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Galileo (IRE) (Sadler’s Wells-Urban Sea By Miswaki)
The Champion Sire in England and Ireland for 2015 was again Galileo (Sadler’s Wells–Urban Sea by Miswaki), who was lifting the crown for the seventh time in eight years, the past six of those in succession. Although he obviously covers a lot more mares than many of the greats of the past, some of his figures were simply staggering, with 40 individual stakes winners, 25 Group/Graded scorers, and 10 individual Gr.1 winners, making him the leader in every one of those categories.
Highlights included the three-time Gr.1 winner, including the 2000 Guineas-Gr.1 and Irish 2000 Guineas-Gr.1, Gleneagles, one of 16 stakes winners from Galileo’s 2012 foal crop; Minding, who established herself as Europe’s best two year-old filly with a pair of Gr.1 wins; and Order of St George, whose runaway victory in the Irish St Leger-Gr.1 earned him a rating as the World’s Leading Stayer.
The cross of Galileo with mares by Danehill continued to flourish, 10 horses bred that way winning black-type events in 2015 bringing the total to 33 (from 166 starters, almost 20%). Matching this strike-rate is an emerging cross of Galileo with mares by Danehill Dancer (eight stakes winners from 39 starters), which was responsible for Mining. Gleneagles is out of Storm Cat mare, a sister to Giant’s Causeway, so he will be open to cross with Danehill line mares.
Galileo is also continuing to make his presence felt in the second generation. His son Teofilo was seventh on the list, and while New Approach has been going through a quieter year after his meteoric start, he has some promising young horses in the wings. Galileo’s freshman son Roderic O’Connor had two first crop Group winners, and of course this year will see the first runners by the mighty Frankel.
Galileo also appeared as the broodmare sire of English Oaks-Gr.1 heroine Qualify (by Fastnet Rock, so the reverse of the Galileo/Danehill cross), Australian classic winner Magicool (again by Fastnet Rock), and Night of Thunder, last year’s 2000 Guineas-Gr.1 hero and successful in the 2015 Lockinge Stakes-Gr.1.
Night of Thunder’s sire, Dubawi, took second place on the domestic list, although world-wide, with Prince Bishop’s Dubai World Cup-Gr.1 included, he actually topped Galileo (and for that matter, the leading US-based sire, Tapit). Dubawi (Dubai Millennium-Zomaradah by Deploy) sired nine Gr.1 winners. In addition to Night of Thunder these included and Prince Bishop, New Bay, who captured the French Derby-Gr.1; Postponed, successful in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes-Gr.1; and Australian Gr.1 winners Srikandi and Shamal Wind. Dubawi’s son Makfi had the French 2000 Guineas-Gr.1 winner Make Believe from his first crop in 2015, and another Dubawi son, Poet’s Voice, was a stakes sire with his first two year-olds.
Green Desert’s trio, Cape Cross, Invincible Spirit and Oasis Dream occupied third, fifth and sixth on the list. Cape Cross (Green Desert-Park Appeal by Ahonoora) hasn’t been as prolific as some leading sires of the era, but when they are good they are very good, and in 2015 he had World Highweight Turf Horse Golden Horn, to follow in the footsteps of Sea The Stars (himself shaping promisingly as a sire), Ouija Board, and from his southern hemisphere crops, Seachange and Able One. Cape Cross is also doing well as a broodmare sire, most notably of Ouija Board’s son, Australia (Galileo).
Invincible Spirit (Green Desert-Rafha by Kris) had 15 stakes winners in 2015, seven Group, headed by Territories, successful in the Prix Jean Prat-Gr.1, and the leading European sprinting two year-old Shalaa, who took four Group races, including the Prix Morny-Gr.1 and Middle Park Stakes-Gr.1. Shalaa has an intriguing pedigree as Invincible Spirit is by a son of Danzig out of a mare by Kris, and Shalaa’s dam is by a son of Danzig out of a mare by Kris’s brother Diesis. Invincible Spirit already has hot young Australian stallion I Am Invincible and European classic sire Lawman to represent him as a sire of sires.
