This year’s group of new sires might be smaller than usual but with the likes of Baaeed, Blackbeard and Stradivarius retiring for 2023, breeders are not short on either quality or variety
Sea The Stars – Aghareed (Kingmambo)
Standing: Nunnery Stud
Over the course of 11 races the Shadwell homebred revealed himself to be a truly exceptional racehorse, winning ten times and six Group 1s across two sensational seasons. Unraced at two, the William Haggas-trained talent quickly made up for lost time as he rattled through bloodless victories at Leicester, Newmarket (twice) and Goodwood, the latter effort a six-and-a-half length romp in the Thoroughbred Stakes.
He was upped to Group 1 company on just his fifth outing and duly landed the Prix du Moulin from the battle-hardened Order Of Australia. His three-year-old campaign ended with a sixth straight success in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, in which he got the better of seven previous Group 1 winners headed by the top-class miler Palace Pier.
At four, Baaeed was kept exclusively to elite company as he landed three more Group 1 contests over a mile, namely the Lockinge, Queen Anne and Sussex Stakes, showing stacks of natural pace and an irresistible turn of foot on each occasion. Connections stepped him up in trip for the Juddmonte International and he passed that test with flying colours to deny Mishriff by a yawning six-and-a-half lengths.
His York effort was awarded an official rating of 135, which was not only the highest turf figure in the world in 2022 but the first time since Frankel that such a lofty mark has been allocated. However, his swansong did not go to script as he could finish only fourth, albeit beaten only a length-and-three-quarters, behind Bay Bridge in the Champion Stakes.
Baaeed is the highest-rated horse by Sea The Stars. He is the fifth foal out of Aghareed, a Listed winner over ten furlongs, a lineage that makes him a full-brother to Coronation Cup hero Hukum. He is bred on the Sea The Stars – Kingmambo cross that has produced eight black-type winners, including fellow Group 1 scorers Cloth Of Stars and Zelzal. Fittingly given he was bred by the late Hamdan Al Maktoum, his page traces back to the sheikh’s blue hen mare Height Of Fashion.
New Bay – Alava (Anabaa)
Standing: Ballylinch Stud
Teme Valley Racing purchased this colt for 200,000gns at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and he quickly showed himself to be money well spent as he made an impressive winning debut in mid-July of his two-year-old year season.
He won just one more race that campaign, albeit an important one in the Champagne Stakes, and confirmed himself among the best of his generation by running third in two Group 1s. He ran behind Native Trail in the Dewhurst Stakes and then Luxembourg in the Vertem Futurity Trophy, when finding his run repeatedly blocked at the business end.
He didn’t cut much ice on his first three starts at three but ran much better than his finishing position suggests when beaten only two lengths into seventh by Coroebus in the St James’s Palace Stakes, when the rub of the green again went against him.
With blinkers applied, the Roger Varian-trained runner resumed winning ways in the Fortune Stakes before putting up a career-best performance on his final outing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He was waited with in rear but showed a fine attitude and an even better turn of foot to catch the more prominently ridden Modern Games and Jadoomi to win going away by a length and a quarter.
Bred by Ballylinch Stud, who retained an interest after selling the colt as a yearling, Bayside Boy is the eighth and best foal out of the Listed-winning Alava, whose other offspring include two-time Group 2 winner Forest Ranger. He is by Ballylinch’s rising star New Bay, for whom Bayside Boy was part of a notable British Champions Day double along with Champion Stakes hero Bay Bridge.
No Nay Never – Muirin (Born To Sea)
Blackbeard’s racing career spanned just the solitary season but he packed plenty into his eight starts, running every month from April to September, winning six times and landing back-to-back Group 1 prizes to be crowned the Cartier champion two-year-old colt.
He went unbeaten through his first three runs, winning a Dundalk maiden and the First Flier Stakes over five furlongs before stepping up to six to claim the Marble Hill Stakes in impressive fashion. He was in the frame in the Coventry and Railway Stakes, beaten just a short head in the latter, before resuming winning ways in the Prix Robert Papin.
He returned to France for his first Group 1 assignment in the Prix Morny, in which he prevailed by a game half-length from July Stakes scorer Persian Force.
