The pervasive influence of Danehill as both a sire and sire of sires, was massively in evidence this past weekend. Indeed, on one day (Saturday), his son Danehill Dancer produced America’s biggest winner of the weekend in Alexander Tango, winner of the Garden City Stakes (Gr.1) at Belmont Park. This was a signal moment in the life of Tommy Stack, one-time Irish folk hero following his three consecutive Grand Nationals aboard Red Rum. Deafened as a result of meningitis some ten years ago, Tommy has stuck to the task of training horses against many odds, and no-one deserved this victory more. He was the man responsible, in the end, for Northern Guest’s arrival at Summerhill, and we all know where that took us. Well done to you Tommy, Liz and the rest of your team.
Across the pond, the highest rated ten furlong event in the world of the past five seasons, the Irish Champion Stakes, was being played out at Leopardstown minus the presence of our own entry, Mullins Bay, who just got behind in his preparation, and wasn’t able to get there. In the result, the race was yet another feather in the considerable cap of Dylan Thomas, (by Danehill) who took the race by 1½ lengths from Duke Of Marmalade (remarkably, also by Danehill) with Red Rock Canyon (can you believe it, by Danehill’s outstanding son, Rock of Gibraltar) who was another two lengths. If that wasn’t enough, the other big one on the same billing at Leopardstown was the Matron Stakes (Gr. 1), which was taken in great style by Danehill’s daughter, Echelon, from one of Chevely Park’s best families. This one races for Chevely Park Stud, who were among the first people to put their hands up when South Africa was in trouble in the early 90’s, and sent us stallions such as Sirk and French Stress, as well as several broodmares. Our congratulations to the Thompson’s, Chris and Annie Richardson and everyone connected with Chevely Park on yet another signal moment.
There was a recent article in our own Sporting Post on Danehill’s status as a sire of sires, suggesting the jury was still out, and while has now been put firmly into perspective. Eight of the top ten sires in Australia this past season were either sons of Danehill or Danehill himself, and he leads the General Sires log in Britain and Ireland right now by a country mile. Backed up behind him are several of his own top-class sons, including the inimitable Dansili, Rock of Gibraltar and Tiger Hill, which means he’s doing it in both hemispheres. What else does a stallion have to do in order to prove his worth? We thank our lucky stars every day, we have a fistful of decent ones on the roster ourselves.