Oasis Dream (Green Desert-Hope by Dancing Brave) had 14 stakes winners, headed by a pair of top-class sprinters in the six year-old gelding Goldream, successful in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp-Gr.1 and King’s Stand Stakes-Gr.1, and European Champion Three Year-Old Sprinter Muhaarar, who took no less than four Gr.1 sprints. Muhaarar is at stud in 2016, and Oasis Dream has one up and coming son in Showcasing, a leading second crop sire in 2015. He’s also showing plenty of promise as a broodmare sire.
Breaking up the Green Desert parade is fourth-placed Dark Angel (Acclamation-Midnight Angel by Machiavellian), who has arrived as Europe’s premier source of speed and precocity. He had 14 stakes winners, five of them two year-olds. His star in 2015 was the Nunthorpe Stakes-Gr.1 scorer Mecca’s Angel. Dark Angel is going to be getting some strong books of mares going forward, and it will be interesting to see if he could get a top-class miler, emulating Green Desert’s sons, in moving the needle towards classic ability, for at least a branch of his line.
We’ll also give a call to Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway-Helsinki by Machiavellian), who had 30 world-wide stakes winners, four Gr.1, including Hong Kong star Able Friend, officially the World’s Leading Sprinter for 2015, and who is also represented by a promising young stallion son in Lope de Vega; Invincible Spirit’s Danehill three-quarter brother Kodiac, who has fought his way up from the lower echelons, and who had Group winners, four of them two year-olds; and Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy), long established as a star in Australia, but who unexpectedly emerged as a sire of middle-distance runners in Europe in 2015, with a trio of Gr.1 winners headed by English Oaks-Gr.1 winner Qualify.
Despite being Europe’s pre-eminent source of classic middle-distance runners, Galileo took the Leading Sire of Two Year-Olds title, and he also had more representatives in the upper echelons of the European Free Handicap than any other horse. Four of the next five places were taking by horses we have mentioned, Kodiac, Invincible Spirit, Showcasing and Dark Angel. Splitting them in third place was Danzig’s US based son War Front. His European runners included Air Force Blue, who took the Phoenix Stakes-Gr.1, National Stakes-Gr.1 and Dewhurst Stakes-Gr.1 on his way to a title of Champion European Two Year-Old, and Hit It a Bomb, who returned to the US to take the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-Gr.1.
Leading Freshman Sire was Zoffany (Dansili-Tyranny by Machiavellian), a Gr.1-winning two year-old who might be best remembered for his fast-closing second to an over-exuberantly ridden Frankel in the St James’s Palace Stakes-Gr.1. He had a trio of Royal Ascot stakes winners, and ended up with four stakes winners, three Group, for the year, headed by Foundation, who took the Royal Lodge Stakes-Gr.2 and is a Derby fancy for 2016. Foundation, out of a Polish Precedent mare, is a Danzig/Danzig cross (via Danehill and Polish Precedent, who both also have Buckpasser in the dam). A similar cross is behind his Gr.2-winning filly Illuminate, whose dam is by Green Desert, and who is a Danzig/Machiavellian cross, like Zoffany. Another of his stakes winners, Washington DC, is out of a mare by Green Desert son, Shinko Forest. Other freshman off to a bright start are Canford Cliffs and Dream Ahead.
US Sire Leaders
IN THE US, Tapit (Pulpit-Tap Your Heels by Unbridled) further enhanced his reputation, following a record-breaking year in 2014, by another in 2015. Twenty-three of his offspring captured stakes events in the most recent year, 16 of them winning Graded events, and five scoring at Gr.1 level.
His best included Tonalist, who took the Jockey Club Gold Cup-Gr.1 and Cigar Mile-Gr.1 and Frosted, successful in the Wood Memorial Stakes-Gr.1 and runner-up to American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes-Gr.1. He had four stakes winning two year-olds, including undefeated Mohaymen, who is favourite for the Kentucky Derby-Gr.1 at time of writing. Tapit, a grandson of A.P. Indy, who stands again for $US300,000 in 2016, the highest fee demanded by a US stallion, gets the ideal type for the US, a dirt horse who often is precocious enough to be a good two year-old and who is generally best suited by nine furlongs at three and up. He has some of his best crops in the pipeline and we don’t see his grip slipping anytime soon.