Blackbeard packed plenty into his eight starts, running every month from April to September, winning six times and landing back-to-back Group 1 prizes to be crowned the Cartier champion two-year-old colt.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt pitched up in the Middle Park Stakes for his next outing and flashed his brilliance to beat his stablemate The Antarctic by two lengths, while third and fourth went the way of Persian Force and subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint hero Mischief Magic respectively. He was being prepared for the Breeders’ Cup when a small chip in his knee was discovered after exercise and he was retired from racing.
A 270,000gns Tattersalls December Foal Sale purchase through Jamie McCalmont, the Coolmore and Westerberg-owned colt is one of seven Group/Grade 1 winners by No Nay Never, whose fee has been upped to €175,000 for 2023. Blackbeard was bred by Newstead Breeding from Muirin, a winning daughter of Born To Sea who ran fourth in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. In turn Muirin is out of Pivotal’s Group 3 Phoenix Sprint-winning daughter Girouette.
Mehmas – Shoshoni Wind (Sleeping Indian)
Standing: Overbury Stud
Overbury Stud have already worked wonders with one Flying Childers Stakes winner in Ardad, and now launch the career of another in the 2021 hero Caturra. A typically speedy and precocious son of Mehmas, the Clive Cox-trained colt ran eight times between April and September of his juvenile year, winning three races along the way. He readily landed a Bath novice event before his first black-type victory in the Rose Bowl Stakes.
A typically speedy and precocious son of Mehmas, the Clive Cox-trained colt ran eight times between April and September of his juvenile year, winning three races along the way.
His third victory was gained in the Flying Childers Stakes when he showed a good attitude to fend off the short-priced favourite Armor. He rounded out his first season in training when fifth, beaten only a length and a half, by Perfect Power in the Middle Park Stakes. He couldn’t add to his tally at three but was placed in black-type company on three further occasions, most notably when third behind his elders in the King George at Glorious Goodwood.
Bred by Tally-Ho Stud, Blandford Bloodstock’s 110,000gns Book 2 buy is the fifth foal out of the speedy Shoshoni Wind, a three-time winner and Listed-placed daughter of Sleeping Indian.
Midnight Legend – Giving (Generous)
Standing: Alne Park Stud
David and Kathleen Holmes’ dream of turning the last colt they bred by their rags-to-riches sire Midnight Legend into a stallion has, against all odds, come to fruition with Midnights Legacy taking up residence at Dan and Grace Skelton’s Alne Park Stud.
The dual-purpose performer won eight of his 26 starts during four seasons in training with Alan King, with five Flat successes and three over hurdles. Although he did not gain black type under either code, his finest moments on turf came when winning back-to-back runnings of the competitive Northern Dancer Handicap at Epsom, for the latter of which he was given an official rating of 101.
David and Kathleen Holmes’ dream of turning the last colt they bred by their rags-to-riches sire Midnight Legend into a stallion has, against all odds, come to fruition with Midnights Legacy
His seven starts over hurdles don’t appear to have revealed the full extent of his ability as a jumper as his victories at Plumpton, Ludlow and Fontwell were gained by a cumulative by 20 and a half lengths, the latest of which was his most impressive as a seven-length romp saw his rating rise to 130.
He is out of the winning Generous mare Giving, making him a full-brother to the Listed-winning juvenile hurdler Midnights’ Gift, while his Passing Glance half-sister Giving Glances also won a Listed hurdle race during the first half of her four-year-old campaign. His dam is a sibling to the Listed-winning Flat runners Burn The Breeze and Lethals Lady; the latter was also runner-up in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes. Giving’s six winning siblings also include the dam of Champion Hurdle hero Katchit.
Mehmas – Pardoven (Clodovil)
Standing: Derrinstown Stud
Mehmas is firmly established as one of the brightest young names among the stallion ranks and now breeders have access to his highest-rated son in Minzaal. A 140,000gns yearling purchase by Shadwell, he went into training with Owen Burrows and quickly made up into one of the most talented two-year-olds of his generation by winning a Salisbury novice before putting up an even more impressive display to land the Gimcrack Stakes.
He rounded out his first season in training with a third-place finish behind Supremacy and Lucky Vega in the Middle Park Stakes.
Although he had something of a truncated three-year-old season, he highlighted the class he possessed with another Group 1 third in the British Champions Sprint Stakes won by Creative Force.
