It’s hardly headline news that Galileo is leading the European sires’ table, but while last year he was given a good run for the title, at least in the earlier part of the season, by Dubawi, in 2016 his progeny have already earned twice as much prize-money as that of his nearest pursuer.
Following him in the list is none other than his half-brother Sea The Stars. Siring the Derby winner always helps to swell the coffers – especially in the year that the grand old race offered a record £1,545,000 – but what is particularly impressive about Sea The Stars’ record this year is his winning strike-rate of almost 48% at the time of writing. His offspring may have earned half as much money as Galileo’s but then he has had just less than half the number of runners.
The Darley duo of Dubawi and Shamardal continue in their consistent high-flying manner and both occupy top five slots, while leading the charge for France is Haras de la Cauvinière’s Le Havre. Thanks to Avenir Certain and La Cressonniere, the son of Noverre has achieved the possibly unique feat of siring two fillies to have completed the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches-Prix de Diane double in his first three crops.
Lope De Vega is capitalising on a great start with his first runners in 2014, when he was leading first-season sire, and currently sits in the top ten along with the perennially popular Invincible Spirit and Kyllachy. The latter’s representative Twilight Son provided one of the highlights of Royal Ascot when landing his second Group 1 victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes for British owner/breeders Godfrey and Caroline Wilson.
Just outside the top ten and worthy of note is Footstepsinthesand, who never fully gets the credit he deserves, but boasts an impressive strike-rate just shy of 40% this year.
Galileo is also dominating the broodmare sires’ table, currently out-ranking his own sire Sadler’s Wells and Danehill, thanks in no small part to his Classic representatives in this field, Galileo Gold and La Cressonniere.
A less familiar name in this sphere is the former Dewhurst winner Xaar – currently enjoying his retirement at Aston Upthorpe Stud – whose daughter Hazariya is responsible for the Derby winner, Harzand. He’s far from just a one-horse wonder, however, as his 33% strike-rate for the season testifies. Group 3 winner Eastern Impact, an entrant for the Darley July Cup, is out of the Xaar mare Kate The Great, whose Dark Angel three-year-old Miss Katie Mae was runner-up in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes last season and won the Listed Alywow Stakes at Woodbine in June for Graham Motion.
Farther afield, Xaar’s Australian daughter Condesaar is the dam of Group 1 Sires’ Produce winner Yankee Rose, who was only narrowly beaten for second in the Golden Slipper.
Up and coming
The list of first-season sires seems to get longer and longer each year and this season’s bumper crop has so far offered plenty of hope and entertainment.
At the time of writing, Frankel’s 80% strike-rate, with two stakes-placed Royal Ascot juveniles, is of course the stand-out, but other young bucks acquitting themselves well include the Redoute’s Choice stallion Elzaam at Ballyhane Stud, with seven winners from 18 runners, while Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Power boasts an even more impressive strike-rate of over 50% with eight winners from 15 runners, including the Ballydoyle Listed winner Peace Envoy.
Power’s fellow Coolmore sire Requinto didn’t have as large a first crop as some of his contemporaries but, a good two-year-old himself, and out of the lightning-fast mare Damson, he’s made a decent start with six winners from his first 11 runners.
At the other end of the scale, the Listed-winning sprinter Captain Chop retired to Haras des Faunes, the base of his owner/breeder Alain Chopard and, though the eight-year-old son of Indian Rocket has only 14 named juveniles, five of them have already run and two have won. The good prize-money on offer in France means that Captain Chop is only narrowly behind Frankel on the European first-season sires’ table.
Following the French success story of Kendargent, the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Wootton Bassett, who was bred in Britain by Colin and Melba Bryce at Laundry Cottage Stud, has made a similarly impressive start to his stud career from only small books of mares in his early years at Haras d’Etreham.
Siring the Prix du Jockey Club winner Almanzor in his first crop means that he is currently ahead of Zoffany on the second-crop sires’ table, making great inroads with his relatively few representatives. Among his 18 runners this year are eight individual winners.
Cristina Patino’s Elusive Pimpernel, who stands at the Irish National Stud for the paltry sum of €1,000, is another stallion who should go into the notebooks in this regard. He can of course boast the great Snow Fairy as one of his mates, but Elusive Pimpernel is holding his own from limited support and currently has a 45% strike-rate with nine winners from 20 runners.