Sheikh Hamdan’s racing and bloodstock manager of more than twenty years, Angus Gold, is a legend of our sport. He’s one of the most recognisable personalities in the game, and he knows what he’s up to. The Aussies are an exacting lot, and they’re harsh in their judgment of people who dare to venture into their sales environment, yet the one man they hold in universal esteem as a picker of racehorses and a good man in the truest sense, is Angus Gold.
In South Africa, he is the man, together with the initiator of the other Maktoum investments at Summerhill, Michael Goodbody, credited with the presence in this country of Ruling Family’s horses here, and today can take a bow at the achievements of MuhtafalandKahal, here by dint of Angus exertions.
It’s no small praise then, when he acknowledges your horse as a prospect of note. On a recent visit, he took one look at Mullins Bay, and proclaimed him “as good looking a stallion prospect as I can remember, and he’s got one of the great pedigrees of the world”. This horse has a good deal going for him; because he could run like the wind, and like Kahal, Street Cry and Medicean, he’s a son of one of the world’s top emerging sires of sires, Machiavellian.
Solskjaer’s brother Yeats winning the Ascot Gold Cup with Mick Kinane aboard (Photo : Alan Crowhurst)
The latest edition of the celebrated “bible” of European racing, Timeform’s Racehorses of 2008, has just landed on our desk, courtesy of Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Estate. The founder of Timeform, the inimitable Phil Bull, was as articulate and as enthusiastic a scribe on the affairs of the turf as anyone could imagine, and its at times like this that we’re reminded of how well our industry is served in the intellectual sense. This is another spellbinding edition, yet it’s the commentary on Solskjaer’s brother, Yeats, that gripped us this morning including a reminiscence around his three consecutive Ascot Gold Cups, a feat achieved only once previously by Sargaro almost fifty years ago.
It’s the degree of research the authors of Timeform apply to their writings though, that make this book so worthwhile, and in Yeats’ instance, there are reflections on his remarkable sire, Sadler’s Wells. We quote:
“Sadler’s Wells was happily still in good condition physically on his retirement, and he certainly owes Coolmore nothing. In fact, the most successful stud in Europe owes its phenomenal record over the last twenty years largely to Sadler’s Wells, since his achievements as a sire of top-class runners and his legacy as a sire of sires is remarkable. The earnings that have accrued to the stud have been similarly remarkable, Sadler’s Wells never falling lower than IR 75,000 guineas and much of the time standing at IR 200,000 guineas (or its euro equivalent), though, for much of his career, his fee was officially private. By some calculations, with adjustments for inflation, this puts the notional worth to Coolmore of Sadler’s Wells in the region of £400,000,000 (or R6 billion rand!).
Tony Morris wrote in the Racing Post. “In February 1990, after Sadler’s Wells had been represented by his first crop of three-year-olds, I ventured the suggestion that he might prove to be the best stallion ever to have stood in Ireland. It was an assessment that seriously underestimated his potential. Sadler’s Wells has been one of the very best stallions to have stood anywhere on the planet’. The judgement hits the nail on the head. As to the details, it’s a case of where to start. According to Weatherbys, up to the end of 2008, the progeny of Sadler’s Wells (who had 2,274 foals recorded on Weatherby’s database) have won three hundred and forty-nine pattern or graded races, including one hundred and twenty-seven Group 1 events.
Sadler’s Wells has been represented by seventy-two individual Group/Grade 1 winners, including twenty-five individual classic winners, a record six Breeders’ Cup winners and twenty-two Group 1-winning two-year-olds – the latter figure impressive for a sire whose progeny generally are ideally suited by middle distances.
He has been Champion Sire in Britain and Ireland a record fourteen times, thirteen of those in succession from 1992 to 2004, and also won the title in France in 1993 and 1999. He has been champion sire of broodmares for the last four years too.
Comparisons with stallions who operated a century or more ago are hardly fair, given the way the world of bloodstock has changed, but the previous record holder for the number of stallion titles was Highflyer, foaled in 1774 (none of the other sires with seven titles or more was foaled after 1881). Perhaps the best modern-day comparison is with US-based Storm Cat, whose retirement was announced not long after Sadler’s Wells, and for the same reason. Storm Cat is twenty-five, so he has not had quite so many runners, but he has sired around one hundred fewer pattern or graded winners than Sadler’s Wells, and fewer than half the number of Group/Grade 1 winners. Quite right Storm Cat is regarded as an outstanding sire, which puts Sadler’s Wells achievements into perspective”.
The domination of Desert Party in last Thursday’s 1600m feature at Nad Al Sheba, the UAE 2000 Guineas (Gr3) for three-year-olds on the dirt, was affirmation for America’s hottest young stallion, Street Cry, as well as for the Ready To Run/Breeze-Up Sales concept.
The European Bloodstock News reports that jockey Frankie Dettori asked his mount to chase Redding Colliery (Mineshaft) and Godolphin stable companion Regal Ransom (DistortedHumor) from 400m out and the pair hit the front at the 200m pole with Desert Party winning going away.
“We knew he had come out of his last race very well and improved from that run. This extra distance was never going to be a concern and, all being well, he will be UAE Derby bound,” said the delighted trainer of Desert Party, Saeed Bin Suroor.
Desert Party is by Darley Jonabell-based stallion, Street Cry. He was purchased for $425,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Hidden Brook. Desert Party and the second-placed Regal Ransom were subsequently sold to John Ferguson for $2,100,000 and $675,000 respectively at Fasig-Tipton’s Calder Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
In bringing to a close yesterday’s blog, we proclaimed an historic event in the commencement of the foundations for the new Al Maktoum School Of Excellence. While today is of routine significance, it nonetheless marks the beginning of another chapter of importance in the lives of a new generation of horses. The 30-odd lots selected for the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sales was brought in today for the commencement of their education, and we guess this lot face one of the great acid tests of all time when its economic prospects are bound to be tested in an international climate which has red lights flashing for the luxury goods sector.
Their location for the next ten weeks will be the Final Call Yearling Preparation yard, named after Gaynor Rupert’s great foundation mare, and reclad in its stone finish in commeration of the 80th birthday of Erica Bennet Goss, two Novembers ago.
No doubt, whatever the financial limitations of the credit squeeze, the Final Call yard will witness the visit of many an aspirant horseman between now and the departure of this lot for Germiston in the closing weeks of March.
Among the early entries is a daughter of America’s hottest young stallion, Street Cry, now boasting an incredible nine Grade One winners from his first three North American crops. Eight of these are from his first two crops, while his third crop has already yielded another as a juvenile in 2008. Down Under, where Street Cry got off to a rather belated start by their standards, he now has two Grade One performers from his first classic crop, including what is arguably the best three-year-old in Australia at the moment, Caulfield Guineas (Gr.1) hero, Whobegotyou.
This fellow’s another example of why there’s occasional folly in over-emphasizing the value of pedigree alone in your yearling selections (or for that matter, in your broodmare acquisitions). It’s the composition of these things, and their combination with the physicals and athleticism of the animal that counts, and the fact that Whobegotyou was offered at as modest a reserve as $25000 as a yearling (which he failed to reach, and he was subsequently sold for $17500) is testimony to this belief. There was hardly a Black type horse in sight in his female line, besides his Listed placed first dam.
The Summerhill draft is sure to be the subject of some intrigue, if only for the fact that it includes the only daughter of Street Cry on offer in South Africa this year.
Watch Whobegotyou winning the 2008 Caulfied Guineas.