Golden Sword smashing records in Dubai
(Photo : Andrew Watkins)
“There hasn’t been this kind of excitement around a “sword”
since the reign of King Arthur.”
Summerhill CEOThe first of the Golden Swords has arrived, a strapping colt weighing in at 57 kgs out of the maiden mare Stylish Image. This is the way we all want to kick a stallion’s career off, particularly one from a tribe renowned for its athleticism, but which could always do with a bit of extra substance.
Just a fortnight ago, our Facebook page posted a few pictures from the “previous lives” of some of our stallions.
Mullins Bay as yearling
(Photo : Tattersalls)
I remember well when I first set eyes on Mullins Bay. I was at Tattersall’s Park Paddocks at Newmarket, England, with Sheikh Hamdan’s man, Angus Gold, looking at prospects for the Houghton Sale in September 2002 . When we arrived at his consignor, Meon Valley’s stable yard, we found ourselves in a congested throng waiting to see a particular lot. In occupation of the pole position at that moment was a huddle of five men with their backs to us, collars upturned and hats drawn down over their brows. They looked like something out of a detective movie, but surprisingly as it turned out, it was the Coolmore “Brains Trust”. I say surprisingly, because it was unlike Coolmore to be looking at the progeny of a Darley stallion, and this one was a son of Machiavellian, who despite his “legginess” and his obvious immaturity, was a corker of a horse, with as good a “walk” as I’d witnessed on any yearling anywhere. He didn’t know any of this, but he certainly sold like he did, making a million guineas, and posting the second-highest price of the sale, despite the fact that he had much furnishing still to do. He also didn’t know how he was bred, but when he eventually got to the races, he ran like he did, earning himself a Timeform rating of 121 pounds (despite some issues with his soundness), and ranking at the end of his four-year-old year as Machiavellian’s highest-rated racing son anywhere.
Now he’s one of the leading sires of his generation, with his first three-year-olds bagging the highest average earnings per runner, and he’s in the company of Captain Al and Silvano by percentage winners, and ahead of the esteemed likes of Kahal in this department.
Brave Tin Soldier as a weanling
(Photo : Talyor Made Sales Agency)
Brave Tin Soldier recently emerged as the Number One Freshman sire at the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales by average, in a year which includes the lofty likes of King’s Apostle, Seventh Rock, Mambo In Seattle, AP Answer and Elusive Fort, and there’ll be many who will say they’re not surprised. After all, he was a world record-priced foal, he was a Stakes-winning juvenile over 1200m against some of the most talented youngsters in Ireland, and became a record-breaking Group-winning miler as an older horse. Yet the vagaries of racehorse breeding mean that you’re always apprehensive about what the first foals will look like (that’s the first test), then what they’ll sell like, and then finally, the acid test, what they’ll run like. The answers to the first two questions have already been answered, and while the racecourse remains the bottom line, those that are “prepping” them for November’s Ready To Run Sale, will tell you they look like “dinkum” prospects.
Admire Main as a foal
(Photo : Northern Farm)
Admire Main turned out a cracking racehorse, and nobody would’ve been caught off guard when that happened. It’s true that no stallion is exempt from producing poor individuals, unwanted sales candidates and bad racehorses, but Admire Main was not one of those. He was a handsome foal when he was presented for sale at that age, and he did what handsome does, paying tribute as a racehorse to both his pedigree and his good looks. As the joint second-highest rated colt of his generation, he’s now beaten all predictions with his first crop in Japan. No self-respecting student of bloodstock would’ve expected him to get runners of any consequence before they turned three, yet he already has 11 winners from 800 metres to 2000 metres, with a millionaire and a Group One performer among them.
There are those who believe that his first South African standout, Admiral’s Eye, might be the filly to watch when the Classics come around early next year, on the strength of her lightning-fast final 400 in last weekend’s Thekwini Stakes (Gr.1), where she got into the money.
Way West as a two-year-old
(Photo : Sportpix/Susan Archer)
Way West was a startlingly good-looking yearling, pronounced as such by one of Australian racing’s all-time top judges, Dr Percy Sykes, who recommended his purchase as a stallion prospect for one of Australia’s perennial top studs, Arrowfield. He wasn’t big, but he was picture-perfect, as is evident from the gallery photo on his way to the start for his record-breaking performance in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Gr.3). No-one was surprised when he came knocking on the door with three outstanding fillies, Waywest Goddess, Extra Zero and Hot Girl from his first two under-patronised local crops.
Golden Sword as a weanling
(Photo : Tattersalls)
As for Golden Sword, he was not an entirely prepossessing foal when he made his sales debut at Tattersalls, shortly after being weaned. This scrawny little fellow grew into an obvious “sort” as a yearling, when he caught not only the curiosity of two of the world’s best judges, Dr Demi O’Byrne and Paul Shanahan of Coolmore, but also their cash. Now, on the strength of what we’re seeing on the ground, he’ll hopefully be catching moonbeams in his second career in South Africa.