Sadler’s Wells... he was the greatest, that’s all you can say.
— Bill Oppenheim / Thoroughbred Daily News
Sadler's Wells and Bill Oppenheim

Aficionados will know that 60% of the world’s thoroughbreds carry the genetic influence of the one and only Northern Dancer. But even he came nowhere near to matching his son, Sadler’s Wells when it came to championships. In all, Sadler’s Wells notched up 14 in Europe alone and he now reigns not only as the most influential sire of sires in that realm, but also as the dominant broodmare sire of all time.

There has never been a man quite as accomplished in the department of stallion analysis and commentary than Bill Oppenheim (arguably the Sadler’s Wells of commentators!) and this is what he had to say about the King’s passing :

We’ve just heard the sad news that the incomparable Sadler’s Wells has died, age 30. It would be impossible to overestimate his influence on European breeding.

Following at least two decades when American sires dominated the international marketplace almost to exclusion, the retirement of Sadler’s Wells to Coolmore in 1985 marked the beginning of a re-balancing of the community of top-class international stallions towards Europe, to the point where now Europe arguably has the upper hand.

He was always a top-class sire, but it wasn’t until Montjeu’s first foals raced in 2004, followed by Galileo’s in 2005, that Sadler’s Wells really took his place alongside Danzig as one of Northern Dancer’s two greatest sire sons. In APEX terms, he is the sire of 241 “unique” A Runners, and the damsire of 187, through the end of 2010, all-time highs in both categories.

He was the greatest, that’s all you can say.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News / BloodHorse (p)