….





The Irish Derby- A source of great sires?

Federico Tesio famously said ” The Thoroughbred exists because its selection has depended, not on experts, technicians, or zoologists, but on a piece of wood: the winning post of the Epsom Derby”. If the fabled Italian was around today he might replace Epsom with the Curragh. The relative importance of Epsom has undoubtedly declined and that of the Irish Derby has increased . Due to the vagaries of the track the best horse doesn’t alays win at Epsom.  The best horse nearly always wins at the Curragh. The timing of the Irish Derby which allows it to bring together the winners of the Epsom and French Derbies also facilitates this. So what about its record as a source of leading sires. Well let’s stroll down memory lane and look at the stud records of the last 26 Irish Derby winners….

2008 Frozen Fire (Montjeu-Flamingo Sea by Woodman). Won an incident packed Irish Derby in which is stablemate and paternal half brother Alessandro Volta caused all sorts of mayhem. This was only his second win after a maiden but he was only beaten a short head in the Dante before disappointing at Epsom. He fetched €250000 as a yearling and his pedigree is solid rather than spectacular.  Given the circumstances of his Irish Derby win, he will probably need to add another Group 1 to his CV to make himself an attractive stallion prospect. (sire rating unknown)

2007 Soldier of Fortune (Galileo-Affinanced by Erins Isle). Soldier of Fortune recently added the Coronation Cup to his record. As a son of Galileo he is sure to be popular on  his retirement to Coolmore. (sire rating unknown)

2006 Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion by Diesis). Added 5 more group 1’s including an Arc and King George to his record at three and four. He became the second son of Danehill to triumph 9 years after Desert King. Currently standing at €50000 in Coolmore (sire rating unknown)

2005 Hurricane Run (Montjeu-Hold On by Surumu).  From the outstanding first crop of Montjeu (1999) went onto add 3 more Group 1’s to his record including an Arc and King George. Currently standing for €30000 at Coolmore.(sire rating unknown)

2004 Grey Swallow (Daylami-Style of Life by The Minstrel). From the first crop of Daylami, his career never really again reached the heights of his Curragh defeat of North Light. He did add another Group 1 in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at 4. He also picked up some Grade2 in the US at 5. He was shipped to Australia for the Cox Plate but picked up an injury. He has remained in Australia and stands at Woodside Park Stud for $16500, his fee perhaps a reflection of the fall from grace of Daylami who is now based in South Africa. He was the first sire since St Jovite in 1992 not to represent the Northern Dancer sire line, but he was still close up as his dam was by The Minstrel(sire rating unknown)

2003 Alamshar (Key of Luck-Alaiyda by Sharastani). Became the only horse to ever defeat Dalakhani when out-battling him at the Curragh. Initially sold to Japan, he is now in residence at the Irish National stud for €5000. I reckon this is good value (see earlier post on bargain basement sires)(sire rating unknown)

2002 High Chapparal (Sadler’s Wells-Kasora by Darshaan). One of six offspring of Sadler’s Wells to triumph, and at the time the fourth in five years. His oldest crop are now three year olds and although he got an Italian Guineas winner in Senlis he is so far disappointing. He is currently listed at €15000 but if he doesn’t get a few big winners soon, he will be sold on or will find himself operating as a NH sire.(sire rating 3/10)

2001 Galileo (Sadler’s Wells-Urban Sea by Miswaki). The hottest stallion in Europe. Having a fantastic season with his two, three and four year olds. So far he has had New Approach winning the Derby, Lush Lashes the Coronation, Cima de Triomphe an Italian Derby, Soldier of Fortune a Coronation Cup and Cuis Gaire the Albany stakes. To this roll call can be added previous stars Teofilo, Sixties Icon, Nightime, Red Rocks and Allegretto. His fee is listed as private and he is the annointed successor to his own sire Sadler’s Wells.(sire rating 9/10)

2000 Sinndar(Grand Lodge-Sinntara by Lashkari). An oustanding racehorse who later added the Arc to his Derby and Irish Derby triumphs. Retired to his owner the Aga Khans Gilltown stud he failed to get a lot of patronage from outside breeders. He was by far the best son of his inconsistent sire Grand Lodge, out of Sinntara who won an Irish Cesearwich.  He now stands at the Aga’s french stud Bonnveval for €20000.  He is a good sire for the money and has sired two outstanding runners in Youmzain and Shawanda. Hopefully he will get the patronage he deserves from French breeders.(sire rating 6.5/10)