It can be taken as a sign of the faith that connections had in Minzaal that they persevered at four, and they were rewarded when he won the Hackwood Stakes and, on his final outing, the Haydock Sprint Cup, in which he travelled with typical zest before sprinting clear of Emaraaty Ana for an impressive three and three-quarter length success. He was awarded an official rating of 121 for his Haydock romp.
Bred by Ringfort Stud, Minzaal is the fourth foal and second winner out of the Clodovil made Pardoven. She did not make the track herself but she is out of Dancing Prize, a daughter of Sadler’s Wells who finished third in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, which makes Pardoven a sibling to four black-type performers, including the Group 3-placed Firebet and Seeking The Prize.
Dubawi – Come Alive (Dansili)
Standing: Kildangan Stud
New Bay and Night Of Thunder have done plenty to raise Dubawi’s stock as a sire of sires and Kildangan Stud have added arguably his fastest son to its roster for 2023. Bred and raced by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby, Naval Crown won four of his 20 career starts and collected close to £1 million in prize-money, with eight places to his name as well.
He broke his maiden in the Convivial at York and brought the curtain down on his two-year-old campaign with placings in the Prix la Rochette and Prix Thomas Bryon. He shipped to Dubai for the winter months, where he stepped up to a mile and won the Meydan Classic. Shortly after his return to Newmarket he ran fourth in the 2,000 Guineas and then filled the runner-up spot behind stablemate Creative Force in the Jersey Stakes.
He returned to Meydan for the start of his four-year-old campaign and duly won the Al Fahidi Fort and was fourth behind A Case Of You in the Al Quoz Sprint. Freshened up after his travels, he resumed in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes and showed his customary pace up against the stands’ rail before quickening smartly and battling on bravely to prevail by a neck from Creative Force, with Artorious, Campanelle, Highfield Princess, Kinross and Alcohol Free among those in behind. He then found only Alcohol Free too good when attempting to make all the running in the July Cup.
The rising five-year-old is a fourth generation Sheikh Mohammed homebred and is the first foal out of Come Alive, a daughter of Dansili who won the Listed Prix Amandine during her own racing career. In turn Come Alive is out of Portrayal, whose lineage goes back to Truly Special, ancestress of notable talents like Cerulean Sky, Moonstone and L’Ancresse and their talented offspring.
Ardad – Sagely (Frozen Power)
Standing: Dalham Hall Stud
This £110,000 breeze-up buy embodies so many of the attributes associated with the Kodiac line, namely pace, precocity and a thoroughly willing attitude. Those qualities combined for the first time when he landed the Coventry Stakes on his third outing for Richard Fahey, quickening through from in rear to collar Go Bears Go by a head.
He was arguably unlucky not to go unbeaten throughout the remainder of his juvenile season having endured a luckless run in the Richmond Stakes, and he atoned for that result in no uncertain terms by winning back-to-back Group 1s on his next two starts. His first top-level triumph came in the Prix Morny when he swept through to win going away, with his Richmond conqueror Asymmetric back in third. The same tactics were deployed with the same outcome next up in the Middle Park Stakes as he came from last to first to see off Castle Star, Armor and his old adversary Go Bears Go.
He resumed at three with a cosy success in the Greenham Stakes before failing to see out the mile in the 2,000 Guineas. He was returned to sprinting on his next start and produced a career-best effort to annex the Commonwealth Cup, with his customary late surge carrying him clear of Flaming Rib. He could not add to his tally in three subsequent starts but was far from disgraced against his elders in the July Cup, Prix Maurice de Gheest and British Champion Sprint Stakes.
Bred by Tally-Ho Stud, he is the best runner by Overbury Stud’s breakthrough sire Ardad, the high-class son of Kodiac. He is the first foal out of Sagely, a half-sister to the Listed-placed Sagaciously, who in turn bred the Listed-winning and Group 3-placed Epic Poet. Perfect Power’s fourth dam is Saganeca, meaning the likes of Sagamix, Sagacity and Shastye, dam of Japan, Mogul and Secret Gesture, all appear in his further family.
