Danehill’s supremacy as the greatest stallion in the world in terms of his influence in both hemispheres, was more than evident on the weekend with two Group one winners on both sides of the Atlantic. The first came in Europe’s greatest race, the Prix de’l Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, when Dylan Thomas wrapped up the Horse of the Year title for Europe with his fourth Group One win of the season. His Coolmore connections had to endure the agony of a 30 minute inquiry before the result was confirmed and this victory will ensure Dylan Thomas takes home the silverware which will accrue when he is crowned Cartier Horse of the Year in December.
Across the pond Danehill’s daughter, Artiste Royal, took the Clement Hirsch Memorial Turf Classic (Gr.1) at Santa Anita for her fifth lifetime victory, beating in the process the Bridget Oppenheimer-bred son of Horse Chestnut, Isipingo, while the great stallion was denied a Group One treble at the same Arc meeting’s Prix de la Opera, when Promising Lead went down a short head to Satwa Queen.
As is so often the case these days when a plan comes together, Danehill’s connectivity to these events reminds us all how fortunate we are to have on our books his two best-performed stallion sons in Africa, in the form of Solskjaer and Way West. Indeed, of only four Graded Stakes winning sons of Danehill active at stud in this country, Summerhill imported three, and the events of the weekend served to remind us how dilatory this country has been in recognizing this sire phenomenon as a sine qua non (without which nothing!), as a font of excellence for the future of our breeding. A further connection Summerhill has with Dylan Thomas lies in the fact that his granddam is a daughter of one-time resident Mount Hagen, European Champion Miler of his era.