Less than six weeks after the death of Sadler’s Wells, Epsom’s trio of Group 1 races over a mile and a half provided yet another reminder of his enormous legacy.

The Coronation Cup saw a rejuvenated St Nicholas Abbey become his sixth grandson to succeed in a race which also fell to no fewer than six of Sadler’s Wells’s sons. That’s 12 winners in the 22 years since Sadler’s Wells was represented by his first four-year-olds.

Then, in the Oaks, it briefly looked as though the magnificently-bred Wonder Of Wonders was about to become the first Oaks winner out of a Sadler’s Wells mare. She ultimately failed to overtake Dancing Rain but Sadler’s Wells was directly responsible for five winners and six seconds in the Oaks and he once recorded a one-two-three in the fillies’ Classic.

The following day saw one grandson, Treasure Beach, overhauled in the last strides by another, Pour Moi, in the Derby. Pour Moi’s victory means that seven of the last 11 Derby winners were sired either by Sadler’s Wells or were produced by one of his sons or daughters.

Although directly responsible for ‘only’ two winners of the Derby, these two – Galileo and High Chaparral – were both above average winners of the race. What’s more, Sadler’s Wells also had seven sons who finished second, while another seven colts who finished second were either sired by one of his sons or produced by one of his daughters. Only five times in the 23 years in which Sadler’s Wells has had three-year-olds has one of his descendants failed to finish first or second in the Derby, as the table opposite shows.

Thanks to Motivator, Authorized and Pour Moi, Montjeu has supplied three of the last seven Derby winners, with another two of his sons finishing second

Thanks to Galileo’s phenomenal sequence of victories in Europe’s 2011 Guineas races, he has tended to grab all the headlines, but Montjeu has also proved a remarkable source of Classic performers. Thanks to Motivator, Authorized and Pour Moi, he has supplied three of the last seven Derby winners, with another two of his sons finishing second. His sons Scorpion, Fame And Glory and St Nicholas Abbey have won three of the last five Coronation Cups.

In comparing the two sons of Sadler’s Wells, it is important to remember that Montjeu is no longer as prolific as Galileo. Whereas Treasure Beach, Frankel, Roderic O’Connor, Seville, Misty For Me, Golden Lilac, Together and Galikova come from a crop of 161, Pour Moi is one of only 78 foals in Montjeu’s 2008 crop, which also includes Recital.

And whereas Cape Blanco, Lily Of The Valley, At First Sight, Midas Touch, Gile Na Greine, etc., come from Galileo’s 2007 crop of 158, St Nicholas Abbey and his fellow Group 1 winners Jan Vermeer and Joshua Tree come from a crop of 109. The Group 2 winner Maria Royal is another member of Montjeu’s crop

This imbalance continues with their 2009 crops, with Montjeu’s 76 foals being only 42% of Galileo’s 182. Rough figures for 2010 are more than 140 foals for Galileo, compared to 68 for the two-year-older Montjeu, who reportedly covered 118 mares in 2010, compared to Galileo’s 177.

One area in which Montjeu is undoubtedly outshone by Galileo is his record as a sire of fillies. Although Montjeu has more than 30 black-type daughters in the northern hemisphere, including 17 stakes winners, only one of them – Montare – has scored at the highest level. Six – Montare, Maria Royal, Miss Keller, Mont Etoile, Clowance and Albisola – have become Group winners.

Galileo has six Group 1-winning daughters and another 13 Group winners among his 34 stakes-winning daughters. Galileo’s broodmare daughters have also made the faster start, with the Group winners Saamidd and Alexander Pope among their early runners.

The next step for the duo is to establish themselves as sires of sires. Interestingly, we may see their names linked in the future, as Parish Hall, the first winner by Galileo’s unbeaten son Teofilo, is out of a Montjeu mare (and is therefore inbred 3 x 3 to Sadler’s Wells).
The stallion careers of Montjeu’s sons are generally more advanced. Motivator’s career hasn’t been without its problems, but his first crop, numbering only 63 foals, includes a Group 2 winner and four Group-placed horses.

Hurricane Run underlined his potential when his son Memphis Tennessee belied odds of 20-1 by leading for a long way in the Derby, before finishing fourth, beaten less than two lengths. Hurricane Run’s daughters Don’t Hurry Me and Ballybacka Lady have already won at Group level and I will be surprised if there aren’t more Group winners to come from this initial crop

Authorized will no doubt be clocking up winners from his first crop by the autumn, while it will be interesting to see the first sales yearlings by Papal Bull, who gave Duke Of Marmalade such a good fight in the 2008 King George.


Statistics show popular cross can be overstated

Twenty-seven years after Darshaan had a length and a half to spare over Sadler’s Wells in the Prix du Jockey-Club, the names of these two remarkable stallions remain inextricably linked.

We were reminded of this during the first weekend in June. The two colts who fought out the Derby have pedigrees featuring these old rivals. Pour Moi is by a son of Sadler’s Wells out of a daughter of Darshaan, whereas Treasure Beach is by another son of Sadler’s Wells, out of a mare by Darshaan’s son Mark Of Esteem.

The following day’s Prix du Jockey-Club fell to Reliable Man, who is by Darshaan’s Jockey-Club-winning son Dalakhani out of a mare by Sadler’s Wells. Dalakhani has 52 foals aged three or over out of Sadler’s Wells mares, plus a sizeable number of 2011 two-year-olds. The popularity of this cross was established when five of its representatives from Dalakhani’s first crop became stakes winners, including Conduit.

In South Africa, Galileo’s Australian-bred daughter Igugu landed her second Grade 1 victory. She has a second dam by Darshaan and she has since added a third Grade 1 victory to her tally, winning the Durban July Handicap on July 2.

Two weeks earlier the potency of this cross was evident again when Wavering took the Prix Saint-Alary. Wavering’s sire Refuse To Bend – one of three 2,000 Guineas winners by Sadler’s Wells – has four Group winners to his credit and three of them are out of daughters of Darshaan. One of the others, Sarafina, won the 2010 Saint-Alary, plus the Prix de Diane.

Of course the basis of this hugely popular cross was principally the considerable success that Sadler’s Wells enjoyed with daughters of Darshaan (and to a lesser extent to Darshaan’s record of 13% stakes winners among his foals out of Sadler’s Wells mares).

High Chaparral, Islington, Milan, Quarter Moon, Septimus, Yesterday, Greek Dance and Ebadiyla provided the nick with eight Group 1 winners. Such was the nick’s reputation
that Sadler’s Wells or his sons virtually became the default setting for Darshaan mares.
The latest figures show that Darshaan’s daughters have 169 foals of racing age by Sadler’s Wells. Then there are 91 by Galileo, 81 by Barathea, 54 by Montjeu, 37 by Refuse To Bend, 21 by Entrepreneur and 14 by King’s Theatre.

Altogether, Darshaan mares have 400 foals by 37 sons of Sadler’s Wells. It is worth pointing out that so far 28 of the 400 have become stakes winners, which is 7% – a far cry from Sadler’s Wells’s own figure of 17%. The sons’ figure is little better than the overall figure of 6% stakes winners achieved by Darshaan’s daughters.

With 569 of these mares’ 2,530 foals being by Sadler’s Wells or his sons, this equates to 22.5% of their total output. They have 30 Group 1 winners, of which eight (26.7%) are by Sadler’s Wells and five (16.7%) are by his sons.

Could it be that – apart from fashion – sons of Sadler’s Wells actually have no stronger claim to Darshaan mares than other top stallions?