British jumps breeding has been struggling for a proper torchbearer following the retirements and deaths of Kayf Tara and Midnight Legend. The jumps sires table for 2022-23 is brutally black and white to that effect, with only one active British-based sire, Ocovango, within the top 35 at the time of writing. Commercially speaking, the situation isn’t much better, for while a polarised market is smitten with certain horses, the majority reside in Ireland, among them Blue Bresil, Crystal Ocean and Walk In The Park.
That assessment, however, fails to do justice to the ambition of various British-based stallion farms, some of them newer operations very keen to make a difference.
As outlined further in these pages, Alne Park welcomes Midnights Legacy and Ocovango while Overbury Stud has landed a coup with the arrival of Golden Horn following his purchase by Jayne McGivern’s Dash Grange Stud.
There is also plenty of ambition behind the burgeoning roster based at Roisin Close’s Chapel Stud on behalf of Simon Davies’ Dahlbury. Such has been its growth that it is easy to forget that it was only in 2021 that Davies and Chapel added its first stallion, Planteur (2023 fee: £4,000). The Group 1-winning son of Danehill Dancer is well known in Flat circles as the sire of Trueshan but those early French crops have also yielded a number of classy jumpers led by the Grade 2 scorers Gran Diose and Edidindo.
Planteur has been consistently well supported by outside breeders since he switched to Chapel Stud – his 2022 book included mares belonging to the Queen as well as trainers Nigel Twiston-Davies and Hughie Morrison – but as with every Dahlbury stallion, he can count upon a depth of home support; indeed, last season’s collection was highlighted by the Arkle Chase heroine Put The Kettle On, a £380,000 purchase.
Similarly, fellow Chapel/Dahlbury stallions Bangkok (£3,000) and Walzertakt (£2,500) were also the beneficiaries of good home support. Bangkok, a tough-as-teak Group 2 winner by Australia from the famous Fall Aspen family, stands his second season, while Walzertakt, a Group 2- winning stayer by Montjeu, switched from France in 2022 and has already been represented by winners from a handful of runners in these parts including In Excess, who holds several Cheltenham Festival entries for Willie Mullins. Chapel Stud is also home to the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Indian Haven (£1,500).
Nor is David Futter’s Yorton Farm Stud ever far from the action. Long a driving force in pushing British jumps bloodstock forward, he invariably adds a fresh name to his roster each season. This year’s new horse is Ito (£3,000), a brother to Group 1 winner In Swoop. Ito was a German champion himself who won the Grosser Preis von Bayern and boasts the additional allure of being a son of the much-missed Adlerflug from an excellent Gestut Schlenderhan family. Early seasons in Germany have yielded several stakes horses and he deserves to be well patronised in his new spot at Yorton; after all, In Swoop covered over 200 mares in his first season in Ireland last year.
Pedigree is also a key element behind Masterstroke (£3,500), a Group 2-winning relation to Galileo and Sea The Stars. Yorton added the son of Monsun for 2020, since when his early French crops have thrown a Flat Group 2 winner in Miss Extra alongside jumpers such as Hades, third in the Grade 1 Prix Ferdinand Dufaure Chase, and Dreammy Bell and Floridee, both Grade 3 winners at Auteuil.
Yorton is also in the envious position of being able to offer two sons of Monsun since it is also home to the older Gentlewave (£3,500), whose roll call includes the likes of Poker Party, Gentlemansgame, Gentle Slopes and Easysland. Not only that, the Classic-placed Arrigo (£2,000) is the only British or Irish-based son of Shirocco, one of the first stallions to define the Monsun sire line as a major jumps influence. His first British-bred crop are foals.
The size of Arrigo’s book increased for 2022, as did that belonging to Coronation Cup hero Pether’s Moon (£2,500). The recipient of almost 60 mares, his first crop contains the Listed-placed Anneloralas as well as the promising trio Moon Hunter, Lunar Discovery and Deere Mark.
Particularly well received last season was the St Leger hero Logician (£4,000). Snapped up for stud duty by Shade Oak Stud, the son of Frankel covered close to 180 mares in his debut season as befits a six-time winner who is out of a Daylami relation to Bated Breath and Cityscape.
