Stud Season in England and Ireland – One Tenth of All Mares Covered by Galileo’s Sons

A few weeks ago we focused on the data from this year’s stud season in North American. Now we will have a look on the stud season in England and Ireland – again mainly from the perspective of most demanded sires and activity of individual paternity lines. A comparison with the previous season may be interesting, as it will reveal the major trends in England and Ireland.

Soldier Of Fortune, the busiest sire of 2016 in UK and Ireland. Photo Coolmore

First let us look at the table of the most demanded sires. According to data in Return of Mares, Galileo’s son Soldier of Fortune, moved this year from Haras Du Logis, France, into Beeches Stud, Ireland, an NH Coolmore’s subsidiary, made it to the top, with 304 mares. The following places of most demanded stallions are, too, occupied by National Hunt stallions, as are three Monsun’s sons Getaway (299 mares), Ocovango (274) and Shirocco (248). Monsun was a quite exceptional stallion and perhaps the last hope for survival of the once ruling Blandford dynasty. Unfortunately today, when there is a considerable demand among breeders in England and Ireland for his sons, it is very likely that the days of this line are soon to be numbered, since a National Hunt breeding can hardly be expected to produce a new star which would shift this line a generation further. But my pessimist outlook may be changed by Maxios, based in Germany.

The most active stallions in 2016 in the UK and Ireland

Stallion Sire Mares
SOLDIER OF FORTUNE Galileo 304
GETAWAY Monsun 299
OCOVANGO Monsun 274
SHIROCCO Monsun 248
FAME AND GLORY Montjeu 243
MAHLER Galileo 237
KODIAC Danehill 232
SAGEBURG Johannesburg 224
WALK IN THE PARK Montjeu 222
LEADING LIGHT Montjeu 217
WESTERNER Danehill 215
ZOFFANY Dansili 208
CAMELOT Montjeu 207
GUTAIFAN Dark Angel 203
ELZAAM Redoute's Choice 201
ASK Sadler's Wells 200
DARK ANGEL Acclamation 195
ANJAAL Bahamian Bounty 194
DANDY MAN Mozart 193
POWER Oasis Dream 185
LOPE DE VEGA Shamardal 183
CALIFET Freedom Cry 179
FOOTSTEPSINTHESAND Freedom Cry 179
CAMACHO Danehill 178
JET AWAY Cape Cross 176
NO NAY NEVER Scat Daddy 170
DYLAN THOMAS Danehill 166
IVAWOOD Zebedee 160
DUBAWI Dubai Millennium 159
GALILEO Sadler's Wells 158
CASAMENTO Shamardal 157
NOTNOWCATO Inchinor 157
YEATS Sadler's Wells 156
FLEMENSFIRTH Alleged 155
CABLE BAY Alleged 155
REQUINTO Dansili 152
WAR COMMAND War Front 152
INVINCIBLE SPIRIT Green Desert 151
DRAGON PULSE Kyllachy 150
GLENEAGLES Galileo 150
IMPERIAL MONARCH Galileo 150
OUTSTRIP Exceed and Excel 150
KAYF TARA Sadler's Wells 148
KINGSTON HILL Mastercraftsman 147
DAWN APPROACH New Approach 146
IFFRAAJ Zafonic 146
GOLDEN HORN Cape Cross 145
NIGHT OF THUNDER Cape Cross 145
ZEBEDEE Invincible Spirit 144
ALHEBAYEB Dark Angel 142
EPAULETTE Commands 141
MILAN Sadler's Wells 139
TEOFILO Galileo 139
VALIRANN Nayef 139
AUSTRALIA Galileo 137
KINGMAN Invincible Spirit 137
NATHANIEL Galileo 135
BLUE BRESIL Smadoun 134
SEA THE STARS Cape Cross 132
BATED BREATH Dansili 131
HELMET Exceed and Excel 130
TELESCOPE Galileo 130

While stallions of staying lines are hugely demanded mainly in National Hunt breeding, on the flat most of the breeders seek bearers of precocity and speed. It can come as no surprise that the most demanded flat stallion was Danehill’s son Kodiac, an excellent producer of two-year olds and half-brother to another of the most demanded stallions, Invincible Spirit, who covered 232 mares. The second most demanded flat stallion was, for a change, Danehill’s grandson Zoffany by Dansili, who covered 208 mares. But even among the flat stallions sources of stamina, at least on the highest level, are demanded, as is proved by the Epsom Derby winner Camelot, who covered 207 mares and will have his first two-year-olds on the racecourse next year.

