Back in 2008, before Shamardal’s eldest progeny had reached the racecourse, Darley’s advertising campaign for this formidable son of Giant’s Causeway made a point of highlighting Shamardal’s relationship to Street Cry. With a touch of overstatement, his advertisements declared “He’s out of [Helsinki] a sister to Street Cry, the most exciting young sire since the mighty Danzig.”
Surely, though, it was one step too far – or too close – to consider sending daughters of Street Cry to Shamardal, as this produces a pedigree featuring the sister-and-brother team of Helsinki and Street Cry in the second generation. Put another way, this combination would create 3 x 3 to the champion two-year-old Machiavellian and 3 x 3 to the Irish Oaks winner Helen Street.
Then Shamardal’s first crop confirmed that he too was a stallion of considerable potential, with its leading light, Lope de Vega, emulating Shamardal’s victories in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey-Club. The striking aspect of Lope de Vega’s background was that he is out of a grand-daughter of Machiavellian and is therefore inbred 3 x 3 to this fast son of Mr Prospector.
The Shamardal filly – the stallion’s first foal out of a Street Cry mare – has more than justified the bold strategy
This no doubt provided Darley with enough encouragement to experiment with sending Lura, a Street Cry mare, to Shamardal in 2011. A $725,000 yearling purchase, Lura had managed only one start, when fifth of 14 in a Nottingham maiden. Despite the brevity of her career, Lura was retained by Darley on the strength of her bloodlines: she is a half-sister to English Channel, a champion turf horse in the USA, and her dam Belva was a sister to Pharma, another American Grade 1 winner. Lura also had an illustrious second dam, the champion sprinter Committed, who twice won the Prix de l’Abbaye and also landed the Nunthorpe.
Lura hadn’t had much luck at the start of her broodmare career, producing a dead foal by Singspiel in her first year, before being barren to Selkirk. However, she produced a bay Shamardal filly on April 24, 2012 and was then returned to Shamardal, this time producing a chesnut colt on May 18.
The Shamardal filly – the stallion’s first foal out of a Street Cry mare – has more than justified the bold strategy. Named Lucida, she has made an impressive start to her career, with two wins and two close seconds in her first five starts. After failing by only a neck to beat Cursory Glance in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, she reappeared only 12 days later to record a decisive victory in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes. She is clearly tough, as might be expected of a Jim Bolger filly, and takes her racing well (her fifth-place effort in the Fillies’ Mile could be attributed to unsuitably soft ground). She could be described as a chip off the old block, as Shamardal once reeled off three Group 1 victories in the space of a month.
One of the concerns about such close inbreeding is whether the inbreeding will greatly reduce the options when the animal eventually retires to stud. This isn’t a worry here, as Lucida has no Danzig or Sadler’s Wells blood.
Lucida’s efforts have played their part in making 2014 an exceptionally rewarding year for Shamardal. He ranks third behind Galileo and Invincible Spirit on the Anglo-Irish prize-money table and he is mixing it with the big boys when it comes to Group/Graded winners sired in the northern hemisphere. His 2014 total of 12 ranks him fourth behind Galileo, Deep Impact and Dubawi, ahead of such reliable performers as Tapit, Candy Ride, Dansili and Giant’s Causeway.
What is exciting about this widespread success is the fact that 11 of the 12 Group winners were sired in the five years before Shamardal’s fee soared to €50,000 on the back of his excellent first crop. There is every reason to have high hopes for all of his subsequent €50,000 crops. Of his current winners, his Eclipse Stakes hero Mukhadram and his Group 3 winner Amaron were sired at £25,000, his Group 1 Prix Vermeille winner Baltic Baroness was the result of a €20,000 fee, and so were Group 2-winning three-year-olds Bow Creek and Fintry and the UAE Classic winner Ihtimal.
Early exploits make Street Cry a huge loss
Lucida’s Rockfel Stakes success made her the best winner produced so far by Street Cry’s daughters, the eldest of whom are still only ten years old. Sadly her victory came just a matter of days after the impressive 2002 Dubai World Cup winner had had to be euthanised at the age of 16.
Street Cry will be remembered as the sire of the incomparable Zenyatta, a winner of 13 Grade 1 races including the Breeders’ Cup Classic. She was a member of Street Cry’s first crop, as was Street Sense, who became the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner to go on to success in the Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately his second Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, New Year’s Day, had to be retired soon afterwards. Other highlights included the Melbourne Cup success of his son Shocking and the exploits of two other Australian sons, Whobegotyou and Long John.
Any stallion who can sire the winners of four Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup events has to be very talented, but the comparison to Danzig mentioned elsewhere in this column proved a bit premature. Not that anyone could be blamed for getting excited by Street Cry’s early achievements. From a crop of 86 named foals, he sired 16 stakes winners, with Zenyatta and Street Sense among its four top-level winners. This crop produced ten Graded/Group winners, for a strike-rate of nearly 12%, an achievement made all the more meritorious by the fact that Street Cry had started out at $30,000 in 2003.
Inevitably these splendid early results soon sent Street Cry’s fee soaring, to the extent that it stood at $100,000 by 2008, before rising to $150,000 for the next four years. This put Street Cry on terms with the likes of AP Indy, Dynaformer and Bernardini as one of the highest-priced stallions in Kentucky.
Oddly, these higher-priced crops have so far failed to match the achievements of Street Cry’s first three crops, all sired at $30,000, but they still have time to correct this, as the last of the $150,000 crops were born in 2012 and 2013. Street Cry’s first three crops produced nine winners at Grade 1 level, four at Grade 2 and seven at Grade 3. That’s 20 Graded winners in three years. However, the next five crops (the youngest being three years old in 2014) have so far produced just two Group/Grade 1 winners in Lyric Of Light and New Year’s Day, and 13 Graded winners in all.
So what happened? Perhaps the type of mare that Street Cry received began to change as his fee rose. It is also important to remember that, of the 20 Graded/Group winners in his first three crops, only three of them were trained in Europe. Last year, though, Street Cry had 79 runners in Britain and Ireland and 15 in France, with only Emirates Queen scoring at Group level.
His cumulative Average Earnings Index in Britain and Ireland stood at an unexceptional 1.19 to the end of 2013, whereas his American figure stood at 2.20.
Despite being bred in Europe, Street Cry made his name on dirt tracks in the UAE and the USA. While he was perfectly capable of siring very good turf runners, his finest moments as a stallion came on dirt or all-weather tracks, thanks to such as Zenyatta, Street Sense, New Year’s Day, Street Boss and Street Hero.