On a roster that offers access to some of the best sire lines of the current era, Shade Oak also stands a high-class and durable son of Dubawi in Dartmouth (£3,000). This Hardwicke Stakes winner is already off the mark on the Flat as sire of the 88-rated Naval College, who subsequently sold for 185,000gns to race on in Australia, while from a handful of early jumpers he has been represented by the winning filly Sailing Grace.
The Shade Oak roster is completed by another Hardwicke winner in Telescope (£3,000), whose early crops include multiple winners Ferns Lock and I Spy A Diva. Progeny by Telescope sold for up to 235,000gns in the past year.
At Nunstainton Stud, Falco’s arrival has come at an opportune moment thanks to the wide-margin win of Tahmuras in the Tolworth Hurdle. Tahmuras isn’t the first top-class horse sired by the French 2,000 Guineas winner since Falco’s earlier French crops contained Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co and Grade 1 jumper Hitman in addition to the top Flat performer Odeliz.
Falco is priced at £2,000 at Nunstainton, where he stands alongside the Derby runner-up Dragon Dancer (£1,500) and fellow Group 1 winners Cannock Chase (£1,500) and Kingston Hill (£2,000). The latter, who won the St Leger and was an unbeaten Group 1 winner at two, is off to a good start with the jumpers bred from his time with Coolmore, notably as sire of the recent Grade 2-winning hurdler No Looking Back. He also hit the headlines recently thanks to Butcher Hollow, successful in Ireland’s first four-year-old point-to-point of the season at Tallow.
Falco switches from James and Amelia Gray’s Elusive Bloodstock, which welcomes Linda’s Lad (£2,500) in return. Proven sons of Sadler’s Wells are dwindling by the year but Linda’s Lad, a Group 1-winning two-year-old, is one such horse with the Grade 1-performing jumpers Draconien, Cash Back and L’Estran among those to his credit.
Ask, one of Britain’s top active sires, has just commenced his second season at Willow Wood Farm for £2,000. One of Sadler’s Wells’ final Group 1 winners when successful in the 2009 Prix Royal-Oak, Ask enjoyed a good season last year as sire of Grade 2 bumper winner Lookaway.
Grazemoor Farm in Somerset is also home to another high-performing son of Sadler’s Wells in the Group 2-winning stayer Saddler’s Rock (poa), sire of current dual winning hurdler Shutupshirley from just a handful of runners. He stands alongside Yorkshire Cup winner Geordieland (poa), sire of the promising novice chaser Straw Fan Jack.
West Country breeders also have access to Group 1-winning miler Virtual (Etheridge Farm; poa), sire of the American Grand National winner and recently crowned American champion Hewick, as well as the roster at Vauterhill Stud, which includes two Classic winners in Nutan (poa), already the sire of a Flat Group 3 winner out of his first small German crops, and Irish St Leger winner Sans Frontieres (poa), sire of the high-class hurdler Jack The Militant. Top Trip (poa), a Group 2-winning son of Dubai Destination, also resides at Vauterhill.
Overall, there is no shortage of Classic class on offer in Britain. The arrival of St Leger hero Leading Light (£2,500) to Dunraven Stud in Wales coincided with the emergence of his first-crop son Three Stripe Life as a Grade 1-winning novice hurdler. Only last December, another son, Southoftheborder, realised £145,000 at the Goffs UK Tingle Creek Sale off the back of an impressive point win.
Another St Leger winner, Harbour Law (£2,000), forms part of an eye-catching roster at Batsford Stud. While his first crop are three-year-olds this year, Batsford also offers two proven horses in Passing Glance (£3,000) and Frammassone (£2,000), a top jumper himself whose stud statistics read well in light of his small crops sired to date. As for Passing Glance, he has found favour late in life and deservedly so for a horse whose progeny range from the top Flat performer Side Glance to jumpers of the calibre of Dashel Drasher and Millers Bank.
