Shamardal on the Brink of Key Season?

This racing season could mean a breakthrough for one of the leading European sires Shamardal. Although in Europe the season is at the very start, seven of his progeny have already won a black-type race and more five black-type wins were achieved by his progeny outside Europe, namely through the excellent Hong Kong sprinter Able Friend.

photo Darley

Twelve black-type victories achieved by his progeny this year, however, is only a part of the mosaic named Shamardal. The first crop by his son Lope de Vega, sire of the last year’s Dewhurst Stakes winner Belardo, entered the classic and they look promising. Ride Like The Wind won the Prix Djebel, Endless Drama finished second in the 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes and Burma Sea was the runner-up in the Prix Finlande – oddly enough, both were beaten by the progeny of Shamardal himself, Zawraq and Akatea. Last but not least Shamardal entered history as the damsire of a black-type winner thanks to the triumph of the three-year-old Zuhoor Baynoona in the Lansdown Fillies Stakes in Bath on Friday.

Lope de Vega, who sees a promising start as a sire has contributed significantly to the current achievements of Shamardal. Of nine Shamardal’s black-type winners four are three-year-old, foaled in 2012 (Australian Delectation in August 2011) and their dams were covered by Shamardal after his successful 2010 season, dominated by the winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey Club Lope de Vega. Lope de Vega was not, however, the sole excellent horse by Shamardal in 2010. In Germany, it was the winner of the Oppenheim Union-Rennen Zazou and two-time group winner Elle Shadow who performed very well, in England the Hungerford Stakes (Gr.2) was won by the three-year old Shakespearean, the two-year-old Shakespearean won the Dewhurst Stakes and Beresford Stakes, the winner of the Killavullan Stakes Dubai Prince was a hopeful two-year-old, and other successful horses included the French-trained French Navy, winner of the Prix des Chenes (Gr.3) or the winner of the Anglesey Stakes Dunboyne Express, later sold to Hong Kong who already won in Asia two Gr.1 races under his new name Dan Excel. He had an excellent season down under where Faint Perfume won the Storm Queen Stakes (Gr.1) and A.V. Kewney Stakes (Gr.2) and No Evidence Needed won the Milady Stakes (Gr.2).

The great results were reflected in the stallion’s fee. In Ireland Shamardal launched his stud career in 2006 with a fee of 40,000 euro which dropped to a half in 2010, but in 2011 it grew to 50,000 euro at Kildangan Stud. His price grew in Australia too – from 27,500 AUD in 2009 to 66,000 in 2010 (half-a-year delayed against Europe, thus reflecting the achievements of Lope de Vega and Faint Perfume). As it is known, the price of the fee indicates the quality of partners, which is proved by a look on the pedigrees of his three-year-old black-type-winners this year. Zawraq, the winner of the 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes, is a son of Sadler’s Wells’s daughter Sundus, a winner in her only race and half-sister to the winner of the 1,000 Guineas Ghanaati and the granddaughter of the excellent Height of Fashion. The Australian Gr.2 winner Delectation is a son of the listed winner and Gr.1 placed Grace And Power (More Than Ready), the French listed winner Akatea is a daughter of the listed-placed Altamira (Peintre Celebre), a sister and half-sister of two black-type winners, and Fond Words, the winner of the Prix Ronde de Nuit at Deauville, is a daughter of the four-time listed winner and Gr.3 placed Nashmiah.

Together with the fee, the price of Shamardal’s yearlings grew. While in 2010 they sold for an average price of 60,000 gns, a year later it was over 74,000 gns and the price has been growing ever since. Last year, according to Racing Post database, 31 of his yearlings were sold for an average price of 237,000 gns with median of 140,000! The high average price is the result of the fact that it was last year when the yearlings by Shamardal achieved the highest prices. At the October Book 1 at Tattersalls, John Ferguson paid 1,700,000 gns for a colt out of Gr.2 winner Cassandra Go, the dam of the winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas Halfway to Heaven. Peter Doyle paid at the same sale 550,000 gns for a half-brother of the winner of the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches Elusive Wave and John Warren paid 400,00 gns for a colt out of the winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas Nightime. At August sale in Deauville, John Warren paid 720,000 euro for the full sister of the excellent French Navy. These four were the most expensive yearlings by Shamardal not only last year but in his all career.

The purchases occurred mostly shortly after Shamardal’s progeny had won more precious races such as the triumph of Mukhadram in the Gr.1 Eclipse Stakes, Baltic Baroness in the Gr.1 Prix Vermeille, Lucida in the Gr.2 Rockfel Stakes. Two Gr.2 races were won by Bow Creek, Fintry won the Gr.2 Prix de Sandringham, Somerabend the Gr.2 Prix du Muguet and more Gr.1 victories were scored by Able Friend in Asia. It was no wonder that Shamardal who covered 165 mares last year, entered this year’s breeding season with a fee 20,000 higher – 70,000. It is also thanks to this that further growth of the quality of his partners is to be expected, especially if this season develops along the same lines as the first months. Shamardal not only confirmed the position of the best representative of the Storm Cat line in European breeding but already, at the age of thirteen, belongs among the best sires in the world. The sire of 75 black-type winners bred in his six crops moreover suggest, through Lope de Vega, that his talent could be transmitted by his sons and his influence is likely to grow. The extent of this growth could be suggested by this season.

Miloslav Vlček

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