1999. Montjeu (Sadler’s Wells-Floripedes by Top Ville). Outstanding racehorse and now outstanding sire. I obviously have a soft spot for him given the name of this blog. His outstanding first crop had one,twos in the Epsom and Irish Derby’s with Motivator, Walk in the Park, Hurricane Run and Scorpion. Has since added another Epsom winner with Authorised and just after writing this article Frozen Fire gave him another Irish Derby. His fee at €125000 marks him as the second most expensive stallion at Coolmore after his paternal half brother Galileo. interesting his % of stakes winners was slightly better than Galileos. (sire rating 9/10)

1998 Dream Well (Sadler’s Wells-Soul Dream by Alleged). Followed up his French Derby success with victory at the Curragh. His subsequent career was somewhat disappointing. Another son of Sadler’s Wells his dam Soul Dream later produced another French Derby winner in Sulamani. He was sold to Japan where he left behind nothing of note. Similarly his time as a shuttler to Australia left behind nothing of note. He now stands at Haras de Fresney-le- Buffard in France for €2000 and is in essence a dual purpose sire. His oldest European crop are only three year olds, but nothing of significance has emerged.  (sire rating 2/10)

1997 Desert King( Danehill-Sabaah by Nureyev).  A horse who helped to establish two reputations. Firstly that of his sire Danehill who until Desert King was well short of supersire status in the Northern hemisphere. Secondly he was the first important colt trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore axis. He was a tough and versatile colt winning the National stakes at two, impressively winning the Irish Guineas at three and recovering from a disappointing run at Ascot to win the Irish Derby. Ironically the colt he defeated at the Curragh was Dr Johnson owned by former Ballydoyle maestro Vincent O’Brien and trained by Charles O’Brien who it was assumed would take over Ballydoyle.  At stud he surprised many by proving to be an influence for stamina. He sired an Ascot Gold Cup winner in Mr Dinos and one of the great racemares of the modern era down under in Makybe Diva. His stud career started in Coolmore from where he shuttled to Australia. He was then banished from the Coolmore roster to Japan and last year he was transferred to Scarvagh House who are marketing him as a dual purpose sire for £4000/€5800. He has sired six group one winners which alongside those already mentioned includes Chelsea Rose who won a Moyglare and Desert War who is a multiple Group 1 winner in Australia. (sire rating 5/10)

1996 Zagreb (Theatrical-Sophonisbe by Wollow). Zagreb was a 20-1 shot when winning Dermot Weld’s first Irish Derby by 6 lengths. It provided compensation for the narrow defeat of his sire Theatrical (also trained by Weld) in the 1985 renewal. He only ran once more when unplaced in the Arc and in total his career lasted only four races. He also ended up in Japan where he did leave behind some runners of note in Group 1 winners in Cosmo Bulk and Cosmo Sunbeam. However he obviously didn’t do enough and he now earns his oats as a National Hunt sire at Beechbrook stud covering for €1500 (sire rating 3/10)

1995 Winged Love (In the Wings-J’ai Deux Amours by Top Ville). This son of In The Wings was the first grandson of Sadler’s Wells to triumph when he shortheaded Definite Article, with hot favourite and his Chantilly conqueror Celtic Swing unplaced. He never won again after the Curragh but arguably ran even better when a close fourth behind Lammtarra in the King George. He was retired to stud in Germany and got a number of stakes winners but nothing above Group 2 level. He is now in Scarvagh House stud for £2500/€3500 where he is marketed as a National Hunt sire and should attract lots of support after the success of Twist Magic. (sire rating 3/10)

1994 Balanchine (Storm Bird-Morning Devotion by Affirmed. The Oaks winner easily accounted for subsequent King George winner King’s Theatre to give Frankie Dettori his first success.  As a broodmare the daughter of Storm Bird has proved a disappointment. (sire rating- N/A)

1993 Commander in Chief (Dancing Brave-Slightly Dangerous by Roberto). The undefeated Epsom derby winner had to work hard to defeat the French Derby winner Hernando. His only subsequent run was a slightly disappointing third in the King George.  Like so many Derby winners of the nineties he was sold to Japan. He was the best son of Dancing Brave but not the best son of his outstanding dam Slightly Dangerous who also produced the great miler Warning, along with an Irish Derby runner up in Deploy, Grade 1 winner Yashmak and Derby runner-up Dushyantor. He spent his entire career at Yashun stud in Japan until his relatively early death last year. He sired 15 stakes winners including a champion Japanese two year old in Ein Bride, but it is fair to say that overall his career was disappointing. (sire rating 2.5/10)