Anyone looking for a durable horse could also do far worse than consider Diplomat (March Hare Stud: £1,500), a Group 2 winner who won over jumps in France, or triple Group 2 winner Marmelo (£2,000). A seven-time winner himself, Marmelo joined Norton Grove Stud last season where he stands alongside the equally tough and talented Century Dream (£3,000), Listed winner Forever Now (£1,000), a well-bred son of Galileo, and new recruit Wells Farhh Go (poa), a tough Group 3-winning son of Farhh.
Shamardal’s brother Yorgunnabelucky (£2,000) also continues to hold his own at Mickley Stud, notably as the sire of Gerry Feilden Hurdle winner Onemorefortheroad and Listed bumper winner Timeforatune.
Meiklehaugh Stud also stands the Earl Of Sefton Stakes winner Mahsoob (poa).
The British and Irish jumps stallion population remains awash with Sadler’s Wells blood – notably via Montjeu and Galileo – alongside increasingly that of Monsun.
The market remains infatuated with Montjeu’s son Walk In The Park and understandably so given that his small French-bred crops yielded Douvan and Min. His first Irish-bred crop are six this season, while in the past 12 months alone no fewer than 28 of his progeny (of all ages) have realised six figures at auction.
Walk In The Park stands at Grange Stud for a private fee, believed to be in the region of €25,000, and therefore heads a Coolmore jumps roster that remains as influential as ever.
Coolmore veteran Yeats (Castle Hyde Stud; €5,000) heads into the Cheltenham Festival in a strong place to retain the sires’ championship. Crowned champion for the first time last season as the likes of Flooring Porter, Conflated and Grand National hero Noble Yeats did him proud, he sits at the head of the current table with earnings of close to £2 million, a figure buoyed by the presence of seven black-type winners – and counting.
Yeats is one of five living Coolmore-based stallions within the top eight stallions by prize-money. Verdana Blue’s sire Getaway (Grange Stud: €7,000) fills third, Walk In The Park holds fifth, Mahler (The Beeches: €5,000) sits sixth and fellow established Grade 1 sire Westerner (Castle Hyde Stud: €5,000) holds eighth.
The younger division of Coolmore’s roster is also reflective of that demand for Monsun and Sadler’s Wells-line stallions. For instance, the Monsun horses Maxios (Castle Hyde Stud: €6,000) and Vadamos (Grange Stud: €6,000) officially covered 451 mares between them in 2022. Both switched to the jumps sector having had some success on the Flat – Maxios as the sire
of German Oaks heroine Diamanta and Vadamos as the sire of top New Zealand filly La Crique – but, as is typical of their sire line, both have also made an impression over jumps. That observation is particularly true of Maxios, whose German-bred crops contained Triumph Hurdle winner Quilixios.
The success of the Monsun line is another example of how effective the German breed can work over jumps. Time will tell but it would be no surprise to see the Adlerflug line following suit, especially as it will receive ample opportunity through the German Derby winner In Swoop (€4,000), who covered just over 200 mares in his first year at The Beeches Stud.
Galileo naturally also features heavily within the Coolmore jumps battalion. As a brilliant stallion with a propensity for throwing tough stock, especially over middle distances, the idea of Galileo becoming an important influence over jumps has been unsurprisingly embraced by stud masters and breeders. As such, a number of those horses have been afforded numerically exceptional chances – as we saw again last year when, between them, his jumps-orientated sons covered close to 1,100 mares.
Coolmore stand several of the more productive names, notably Mahler and Soldier Of Fortune (The Beeches: €8,000), both of whom have sired Grade 1-winning jumpers, while hopes will be running high for champion stayer Order Of St George (Castle Hyde Stud: €6,500), a popular young name at the sales whose first crop turned three this year. Irish Derby and St Leger hero Capri (Grange Stud: €2,500), fellow St Leger winner Kew Gardens (Castle Hyde Stud: €3,500), Highland Reel’s high-class brother Idaho (The Beeches: €3,000) and the beautifully-bred Group 1 winner Mogul (The Beeches: €3,500) also have young stock coming through.
