The last time a non Coolmore stallion claimed the British and Irish sires championship was as long ago as 1989, when the achievements of Nashwan and Snow Bride helped hoist Kentucky’s Blushing Groom atop of the standings.
Much of that stranglehold naturally pays tribute to the dominance of Sadler’s Wells and his son Galileo, and despite the success of Dubawi and momentum behind Frankel, there seems little chance of a change – at least as long as Galileo is around.
Any notion Galileo might relinquish his crown in 2019 was swiftly dispelled early on in a year that would come to yield approximately £16.145 million in prize-money across Europe. Of that total, £11.945 million was won in Britain and Ireland to hand him an 11th sires’ championship.
Highflyer’s total of 13 championships is within reach and it doesn’t take too much imagination to envisage Galileo also surpassing the record of 14 set by Sadler’s Wells.
More immediately, he looks poised to become the most successful stallion in Epsom Derby history, having equalled the record of four (held jointly by Montjeu, Blandford, Sir Peter Teazle, Waxy and Cyllene) when Anthony Van Dyck came out on top in a desperate finish to last year’s renewal.
Anthony Van Dyck was one of 11 Group/Grade 1 winners for Galileo in 2019. Hermosa set the ball rolling in the 1,000 Guineas and was followed in due course by another Classic winner in Sovereign, who landed quite the shock win in the Irish Derby.
Fellow three-year-olds Circus Maximus developed into a Group 1-winning miler and Japan captured the Grand Prix de Paris and Juddmonte International, while a quintet of juvenile stakes winners was led by the Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Love.
If anything, Galileo’s battalion of older representatives were even more impressive, including the likes of Arc hero Waldgeist, the Irish and QIPCO British Champion Stakes winner Magical and tough globe-trotter Magic Wand, whose victory in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington in November provided Galileo with an 84th Group/Grade 1 winner to place him on an equal record footing with Danehill; as such, another record is on the cusp of falling.
The 2019 leading British and Irish sires table also represents a fine illustration of Galileo’s growing reach across the breed. His best son Frankel is the leading British-based representative in fourth position while Nathaniel breaks into the top ten in ninth thanks to the earners of almost £2 million, a total buoyed by his outstanding daughter Enable.
Nor must we forget the influence of Galileo’s dam Urban Sea, whose younger son Sea The Stars enjoyed a major year of his own thanks to the winners of £4.164 million. Although well adrift of Galileo’s total, it was still enough to place him in second to hand sons of Urban Sea a remarkable sweep of the top two places.
Sea The Stars’ year was headlined by two champions in Stradivarius, who once again dominated the stayers’ division, and Anthony Oppenheimer’s Star Catcher, whose season saw her progress from a maiden win to victories in the Irish Oaks, Prix Vermeille and QIPCO British Champions Fillies/Mares Stakes.
Another representative, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner Crystal Ocean, ended the year as the Longines joint world’s best horse on a rating of 128 alongside Enable and Waldgeist.
Sea The Stars’ progeny are generally progressive horses that come into their own with patience. They tend to be tough and sound, and are well liked by trainers, attributes that will continue to stand him in good stead as his first post-Harzand crops start to filter through.
Classic year for Frankel
2019 was also a year in which Juddmonte’s Frankel consolidated his position as one of the world’s elite stallions. Britain’s leading sire was represented by the winners of almost £3.5 million in Britain and Ireland, among them nine stakes winners. Two of them – the Oaks scorer Anapurna and unbeaten St Leger winner Logician – scored at Classic level.
Another, Quadrilateral, looked potential Classic material when winning the Fillies’ Mile. There is also five-year-old Veracious to look forward to as she stays in training following a productive season that featured a win in the Falmouth Stakes and placings in the Sun Chariot and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Several of Frankel’s statistics – namely 14% Group winners to runners – make for impressive reading. He also continues to have the assistance of large, well-connected books from some of the world’s most successful breeders, notably of course Juddmonte.
With all that going for him, he appeals as a champion sire in the making – though perhaps once Galileo is out of the way.
Two-year-olds propel Shamardal
Enveloping Frankel in third and fifth are the Darley stalwarts Shamardal and Dubawi.
Responsible for the winners of £3.5 million in Britain and Ireland in 2019, Shamardal has operated as a private stallion to the Maktoum family since 2016 and it was that first privately bred crop that did him most service in 2019 as the source of three unbeaten juveniles.
Pinatubo was deservedly crowned the year’s champion two-year-old colt by virtue of impressive wins in the Dewhurst and National Stakes. But there is also the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes winner Earthlight to consider as well as Victor Ludorum, winner of the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. As such, he ended 2019 as Europe’s champion two-year-old sire.
An outstanding year for Shamardal also included a Classic winner in Castle Lady, successful in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, and Blue Point, who swept the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Dubawi’s total of £3.493 million was enhanced by the presence of 12 stakes winners, a figure second only to Galileo. Too Darn Hot, that brilliant juvenile of 2018, returned to winning ways in the Prix Jean Prat and Sussex Stakes, while further afield, Group 1 victories were registered by Ghaiyyath in the Grosser Preis Von Baden, Coronet in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Prix Jean Romanet and Old Persian in the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes.
Two stallions broke the three-figure barrier in terms on number of winners.
Kodiac, long regarded as something of a winner-producing machine for Tally-Ho Stud, led the way with no fewer than 135 individual scorers from 334 runners. That provided the son of Danehill with a ratio of 40% winners to runners, the same figure as Yeomanstown Stud’s Dark Angel, the other stallion to hit three figures with 109 to his credit.
In terms of earnings, Dark Angel had the measure of Kodiac thanks to the earners of £3.164 million. As a result, Dark Angel ended the year in sixth on the leading sires’ list ahead of Kodiac in seventh on £2.736 million.
Both also supplied Group 1 winners during the course of 2019; Dark Angel is responsible for that outstanding sprinter Battaash while Kodiac was on the mark courtesy of Fairyland and Hello Youmzain, successful in the Flying Five Stakes and Betfair Sprint Cup during a golden period in September.
Meanwhile, one place behind Kodiac in terms of earnings was his older half-brother Invincible Spirit, whose total of £2.384 million was enhanced by the presence of seven stakes winners led by 2,000 Guineas hero Magna Grecia.
More importantly, however, 2019 was also the year that intensified Invincible Spirit’s reputation as a major sire of sires, primarily through the deeds of Kingman, Europe’s leading second-crop sire. Widely recognised as one of Europe’s most exciting sires, Kingman appeals as a likely candidate to break into the top ten in 2020.