“Five of the top seven sires of 3-Year-Olds by AEPR,
were ‘made’ on Greig Muir’s watch”
We all have our strengths in life, and we trust we offend no-one when we say we all have our weaknesses, too. In the world of racehorse breeding, there are those that specialise in strong broodmare operations, others are good at prepping yearlings or breeze-up candidates, and others make stallions. Among history’s famous stallion-makers, think of Lord Derby (Hyperion, Phalaris, Fairway, Pharos), Marcel Boussac (Tourbillon, Pharis II, Djebel etc), Senor Tesio, the Italian (Nearco, Ribot and Donatello), the American Bull Hancock’sClaiborne Farm (Sir Gallahad III, Nasrullah, Bold Ruler, Princequillo, Nijinsky, Mr.Prospector, Danzig,) and the farm eventually acquired by South African Graham Beck, John Gaines’Gainesway, which stood Blushing Groom, Lyphard, Vaguely Noble, Riverman, Unbridled and Cozzene. At Spendthrift, Leslie Combs assembled Seattle Slew, Raise A Native, Royal Charger, Exclusive Native and Caro.
Japan has the Yoshida family’s Shadai Farm (Northern Taste, Sunday Silence, King Kamehameha,Deep Impact). In the Antipodes, the New Zealander Sir Patrick Hogan is famous for Sir Tristram and his potent son Zabeel, while John Messara’sArrowfield Stud has been host to a slew of top sires kicking off with Danehill, and his exceptional sons Redoubte’s Choice and Flying Spur, while he let one slip through his fingers when, having bred Zabeel, he sold him as a yearling. Ireland has John Magnier’sCoolmore (Sadler’s Wells, Galileo, Danehill, Montjeu, Giant’s Causeway, Danehill Dancer, High Chaparral etc.), arguably the most formidable force in the stallion business in modern times. We shouldn’t forget though, Prince Khalid Abdullah’sJuddmonte Farm, home to Rainbow Quest, Oasis Dream, and Dansili, and breeder of Danehill.
Turning to South Africa, quite remarkably for a man who would’ve told you himself that he was not a true-blue horseman, but who somehow developed an intuition for what would make a good stallion, the late Graham Beck assembled the likes of Elevation, Jungle Cove, Harry Hotspur, Golden Thatch, Badger Land, National Assembly and Jallad, while from an earlier generation, we remember the Birch Brothers, whose farms were graced by the champion sires Asbestos II, Fairthorn, Highveld, Ranjit and Plum Bold.
Which raises the question, what about Summerhill? The property’s early history is characterised by Raymond Ellis of Hartford, who despite having no more than 25 mares at any one time, made the champion sires Cape Heath, Sybil’s Nephew and Masham. Of course, we’ll always have Northern Guest to shout about: he was a legend long before his passing, and if only because he came in our infancy, he will probably remain the most famous resident we’ll know. However, he is not alone. Home Guard, Liloy, National Emblem, Rambo Dancer, Fard (an Equus championship finalist alongside Fort Wood and National Assembly with his first crop), Kahal and Muhtafal have all been great servants, and all of them have either occupied the top five on the sires log at one point or another, or earned themselves a championship of sorts. Yet we’ve been saying it for a couple of years, and now there is some vindication for our view, that in the current roster, we’ve never been better served in the potential of the stallions on the farm.
On the face of it at least, they represent something of a step up on any assembly we’ve hosted before, and if logic has anything to do with outcomes, this was to be expected. But that isn’t the way this game works; it has its own rules, which often reward intuition ahead of what might appear to be obvious. That’s why some stallion masters are more successful than others in accumulating game-changing prospects, and a glance at a table just published by the Sporting Post reveals that five of the top seven sires of Three-Year-Olds by average earnings per runner, were “made” on Greig Muir’s watch. Here are the numbers:
The Alchemy Stud
Maine Chance Farm
Obviously encouraging for us is the bold showing of our young sires, whose first runners are only three, and have already made their entry into the table with their debut crops.