Other sons of Galileo at stud in Ireland include El Salvador (Killack Stud; poa), whose progeny sold for up to £120,000 last year, and Bahrain Trophy winners Shantaram (€1,000) and Feel Like Dancing (€1,500). Irish St Leger winner Flag Of Honour (poa), whose first crop are yearlings, has also switched from the National Stud in Newmarket to Ballycurragh Stud, where he stands alongside Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky (poa), by Nayef. The latter is off the mark with his first runners, while his stock have sold for up to 180,000gns.
The majority of those younger Galileo horses are yet to be truly tested with their runners, but, it has to be said that judging by some of the older sire sons, his jumps legacy has yet to match that belonging to Montjeu. With that in mind, Derby winner Wings Of Eagles (The Beeches: €3,500), by Montjeu’s son Pour Moi, could be an interesting play, especially in light of the fact that his first French-bred four-year-olds include a Listed winner on the Flat alongside a handful of winners over jumps.
Arctic Tack Stud’s Ol’ Man River (poa) not only offers direct access to Montjeu but also proven ability – he was a Group 2 winner at two – and strong pedigree, as a son of the Classic-winning miler Finsceal Beo. His first crop are still only five but he is off the mark in the pointing field as well as under Rules.
The older Jukebox Jury (Burgage Stud: poa) did plenty to enhance the Montjeu legacy as sire of the Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas in his first crop. Also responsible for the popular mare Princess Zoe on the Flat, Jukebox Jury was back in the news recently thanks to the Grade 1-winning novice hurdler Il Etait Temps. His first Irish foal crop turned four this year and it doesn’t take too much imagination to envisage him taking even higher order as they start to hit the track.
Might Bite’s sire Scorpion (poa) stands at The Old Road Stud while Camelot’s high-class son Hunting Horn (€2,000) – a relation to High Chaparral – has just commenced his third season at Castlefield Stud.
Understandably popular has been the Irish Derby winner Santiago (Castle Hyde Stud: €4,000), the only son of Authorized at stud in Britain or Ireland. Also a descendant of Allegretta, he covered 188 mares in his debut season last year.
Another growing trend is the momentum behind sons of Sea The Stars, and with that in mind, why not consider his own three-parts brother Sea’s Legacy? The sire of winners on the Flat, the son of Green Desert now stands for a private fee at Longford House Stud.
Getting back to Sea The Stars himself, Martin Stevens discusses the popularity of the line in the March 2023 interview in Owner Breeder with Coolagown Stud’s David Stack. However, to recap, sons such as Crystal Ocean (The Beeches: €8,000), Affinisea (Whytemount Stud: poa), Harzand (Kilbarry Lodge Stud: €5,000), Behesht (Whytemount Stud: poa), Eagles By Day (Glenview Stud: poa), Fifty Stars (Sunnyhill Stud: €3,000) and Mekhtaal (Knockmullen House Stud: €2,500) all remain extremely popular.
Crystal Ocean’s first crop of yearlings sold for up to 135,000gns at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale – the colt in question has joined Andrew Balding. Crystal Ocean isn’t the only member of his family available to Irish breeders either, since Garryrichard Stud stands his Group 1-winning half-brother Hillstar (€2,500). The son of Danehill Dancer, who stands alongside the regally-bred Dubawi horse Almighwar (€1,500), has made a brisk start at stud as the sire of a pair of Listed-placed bumper performers from a handful of first-crop runners.
The Danehill Dancer brand has also been warmly received in recent years. Prix Greffuhle winner Sumbal (€2,500) is one such horse as the recipient of over 100 mares in each of his first two seasons for Boardsmill Stud. Formerly in France, his first crop are three-year-olds.
The late Jeremy did much to fuel the Danehill Dancer momentum over the sticks and the market has unsurprisingly gone on to show appreciation for the handful of his sire sons. They include Group 2 winner Success Days (Kilbarry Lodge Stud: €2,000), a six-time scorer whose first foals sold for up to €70,000. The grey forms part of a progressive roster at Kilbarry Lodge Stud that also stands L’Homme Presse’s sire Diamond Boy (€5,000), Martaline’s half-brother Pillar Coral (€1,500) and Derby winner Harzand.
Jeremy is also sire of Kool Kompany (€2,000), a dual Group 2 winner who was repatriated from Spain to stand at Clongiffen Stud. The sire of winners in Spain, his first Irish-bred crop are foals.