1992 St Jovite (Pleasant Colony-Northern Sunset by Northfields). St Jovite put up a stunning performance to defeat Dr Devious and smash the course record in the process. I rank it as perhaps the best middle distance performance I have ever seen and if you want a reminder go to the ‘photos and videos’ sections.  As a son of Pleasant Colony he was one of the rare examples of a winner that isn’t from the Northern Dancer line but his dam was by Northfields so the great Canadian wasn’t too far away.  He followed up with another impressive performance in the King George before a slightly controversial defeat in the Leopardstown Champion stakes. His final run was in unsuitably soft ground in the Arc.  Unfortunately for his career he was retired to stud in North America, where perhaps he wasnt sent the right type of mares or he wasnt appreciated by American breeders.  Nevertheless he proved a major disappointment with Equerry his only performer of note in Europe. He was recently repatriated and is standing as a jumps sire for the Bowes in Greentree stud at an advertised fee of €5000 (sire rating 1/10)

1991- Generous (Caerleon-Doff the Derby by Master Derby). Very impressive at Epsom and then defeated another colt in Suave Dancer at the Curragh. Followed up impressively in the King George. He was retired with great expectations to Bansted Stud. However in 1996 he was sold to Japan for a reported $16million. From his initial UK crops he left behing plenty of Group winners including Catella,Blueprint, Corteous and Oaks runner-up Bahr. However he lacked a real superstar and it is fair to say that his departure wasn’t considered too big a blow. He was subsequently repatriated and spent time at the Plantation Stud but he is now in situ at Scarvagh stud for £4500. Since his return he has sired a German classic winner in Mystic Lips. He is also developing a reputation as a promising broodmare sire, notably with the brothers Golan and Tartan Bearer. His percentage of stakes winners is impressive and I have previously written that I think he is now a good value sire. (sire rating 5.5/10)

1990 Salsabil (Sadler’s Wells-Flame of Tara by Artaius). Became the first filly since Gallinaria in 1900 to triumph. One of the outstanding fillies of the modern era she also won a Prix Marcel Boussac, 1000 Guineas,Oaks and Prix Vermeille. She was also a good broodmare producing stakes winners in the lazily name Bint Salsabil (Bint is Arabic for daughter) and Alabaq and she left behind a decent stallion son in the recently deceased Mr Prospector horse Sahm (sire rating N/A)

1989 Old Vic (Sadler’s Wells-Cockade). From the outstanding first crop of Sadler’s Wells, his Curragh victory was his second Derby as he had earlier won at Chantilly.  Retired with big expectations to Dalhalm stud he was hugely disappointing. He was eventually banished to Japan before returning to the UK and eventually ending up as a jumps sire in Sunnyhill Stud in Kildare. He is now established as an oustanding jumps sire and has already sired a Gold Cup winner in Kicking King and a Grand National winner in Comply or Die. Covering huge books for the past few years he is certain to have a huge influence on  the jumping scene for the next decade. (sire rating flat 1/10), (sire rating jumps 9/10)

1988 Kahyasi (Ile de Bourbon-Kadissya by Blushing Groom). Completed the Epsom/Curragh double when defeating Insan at the Curragh. He was never too popular with Irish breeders at Gilltown and was eventually transferred to the Aga Khans French stud. His best runners were Zainta who won a French Oaks and Enzeli who won an Ascot Gold Cup. However it is as a broodmare sire that he will be best remembered. He is the sire of the phenomenal Hasili who has produced Banks Hill. Intercontinental,Heat Haze, Cacique, Champs Elysses and major sire Dansili. He is also broodmare sire of this years star French filly Zarkava, and Promising Lead who is out of Hasili’s sister Arrive. (sire rating 5/10)

1987 Sir Harry Lewis (Alleged-Sue Babe by Mr Prospector). Sir Harry Lewis improved upon his fourth place at Epsom to defeat Naheez and Entitled at the Curragh. Kept in training at four he failed to add to his record. He was sent to stud in the US which probably wasn’t the best choice for a turf loving son of Alleged. I can’t recall any major winners by him but he did crop up as the broodmare sire of Volponi the 2002 Breeders Cup Classic winner. Like many sons of Alleged he has ended up as a National Hunt sire and now stands at Wood Farm stud for £1500. He is compiling a creditable record with the likes of Mighty Man and Burnt Oak boy (sire rating 2/10)

1986 Shahrastani (Nijinsky- Shademah by Thatch). Shahrastani got almost no credit for his Epsom Derby victory as everyone focused on Greville Starkeys ride on Dancing Brave. At the Curragh Shahrastani was the undoubted star when he put up a superb performance, so good that I feel he would have again beaten Dancing Brave. That was the year that Nijinsky also sired Ferdinand winner of the Kentucky Derby and Shahrastani was sold to stud in the US. He proved to be a really, really, really bad sire. He is now back in the UK and stands at Walton Fields Stud for £1250 (sire rating 0/10)

