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No Nay Never has provided the sensational sire performance of the year so far in Europe. Now with five crops at the races, the Coolmore Stud stallion looks set to carry on the high standards set by Europe’s best speed stallions. But he’s far from one dimensional and just as likely to sire a top-class miler.
Currently, he leads the European juvenile sires list by earnings and by number of individual Stakes winners and Group winners. This latest achievement is really no surprise, given the sheer quality of the mares he served three years ago. With Little Big Bear, he has found a stunning two year-old, one that may already
be Championship material at whatever distance his connections decide to pursue.
The big colt’s performance in the recent GR1 Phoenix Stakes will have no doubt made it abundantly clear his trainer Aidan O’Brien that he possesses that rare mix of pace and stamina to either stay at 1200m or move up to 1400m. And, we should get some clear 2,000 Guineas clues when he lines up for his next intended target, the 1400m GR1 National Stakes at the Curragh. Timeform already rate him at 126p, a mark that would make Champion European two year-old in most years. Only Pinatubo (134), Frankel (133p), Dream Ahead (129), Air Force Blue (128p), New Approach, Johannesburg, Lady Aurelia and Too Darn Hot (all 127) have been rated higher this century. This is exalted company indeed.
Little Big Bear is but one of five quality juvenile Group winners for his sire this term. Four of the five are trained by O’Brien at Ballydoyle and include, like Little Big Bear, another Royal Ascot scorer in Meditate, a filly who remained unbeaten when taking the 1400m GR2 Debutante Stakes after scoring in the 1200m GR3 Albany Stakes and another GR3 in Ireland. With three Group victories under her belt, she now heads to the fillies’ equivalent of the National Stakes, the GR1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on Irish Champions weekend.
And in common with Little Big Bear, connections expect her to stay every bit of 1600m next spring. So what are the chances of a No Nay Never Guineas double at Newmarket next May? They are currently trading at odds of 7/2 and 6/1 so it will be no surprise if that happens.
Third favourite for next year’s 2,000 Guineas is another No Nay Never colt in Aesop’s Fables, a Ballydoyle colt that provided his sire with a GR2 double the same day as Meditate won, taking the colts, equivalent of the Debutante, the Futurity Stakes. Then we have Blackbeard, a colt who displays unusual pawing antics before his races.
He was already having his seventh start of the year when confirming his superiority over stablemate, The Antartic, in the 1200m GR1 Prix Morny. He’d already recorded a three-length success over his stablemate
in the 1100m GR2 Prix Robert Papin earlier in the month. The remaining No Nay Never Group winner is the Rich Hannon-trained Trillium who graduated from a maiden success on her second start to GR3 winner on her third, taking Goodwood’s 1200m Molecomb Stakes.
These youngsters have been set a very good example by their sire’s excellent daughter Alcohol Free, who reminded us of her versatility this summer by taking the 1200m GR1 July Cup, having also scored at the highest level over 1600m earlier in her career, winning the Coronation Stakes and Sussex Stakes. From No Nay Never’s third crop, she has done a fine job of bridging the gap between her sire’s first and fourth crops.
No Nay Never’s current youngsters are from his first €100,000-plus crop, so this surge in his fortunes was not unexpected. That said, it is still an impressive feat to have five two year-old Group winners on the board by this stage of the season. Hiking his fee from €25,000 to €100,000 was a bold move even allowing for the favourable impression created by No Nay Never’s first two crops. But breeders agreed and the Coolmore stallion benefitted accordingly with a book or mares vastly superior to what he had previously attracted.
Moreover, moving him up to €175,000 a year later has resulted in even more top-class pedigrees among his current yearlings. So there will be plenty of high prices paid for his yearlings this autumn. The good news for potential buyers is that all of No Nay Never’s best ten racehorses ranked by Timeform ratings have been sourced at public auction, including Little Big Bear, who was a €320,000 Goffs graduate.
Now sire of 62 Stakes horses and 35 Stakes winners, No Nay Never’s Stakes winner strike rate is 9.1 per cent from runners, again an excellent score for a sire that plies his trade at an ultra-competitive end of the stallion market. For good measure, this score is well ahead of the 5.3 per cent achieved by his progeny’s siblings. Even more impressive is his strike rate from elite mares, which stands at 12.2 per cent Stakes winners and 8.2 per cent Group winners. Given that there are many more such well-bred horses in the pipeline, No Nay Never’s future looks very bright indeed.