Mehmas – Vida Amorosa (Lope De Vega)
Standing: Tally-Ho Stud
There are real shades of Mehmas about this tough and talented colt, who begins his stallion career alongside his sire at Tally-Ho Stud. A €225,000 yearling purchase by renowned judges Peter and Ross Doyle, the Richard Hannon-trained Persian Force was sent off a well-fancied evens favourite for the Brocklesby Stakes and duly obliged with an impressive display. That effort was followed by another easy success in a Newbury conditions event before he found only Bradsell too good in the Coventry Stakes.
He made his Pattern race breakthrough in the July Stakes, which he won by a ready length and a half and had subsequent Grade 1 winner Mysterious Night back in third.
There are real shades of Mehmas about this tough and talented colt, who begins his stallion career alongside his sire at Tally-Ho Stud
He was kept to elite company thereafter and acquitted himself with real credit to finish second in the Phoenix Stakes and Prix Morny, when behind Little Big Bear and Blackbeard respectively, third in the Middle Park Stakes, when again behind Blackbeard, before a fourth-placed effort behind Mischief Magic in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Bred by Tom Lacy and pinhooked by Tally-Ho for €75,000 as a foal, Persian Force is the second foal out of Vida Amorosa, making him a brother to the dual winner and Richmond Stakes third Gubbass. The daughter of Lope De Vega is a sibling to the dam of dual Group 3-winning sprinter Garrus, who is by Mehmas’s sire Acclamation, while champion sire Danehill Dancer appears back in the family.
Bated Breath – Sky Crystal (Galileo)
Standing: Ballyhane Stud
The latest Clipper Logistics colour-bearer to join the Ballyhane Stud roster is Space Traveller, who showed high-class form across five seasons in training. He was a smart and forward juvenile, winning his first two starts in July and also finishing second in the Prix Eclipse.
He progressed throughout his three-year-old season as podium finishes in the European Free Handicap and the Carnarvon Stakes were followed by victory in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, in which he got the better of Space Blues, who went on to win three Group/Grade 1s. He gained his fourth victory three starts later when landing the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown.
He was restricted to just one start at four, when sixth behind Circus Maximus in the Queen Anne Stakes, but showed his talent remained intact at five by landing the Ganton Stakes. Soon after he left Richard Fahey’s stable for US-based trainer Brendan Walsh, and while he couldn’t add to his record he did reach the places in three Grade 1 contests, namely the Woodbine Mile, Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile, when beaten just a head by Count Again.
Bred by the El Catorce Partnership and bought by Ballyhane’s Joe Foley for 85,000gns as a yearling, Space Traveller is the fourth foal out of the winning Galileo mare Sky Crystal.
Sky Crystal’s dam is a sibling to four Pattern winners, most notably Fillies’ Mile heroine Crystal Music, as well as John Porter Stakes scorer Dubai Success, Lancashire Oaks heroine State Crystal
and May Hill Stakes victress Solar Crystal.
State Of Rest
Starspangledbanner – Repose (Quiet American)
Standing: Rathbarry Stud
There may be higher-rated horses retiring to stud in 2023 but none can boast the cast iron constitution of State Of Rest. Not only did the globetrotting son of Starspangledbanner win four Group/Grade 1 prizes but he became the first thoroughbred in history to land three consecutive top-level races on three different continents.
He was a smart juvenile, winning a Fairyhouse maiden on debut before four starts in Pattern company, most notably when third behind Chindit in the Champagne Stakes, but it was at three that State Of Rest really began to show his true colours.
Joseph O’Brien sent his charge to the US for the Saratoga Derby Invitational, which he duly won by a length. He then shipped to the southern hemisphere to tackle one of Australia’s most prestigious races, the Cox Plate, and took his top-flight tally to two with a gutsy victory over Anamoe, who subsequently landed five Group 1s to give the form a decidedly solid look.
He returned to Europe for his next start and proceeded to see off Pretty Tiger and Sealiway to rack up a remarkable hat-trick in the Prix Ganay. He was beaten only half a length when third in a Tattersalls Gold Cup that didn’t really see him to maximum advantage, but swiftly resumed the winning thread with an all-the-way success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, seeing off Bay Bridge by a length.
State Of Rest is the second foal out of Repose, an unraced daughter of Quiet American from a deep family. She is a half-sister to two Listed winners in Prince Alzain and Echo River, while her dam, the Listed-winning Monaassabaat, is a daughter of champion two- and three-year-old It’s In The Air. All manner of notable talents appear back in the pedigree, including the likes of Balanchine, Coroebus and Thunder Snow.
