This year has been notable for the continued influence of Juddmonte’s Dansili through his sons Zoffany and Bated Breath.
Dansili has been one of Europe’s premier sires. The first of a remarkable seven stakes winners for his outstanding dam Hasili, Dansili didn’t quite crack Group 1 company although he finished second or third six times at the highest level. But his Timeform rating of 127 tells us just how good the son of Danehill was at the races, especially as it was combined with a very powerful pedigree.
Remarkably, even at 127, Dansili wasn’t the highest rated performer out of his dam. Two years after foaling Dansili, Hasili produced his brilliant own-sister Banks Hill, who won three Group 1s, including the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Then, a year later, came the Green Desert filly Heat Haze, a two-time Grade 1 winner, followed by Intercontinental, Cacique and Champs Elysees – all by Danehill and all winners at the highest level.
Dansili retired late to stud at just £8,000 and there’s good reason to believe that many breeders had already committed their mares elsewhere when his retirement was announced. We now know that his second book of mares was classier than his first, as his 11 second-crop stakes winners compared to six in his first bear out.
“It is still unclear if the Dansili male line will survive over the long term”
Ever since second-crop star Rail Link won the Arc as a three-year-old in 2006, Dansili didn’t look back, siring Group 1 winners in each of his next nine crops. Nor was the 132-rated Rail Link to be his best offspring.
That honour goes to the outstanding 140-rated Harbinger, who crowned a glorious four-year-old season in 2010 with a brilliant victory in the King George at Ascot.
His career percentage of stakes winners to runners (11.8%) puts him firmly among the elite stallions and only Pivotal (150) and Dubawi (175) among British sires have bettered his 138 stakes winners.
It is still unclear if the Dansili male line will survive over the long term as he’s yet to unearth a top-class stallion son. But this year, the two aforementioned sons are doing all they can to be that all-important heir.
Just like his sire, Bated Breath is a Juddmonte homebred and also like his sire, he tried hard to earn the coveted Group 1-winner status, being runner-up on four separate occasions in Group 1 sprints. His Timeform rating of 125 tells a more rounded story about the Group 2 winner’s true ability as a racehorse.
Again like his dad, Bated Breath retired to stud at a fee of £8,000, earning an increase to £10,000 in year three after his first crop went well at the yearling sales.
He did remarkably well to attract consistent quality in his first four years, which is not the case with most stallions. His elite mare counts of 29, 23, 24 and 20 in years one to four have stood him in good stead ever since.
As I write, Bated Breath has 11 stakes winners to his name in 2019, which is a remarkable performance, given his fee. The only British sires ranked above him are Dubawi, plus his stud companions Frankel and Kingman.
His star performer this year is the Group 2 Rockfel and Group 1 Moyglare Stakes runner-up Daahyeh, augmented by two more Group 2 winners in Space Traveller and Worth Waiting. It will be no surprise to see him attract another 100-plus book in 2020.
“We can expect to see more from Zoffany in the next few years”
Back in 2015, Coolmore’s Dansili stallion Zoffany sired no fewer than five juvenile stakes winners. At the time, only two stallions had ever sired more.
Even more impressive was the fact that included among the five were three individual Royal Ascot scorers – Waterloo Bridge, Illuminate and Washington DC. Three Royal Ascot juvenile stakes winners from a single crop had only ever been achieved once before in the history of the Pattern.
The upshot was that Zoffany attracted an outstanding book of mares the following spring, covering more elite mares than he did in his first four seasons put together.
So far, that crop has produced 19 two-year-old winners, headed by Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Albigna, supplemented by a host of progressive types, including Group horses Shekhem, A New Dawn and Soffika.
We can expect to see more from Zoffany in the next few years as his current crop of yearlings are also among his best bred.