1985 Law Society (Alleged- Bold Bikini by Boldnesian). Law Society was well beaten by Slip Anchor at Epsom but without that rival to contend with at the Curragh he just held off Theatrical to give Vincent O’Brien his sixth Irish Derby. At the time of his retirement the bloodstock boom was just winding but he was still valued at a reputed £13 million. Despite the best efforts of the Coolmore marketing machine Law Society never did enough to justify a lofty stud fee despite some successes such as Homme De Loi, Right Win, Approach the bench and Anzillero. He now stands in Germany for €6000 (sire rating 3.5/10)

1984 El Gran Senor (Northern Dancer- Sex Appeal by Buckpasser). A champion two year old, brilliant winner of the Guineas, agonisingly defeated by Secreto at Epsom, El Gran Senor was odds on at the Curragh and duly obliged. It proved to be his last run and he was syndicated at $40 million dollars. It was said the defeat at Epsom had knocked $20 million off his valuation. Alas his stud career was hindered by fertility problems and in the course of his career he had less than 400 foals. He sired 55 stakes winners or a whopping 14% stakes winners before he was pensioned in 2000. Amongst his 12 group 1 winners were  Rodrigo de Triano, Lit de Justice, Saratoga Springs, Al Hareb and Toussaud.  Toussaud went on to become a remarkable broodmare and to date is dam of 4 grade 1 winners including Empire Maker and Chester House. Other daughters of El Gran Senor have produced Ramonti and Le Vie dei Colori. (sire rating 9/10)

1983 Shareef Dancer (Northern Dancer-Sweet Alliance by Sir Ivor). Shareef Dancer cost $3.3 million as a yearling and was synicated for $40 million after defeating the French Derby winner Caerleon and Epsom winner Teenoso. He never ran again and it was said at the time that ‘he was too valuable to race’. He retired to Dalhalm Hall for £100,000 fees that quickly became unsustainable given the ending of the bloodstock mania and his own relative lack of success. He did sire some decent runners in Possessive Dancer, Rock Hopper and Glory of Dancer but overall he had to be classified as a disappointment. He also gets some credit as the broodmare sire of Sheikh Mohammeds favourite horse Dubai Millennium, (sire rating 3/10)

Royal Ascot Reflections

Big Winners:

1.Coolmore/Ballydoyle. It couldn’t have gone any better for Ballydoyle/Coolmore. 6 Winners, 4 Group 1 winners, all colts, all eligible for a place on the stallion roster. Another 5 winners were by Coolmore stallions.The only surprise was their lack of two year old firepower . Maybe this a reflection of a tweaking of the training regime by Aidan O’Brien or maybe this years crop just aren’t precocious. 

2. Jim Bolger.

After Royal Ascot he trains arguably the best three year old filly miler in Europe in Lush Lashes and the best two year filly in Cuis Gaire. Both are daughters of Galileo the stallion he made (see earlier article), which added jam to Coolmores bread. For good measure he trained Finsceal Beo to be third in the Queen Anne and Intense Focus to finish second in the Coventry. And these were his only 4 runners at the Royal Meeting. He may not be well liked but he sure can train horses.

3. Lucky Story. A very impressive Royal Ascot winner in the shape of Art Connoisseur (tipped in my earlier article about Lucky Story) is great exposure for any new sire. The fact that his brother Dr Fong sired the first (Free Agent) and third (Markyg)in the Chesham stakes is an added bonus.

4. Exceed and Excel. Flashmans Papers won the Windsor Castle stakes and Spin Cycle was a close second in the Norfolk Stakes. These results justify some of the big prices paid for his offspring and might have provided some cheer to the Darley boys.

Disappointing Week:

1. Godolphin. One winner from thirteen winners is very disappointing for an operation that often dominated the Royal meeting. The fact that there were such celebrations about Campanologists Group 2 win is in itself indicative of the trough they are now experiencing.

Gone but not forgotten

Danehill. Sire of arguably the best winner of the week in Duke of Marmalade. Multidimensional returned to form by running second in the Hardwicke, Sugar Ray won one of the big handicaps The Duke of Edinburgh stakes and as if to remind us of his sires versatility, old stager Distinction finished second in the marathon Queen Alexandra.

Gone and soon to be forgotten?

Storm Cat? With the fast ground at Royal Ascot you would have expected the Storm Cat line to thrive but only Colony, a son of Statue of Liberty made the winners enclosure and that was after a handicap. Giant’s Causeway was the sire of Intense Focus runner up in the Coventry. However you would have expected a much greater showing from the Storm Cat sireline.