Extract from TDN 12.09.07
by Gary Hadden
At the moment, the Danzig line has only a low-key influence on the domestic racing and breeding industry in the U.S., but in Europe, he has a phenomenal grip which is growing year by year. This year, nearly 30 percent of all group races in Ireland, England and France have been won by progeny sired by Danzig-line stallions. We are now starting to see two distinct branches forming from the line: that of Danehill, of course, but also now Green Desert. They had similar race records, with both of them hittin the board in the G1 2000 Guineas before dropping down to six furlongs to win Group 1 races. Without doubt, Danehill has been the more prepotent sire, and this can be seen with his tally of 40 individual Grade/Group 1 winners (Northern Hemisphere only), compared with 13 Group/Grade 1 winners sired by Green Desert.
The classification of Danehill and Green Desert can be defined by the main protagonists of the branches. Coolmore, obviously, ultimately owned Danehill as a stallion, and have tried to focus on the prepotency of this branch, whereas Green Desert is owned by the Maktoum family. Darley stands four stallions in England and Ireland originating from Green Desert (including Green Desert himself), and only one member of the Danehill branch. They are supporting him and his sons rather than jumping on the Danehill bandwagon. This is very evident in viewing the buying patterns (foals and yearlings) of the main conglomerates. Last year, the Darley/Shadwell group purchased 15 progeny (eight were by non-Darley owned stallions) from the Green Desert branch, but only one from the Danehill branch. While the Coolmore team signed for nine Danehill representatives (only one was by a non-Coolmore owned stallion), but just one from the blossoming branch of Green Desert . There are nine stallions that stand under the Coolmore banner originating from Danehill, but none deriving from Green Desert.
There are now viable alternatives of stallions from both branches which are standing on ’ neutral ’ ground, which brings us to Juddmonte, a key player with the promising stallions Dansili and Oasis Dream. Coolmore and the Maktoum family may not only be reluctant to buy progeny by stallions owned by their main rival, but also from the opposing branch of Danzig.
The branch of Danehill has certainly been very unlucky in the last number of years. Danehill himself died in 2003 at 17 just as he was reaching super stardom; two of his sons, Landseer and Horatio Nelson, suffered fatalities on the race track. Danetime (sire of Myboycharlie, a leading juvenile and recent Coolmore purchase) died at just 10 years old and has shown in recent years that he was a considerable loss. The very promising Mozart died after one crop, and then of course there is the enigmatic George Washington, whose breeding future is currently in limbo. The current flag bearers of the Danehill branch are Danehill Dancer (A Runner Index 2.16) and Dansili (A Runner Index 2.00), with a whole host of other representatives from this branch waiting in the wings. This has been the first year that there have been no two-year-olds by Danehill (in 2006 he was the sire of the winner of six group two-year-old races which came from the trio of Holy Roman Emperor, Admiralofthefleet and Simply Perfect), and it is allowing Green Desert to make up some ground.
In the last number of weeks there have been five group-winning two-year-olds by three sons of Green Desert: Hatta Fort (Cape Cross) won the G2 Superlative S.; Visit (Oasis Dream) won the G3 Princess Margaret S.; Fleeting Spirit (Invincible Spirit) won the G3 Molecomb S. (the latter two were subsequently beaten by Nahoodh, who is a daughter of the Danehill stallion Clodovil in the G2 Lowther S.); Campfire Glow (Invincible Spirit) won the G2 Debutante S.; and on Sunday last, Young Pretender (Oasis Dream) won the G3 Prix La Rochette for HRH Princess Haya of Jordan. The tally is currently 7-5 to the Danehill branch in this year ‘s leading juvenile races (the Danehill branch group winners being sired by Danetime, Dansili, Danehill Dancer and Clodovil).
Invincible Spirit (A Runner Index 2.38) has very much built on the big reputation he created last year, headed by the top-class Lawman, who represents the first Group 1-winning grandson of Green Desert to retire to stud. Darley have recently purchased a sizeable share of Invincible Spirit, and this would again support the theory that they want to concentrate on the branch of Green Desert rather than Danehill (in Europe). The Darley-owned Cape Cross (Ire) (A Runner Index 2.39) has been knocking on the door for the past couple of years and has the potential to be a top-class sire.
Both Shinko Forest (A Runner Index 2.2) and Desert Style (A Runner Index 1.6) are very capable of throwing a top horse and siring progeny that more than pay for themselves.
Oasis Dream may have been a step slow to get off the mark when compared to Acclamation and Choisir with their first crop of two-year-olds this year. It’s true that Oasis Dream was a top-class sprinter and was a Group 1-winning two-year-old, but he himself didn’t start until the middle of August of his two-year-old career. He won his maiden towards the end of September, then stepped up to win the G1 Middle Park S. at the beginning of October. Speed and precocity are not the same attribute. It is no surprise that his progeny are only now finding their stride, with the progressive Captain Gerrard and Young Pretender being his latest stakes winners.