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(Photo : Racehorse HK)


The dust has finally settled on Australia’s Magic Millions Premier Yearling sales marathon week, and once again it was a triumph for the greatest stallion in Southern Hemisphere history. If you did any advance work on the catalogue, you couldn’t help but notice the plethora of entries descended from Danehill in the first or second generation, to the point of virtual saturation. With the enormous books Australian stallions are serving these days, the catalogue is obviously dominated by his male descendants, and there’s no shortage of those who carry his influence on the distaff side, an amazing reflection of how quickly he has supplanted Star Kingdom as the principal source of quality racehorses Down Under.

Who would’ve thought that within little more than a decade, a stallion of the pervasive presence in their pedigrees such as Star Kingdom, would face the prospect of extinction as a male-line provider, given that for decades he carried that burden and shaped the Australian breed almost singlehandedly.

Students of the Danehill story would’ve been forgiven in the early years of his life as a “shuttler”, for believing that it was the suitability of his mates in Australasia that set him up for immortality, and especially those descending from Star Kingdom. In his initial years, Danehill’s mark as a stallion was undeniably Australian. The truth though, probably lies more in the fact that as a horse with obvious physical flaws and perhaps a little suspect on the performance side, he was considered surplus to requirements in Europe. His breeders, Juddmonte, do not lightly let a prospect go and it certainly wasn’t money that induced the sale. Juddmonte’s principal, Prince Khalid Abdullah, a first cousin to the King of Saudi Arabia, is not a man in need, but is one of the world’s foremost breeders of racehorses, and he was astute enough to retain a breeding interest in the horse he was parting with. In the end, Danehill was just as successful in the Northern Hemisphere, but only once European breeders came to appreciate his value, though in sheer numbers, his recognition there came much later in the day, and was therefore somewhat short-lived, as he died prematurely in 2003.

Anyone who knows Arrowfield’s John Messara as well as we do, would count him among the rare international visionaries of our sport, and when it comes to analysing and spotting a prospect, his record stands alone. This man bred Zabeel, he made Danehill and his three champion sons Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur and Danzero, and his record as a “kingmaker” rivals that of Lord Derby, Federico Tesio and “Bull” Hancock. It didn’t take him long to identify the merits of this European champion sprinter of 1989, and it didn’t take Danehill long to sire the winner of the world’s richest two-year-old contest, Australia’s Golden Slipper. Indeed, it didn’t take him to long to sire his first three Golden Slipper winners; he did so in each of his first three crops, and while he did that in short time, his time at the top of Australia’s sire premiership was enduring.

No-one was surprised then, that the top lot at Aus $960,000 at last week’s Gold Coast sale, was a colt by Danehill’s son, Fastnet Rock, who in the same week, sired the winners of the New Zealand and Australian 1000 Guineas to boot. Neither was anyone surprised when the famous “split” between the original owners of Danehill, Messara’s Arrowfield and John Magnier’s Coolmore, made him the most valuable stallion in Australian history. The matter was settled in a Dutch auction before a former Chief Justice of Australia, and the horse was turned over at a reported $24million. That was a helluva lot of money in those days, but in retrospect, it was peanuts.

Read more about Danehill…





(Photo : Summerhill Stud)


Let’s face it, his best were sold at the Nationals. That’s why they averaged R522k. Yet the Solskjaers still sold up to R375k three Sundays back.


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summerhill stud genuine article logo

For more information please visit :

or contact Linda Norval

+27 (0) 33 263 1081


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Grant Pritchard-Gordon, one-time anchor man in the organization of the famed Prince Khalid Abdullah and Juddmonte Farm operations, and founder of Badgers Bloodstock, is as recognisable as the best men in racing.

Among his many achievements, he was also central to the deal that secured his boss his breeding interests in Danehill, and which led to the production of the likes of Dansili, Champs Elysees, Banks Hill, Intercontinental, Cacique and Stronghold.

When “Badger” goes on record; write it down. This is what he said this week about Summerhill’s latest stallion prospects!

“So you obviously needed more excitement and work in your life. Well, you have certainly pushed the boat out this time! I have to admit that you have excelled yourself again in locking into yet another great bloodstock connection with the Yoshida family! Any sons of AP INDY and SUNDAY SILENCE will be a welcome addition to the stallion ranks of South Africa… and being such good racehorses as well must increase their chances of success. I am sure that the team behind AP ARROW will give him every opportunity”.

SADLER'S WELLS : From Zero to Hero

bill oppenheim sadlers wells


From Zero to Hero

“Extract from the desk of Bill Oppenheim

In today’s Thoroughbred Daily News, the world’s premier stallion commentator, Bill Oppenheim, writes that Sadler’s Wells is arguably the greatest sire in European history.


A very high-class three-year-old of 1984 (the same crop as Rainbow Quest and Darshaan), he went to stud in 1985, and his first foals were born in 1986. At the time, European sire power was at its nadir, and he led the renaissance in European sire power that today keeps many more top European mares in Europe instead of Kentucky. He’s also probably the most prolific stallion in history.

In 21 crops of racing age through the end of 2008, Sadler’s Wells had sired a truly phenomenal total of 2,149 foals… yes, that’s an average of 102 foals per crop. Even more phenomenal, Equineline tells us he has sired 280 black-type winners worldwide (13 percent of foals), and he’s also the damsire of 183 black-type winners to date. He has been champion sire in Britain and Ireland 14 times, and Primus Advertising in Ireland, which keeps track of such things, estimates he has had over 200 sons go to stud.

