sadler's wells stallion
sadler's wells stallion

Sadler’s Wells

(Photo : Irish Times) 


The 2010 Summerhill Sires brochure features the farm’s most famous resident, Northern Guest, as its cover piece. It is a celebration of the old man’s equalling of Mr. Prospector’s world record nine Broodmare Sires titles. In his regular column for the Thoroughbred Daily News, Andrew Caulfield draws a parallel case for Sadler’s Wells, already the most successful stallion in European history.

The 2005 season saw the end of one of the bloodstock world’s most remarkable sequences, when Sadler’s Wells was finally deposed as champion sire in Britain and Ireland, after 13 consecutive titles.

We hardly had time to use the metaphor that the “King is dead,” though, because the astonishing Coolmore stallion - still with us at the age of 29 - ended 2005 with a new crown sitting proudly on his noble head. He topped the broodmare sires - list for the first time at the age of 24 and, remarkably, he has repeated the feat every subsequent year.

With earnings more than double those of his nearest pursuer, Sadler’s Wells currently looks to be well on his way to a sixth consecutive title, raising the strong possibility that - with so many daughters to his credit - he is going to prove every bit as dominant in this new role as he was as a sire. His daughters’ numerous 2010 group winners feature the likes of the Derby winner Workforce and his fellow Group 1 winners Campanologist and Chinese White.

What surprises me a little about this tremendously successful second career for Sadler’s Wells is that it has been achieved in an Anglo-Irish industry which is already steeped in his blood. Since he lost his crown as champion sire, his sons Galileo and Montjeu have rarely ranked outside the top five stallions and Galileo currently looks guaranteed to land his second championship.

The time is surely coming when inbreeding to this exceptional stallion will start to occur more regularly, with pedigrees pairing the likes of Barathea, In The Wings, Galileo, Montjeu and even El Prado.

Until now breeders have preferred to double up on the major elements in Sadler’s Wells’ pedigree by pairing his descendants with those of his close relative Nureyev. However, the 2008 German Derby fell to Khamsin, a colt inbred 4x4 to Sadler’s Wells. If anything is going to act as a deterrent to inbreeding to Sadler’s Wells, it will be the fear that it will produce horses with too much stamina for today’s commercial market. Remember, though, that Sadler’s Wells sired three winners of the 2,000 Guineas, three of the Irish 1,000 Guineas and two of the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

This concern about an excess of stamina in the progeny of Sadler’s Wells’ daughters is apparent in the stallions which have their most regular mates. With the notable exceptions of Rainbow Quest, Darshaan and Daylami, they have largely been high-class two-year-olds, sprinters or milers, such as Kingmambo, King’s Best, Danehill Dancer, Danehill, Zafonic, Machiavellian, Indian Ridge, Rock of Gibraltar and Selkirk.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News