Clongiffen also offers an intriguing prospect in the form of Austrian School (€1,500). The son of Teofilo was a hardy five-time winner and Listed-placed but also of interest is the fact he’s a half- brother to Tiger Roll.
Glenview Stud, the jumps arm of Rathbarry Stud, has long held a reputation as a source of quality jumping stock, being inextricably linked for many years with the likes of Strong Gale and Presenting. Today, various inmates still carry that same weight, ranging from Blue Bresil to Sholokhov.
Blue Bresil (poa) remains all the rage in the ring – ten of his progeny broke the six-figure mark in 2022 – and deservedly so given he has gifted the racing world with Constitution Hill alongside current stars Good Land, Blue Lord, L’Autonomie and Royale Pagaille.
Shishkin’s sire Sholokhov (poa) remains in service at the age of 24, as does Annie Power’s sire Shirocco (poa) at 22. Youmzain (poa), an established source of talented horses under both codes, is also in residence; his first Glenview-bred crop are four-year-olds.
Glenview’s knack for securing the right horses must bode well for the prospects of Old Persian (poa), who retired in 2021. A striking son of Dubawi, whose own jumpers include the Grade 1 winners Dodging Bullets and Hisaabaat, his nine wins included the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes. Popular with breeders, he has received over 140 mares in every season to date.
In County Carlow, Burgage Stud is reaping the rewards of importing Jukebox Jury from Germany. However, it doesn’t end there since its dual Group 2 winner Sea Moon (poa), the only son of Beat Hollow at stud in Britain or Ireland, has made a bright start with his early runners, which include the stakes-placed Nikini and Hi Stranger out of a first crop of 23 foals. His book hit three-figure territory in 2022, while that belonging to the stud’s Group 1 winner Fascinating Rock (€5,000), a proven stakes sire on the Flat during his time at Ballylinch Stud, was eye-catchingly rich in quality.
Another operation with deep jumping roots is Knockhouse Stud. Once the home of Beneficial, Knockhouse would appear to have plenty to look forward to in the Derby and Arc hero Workforce (poa), whose first Irish-bred crops include Working Away, a £330,000 purchase by Gordon Elliott following an impressive pointing success, and the Grade 2-placed Man At Work, a £155,000 purchase to join David Pipe.
Similarly, the Derby runner-up Libertarian (poa) has made a bright start, notably as the sire of Grade 2 winner Watch House Cross out of his early crops.
They complement a roster at Knockhouse that also includes the older, proven pair of Tirwanako (poa), the sire of Adrimel and Gabynako among others, and Kap Rock (poa), a half-brother to Kapgarde, as well as the younger Boscaccio (poa) and Waldkonig (poa). German Group 2 winner Boscaccio, by the much-missed Mount Nelson, retired last year, while new addition Waldkonig is a Group 3-winning Kingman half- brother to Waldgeist.
There are unlikely to be too many free moments over at Ronnie O’Neill’s Whytemount Stud given the incredible popularity of his young Sea The Stars horse Affinisea (poa). The County Kilkenny-based stud, however, also has another highly promising young horse in Manatee (€2,000), a Group 2-winning Monsun half-brother to Dartmouth who is already off the mark with his first French-bred runners. Their Group 2-winning stud-mate Valirann (€2,000) is also making a fine impression thanks to first-crop representative Knappers Hill, winner of the Grade 2 Aintree Champion Bumper and Elite Hurdle, and fellow Grade 2 winner Ballybawn Belter.
As outlined earlier in this piece, Coolagown Stud has boosted its roster with the addition of Storm The Stars (€3,000). He joins a varied roster at Coolagown already headlined by the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner Way To Paris (€3,500), the only son of Champs Elysees at stud.
Boardsmill Stud, which did so well with Mount Nelson until his death in 2019, continues to stand a favourite in 22-year-old Court Cave (€4,000), while also catching the imagination of breeders with the King George winner Poet’s Word (€6,000). The seven-time winner is already off the mark with his first Flat-bred two-year-olds, while his jumps-bred stock have been very well received at auction. He covered 245 mares in 2022.