Yet, on 1 January 2004, little more than five years ago, there was no Sadler’s Wells sire line to speak of. He had about four really successful sons: In the Wings, who in turn sired Singspiel; Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Barathea; El Prado, who went to stud cheaply in Kentucky in 1993, but ended up the second-best sire in North America from that year’s crop of stallions (numero uno is A.P. Indy), and who topped the North American General Sire List in 2002, when Medaglia d’Oro was a three-year-old; and Fort Wood, in South Africa. Beyond those, it was getting harder and harder to argue that Sadler’s Wells was a successful sire of sires.

Enter onto the scene Montjeu. He was very possibly the very best of the 280 black-type winners Sadler’s Wells has yet sired. Winner of the Gr1 French and Gr1 Irish Derbies and the Gr1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at three, he won three more Group 1’s at four, including an imperious win in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, where he looked like a group horse in a maiden race. Timeform rated Montjeu at 137 both at three and at four. Yet, when he went to stud in 2001, his fee was a modest IrPound,30,000, a fraction of what his barnmate Giant’s Causeway commanded in the same season, his first year at stud. That’s all you could stand top-class 12 furlong horses for when they went to stud.

Our Insta-Tistics tables (on the TDN website) tell us that, in 2002, a total of 21 weanlings from Montjeu’s first crop averaged the equivalent of $99,982, with a median of $80,000. The conformation judges liked his first foals, and even though there was a certain amount of support from the Coolmore legions, his foals at the European sales impressed neutral pinhookers and other objective observers (as had Cape Cross the year before).

These figures represented excellent return for their breeders. You know how the Coolmore team likes to give their stallions a chance, so there were 66 yearlings sold from Montjeu’s first crop in 2003. They averaged $144,928, with a median just under $100,000, still a good return on investment for their breeders.

Montjeu’s fee for 2004, the year his first two-year-olds would race, was set at Eur30,000, the same as the year before.

Montjeu’s first crop, racing in 2004, included 16 winners, headed by the Gr1 Racing Post Trophy winner Motivator, and he finished third on the 2004 European Freshman Sire List. His stud fee was up to Eur45,000 for 2005, which looked dirt cheap by that autumn, considering not only did Motivator win the Gr1 Epsom Derby, but Montjeu’s first crop included two more Classic winners as well: Hurricane Run won the Gr1 Irish Derby; and Scorpion won the Gr1 St. Leger Stakes, though his more important victory came in the Gr1 Grand Prix de Paris in its first year as a 2400 meter race on Bastille Day - effectively, the “new” French Derby. After Hurricane Run won another little Group 1 contest, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Montjeu ranked second only to Danehill on the 2005 European Sire List (historical lists supplied to us courtesy of John Quinlan at Hyperion Promotions). Not surprisingly, Montjeu’s 2006 fee shot up to Eur125,000.

By 2001, the year his 13th crop were three-year-olds, Sadler’s Wells had sired the winners of nearly every Group 1 race beyond a mile in Europe, but he had never sired a winner of the Gr1 Epsom Derby. Galileo rectified that small gap in his resume, then went on to win the Gr1 Irish Derby and Gr1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. In Timeform’s lengthy essay on Galileo in Racehorses of 2004, they refer to Aidan O’Brien’s determination to run Galileo over shorter, even as short as a mile, in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in late September. His two final starts were in fact at 10 furlongs - he was edged out by Fantastic Light in the Gr1 Irish Champion Stakes, and finally finished a non-threatening sixth, behind Tiznow and Sakhee, in the 2001 Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt at Belmont Park. One thing about Sadler’s Wells: he’s never been a sire of dirt horses, so why El Prado is such a good dirt sire? Who knows?

Galileo’s first foals were born in 2003, but he was only 11th on the 2005 European Freshman Sire List, the year Montjeu’s first three-year-olds put him second on the European Sire List. But when Galileo’s first crop got to be three-year-olds, it was a different story. His seven three-year- old graded/group stakes winners that year included two Classic winners; Gr1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nighttime and Gr1 St. Leger Stakes winner Sixties Icon, as well as Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Red Rocks. And throw in Teofilo, the first of two consecutive champion European two year-olds by Galileo trained by Jim Bolger, and you won’t be surprised to hear Galileo’s stud fee went from Eur37,500 in 2006 (this year’s two-year-olds) to Eur150,000 in 2007 (this year’s yearlings). Galileo was seventh on the 2006 European Sire List; Montjeu was third, behind Coolmore barnmates Danehill and Danehill Dancer.

In 2007, Galileo advanced to second behind Danehill, with Montjeu again third. Danehill ran out of three-year-olds in 2008; Galileo claimed top spot on the European Sire List, with Montjeu second. I’ve mentioned several times in the past that I call Montjeu “The Derby Sire,” because in four crops of three-year-olds he’s sired six winners of 12-furlong races that are, or amount to, Derbies: Motivator and Authorized have won the Gr1 Epsom Derby; Hurricane Run and Frozen Fire (2008) have won the Gr1 Irish Derby; and Scorpion and Montmartre (2008) have won the Gr1 Grand Prix de Paris since it became a 12-furlong race in 2006. This year’s Gr1 Investec Epsom Derby favorite, Fame and Glory, is from Montjeu’s fifth crop of three-year-olds, and, scarily, won the Gr2 Derrinstown Derby Trial with a higher Racing Post Rating (speed figure, 120) than either Galileo or High Chaparral (also by Sadler’s Wells), who both won the Derrinstown with RPR’s of 119.

For his part, Galileo had sired nine Group 1 winners in his first three crops by the end of 2008.

