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