Montjeu’s son Camelot is the grandson of Sadler’s Wells, who is – thanks to his popularity at stud both for flat and NH – one of the most demanded blood among English and Irish sires. Even more demanded, however, are stallions of Danzig's line and if we leave aside NH breeding, where the position of Danzig line stallions is considerably weaker than the position of sons and grandsons of Sadler’s Wells, the margin would be even greater. Both lines gradually win more and more positions. In season 2014 the stallions of the two lines covered 53.3% of all mares in England and Ireland, this year it was 58.9%. The growth of their share naturally reflects their success on the racecourse, but it, logically, diminishes the share of other lines and strengthens the trend of narrowing blood base and suppression of once very strong lines. Blandford has already been mentioned but he keeps his position strong at least in NH breeding, but a sad fate is that of another of the former giants, Hyperion. His line was represented this year at stud in England and Ireland by only two stallions, sons of Bahamian Bounty. The debuting stallion Anjaal, the winner of the July Stakes, covered 194 mares, while Pastoral Pursuits only 18.

If you ask after the most successful sire of sires, the name on top will be no surprise. Yes, it is Galileo. The Coolmore giant walks in the footsteps of his sire Sadler’s Wells in many directions. You will remember that even though Sadler’s Wells produced a number of champions and successful sires, his real successors appeared only after the end of his career. Maybe it was this fact that played a principal role (why cover by a hopeful son when we can send out top mare to the champion himself) why Galileo and Montjeu, as true successors, appeared only at the end of Sadler’s Wells’ career and perhaps we will see the same being repeated in the case of Galileo. Nevertheless his sons are today, same as sons of Sadler’s Wells, required at stud not only for flat races but also for National Hunt. This is the reason why his 23 sons covered, in England and in Ireland, over 10% of all mares. If we add to this number Galileo himself, as well as his grandsons, sons of New Approach and Teofilo, the stallions of Galileo’s line covered 11.5% of all broodmares in England and Ireland, which is an exceptional share for a living stallion.

The above mentioned Invincible Spirit is a rising star among the sires of sires, this time only those on the flat. He had seven sons at stud on the Isles and they covered a total of 870 mares, with none of them covering fewer than 100. The sire of Lawman or Zebedee has a very good position among stallions whose progeny still wait for their racing debut. Personally I believe most Kingman who could – thanks to his pedigree, racing style and excellent turn of foot, as well as great opportunity provided to him by Juddmonte – grow into a truly exceptional sire. Let us add that three grandsons of Invincible Spirit, Ivawood, Brazen Beau and Most Improved, covered a total of another 308 mares.

The sire lines by the number of mares covered

sireline stallions mares covered
Northern Dancer            212 16538
  of which Danzig 90 7443
  Sadler's Wells 67 5556
  Storm Bird 14 1322
  Try My Best 14 1191
  Nureyev 13 639
  Nijinsky 7 236
  Lyphard 2 59
  Fairy King 2 40
  Night Shift 2 29
  Unfuwain 2 23
Mr Prospector            37 2395
Blandford            10 1280
Never Bend            9 342
Ribot             2 275
Djebel             4 215
Hyperion             2 212
Hail to Reason             2 173
In Reality             5 153
Grey Sovereign             2 139
Sharpen Up            6 114
Blushing Groom             5 91
Roberto             6 82

The Northern Dancer line, however, is not represented only by Sadler’s Wells and Danzig. The branch established by Try My Best grow stronger year after year and it has, especially thanks to Dark Angel, a synonym of speed. In 2014, the stallions of the Try My Best line covered a total of 928 mares, this year it was 1,191. Mr Prospector's line grows in share too – two years ago they covered 1,805 mares, this year it was 2,395. The number one is Dubawi, the most demanded stallion of this year in England, but we should not overlook the growing influence of Nayef and of his sons and grandsons, including a first-crop champion sire Sir Prancealot.

The demand for sires of other lines than those heading towards Northern Dancer or Mr Prospector is generally on decrease. The line of Never Bend, the sire of Mill Reef or Riverman, was this year represented by partners of just 342 mares in England and Ireland, the Teddy line has almost disappeared. On the other hand, we can see specialisation of some Northern Dancer lines, which could contribute, at least partly, to some diversity among the formerly more unified lines at the time when the blood base is getting narrower. What the future of thoroughbred brings, we will have to wait to see.  

Miloslav Vlček

Related Article:
Looking Back at Stud Season in England and Ireland 2014

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