Besides Nighttime, Sixties Icon, Red Rocks and Teofilo, they include 2007 champion European two-year-old and 2008 Gr1 Epsom Derby winner New Approach; Gr1 Irish Derby winner Soldier of Fortune (bred by Jim Bolger); triple 2008 Group 1 winner Lush Lashes (trained by Jim Bolger); Gr1 Prix Royal-Oak winner Allegretto; and 2008 Gr1 Italian Derby winner Cima de Triomphe, now trained by Luca Cumani and very much a horse to watch in the top races in 2009 once the ground gets faster again.

Interestingly, though the Maktoum family clearly no longer patronizes Coolmore stallions at the yearling sales, they have nothing against buying them privately later, by which method they acquired Authorized (by Montjeu) and Galileo’s two juvenile champ, Teofilo and New Approach, from Jim Bolger. Coolmore, which after all does still have the “factories” – Montjeu and Galileo themselves - stands only Hurricane Run (by Montjeu).

Then again, we could take a look at the list of Aidan O’Brien’s seven three-year-olds that could line up for the June 6 Gr1 Investec Epsom Derby: all seven are by Sadler’s Wells and sons. Two are by Sadler’s Wells himself (Gr2 Dante winner Black Bear Island and Gr3 Chester Vase second Masterofthehorse), one, favorite Fame and Glory, is by Montjeu; three are by Galileo (Gr1 English 2000 Guineas fourth Rip Van Winkle, Gr2 Dante second Freemantle and Gr3 Lingfield Derby Trial winner Age of Aquarius); and one is by 2002 Gr1 Epsom Derby winner High Chaparral. His second crop of three-year-olds, this year, looks much better than his first.

A final observation: it seems like the connections of every Gr1 Epsom Derby winner go to great lengths to prove that their Derby winner is not “just” a 12-furlong horse because of a perception (never actually validated, from what I can tell) that breeders will be quicker to send mares if they can prove the horse at 10 furlongs as well. So guess what? The two top sires in Europe, Galileo and Montjeu, were both 12-furlong horses; each won at least two of the three major European Derbies (though that was when the Prix du Jockey-Club was 12 furlongs), plus a 12-furlong Group 1 race open to older horses. That 10-furlong deal? It’s a complete myth. Get the right 12 furlong horse and you can top the charts.

How El Prado came to be one of America’s leading sires, and is now threatening to open a branch of the Sadler’s Wells line on the dirt, is still a bit of a mystery to everyone involved. He was a Group 1 winner at two for Vincent O’Brien, having won what Timeform described in Racehorses of 1991 as “a particularly substandard running of the [Gr1] National S….” Timeform did rate him 119 at two, but that seemed almost more by virtue of his win at the end of the season in the Gr2 Beresford Stakes over a mile. El Prado didn’t reappear until halfway through his three year-old season, was unplaced in three starts at eight and 10 furlongs, and was packed off to stud in Kentucky. He was always a pretty useful sire, but not until his sixth crop did Medaglia d’Oro appear, and his eighth crop included three $2-million earners, turf champion Kitten’s Joy and Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller on the grass, and Gr1 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Borrego on the dirt. He was Leading Sire in North America in 2002, and second in 2003 and 2004.

Though he’s done well enough in Europe, and gets his share of good grass horses in North America, the truth is El Prado has really got where he is more by siring durable dirt horses with some class than by following the sire line’s otherwise all-turf pattern; he’s succeeded because his runners have successfully adapted to different conditions - dirt. And his very best horse, Medaglia d’Oro, never saw the grass except when they took him out from Frankel’s barn to graze on it - he won $5.7 million racing exclusively on dirt. And from 13 stakes horses to date in his first crop, only one has even placed in a stakes on turf; he has two graded stakes winners on synthetics, but the rest, including the mighty Gr1 Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra, have been on dirt. Also, 11 of his first 13 stakes horses are fillies, though whether that means anything, it would be far too early to know.

So, in five years, the great Sadler’s Wells’ prospects as a sire of sires have gone from doubtful to the point where he had the one-two sires in Europe last year, and the hottest dirt sire in North America right now. It’s a pretty big forward move.


manhattan rainManhattan Rain (Encosta De Lago/Shantha’s Choice)
(AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes - The Royal Randwick)

Australia-watchers were dealt a feast of quality racing at Sydney’s Royal Randwick at the weekend, where the historic Doncaster Handicap, Australian Oaks, the T.J. Smith Stakes and the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes featured on the menu. The event though, that really caught the imaginations of racing fans, must surely have been the Sires’ Produce, the second leg of Sydney’s Juvenile Triple Crown, where the remarkable mare, Shantha’s Choice (by Canny Lad) featured her third Grade One winner and her fourth Stakes winner, overall. Amazingly though, that’s not the end of the story, as Manhattan Rain (by last season’s champion sire, Encosta De Lago) is a half brother to no less a man than Redoute’s Choice, sire sensation of Australia. Shantha’s Choice herself was an undistinguished runner, yet her fairytale continues here, with the fulfilment of his pedigree destiny by this juvenile youngster.

Ironically, Manhattan Rain was bred by Muzaffar Yaseen, 50% owner (can you believe?) of Redoute’s Choice, so his mother is precluded by virtue of his own ancestry, from visiting what is arguably the best stallion in Australia. For the record, without being able to return to the sire of her two best runners to date (Danehill is deceased), Shantha’s Choice has had to settle for a range of different mates, one of whom (Rock Of Gibraltar by Danehill) is the sire of her Grade Three winning filly, Sliding Cube, as well as a return visit to Encosta da Lago and most recently Hussonet, the Mr Prospector stallion resident at Arrowfield Stud.