Repose, who was purchased privately by Juddmonte in foal to Frankel back in May, has produced one other winner in Tranquil Lady, a dual Group 3 winner and 2,700,000gns purchase by Godolphin during this year’s December Mares Sale.
Sea The Stars – Private Life (Bering)
Standing: The National Stud
Bjorn Nielsen’s homebred offers breeders access to one of the most popular, sound and talented racehorses of recent times, with the son of Sea The Stars having won no fewer than 20 races during seven remarkable seasons in training with John Gosden.
Although known for his exploits over marathon trips, Stradivarius possessed the speed to break his maiden over a mile at two, a feat that will come as no surprise to those who have seen his athletic physique and eyecatching walk in the flesh. At three he progressed in leaps and bounds, improving from Bath handicap win to his first Group 1, the Goodwood Cup, in just four runs.
He resumed at four with a smooth success in the Yorkshire Cup, and thus began an unbeaten run of ten races that took in four more Group 1 prizes, namely his first two Gold Cups and his second and third Goodwood Cups.
His third Gold Cup, gained at the age of six, rates a career highlight as he showed his customary enthusiasm and potent turn of foot before storming ten lengths clear of Nayef Road. He added a fourth Goodwood Cup to his resume on his next outing, taking his Group 1 tally to seven.
Although he was unable to add any further top-level prizes to his record, he won four more races, including a third Yorkshire Cup, a third Lonsdale Cup and a second Doncaster Cup. He retired with 18 Group wins to his name, more than any other European-trained horse.
Out of the Listed-placed Bering mare Private Life, Stradivarius is a sibling to five winners, including the German Group 3 scorer Persian Storm. His dam is a sibling to four black-type performers, including the Listed scorer Parisienne, whose daughter Patineuse bred dual hemisphere Group 1 hero Protectionist. A whole host of Wildenstein celebrities appear back in the pedigree, including Stradivarius’s third dam Pawneese, while names like Peintre Celebre and Persian King appear a further generation back.
Stradivarius’ stud career has been launched with an array of enticing incentives attached. For instance, the breeder of any Group 1 winner in Britain, Ireland or France from his first crop will receive a bonus of £250,000, while the breeders of any Group 2 and Group 3 winners will each receive £100,000.
Kingman – Waldlerche (Monsun)
Standing: Knockhouse Stud
National Hunt breeders will gain access to a notably well-bred sort in Knockhouse Stud’s new recruit, who is standing in partnership with his co-breeders Gestut Ammerland. Injury restricted Waldkonig to just five starts, but even that was enough to show himself to be well above average, as he won three races, including the Gordon Richards Stakes on his final outing.
The son of Kingman hails from the famous German ‘W’ family and is the fourth foal out of Waldlerche, making him a half-brother to Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Waldgeist, who now stands at Ballylinch Stud, and Prix de Malleret scorer Waldlied. His dam, a Group 3-placed daughter of Monsun, is a half-sister to St Leger victor Masked Marvel, who has already made his mark as a sire of Grade 1-winning jumpers with Teahupoo.
Classy French intake
At a fee of €20,000, Mishriff rates the priciest new recruit to the French stallion ranks. The son of Make Believe, who hails from the same famed Prince Faisal family as Invincible Spirit and Kodiac, will stand under the Sumbe banner at Montfort et Preaux having won the Prix du Jockey Club, Dubai Sheema Classic and the Juddmonte International, as well as the valuable Saudi Cup.
Not only is Sealiway a new stallion for French breeders to conjure with, he is standing at a new stud as his owners, the Chehboub family, have transformed part of the Quesnay estate into Haras de Beaumont, where the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and Champion Stakes-winning son of Galiway will stand at €12,000. A stone’s throw away from Beaumont’s gates is Haras de Bouquetot, which will introduce Zoffany’s National Stakes-winning son Thunder Moon at €6,000. Fellow Group 1 winner Mare Australis, the son of Australia who landed the Prix Ganay, enters the fold at Haras de la Hetraie at a fee of €4,500.
Phoenix Stakes scorer Ebro River, a son of Galileo Gold, has been recruited by Haras de la Haie Neuve and introduced at a fee of €4,000, while breeders also have the option of using a son of Wootton Bassett, with Poule d’Essai des Poulains runner-up Texas joining Haras du Hoguenet at €3,800, and Zarak, with the Group 3-winning Lavello standing at Haras du Lion at €3,500.