Second and fourth on the list are Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado-Cappucino Bay by Bailjumper) and Kitten’s Joy (El Prado-Kitten’s First by Lear Fan), both sons of the Sadler’s Wells stallion El Prado, himself a surprise success story and a former Leading Sire. Including his southern hemisphere crops, Medaglia d’Oro was represented by 29 stakes winners in 2015, and his 25 US stakes scorers topped all other North American stallions. His best last year was the Champion US Two Year-Old Filly Songbird, bred on a similar cross to his brilliant daughter Rachel Alexandra, who most felt was the best juvenile of the year outright.
From his southern hemisphere crop he also had the Golden Slipper-Gr.1 winner and Champion Australian Two Year-Old Colt Vancouver, who is going to be a very interesting stallion prospect. Kitten’s Joy, a Champion Turf Horse, where Medaglia d’Oro never ran on that surface, is more in the mould of what might be expected from the Sadler’s Wells line, his offspring tending to excel from a mile up on the grass. His best of 13 stakes winners this in 2015 were Champion US Turf Horse Big Blue Kitten, who reached new heights at the age of seven; Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf-Gr.1 heroine Stephanie’s Kitten; and Chiropractor, who took the Hollywood Derby-Gr.1.
Dividing the El Prado duo was Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker-Star of Goshen by Lord at War). Of course, Pioneerof the Nile’s standing was much aided by Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, a member of his second crop. Pioneerof the Nile is certainly no “one hit wonder” as he has nine other stakes winners in his first crop, and two other really talented runners whose careers were cut short by injury in the one time Kentucky Derby-Gr.1 favorite Cairo Prince, and classic placed Social Inclusion. On an interesting aside, the success of Pioneerof the Nile and American Pharoah provided the catalyst to the repatriation of his sire, Empire Maker (Unbridled), from Japan where he had been rather prematurely exported.
Completing the top five is another Fappiano line horse, Candy Ride (Ride the Rails-Candy Girl by Candy Stripes). He suffered a blow when his brilliant son Shared Belief, the Champion Two Year-Old of 2013, and in all likelihood, the best three year-old of 2014, died as a result of colic. He’d been working for a return to the races, following an injury in his third start of 2015 (having won the San Antonio Invitational Stakes-Gr.2 and Santa Anita Handicap-Gr.1 on his first two outings). Shared Belief was Candy Ride’s only Gr.1 winner of 2015, but he was represented by 16 other stakes winners, five of them Graded.
Sixth was the fast ascending Curlin (Smart Strike-Sherriff’s Deputy by Deputy Minister) and this dual Horse of the Year had an outstanding crop of three year-olds. These included Champion Three Year-Old Filly Curlina; Keen Ice, who became the only horse to defeat American Pharoah in stakes competition when landing the Travers Stakes-Gr.1; and the Santa Anita Oaks-Gr.1 heroine Stellar Wind.
Champion Two Year-Old Colt Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie-Playa Maya by Arch) made a sensational start to his stud career, earning titles as Champion Freshman Sire and Champion Sire of Two Year-Olds breaking earnings records for both. The Caro line stallion had 30 individual winners, 10 of whom earned some kind of black-type, seven winning stakes, headed by Champion Two Year-Old Colt Nyquist; Gomo, successful in the Alcibiades Stakes-Gr.1; and Graded stakes winner and Gr.1 placed Uncle Vinny. It appears as they are training on too, as he had five black-type horses in the first three weeks of the new year, including the LeComte Stakes-Gr.3 first and third, Mo Tom and Uncle Walter.
The late Scat Daddy (Johannesburg-Love Style by Mr. Prospector), a former stud companion to Uncle Mo, also deserves a mention here. Only nailed late by Uncle Mo in the race for the Leading Sire of Two Year-Olds title. Like Uncle Mo, be broke records with no less than nine individual two year-old stakes winners, six of them Graded.
Another Uncle Mo stud-companion Munnings (Speightstown-La Comete by Holy Bull) took second crop honors. His total of 11 stakes winners including the top-class filly I’m A Chatterbox, and Om, who not only defeated American Pharoah on his debut at two, but developed into an excellent turf three year-old. One place behind him came the very promising Super Saver (Maria’s Mon-Supercharger by A.P. Indy). The 2010 Kentucky Derby-Gr.1 winner had eight first crop stakes winners, including Champion Sprinter Runhappy and Gr.1 scorers Competitive Edge and Embellish the Lace.
Published February 2016