It’s always gratifying to know the judges like your horse.

In Solskjaer’s case, there’s no doubt that Coolmore are as good as judges get. He was remarkable as a juvenile, they named him for immortality. The best trainer in Europe then proclaimed him “an amazing horse; we thought he was a superstar..”.

So when the judges labelled his yearlings recently, it was no more than the fulfilment of a prophecy. We shouldn’t be surprised though. He’s a son of Danehill, rated in the top half percent of racehorses world-wide.


View the Summerhill Draft
Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales

3-6 April 2009

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HONG KONG BREEDERS CLUB : No wonder they like Danehill

Tip : Turn up your volume

Two years ago, the Hong Kong Breeders Club made their first South African investment, and it will come as no surprise to our readers to know that it was in the Danehill stallion, Way West. Peter Yip, the brains behind the organisation, has been involved in the breeding of racehorses for many years in Australia and New Zealand, and he’s one fellow you don’t have to convince when it comes to Danehill’s influence. He knew something when he put his money down on Way West, because he knew him as a racehorse in Australia, and unsurprisingly, in view of what we have to report here, he was quick to put his hand up when he heard Stronghold was coming to Summerhill.

His inspiration comes from the quality Danehill stallion, Danroad, who stands at Highview Stud in New Zealand, and who’s one spot below Zabeel on the New Zealand leading sires table, with his first crop just three year olds. Already a sire of an Australian Group One winning two-year-old in Rockdale, his sophomore son, Down The Road, skated in a few weeks back in the ORC Championship Stakes (Gr.2), and just bobbed on the line in a tight finish for the $2.2 million New Zealand Derby (Gr.1).

In the same Auckland Cup Week, his daughter Amazing Sky was an impressive winner on the second day of the carnival, having posted a Stakes performance as a two-year-old last season. For a horse with only 45 and 38 foals from his first two crops, he’s off to a stirring start, and he’s another example of why we keep banging on about South Africa’s dearth of quality racing sons of what is indisputably the greatest sire of sires the southern hemisphere has known.

For the record, Danroad was a winner of the Wakefield Challenge Stakes (Gr.3) and was placed in Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (Gr.1) as a two-year-old. He follows the pattern of all of Danehill’s most distinguished sons, being a graded stakes winner with good form between 6 and 8 furlongs. The Summerhill trio of Way West, Stronghold and Solskjaer have just that in common: they’re all Graded stakes winners and each of them has form between 6 and 8 furlongs, with Solskjaer stretching his class to 10 furlongs.

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(Photo : Champions Gallery)

DANZIG, the son of Northern Dancer out of the Admiral’s Voyage mare Pas de Nom, who reigned as one of the world’s leading sires whilst standing his entire career at the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm near Paris, Kentucky, has accomplished something in racing that few thought possible. Or, maybe even no one…

David Schmiz writes in The Bloodhorse that according to research done by The Bell Group, a Versailles, Kentucky, advertising firm, Danzig has been found to have 50 of his sons sire Grade 1 and/or Group 1 winners. There is no documentation that 50 is a record, but until research confirms another stallion has reached that figure, it seems safe to call it one.

“I don’t know how many other stallions have done it, but I’m sure it’s only a few,” said Hancock. “The fact he accomplished it says more than what I could add (about his greatness). If you asked me what the number was before, I’d probably say 30.”

DANZIG, who died in January 2006 at 29, achieved plenty in the breeding shed. He is one of only seven stallions since the 1860s to have led the North American sires list by progeny earnings as many as three consecutive years (1991 - 1993) and is one of three stallions to sire as many as 200 Stakes winners.

Significantly, six of them (Allied Flag, Freedom Land, Lustra, National Assembly, Qui Danzig and Shoe Danzig), all stood in South Africa. Lustra stood at Summerhill and produced our first J&B Met ace, La Fabulous.

Two of Danzig’s sons were at the forefront in 2008 Eclipse Award balloting. Boundary, who is pensioned at Claiborne Farm, was represented by champion 3-year-old male Big Brown, who finished third in Horse of the Year voting. Big Brown’s key wins came in the first two legs of the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Gr1) and Preakness Stakes (Gr 1).

Belong to Me, who holds court at William S Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky, was represented by champion turf female Forever Together. Her three Grade 1 wins include a triumph in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GrIT).

Hancock stands Danzig’s son, War Front, at Claiborne. “We like War Front, and we’re happy with him,” Hancock said about the Grade 2 winner whose first foals are now yearlings.

Danzig (Northern Dancer-Pas de Nom, by Admiral’s Voyage) reached the 200 mark in Stakes winners in 2008.

Sons of Danzig that have sired Grade 1 and/or Group 1 winners



Chief’s Crown



Polish Navy

Agnes World


Freedom Land


Polish Numbers

Allied Flag

Danzig Connection

Game Plan

Mister C

Polish Precedent



Golden Snake

Monashee Mountain

Qui Danzig

Ascot Knight


Green Desert*


Roi Danzig

Belong to Me*


Honor Grades

Mull of Kintyre

Shoe Danzig


Eagle Eyed


National Assembly



Emperor Jones

Lost Soldier




Exchange Rate







Pine Bluff

Ziggy’s Boy

* - Stars
Bold -
South Africa based

The Danehill affinity for Northern Dancer-line mares

northern dancerNorthern Dancer
(Painting : Richard Reeves)


Readers of the Summerhill Sires brochure for 2008/9 and those that use the mating guidelines on our website, will recall us banging on about the Danehill affinity for Northern Dancer-line mares, and how many good horses have flowed from this “nick”. Of course, we need to remember that while Danehill himself was a son of Danzig (by Northern Dancer,) he carries in his female line yet another strain of the Emperor’s “blood”. Indeed, he is a member of the self-same female family (of Northern Dancer), and while that’s no guarantee of an affinity, the fact is, the Danehills are typically big, strong horses who generally complement the very feminine, high quality females descending from the strain.

