Golden Sword (GB)
(Photo : Greig Muir)
“He was booked choco-a-bloc within weeks of his arrival…”
One global stallion who’s cookin’ right now is High Chaparral. The dual Derby and Breeder’s Cup hero is yet another breed-shaping son of the almighty Sadler’s Wells, whose other celebrities at stud include Galileo, Montjeu, El Prado, and South Africa’s Fort Wood. Galileo is widely regarded as the world’s best stallion, to the degree that many pundits believe he is already a better stallion than Sadler’s Wells himself. The latter notched up an unprecedented fourteen European sire’s championships, while Montjeu has produced four of the last eight winners of England’s most famous horserace, the Investec Derby (Gr.1). Yet none of his paternal siblings could emulate High Chaparral’s feat of six individual Group One winners from his first year at stud, an achievement which ranks alongside only his illustrious father’s, though it has to be said, Sadler’s Wells got all of his from a single Northern Hemisphere covering season, whilst High Chaparral produced two in the Northern Hemisphere and an astonishing four in Australasia. We use the word “astonishing” advisedly, as the Sadler’s Wells tribe has been largely shunned Down Under, though that’s not the case with High Chaparral, where his progeny continue to be difficult to buy by dint of their popularity.
A fortnight ago, his New Zealand-bred first crop progeny, Shoot Out, took out his second consecutive edition of the Chipping Norton Stakes (Gr.1), taking his tally at the highest level to four, whilst this past weekend, at a distance considered on the short side, It’s A Dundeel skated home in the Royal Randwick Guineas (Gr.1) over the traditional 1600m trip in Sydney.
Despite the modern tendency of breeders to avoid the use of stallions after their first season at stud for purely commercial reasons, it seems the High Chaparral legacy has maintained its momentum through to the third generation, where his unbeaten Group-winning two-year-old of last season, Toronado, is a hot contender for line honours on the first Saturday in June at England’s Epsom racecourse. His seasonal high point was an impressive cruise in Doncaster’s Champagne Stakes (Gr.2).
High Chaparral’s highest-rated Northern Hemisphere runner is a barnmate in the Summerhill Stallion complex, where he’s held in the joint ownership of the farm, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifah Al Maktoum, Mary Slack’s Wilgersbosdrift Stud, Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein StudandMoutonshoek. Clearly, South African breeders know the value of the strain, as he was booked choco-a-bloc within weeks of his arrival at the property.