Germany only has one new stallion in 2023 but he is a significant addition with Torquator Tasso entering service at Gestut Auenquelle at a fee of €20,000. The son of the much-missed Adlerflug is best remembered for his famous victory in the 2021 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but he also won two other Group 1s during a stellar career, namely the Grosser Preis von Berlin and the Grosser Preis von Baden.
Hugely enthusiastic response to Baaeed
With a significant downsizing of its global numbers and the passing of founder Hamdan Al Maktoum, Shadwell has endured some significant turbulence in its recent past. However, with Sheikh Hamdan’s daughter Sheikha Hissa now at the helm, the Shadwell machine has been operating at full tilt in 2022 and enters into the new year with two hugely exciting stallion prospects that neatly bookend both sides of the market in world champion Baaeed and Group 1-winning sprinter Minzaal.
“Baaeed has been very popular,” reports Stephen Collins, Shadwell’s European bloodstock manager. “We had him at Beech House during the December Sales and we had between 700 and 800 people come through to see him over the four days. We’ve had a hugely enthusiastic response to the horse and when breeders got to see him in the flesh and saw his quality and his athleticism they were very impressed.
“We’ve had nominations coming in on a daily basis and we’re gathering together a very good group of mares for his first year at stud. There’s no question that he’ll be oversubscribed so we’re delighted with the response.”
Although a rationalisation of the broodmare band means Baaeed may not receive the volume of home support that previous retirees have, he will lack for nothing in terms of quality. Group 1 winners Eshaada and Nazeef are among the Shadwell mares, all of whom will either be Group winners or the dams of Group winners, in his debut book.
On Minzaal, Collins says: “He’s going down a treat and he ticks all the boxes for the Irish market. He was a very speedy juvenile and a Group 1 horse at two, three and four.
“Minzaal is a very good-looking individual and he’s attracting an awful lot of attention. We’re very pleased with the mares that have been put up to him and particularly because of the kinds of breeders who are already supporting him. He’s another who will be fully booked.”
Collins adds: “Last year was a difficult year for all at Shadwell and Derrinstown but this year, to have a world champion turf horse like Baaeed and Mehmas’s top-rated son Minzaal is just wonderful. If you throw in Hukum with Owen Burrows and Malathaat in America, it’s been a great year.
“It’s particularly poignant with Baaeed that Sheikh Hamdan bought Height Of Fashion from her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and five generations later the family has arguably produced the best horse it’s ever had. Sheikh Hamdan would have loved that and I know Sheikha Hissa and her family have got fantastic enjoyment out of that too.”
‘We’re in a strong position’ – hopes high for Stradivarius
Having gained 18 Group victories, including seven top-flight contests, over seven seasons in training, Stradivarius is a bonafide racing celebrity. However, while people know all about Stradivarius’s achievements on the track, Joe Bradley, the National Stud’s Head of Bloodstock, says the son of Sea The Stars offers so much more than just his deep race record.
“We had our open house during the breeding stock sales and Stradivarius went down incredibly well,” he says. “He’s not the traditional staying horse in terms of his physique; he’s strong and almost has a bit of a sprinting look to him. When people see that they’ve been taken aback a bit.
“The other huge positive is his ability to walk. Coming off the back of the foal sales, that’s what everyone is looking for in the progeny of these stallions, horses who can walk, so I think breeders really paid attention to his movement.”
Bradley continues: “He is letting down well and he’s very happy in his new routine. We couldn’t have asked for him to settle in any better. We’re in a strong position in terms of nominations and breeding rights have, bar a few, all been sold. It’s so interesting seeing the different types of mares in terms of distances that people are sending. We’ve had a range from some nice six- and seven-furlong mares through to the mile to mile-and-a-quarter types.”
Reflecting on the significance of standing one of the few genuine equine household names from recent years, Bradley adds: “It’s huge to have such a high-profile horse. He’s a legend, a big personality, and everybody knows him across the world. We’re really proud to have him and we’re excited about what the future holds. When you go up to the stallion unit in the morning it’s really cool to see Stradivarius looking over the door at you.”
