The breeding industry certainly hasn’t been immune to the enormous change in attitudes and practices which have affected society in general over the last 50 years. Look through the statistics covering the 1965 breeding season and you will find that no Flat stallion covered more than 48 mares and even the books of the most popular National Hunt sires were comparatively modest, with Arctic Slave covering 60 mares and Vulgan 54.
Compare that to last year’s Return of Mares. Kodiac is credited with covering 234 mares, to become the busiest Flat stallion of 2014, while Getaway topped the jumping sector with an eye-watering 296. And of course it isn’t just the size of stallions’ books which has changed so dramatically. The birth of the shuttle concept was just around the corner.
One successful stallion of the 1960s was the Queen’s Derby second Aureole, whose progeny won a Derby, three St Legers and an Arc. Aureole was 24 when his last foals were conceived but his legacy still amounted to no more than 525 foals. His 233 broodmare daughters in turn went on to produce 1,450 foals.
This chain of thought was prompted when I noticed that Danehill, the most successful of the shuttle stallions, is already credited, worldwide, with being the broodmare sire of 7,060 foals of racing age – a figure which will rise considerably, as his youngest daughters are still only 11 in 2015. As a sire Danehill was directly responsible for 2,499 foals, even though he died at the age of 17.
Fortunately it is very well established that Danehill – with his 14% black-type winners – was a considerable force for good in the worldwide bloodstock industry (though this isn’t necessarily the case with all shuttle sires, as young stallions destined to disappoint can rack up large numbers of foals before their first progeny have even faced the racecourse test).
Despite a considerable rise in numbers, there has been no dilution of the cross’s success
A statistic linked to Danehill’s broodmare daughters is that they have produced 4% black-type winners, which is good without being exceptional. Of course the perspective changes considerably when we concentrate on their extraordinary record with Galileo.
When Frankel – the most exceptional representative of this cross – began to display his extraordinary talents as a two-year-old in 2010, Galileo’s total of racing-age representatives out of Danehill mares stood at 79 (with many of these being from Galileo’s five Australian crops). Inevitably, Frankel’s exploits, together with those of such as Teofilo, Roderic O’Connor, Golden Lilac and Maybe, have led to Galileo becoming the most popular choice for Danehill’s daughters. The latest figure stands at 215 foals, conceived up to and including 2012, and since then we’ve seen the likes of Intello, Romantica, Noble Mission and Tapestry add to this nick’s fame.
Despite this considerable rise in numbers, there has been no dilution of the cross’s success, with its proportion of black-type winners currently standing at an impressive 13% – and that is before most of its 2015 two-year-olds have even had a chance to prove themselves.
This year has seen the 2013 Oaks runner-up Secret Gesture become Group winner number 19 with her victory in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes and then Bondi Beach rounded the total up to 20 when he took the Group 3 Curragh Cup. This progressive colt has now won two of his three starts and has shown that he stays well enough to become a St Leger candidate. The cross also added another stakes winner when The Corsican graduated from handicaps to take the Festival Stakes, before achieving a career-best when fourth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Yet another representative, Highland Reel, was second in the Prix du Jockey-Club. Several of the cross’s other three-year-olds also have the potential to become stakes winners, a prime candidate being Sir Isaac Newton.
It will be a major surprise if there aren’t several more good winners waiting in the wings among the cross’s two-year-olds, which have a potential leader in Proconsul, a brother to Frankel and Noble Mission trained by Andre Fabre. We have already seen Deauville, a brother to The Corsican, make a winning debut for Aidan O’Brien, while others to look out for include The Major General, a €1,500,000 brother to those fine fillies Cuis Ghaire, Gile Na Greine and Scintillula, and Idaho, a 750,000gns brother to Highland Reel.
Among the other full-siblings to first-rate winners are San Francisco, a brother to Tapestry and John F Kennedy; Finn McCool, a brother to Roderic O’Connor; and Celtic Chieftain, a brother to that fine filly Maybe. There are also sisters to Intello, Maybe and Golden Lilac to look forward to among the cross’s 2014 foals.
The power of the cross has also been demonstrated in 2015 by two of its young stallions. Roderic O’Connor wasted little time in siring his first stakes winner, thanks to the Coolmore Sprint Stakes success of his first-crop daughter Great Page.
But it has been Teofilo who has added to his fine record in the Classics. He has only four crops aged three or over, but Teofilo has succeeded in siring winners of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Irish Derby and Irish St Leger, plus a second in the Oaks, a third in the Irish Derby and a fourth in the Derby. He has also had his moments with his Australian progeny, with Kermadec winning the Group 1 Doncaster Mile in 2015 and Sonntag the Group 1 Queensland Derby last year.
Teofilo’s latest Classic winner, Pleascach, comes from his fourth crop, sired when his fee had fallen to €15,000 from his initial price of €40,000. Teofilo’s quick start in 2011 with the likes of Parish Hall, Remember Alexander and Teolane ensured that his fee in his fifth season rallied to €25,000, and it has continued to rise. His 2015 yearlings were sired at €35,000 and his current foals at €50,000, so there is good reason for thinking that there should be more Classic performers to come.
Needless to say, Teofilo’s achievements should reflect well on Frankel, whose first yearlings will soon be coming under the microscope. Both Teofilo and Frankel were unbeaten champions at two, when both won the Dewhurst.
In Timeform’s view, however, Frankel was the better of the two by a margin of 7lb, at 133p compared to Teofilo’s 126. As Frankel’s rating subsequently soared to 143 and then 147, there is surely every reason to expect something special from this unique performer – even if it would be unrealistic to expect him to sire anything quite as extraordinary as himself.