This past weekend, we were reminded of the potency of this cross when the winner of the Arrowfield Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr.1), Australia’s most famous “stallion maker”, was taken out by a son of Exceed And Excel. In common with some of Danehill’s most famous racing progeny, Rock Of Gibraltar (Be My Guest mare), Desert King (Sabaah), Peeping Fawn and Horatio Nelson (both Sadler’s Wells), Exceed And Excel was spawned by a daughter of Lomond, Northern Dancer’s English 2000 Guineas winning brother to Seattle Slew.

With the biggest concentration of Northern Dancer blood in its female herd in South Africa, and so many breeders’ preoccupations with outcrossing, you might have thought that in the presence at Summerhill of the largest assembly of quality racing sons of Danehill on the African continent, we might’ve been foolhardy in overdoing the concentration of this blood on the property. The answer is endorsed in the events of this last weekend. It’s a comfort to see this approach to the production of quality racehorses, is working so well.

Watch Reward For Effort winning the Arrowfield Blue Diamond Stakes 2009

ADENA SPRINGS named US Champion Breeder


Adena Springs has topped the list of leading individual breeders in North America in 2008, for the sixth consecutive year.


Congratulations must go to Frank and Andy Stronach and the Champion Adena Springs Team.


The Thoroughbred Daily News reports that according to figures released by The Jockey Club Information Systems, Inc. on Tuesday, Adena Springs bred the winners of 603 races from 3,671 starts. Stonerside Stable, which bred the winners of 98 races from 518 starts for earnings of $7,433,027 to is second on the list. Adena Springs also heads the breeders’ list which includes partnership, with Stonerside second on that list as well. Completing the list of top 10 individual breeders (with earnings):


Eugene Melnyk ($6,410,230);
Brereton C Jones ($6,339,254);
WinStar Farm LLC ($5,460,005);

Juddmonte Farms Inc. ($4,924,494);
Sherman Family Thoroughbreds LLC ($4,839,702);
Sez Who Thoroughbreds ($4,780,068);
Padua Stables ($4,773,351); and

Everst Stables Inc. ($3,966,631).

Rounding out the list of top 10 breeders which includes partnerships are:

W. S. Farish, Brereton Jones, Eugene Melnyk, WinStar Farm, Sherman Family Thoroughbreds, Sez Who Thoroughbreds, Juddmonte Farms and Padua Stables.


PS. You may recall that Andy Stronach, on the back of his attending the Summerhill Stallion Day last year, bought four mares at the Sibaya Broodmare Sale, with a view to supporting the DANEHILL stallions standing at Summerhill.

News from Afar : A Darley Flying Start Graduate at Work

stallion dansiliDansili
(Photo : Juddmonte)

South Africa’s Kevin Sommerville writes:

Work at Juddmonte is going really well. If you’re interested in horses this is a pretty fantastic place to be, surrounded by the likes of Dansili, Cacique, Rail Link, Zamindar and Oasis Dream. It is however the broodmare band that everybody drool’s over, Hasili (dam of 5 Gr.1 winners), Toussaud (Dam of 4) and the runners Heat Haze (Gr.1), Intercontinental (Gr.1), Banks Hill (Gr.1) and many many others.

As the weather has been pretty awful I haven’t been out the office much but come the summer I’ll be visiting all the foals of our stallions all over Europe. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see some spectacular farms as well as to meet some wonderful owners and managers.

I’ll be heavily involved at the sales come October and December next year and I’m looking forward to that. They seem to do things rather different over here; we have our top 3 stallions booked up already, on average about 120 mares! Dansili will once again cover a phenomenal book of mares! He could very well be the best sire son of Danehill in the future. His figures are phenomenal from very inferior mares! Keep an eye on him!

The Industry over here has received a heavy blow to the ribs (bit like the Aussies). Overproduction and a lack of prize money are a major concern. Issues not easily solved.

Juddmonte however sits in a pretty situation but still it’s hitting everybody hard! A major rethink of the industry is required.

This is probably not much info for the blog but as the weather improves; I’ll be getting out more which will be fantastic and I’ll have a few more stories as the year goes on.

Have a wonderful 2009.



sadlers wellsSadler’s Wells

Northern Hemisphere GRADE/GROUP 1 WINNERS

Galileo Sadler’s Wells
Giant’s Causeway Storm Cat
Rock of Gibraltar Danehill 
Danehill Danzig
Tiznow Cee’s Tizzy
Kingmambo Mr. Prospector           
Maria’s Mon Wavering Monarch
Sadler’s Wells Northern Dancer
Street Cry Machiavellian 
Unbridled’s Song Unbridled
A.P. Indy Seattle Slew
Chester House Mr. Prospector
Dalakhani Darshaan
Danehill Dancer Danehill
Doneraile Court Seattle Slew 
Dynaformer Roberto
Gone West Mr. Prospector
Indian Ridge Ahonoora
Montjeu Sadler’s Wells 
Muhtathir Elmaamul
Nayef Gulch
Pivotal Polar Falcon
Rock of Gibraltar Danehill
Samum Monsun
Smart Strike Mr. Prospector
Tapit Pulpit

Statistics from Thoroughbred Daily News



zarkava and christophe soumillonZarkava with Christophe Soumillon aboard
(Photo : APRH)

The unbeaten star filly Zarkava (Zamindar) was named Horse of The Year last night at the 2008 Cartier Racing Awards.

