Rarely do you come across a stallion with the ability to exert a legacy across both sides of the Stud Book.
For instance, Habitat and Secretariat were two major pillars of the breed whose influence extended greatly through their daughters while efforts to maintain their own sire lines ultimately proved fruitless. Then there have been others, primarily those spoken of in championship circles, who have managed to do both.
It is to British breeding’s great benefit that Newmarket has been home to Pivotal for over two decades. Now the elder statesman at Cheveley Park Stud, the son of Polar Falcon is about to head into his 24th season at stud with yet another successful year in the books, whether as a sire, damsire or sire of sires.
In May, the Aga Khan’s homebred Siyarafina took the Prix Saint-Alary to become his 30th Group 1 winner, a roll of honour that opened back in 2001 when Silvester Lady won the Preis der Diana.
Pivotal’s own finest moment had come by virtue of a desperate short-head victory in the 1996 Nunthorpe Stakes but in Silvester Lady, there was immediate proof of a versatility that was further endorsed as other middle-distance performers such as Sariska and Golden Apples emerged to complement sprinters Kyllachy and Brando, alongside milers such as Excellent Art and Lightning Spear.
“There was an inkling early on that Pivotal could become a force in this area”
All the while, a clutch of sons have ensured that his legacy will remain in fine fettle for some time to come. Kyllachy was a friend of British breeding for many years alongside his sire at Cheveley Park while small numbers have proven to be no barrier to Farhh, who continues to go from strength to strength for Darley. But the undoubted star is the Aga Khan’s Siyouni. Now priced at €100,000 at
Haras de Bonneval, he currently leads the way within a resurgent French stallion industry as the sire of 34 stakes winners, among them Sottsass and Laurens; indeed, with Sottsass’ Group 1 exploits heading the way among eight other stakes winners across France, Siyouni is due to end 2019 as the second leading sire in France behind Galileo.
However, as we all know, it is as a broodmare sire where Pivotal has really excelled.
There was an inkling early on that Pivotal could become a force in this area and by 2012, there was a first Group 1 winner when Mayson took the July Cup. At that stage, the majority of his daughters in operation were those bred off cheap fees – it wasn’t until 2002 that Pivotal hit £10,000.
Pivotal went on to stand for a high of £85,000 in 2007 and 2008 and hasn’t stood officially for less than £40,000 since, meaning there is a swathe of well-bred daughters waiting in the pipeline. Collectively, they are now living up to expectations.
Those early representatives included Juddmonte’s homebred Winsili, winner of the 2013 Nassau Stakes, a North American champion in Main Sequence and a first Classic winner in Harbour Law.
Rhododendron then led home a one-two for the Galileo-Pivotal cross when defeating Hydrangea in the 2016 Fillies’ Mile; between them, those fillies went on to land another four Group 1 races.
Other Classic winners Precieuse (Poule d’Essai des Pouliches) and Olmedo (Poule d’Essai des Poulains) followed in 2017 and 2018 alongside a multiple Group 1 winner in Cracksman and top sprinter in Mabs Cross.
The leading British and Irish broodmare sire of 2017 and 2018, Pivotal’s standing as one of the great broodmare sires of the recent era gained even greater legs in 2019 as 17 stakes winners came his way in Britain and Ireland, second to only Galileo on 19.
Yet, as the Owner Breeder sire lists show, he was the dominant sire in terms of prize-money thanks to the winners of over £7.33 million; well adrift in second was Danehill Dancer with the winners of approximately £4.6 million.
Pivotal’s outstanding season began with the victory of Hermosa, a sister to Hydrangea, in the 1,000 Guineas and ended with the win of Magical, a sister to Rhododendron, in the QIPCO British Champion Stakes at Ascot. Both fillies represent the increasingly powerful Galileo-Pivotal cross that was also on show via Love, winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
“One of the great broodmare sires of the recent era gained even greater legs in 2019”
In all, 13 of the 29 runners bred on this cross have won black-type events and with siblings to Magical, Hermosa and Main Sequence as well as a half-brother to Precieuse waiting in the wings, expect to see more of it in the near future. And as finely illustrated by Cracksman and Veracious, who was successful in this season’s Falmouth Stakes, Pivotal mares are also proving to be an effective option for Frankel.
