The European turf season is almost two months old, but we can already see familiar patterns beginning to emerge from among Europe’s leading broodmare sires. Galileo, Dubawi and Pivotal are all off to a fast start with their tallies of stakes winners and it is fairly certain that all three will still be around at the top of the table come the end of the year.

That said, it is well worth taking a look at this year’s leading broodmare sires through a different lens and see what they have achieved when they were given the best of opportunities. In other words, how have their daughters with stronger pedigrees fared? Quite often we can discover a very effective broodmare sire that might have otherwise been overlooked.

The broodmare sire by which all other must be judged in my opinion is Darshaan. This Aga Khan homebred who defeated Sadler’s Wells to win the Prix du Jockey Club in the days it was a 2,400-metre race and whose daughters then teamed up with the Coolmore colossus and his son Galileo to produce 50 of Darshaan’s s 32 stakes winners, has set an exacting standard.

His daughters’ stakes winners were produced at a ridiculously good rate of 9.2% from runners, which wasn’t far off his 13.3% strike-rate as a sire. More importantly, it is much higher than any  modern-day broodmare sire, which is to some extent due to increased book sizes. Still, it serves as a very useful benchmark as does Darshaan’s score from his elite mares, which stands at an incredible 15.5% stakes winners.

 Galileo mares have benefitted many a stallion career

Europe’s current leader in 2023 is Galileo, with his stakes winners headed by the Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner Marhaba Ya Sanafi (by Muhaarar). The Coolmore titan will be around for many a year yet as a broodmare sire and his current career score of 217 stakes winners foaled in the northern hemisphere represent 7.7% of all his daughters’ runners and 11.4% of those runners from his elite mares. There is no doubt Galileo mares have benefitted many a stallion career and his 2023 cohort are by a wide range of sires, including Dubawi (San Antonio and Final Gesture), Fastnet Rock (Via Sistina and Buckaroo) alongside Dark Angel (Angel Bleu) and his son Harry Angel (Marshman).

Dubawi is a broodmare sire that has taken full advantage and indeed played a part in the rise to greatness of Galileo’s son Frankel. There are no better examples of their successful union than the two Frankels out of the Dubawi mare Anna Salai in Adayar and Military Order, two of the seven stakes winners for the Darley sire as a broodmare sire so far this term.

The combination of Frankel with Dubawi mares has now produced 28 runners of which seven (25%) are stakes winners and five (17.9%) are Group winners, well above the norm for either sire in their own right. Of course, Dubawi mares completed the Lingfield Oaks and Derby Trial double, thanks to Eternal Hope, a daughter of Teofilo, who like Frankel has an identical seven stakes winners from 28 runners (25%) strike-rate from daughters of Dubawi. Interestingly, whereas Galileo (7.7%) has a better overall record than Dubawi (5%), the latter is just as good a broodmare sire judged on elite mares and there is likely to be more better-bred daughters of Dubawi coming on stream in the coming seasons.

Pivotal’s four stakes winners so far this term feature Group winners Simca Mille (Tamayuz), Good Guess (Kodiac) and Goldana (Galileo Gold), while Tenebrism (Caravaggio) has won at Listed level. The former Cheveley Park Stud sire has a rich heritage with Galileo, who has sired 12 (32.4%) of his stakes winners including a host of lovely fillies like Magical, Love, Hydrangea,  Rhododendron and Hermosa.

Pivotal mares have also struck up a very fruitful partnership with Galileo’s son Frankel, the combination numbering six stakes winners (25%), including Frankel’s highest-rated horse in Cracksman, Prix de Diane and Nassau Stakes heroine Nashwa and Falmouth Stakes winner Veracious plus Hungry Heart in Australia. As things stand, it is Pivotal among this group who owns the best record from elite mares, with a score of 11.6% stakes winners to runners.

Although not nearly as numerous, mares by Pivotal’s son Excellent Art have also had their day in the spotlight, his best-ever runner as a broodmare sire, The Revenant (Dubawi), netting a stakes victory again this year as an eight-year- old.

Oasis Dream, meanwhile, has compiled a solid record with his daughters and although he has a good record with Galileo – five stakes winners at a rate of 17.2% – none have scored at the highest level. But it’s a different story with Galileo’s son Teofilo, who has supplied five stakes winners (29.4%) out of Oasis Dream mares, including Group/Grade 1 scorers Nations Pride, Twilight Payment and Tawkeel. Oasis Dream’s long-time stud companion Dansili has also been crossed very successfully with his mares, producing five stakes winners (35.7%), though none made it to the top flight.

Among our cohort of broodmare sires with two or more stakes winners in Europe to mid-April, a few more are worthy of mention. Shamardal for one, as he is one of only four stallions with significant representation to have scored more than ten per cent stakes winners from his elite mares. His output is significantly better than that of his sire Giant’s Causeway, who is also on our list.

Danehill Dancer, responsible for the dams of Luxembourg, Minding and Circus Maximus, has also scaled the heights and, given his own sire’s record with Galileo, it is no surprise that ten of his 15 northern hemisphere foaled Group 1 winners as a broodmare sire are by Galileo or one of his sons.

With an identical 9.6% stakes winners from his elite mares as Danehill Dancer, Montjeu has done well considering he has never had much access to Sadler’s Wells-line mares, although three of his daughters’ Group/Grade 1 winners – Highland Chieftain (Gleneagles), Anapurna (Frankel) and Parish Hall (Teofilo) carry 3×2 inbreeding to the great son of Northern Dancer.

Dutch Art too has very respectable score of 8.5% from his better mares, so horses as good as Chaldean are not a total surprise. Perhaps a little less impressive is New Approach, who would have been sent some of Europe’s best mares early on in his career. Only two of his daughters have so far produced a Group 1 winner, but what’s not to like about Modern Ideals, now dam of two Guineas winners in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains hero Modern Games and 1,000 Guineas heroine Mawj.