( Phil Walter /Getty)
Leading Australian bloodstock correspondent, Andrew Reichard, had the following article published in Friday’s edition of Stallions Daily Bulletin.
“What a title, I hope it has piqued your interest. How on earth, I hear you thinking, can that mouthful all be turned into one story. Well, here goes, I’ll give it a try.
The Australian version of Stallions 2008 is now at the printer, almost finished. Of the 306 stallions entered, an incredible 135 are descendents of DANZIG (Northern Dancer-Pas de Nom by Admiral’s Voyage), with 71 sons of Danehill (Danzig-Razyana by His Majesty) and another 33 grandsons or great grandsons of Danehill. So with 104 Danehill line sires, the representation of that marvellous sire is over one third of all the entries in this year’s book.
I don’t believe that there has ever been such a preponderance of stallions descended from one sire in any of the world’s major racing jurisdictions. Danehill was truly a wonder horse, ideally suited to Australian conditions, siring Golden Slipper winners, champion sprinters, wfa winners, classic winners, stars of both sexes, you name it, he did it. OK, no Melbourne Cup winner but that’s hardly surprising for although he has sired some very tough stayers in the Northern Hemisphere, Danehill’s ideal milieu was the speed saturated environment of Australia as his record nine sires titles attests.
His sons have proved to be excellent sires themselves, the early success at stud of Golden Slipper winners Danzero and Flying Spur providing a foretaste of what was to come with Redoute’s Choice and Flying Spur being champion sires in successive years in the last two completed seasons. Little wonder that studmasters around the nation are clamouring for sons and grandsons of Danehill, there is no more obvious path to the summit in the current circumstances and in the world of speed of which we Australians are the masters.
A world of speed that, on the racetrack, is presently dominated by the three musketeers of sprinting, the Athos, Porthos and Aramis of equine brilliance - better known as Takeover Target , Apache Cat and Weekend Hussler . These three quintessentially Australian sprinters should in all probability have a Danehill connection of some sort. But here comes the complete surprise, the three musketeers don’t have a skerrick of Danehill blood anywhere. Bit of a mystery really, at a time when the commercial bloodlines of this country are so dominated by the sons of one sire (and don’t forget Danehill is currently the champion broodmare sire as well), the three really outstanding sprinters of the day are entirely free of his blood.
Athos, Porthos and Aramis do have quite a few other things in common though, that’s why I’ve Musketeerised them (if Musketeerised wasn’t a word before then it is now). All three are great crowd favourites, all three are trained by relative battlers, all three were purchased inexpensively at public auctions (Weekend Hussler at AUS $80K certainly not expensive by select sale commercial standards), all three are by Mr Prospector line sires and all three have only one strain of Northern Dancer, amazingly in exactly the same position in the pedigree as the great grandsire of their dams. I would love to be able to also tell you that they were all foaled under a full moon, but I’d only be guessing.
Anyway I’ve done it, solved the riddle of the title of this story, by demonstrating that Australia’s three best sprinters, who are arguably the three best horses overall, the three musketeers, are all by Mr Prospector line stallions, mysteriously without any blood of Danehill anywhere between them, at a time when Danehill exerts such a massive dominance over the commercial thoroughbred population that over one third of the stallions in the industry’s leading stallion register are his sons, grandsons or great grandsons.”