Of the others, Fairyland (by Kodiac) ran out the popular winner of the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on the same card as Love’s win in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, while One Master (by Fastnet Rock) landed her second Prix de la Foret at Longchamp. Advertise (by Showcasing) won the Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest. There was also an accomplished 1m4f performer in Defoe (by Dalakhani), winner of the Coronation Cup.
Nor was Love the only two-year-old to note. Raffle Prize, by far the best sired by Slade Power, won the Queen Mary and Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes while Golden Horde, a son of the similarly disappointing Lethal Force, captured the Richmond Stakes. Both youngsters were also Group 1-placed.
It’s not unreasonable to expect Pivotal to become an even greater force through his daughters as time goes on. The secret is well and truly out, meaning that a larger number of mares will now be in the hands of the larger breeders with the means to utilise Galileo and Dubawi et al.
In addition, he still has better-bred crops still coming through. Indeed, he covered 52 mares in 2019 at a private fee and remains on the Cheveley Park Stud roster for 2020, meaning his story is far from over.
Classic haul contributes to Galileo’s year
Encouragingly, five of this season’s leading European broodmare sires remain in active service.
Galileo, claiming his third consecutive top-three finish, has a Group 1-winning juvenile with which to go to war with next season in Alson (by Areion), the 20-length winner of a two-runner Criterium International. Classic heroes Magna Grecia (by Invincible Spirit) and Sottsass (by Siyouni), out of Ecurie des Monceaux’s outstanding producer Starlet’s Sister, were the leading acts within the three-year-old division, while the 14-length Grosser Preis Von Baden winner Ghaiyyath (by Dubawi) took high order among the older horses.
With regards to Britain and Ireland, the Coolmore supersire fell only £300,000 short of assuming second ahead of his former stud mate Danehill Dancer, whose haul of £4.6 million was boosted by the presence of 12 stakes winners.
Group 1-winning miler Circus Maximus and Irish Derby hero Sovereign – both of whom are by Galileo – were the chief contributors and with those Ballydoyle colts slated to return for more next season alongside Classic hopes Royal Dornoch (by Gleneagles), Ecrivain (by Lope De Vega) and Armory (by Galileo), 2020 has the potential to be even more productive for Danehill Dancer as a broodmare sire.
Former multiple champion Sadler’s Wells once again assumed a top-five position, a standing he has enjoyed for over two decades now and thanks on this occasion primarily to the deeds of the wonderful Enable.
There was also another bold showing by Danehill, whose daughter Shastye continues to forge quite the dynasty in partnership with Galileo, notably over the past 12 months as the dam of Juddmonte International winner Japan and Champions Juvenile winner Mogul. Danehill is also the damsire of Irish Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Turf heroine Iridessa (by Ruler Of The World).
Younger names to the fore
As noted above, however, the top ten British and Irish broodmare sires also contain a healthy proportion of active sires.
In sixth lies Banstead Manor Stud’s Oasis Dream, whose development into a damsire of note was further consolidated through a series of talented juveniles, namely Siskin (by First Defence), Daahyeh (by Bated Breath) and Dark Lady (by Dark Angel). Derby fourth Sir Dragonet (by Camelot) also flew the flag while further afield, the Prix de Sandringham winner Obligate and Prix Daphnis scorer Delaware were further testament of a burgeoning partnership between Frankel and Oasis Dream mares.
Exceed And Excel, meanwhile, owes his seventh placing to a pair of Ballydoyle highlights in Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck (by Galileo), the fourth foal out of Australian Group 3 winner Believe ’n’ Succeed, and July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns (by No Nay Never).
Shamardal going from strength to strength
Also especially worthy of mention is 17-year-old Shamardal, the youngest horse within the top 25 British and Irish broodmare sires. Of course, the Darley stallion enjoyed a momentous 2019 with his own progeny as the sire of three unbeaten two-year-olds – Pinatubo, Earthlight and Victor Ludorum – from just 25 juvenile runners.
Shamardal’s oldest daughters are rising just 13-years-old but they already include the dams of five Group 1 winners; the latest, Spasha, joined the club in September when her son Hello Youmzain (by Kodiac) won the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.
He was the highlight of six stakes winners in Britain and Ireland during 2019 for Shamardal, a list that also included former Irish Derby winner Latrobe (by Camelot), winner of the Ballyroan Stakes, and his Classic-placed sister Pink Dogwood, winner of the Salsabil Stakes at Navan in April.