All eyes on Flightline in the US
All eyes will be on Flightline as he embarks on his stud career at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, writes Nancy Sexton. The unbeaten son of Tapit ran just the six times but such was his brilliance that he quickly became regarded as one of America’s greats. A $1 million yearling, the early part of his career was temporarily halted by a superficial hindquarter injury yet he rapidly made up for lost time to reel off four consecutive Grade 1 victories for trainer John Sadler capped by an eight-and-a-half length romp in the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. Six lengths was his smallest winning margin in Grade 1 company while his eight-and-a-quarter length victory in the Classic over fellow Grade 1 winners Life Is Good, Rich Strike, Olympiad and Happy Saver is the widest margin ever recorded in the race.
Shortly after his Breeders’ Cup romp, a 2.5 per cent fractional interest in the horse was put up for auction at the Keeneland November Sale. Until then, various industry estimates had placed Flightline’s value at $50 – 75 million. The sale of the interest changed all that, with Fred Seitz’s winning bid of $4.6 million on behalf of an undisclosed client setting the horse’s value at an astronomical $184 million.
Flightline retires as the world’s highest-rated horse of 2022 and his first-year fee has been set at $200,000. He is backed by a powerful syndicate and judging by the array of expensive mares bought at the Kentucky winter breeding stock sales to join his first book, is going to be deservedly extremely well supported.
With no fewer than five new names, however, it is Coolmore’s American arm Ashford Stud who numerically holds the aces when it comes to first-year stallions.
It’s a powerful quintet that offers something for everyone. There’s a champion two-year-old in Corniche, a son of Quality Road who debuts at $30,000, and a Classic winner in last year’s Preakness Stakes hero Early Voting, a son of the red-hot Gun Runner who has been installed at $25,000. Golden Pal, by Ashford stalwart Uncle Mo, brings brilliant turf sprint form to the table at a fee of $30,000, while Jack Christopher swept the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, H. Allen Jerkens and Woody Stephens Stakes during a stellar career that saw him beaten only once. By successful Ashford sire Munnings, he starts his new career at $45,000.
In December, it was also announced that Ashford had further strengthened its squad by adding the Grade 1 Travers Stakes hero Epicenter. Also second in the Kentucky Derby, the colt is first son of the rapidly ascendant Not This Time – the most successful American sire son of former Ashford champion Giant’s Causeway – to stud. He will stand for $45,000.
Over at WinStar Farm, flamboyant front-runner Life Is Good has been installed at $100,000 following a career that included four Grade 1 wins led by the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. At the other end of the price spectrum, WinStar’s Nashville ($15,000) promises to be popular at his level given the speed that the son of Speightstown showed in a career highlighted by a win in the 6f Perryville Stakes.
Life Is Good shares his sire Into Mischief with Juddmonte Farm’s Mandaloun ($25,000), who won the 2021 Kentucky Derby on the disqualification of Medina Spirit. Also successful in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, Mandaloun hails from Juddmonte’s respected Daring Diva family.
Spendthrift Farm, meanwhile, has bolstered its increasingly powerful presence in the Bluegrass by adding five-time Grade 1 winner Jackie’s Warrior ($50,000), the first horse to win Grade 1 races at three consecutive Saratoga meetings, last year’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and Haskell Invitational scorer Cyberknife ($30,000) and Belmont Stakes hero Mo Donegal ($20,000).
Jackie’s Warrior isn’t the only son of the popular Maclean’s Music to retire for 2023 since Gainesway Farm welcomes fellow Grade 1-winning sprinter Drain The Clock ($10,000). He joins a roster that has also been strengthened by the addition of last year’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Cup winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Olympiad ($30,000), a well-related son of Speightstown.
Darley adds two Grade 1 winners to its Jonabell Farm roster in Dubai World Cup hero Mystic Guide ($15,000) and last year’s Carter Handicap winner Speaker’s Corner ($20,000), who represents the essence of the operation being by Street Sense and out of a Bernardini mare.
Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Idol ($10,000), a Curlin brother to top three-year-old filly Nest, has retired to Taylor Made Farm while the durable Grade 1 winner Happy Saver heads to Airdrie Stud at a fee of $12,500.
Speed, meanwhile, is of the essence for Mill Ridge Farm’s new stallion Aloha West ($10,000), a son of Hard Spun whose six wins included the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.