(Photo : Darley)
“…MUSIC IN THE AIR FOR DARLEY”
Visitors to this site will recall our story titled “The Balance of Power : Tipping the Scales”, which commented on the continental shift in stallion power from the United States to Europe. These things happen in all spheres of economic activity, and had a precedent when the American dollar was at its zenith during and in the decades following the Second World War. The purchasing power of the currency enabled American breeders to claim the jewels of European racing as their future stallion prospects, so the movement back to Europe is only a matter of history repeating itself, but in the opposite direction.
Within Europe itself, (and in this context, we speak of the broader European zone, including the United Kingdom and Ireland) there is a new play underway, with three chief protagonists in the ring. Traditional rivals Coolmore and Darley have fought a twenty year battle for stallion supremacy in that domain, and it has to be said, just about every round thus far has gone Coolmore’s way, best evidenced by the 14 Champion Sire’s titles that fell to Sadler’s Wells. The only horses to dethrone him at any point during his reign, Caerleon and the great Danehill, were both Coolmore-based themselves. The little real opposition from across the Irish Sea during the Sadler’s Wells era, came in the form of Cheveley Park’s Pivotal and Juddmonte’s Rainbow Quest, so the anticipation has revolved around how the modern day cards would stack up.
In the new scheme of things, there’ve been three distinct groups of emerging sires, a couple for each of the old “enemies”, and a couple again for Juddmonte. Coolmore have relied largely on the production of the great lines they’ve leaned so heavily upon in this time, so their ranks are filled with the exceptional likes of Galileo and Montjeu (both by Sadler’s Wells), and Danehill Dancer (Danehill,) among those already established, while you’d have to believe their hopes for the future are pinned on the magnificent racehorses, Dylan Thomas and Duke Of Marmalade (both Danehill).
Juddmonte have an outstanding pair in Oasis Dream (Green Desert) and Dansili (Danehill) and will be trusting that Dansili’s two younger brothers, Cacique and Champs Elysses, will emulate their brother.
At last though, there appears to be music in the air for a Darley operation which thus far has come up short on quality stallions, the standouts here being the quite remarkable Dubawi (by Dubai Millennium,) and ironically, because Coolmore have his sire on their roster in the United States, Shamardal (by Giant’s Causeway). The outcomes of the 2010 racing season suggest Dubawi could be a world-beater, though infatuation is easy when in a single weekend, a young stallion turns up three Group winners in a single day, as Dubawi did last weekend. On Saturday, the progeny of this massive prospect occupied the winner’s enclosure three times within the space of an hour and a half, and added a runner-up effort (unsurprisingly, to a son of Shamardal,) in another.
Dubawi’s stock already includes the top Three Year Old miler of this year, Makfi, winner of both the English 2000 Guineas and the Prix Jacques le Marois, and there are eleven others whose names henceforth will be cited in bold Black type in sales catalogues around the world.
Back in the United States, Darley also hold a significant hand, with Street Cry arguably the antidote to Coolmore’s Giant’s Causeway, among established stallions, but it’s among the younger horses that Darley arguably clench the stronger fist. Besides the promising Bernardini (by A.P. Indy), who already has a Group winner and a couple of Grade One performers to his first crop credit), they also have the class performers, Street Sense, Hard Spun, Any Given Saturday, and Street Boss, whose progeny still have to make their first racecourse appearances.
There is talk in the marketplace that Coolmore are winding down their United States operation, based at Ashford Stud. But then there’s always been conjecture about Coolmore, and what they’re doing. Those who’ve been around a while will recall that two decades ago, there was talk that the Anglo Irish Bank were going to recall their debt, and shut them down. Those who wished it were, as usually mainly competitors, but they hadn’t reckoned on the resolve of the Irish, either the bankers or the breeders. We’d be surprised if the sun was setting on Coolmore’s American operations. It may be so though, that they need to beef it up in order to remain competitive, as they cannot rely on Giant’s Causeway alone to keep the show afloat. Darley by comparison, have invested heavily in new prospects, and they’re well placed to dominate that market alongside Lane’s End, going forward.
Dubawi’s three Group winners on the weekend were :
Dubai Airport World Trophy (Gr.3)
3 Years Old
Prix Du Prince D’Orange (Gr.3)
3 Years Old
Firth Of Clyde (Gr.3)
2 Years Old