Europe’s equivalent of the Eclipse Awards were presented at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, in front of an invited audience made up of leading owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders, racing personalities and the media.

Homebred by her owner, His Highness The Aga Khan, Zarkava won all five of her starts in 2008 to add to her two from two record as a juvenile. Showing tremendous versatility over distances from a mile to twelve furlongs, she captured two Classics, the Prix Vermeille and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in which she overcame the best middle-distance performers in Europe to register a stunning two length victory.

In Horse of The Year category, Zarkava came out ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Raven’s Pass (Elusive Quality), Epsom Derby victor New Approach (Galileo), five-time Gr.1 scorer Duke of Marmalade (Danehill) and dual Guineas winner Henrythenavigator (Kingmambo), who won 18 Gr.1 races between them this year. She also took the honours in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly division.

Princess Haya’s New Approach prevailed over Raven’s Pass in the Three-Year-Old Colt category, gaining his second consecutive Cartier Award, having taken the Two-Year-Old Colt Award twelve months ago.

This year’s Two-Year-Old Colt Award went right down to the wire with dual Gr.1 victor Mastercraftsman (Danehill Dancer) pipping the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Donativum (Cadeaux Genereux),

The Two-Year-Old Fillies’ category went to John Gosden-trained Rainbow View (Dynaformer).

Heading the Older Horses was Aidan O’Brien’s Duke of Marmalade (Danehill), ahead of Marchand D’Or (Marchand De Sable), Yeats (Sadler’s Wells), Youmzain (Sinndar) and Darjina (Zamindar).

There was further glory for the Ballydoyle stable with Yeats, brother to Summerhill stallion Solskjaer, taking the Cartier Champion Stayer title for the third consecutive year.

Meanwhile, the Freddie Head-trained Marchand d’Or prevailed in the race for Cartier Champion Sprinter honours.

Sheikh Mohammed, described as racing’s biggest investor and benefactor, was voted the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit winner. Although unable to attend the Cartier Racing Awards ceremony in London, Sheikh Mohammed was presented with his award in Dubai beforehand by Arnaud Bamberger, the Cartier UK managing director.

On his acceptance of the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit, Sheikh Mohammed said: “I am delighted by this award. I love racing and breeding. We race not only in England and Europe as Godolphin is all round the world. I am very, very pleased with my racing company and my breeding operation. I love racing and I will always be involved in the sport. Thank you very much.”



Mike de Kock on Breeders' Cup Map with EAGLE MOUNTAIN

eagle mountain and kevin sheaEagle Mountain and Kevin Shea at Santa Anita
(Harry How/Getty)

South African trainer Mike de Kock will saddle his first Breeders’ Cup starter Saturday, but it won’t be any of the horses he expected earlier in the year would make it to championship weekend reports the Thoroughbred Daily News.

“I had three others that I was planning to come here with and things didn’t turn out that way, Mike de Kock said. “[G2 UAE Derby winner] Honour Devil (Arg) (Honour and Glory) was going to come out for the Dirt Mile; [G1 Dubai World Cup runner-up] Asiatic Boy (Arg) (Not For Sale {Arg}) maybe for the Classic. But they just didn’t do well in England. They had really tough campaigns in Dubai. We took them to England and their coats never got good, they never ate well, never worked well. You can’t flog a dead horse, you know. You don’t want to come here just to be a number.”

Meanwhile, while his stablemates were excelling in Dubai, G1 Turf hopeful Eagle Mountain (GB) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}) was spending a year on the sidelines recovering from a fractured pelvis. The four-year-old, who was second in last year’s G1 Epsom Derby and G1 Champion Stakes and third in the G1 Irish Derby, seemed a longshot to make it to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup. But he proved he was back in top shape in his comeback effort, winning Newmarket’s one-mile October 3 G3 Joel Stakes in course-record time in his only start this term.

“We didn’t think we were on target for the Breeders’ Cup, but his last one showed that he was,” Mike de Kock explained. “So we were able to switch plans. We were lucky that we had a backup with this horse.” The trainer is not concerned that Eagle Mountain’s light campaign will hurt him Saturday. “He’s got a good five or six months of hard work under the belt,” Mike de Kock said. “He’s done a lot of miles. He’s ready for it.”

Catch all the Breeders’ Cup action on Tellytrack, DSTV channel 232.




rock of gibraltarRock Of Gibraltar

EAGLE MOUNTAIN returned to the track in fine style on the weekend winning the G3 Joel Stakes in Newmarket, England for South African champion trainer Mike de Kock. It was an incredible training feat for Mike and his team as this son of ROCK OF GIBRALTAR had suffered a pelvic injury earlier in the year and had been off the track for 349 days.

Previously trained by Aidan O’Brien, he was second to Authorized in the G1 Epsom Derby and runner up to Literato in the G1 Champion Stakes.

Coolmore’s Rock of Gibraltar (or ‘The Rock’, as he has become known) was a machine of a racehorse winning 7 consecutive Group Ones. He shuttles to Australia where he is standing for A$82 500 this season and has produced stakes winners in USA, England, Ireland, France, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, including multiple G1 winner MOUNT NELSON and G1 Gold Medallion winner, SEVENTH ROCK.

Amongst the exceptional draft of two year olds on offer at the Ready to Run sale on 2nd November is a good looking son of ‘The Rock’ who is catching the eye here on the Summerhill tracks. Come and see him in action as well as sons and daughters of GALILEO, ROYAL ACADEMY, FLYING SPUR, CAPE CROSS, MUHTAFAL and KAHAL at the Ready to Run gallops at Summerhill on 17 October.



Thoroughbred Reproduction : The New Kids on the Block

A Stronghold Cover
(Grant Norval)

Move your mouse over the photo above to see THE FUTURE”


greig muirGreig Muir Summerhill Stallion Manager

September 1 saw the opening of the 2008 Breeding Season throughout the Southern Hemisphere; however for the new arrivals, Mullins Bay, Stronghold and Ravishing, or “the Tsvanguri’s” as they have been nicknamed in the Summerhill Stallion Barn, the opening of the 2008 Breeding Season for the new kids on the block began several months ago.

Among free running horses, reproductive behavior in stallions involves several complex mechanisms of courtship and mating, and there are many natural sequences to establish and maintain a broodmare “harem”, which traditionally takes several years as the stallion matures. Domestically the transition from athlete to “Super Stud” may consist of a mere few months, during which time stallions remain separated, and social interaction with “harem’s” and reproductive behavior is restricted. Psychologically, the training of the breeding stallion requires careful management in order to avoid the development of aberrant behavior, which might induce unpredictable aggressiveness, inconsistent performance and other vices, and at the end of the day, we try to ensure that life in the breeding shed is safe and fun for all.

As a break from creating his own “harem”, a daily routine consisting of hand walks around Summerhill and Hartford, amongst paddocks accommodating the latest foals with their mothers, or quietly introducing himself to the prospective mares over the railings of their Rye grass paddocks, Danehill “Tsvanguri” and Timeform’s Champion Handicapper of 2006, Stronghold, broke his maiden, the lucky lady being Deceptive Charm, a Fort Wood daughter of multiple stakes winner, School For Chefs early Monday morning. The never ending hours of input from the staff over the last few months, ensured the mature approach of Stronghold to the mare, and in less than a few days, he’ll be one of “the professionals”; although as a “Tsvanguri” it is likely he’ll be wanting to take the mantle from another’s head…….. and perhaps we should not be missing out?



"Inbreeding to the great DANZIG" by Andrew Caulfield

danzig stallionDanzig
(Shaun Faust)

A few years ago, when discussing the concept of inbreeding to the great Danzig, I wrote: “The potential problem of inbreeding to Danzig, of course, was one of soundness, or the lack of it. Remember, Danzig’s exciting debut victory in the June of his two-year-old season was immediately followed by the discovery of bone chips. Away from the races for over 10 months, Danzig returned the following May to record two impressive allowance victories. Unfortunately, X-rays taken after his third success revealed that a slab fracture was developing in a knee and Danzig was forced into retirement before he had tackled stakes company.”

I was quick to point out that Danzig’s progeny have a reputation for being sounder than their sire - as you can see from Danzig’s up-to-date statistics, which show that 77 percent of his 1074 named foals made it to the races and around 62 percent made it into the winner’s circle. More to the point, more than 18 percent of Danzig’s foals became stakes winners, with this extraordinary percentage representing a huge incentive for trying to reinforce his influence by inbreeding.

Inbreeding to Danzig is likely to become quite widespread in Europe, where the Thoroughbred population is steeped in the blood of the Claiborne Farm superstar. The main European standard bearers of the Danzig male line have been Danehill and Green Desert, both of whom are developed thriving male lines. Fortunately, the racing records of both these stallions were reassuringly free of the soundness problems which beset their sire.

Despite being almost back at the knee, Danehill was sound enough to win the G1 Sprint Cup on his ninth and final appearance. Aidan O’Brien was asked to summarise the main virtues of Danehill’s stock after Duke of Marmalade had recorded his fifth consecutive Group 1 victory in the Juddmonte International three days ago.

“I suppose it’s their constitution - their toughness and their speed and their strength,” he said. “They’re three massive things - strength physically as well as mentally.”

When prompted by the interviewer to add soundness to the list, Aidan O’Brien agreed: “Obviously soundness. This horse (Duke of Marmalade) is a testimony to that, but that comes with strength.”

Green Desert was another individual whose career was comparatively problem free. Sufficiently forward to make his juvenile debut in May, he was racing for the 14th time when he failed to handle the dirt in the following year’s Breeder’s Cup Sprint. Oddly, there were some distinct parallels between his career and that of Danehill a few years later. Both won the Free Handicap over seven furlongs before reaching the first three in the 2000 Guineas. Subsequent efforts over a mile convinced both sets of connections to return their Danzig colts to sprint distances and both collected a pair of important victories, including one in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

With unsoundness apparently not a serious concern, breeders have been quick to try combining Danehill and Green Desert, and last week’s results suggest that we will see much more of this inbreeding to Danzig in the future. Two of Europe’s important juvenile events fell to colts which have sons of Danehill as their sire and daughters of Green Desert as their second dam, creating 3x4 inbreeding to Danzig.

Firstly, we saw Dansili’s son Shaweel run over a clear-cut winner of the G2 Gimcrack Stakes, and then Bushranger  provided Danetime with his second successive victory in the G1 Prix Morny.

This type of cross had also hit the jackpot earlier this year when the G1 Coral-Eclipse was won narrowly by Mount Nelson. This four-year-old is by Rock of Gibraltar, another son of Danehill, and his third dam is by Green Desert.

In view of the concerns about soundness involved in inbreeding to Danzig, it is worth pointing out that the sires of these three group winners were all sound enough to undergo a thorough testing on the track, with Dansili, Danetime and Rock of Gibraltar respectively being veterans of 14, 15 and 13 races. The reverse cross - a Green Desert stallion on mares with Danehill blood - is also sure to become popular.

Cape Cross has already sired three stakes winners from his first five foals out of Danehill’s daughters, these stakes winners being inbred 3x3 to Danzig. Arguably the best of them is Able One, a New Zealand-bred who won the G1 Champions Mile in Hong Kong last year, but the English-trained Crosspeace was much better than his listed winner-status suggests, as he achieved annual Timeform ratings of 116 and 118.

Cape Cross’ talented miler Sentinelese is another inbred 3x3 to Danzig, but his second line comes via Polish Patriot rather than Danehill, and his Group 1- placed son Charlie Farnsbarns is inbred 3x4 to Danzig, his second line coming through Chief’s Crown.

While we are on the subject of Cape Cross, he added another group winner to his collection when Russian Cross took Saturday’s G2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano and he was a bit unlucky not to add another group success the following day, when Treat Gently as second after being hampered in the Prix de la Nonette. The Darley stallion’s fee jumped from Eur20,000 to Eur50,000 in 2005, so his current crop of juveniles is the subject of high expectations. It is encouraging that two of his sons - Sea The Stars and War Native - recently achieved “TDN Rising Star” status.

Another of Green Desert stallions, Kheleyf, is also likely to have his fee raised substantially after the success he has enjoyed with his first runners. He currently heads the British and Irish freshman sires’ table both by number of winners and prize money.

With Oasis Dream maintaining his position as one of the most successful second-crop sires, with five first-crop group winners, Green Desert has a powerful team of young stallion sons, which also includes Invincible Spirit. This Irish National Stud resident did so well with his early crops that his fee now stands at Eur75,000. Yet another son, the undervalued Desert Style, is again demonstrating his ability to come up with the occasional top performer, this time with the impressive seven-furlong specialist Paco Boy.

Perhaps these sons have taken some of the attention away from Green Desert, whose fee was as high as Eur85,000 in 2004 (when he was 21) and 2005. Whatever the reason, he appears to be another of those stallions whose results have declined in old age. His last Group 1 winners, Oasis Dream and Desert Lord, were born in 2000 and his last five crops of racing age have so far produced nothing more than a pair of Group 3 winners. But we can happily forgive him those recent failings in view of his growing impact as a sire of sires.



Duke of Marmalade has strong South African connections

cataloochee stallionCataloochee
(John Lewis)

Duke Of Marmalade stamped himself as the best turf horse in the world on the weekend when winning the Group I Juddmonte International over a mile and two furlongs (2000m) at the rescheduled venue of the Newmarket July course and this would have been good news for South African breeders as he is closely related on the female side to some of our best stallions and racehorses.

David Thiselton
writes that Duke Of Marmalade is by one of the most influential sires of recent times, Danehill, out of Kingmambo mare Love Me True.

Love Me True hails from the outstanding broodmare Gay Missile via her daughter, Lassie Dear, who has become an internationally influential broodmare.

Lassie Dear, who is Duke Of Marmalade’s third dam, is the dam of our former champion sire, sire of sires and top broodmare sire, Al Mufti, as well as Wolfhound.

Al Mufti already has four sons at stud in South Africa, the proven successful Captain Al, the exciting prospect Victory Moon, former Champion Sprinter Cataloochee and twice Grade I winner, The Sheik.

Lassie Dear
also produced the outstanding broodmare Weekend Surprise, dam among others of AP Indy, who is in turn the sire of the deceased South African stallion, Camden Park, as well as KZN Midlands sire, Mon Sang, and the Western Cape’s A.P. Magic.

That means our highest earning racehorse ever, Jay Peg, who is by Camden Park out of Al Mufti mare Laptop Lady, is in-bred 3x4 to Lassie Dear.

Weekend Surprise is the dam of another of our stallions, Tiger Ridge, who produced 11 stakes winners in the USA, before being imported here.

Another South African sire that has Lassie Dear as his second dam is KZN Midland’s stallion, Houston Connection.

Besides Lassie Dear, Gay Missile also produced the successful broodmare, Gallanta, who is dam of deceased South African sire, Sportsworld.



Danehill's DUKE OF MARMALADE wins Juddmonte International

duke of marmaladeJohnny Murtagh celebrates victory aboard Duke of Marmalade
(The Indipendent)

Duke of Marmalade (Danehill) made it Group 1 win number five yesterday as he ground out a 3/4 length victory in the G1 Juddmonte International Stakes at Newmarket for trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor.

The Thoroughbred Daily News reports that following a gruelling fight in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on 26 July and two flights from Ireland due to York’s abandonment Tuesday, Ballydoyle’s juggernaut, Duke of Marmalade (Danehill), would have been excused for not wanting to roll up his sleeves again here, but that was not the case. Jockey Johnny Murtagh asked him to stretch when he hit the front three furlongs out, and the “Duke” had too many guns for the Henry Cecil-trained Phoenix Tower (Chester House) in the finish.

Aidan O’Brien told me that when you apply the pressure with him, you have to really go for him and today, as soon as I asked him, he really picked up,” Johnny Murtagh said. “I was going a bit easily in front, and as soon as the other horse came to him, he had plenty left in the tank. He’s very durable, very consistent and has great size, balance and will to win. Whether it’s soft ground or fast ground or whatever you throw at him, he is able to take it. He eats up every day and loves racing.”

Jim Bolger
-trained New Approach (Galileo) failed to provide the much anticipated match, and was a further 2 1/2 lengths back as he stayed on for third after racing keenly in rear early.