Other busy stallions of 2022 include Arctic Tack Stud’s Jet Away (poa), also the recipient of over 200 mares. A Cape Cross relation to Dansili and Champs Elysees, Jet Away was quick to spring to prominence in the pointing field, a start that has been mirrored under Rules by the Grade 1-winning mare Brandy Love and Grade 2-placed hurdlers Outback Flyer and Three Card Brag. In addition to the aforementioned Ol’ Man River, the Arctic Tack roster also includes the high-class and well-bred stayer Dee Ex Bee (€3,500). A Farhh relation to Dubai Millennium, this Derby runner-up covered approximately 100 mares in his first season last year.
Another Derby runner-up, Khalifa Sat (€2,000), is standing his second season at Lacken Stud.
Classic class is also boasted by Lucky Speed (Sunnyhill Stud: poa), the German Derby winner whose first crop are off the mark in the pointing field, and Galileo Chrome (Compas Stallions; €3,000), the St Leger winner of 2020 who has been well supported since his retirement to stud in 2021; his first crop includes a half-brother to National Stakes winner Al Riffa.
Melbourne Cup hero Rekindling (poa), a High Chaparral grandson of blue hen Souk, also deserves to be well supported at his home of Longford House Stud, which also stands the Group 1 producer Rajsaman (poa) and St Leger winner Brian Boru (poa).
Pedigree and ability also sit behind Jet Away’s relation Mirage Dancer (€3,500). Part of a young roster alongside Hunting Horn at Castlefield Stud, the Frankel grandson of Hasili was a smart performer in Europe before heading to Australia, where he struck in the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap. He was unsurprisingly popular in his first season, covering over 130 mares.
Nor do they come much better-bred than Rich History (poa), a winning Dubawi half-brother to Group 1 winners Kyprios, Search For A Song and Free Eagle. He covered just over 100 mares in his first season at Kedrah House Stud last year, where he stands alongside the Sadler’s Wells horse Well Chosen (poa), whose roll call from relatively small crops includes the likes of Adamantly Chosen, Carefully Selected and Jury Duty.
Big shoes to fill for Ilaraab
The Old Road Stud said farewell to stalwart Cloudings earlier this year at the age of 29. While already home to St Leger winner Arctic Cosmos (€2,500) as well as the high-class stayers Mizzou (€1,750) and Mores Wells (€1,750), the stud took steps to fill the void by securing Ilaraab (€2,500) for 2023. By Wootton Bassett, Ilaraab won over half his starts – eight races in total – including a pair of Group 3 races.
There might be a plethora of young stallions coming through but as ever there is plenty of value to be found in some of the older, less expensive horses. Frankel’s talented half-brother Bullet Train (Woodfield House Stud; poa) is a case in point given that his stud record consists of a Group 1 performer on the Flat in Chapada. Previously at stud in America and Australia, his first Irish-bred crop are four-year-olds.
Blackrath Stud stands Chacun Pour Soi’s sire Policy Maker (poa) as well as Saddex (poa), currently in the news thanks to Editeur Du Gite. In Northern Ireland, Tullyraine House Stud offers Primary (poa), sire of the high-class two-mile chaser First Flow.
The Irish National Stud also offers a popular dual-purpose option in Elusive Pimpernel (€2,000), who has several big crops in the pipeline following the success of early jumpers such as Coeur Sublime, Ex Patriot and Thedevilscoachman.
Rosshill Stud is home to Gamut (€3,000), whose stud record is headlined by those classy chasers Road To Riches and Road To Respect, while the roster at Anngrove Stud ranges from Famous Name (€1,000), the winner of 20 stakes races, to Group 1-winning two-year-old Marcel (poa). The chance to tap into Group 1 ability can also be accessed via Gladiatorus (Windmill View Stud: €1,000) and Fuisse (€2,000), a top-class miler whose first French-bred crops include Auteuil Grade 3 scorer Belle Promesse. Fuisse joined Roveagh Lodge Stud for the 2022 season, where the son of Green Tune stands alongside Mount Nelson’s Classic-placed half- brother Monitor Closely (€2,000), himself the sire of Grade 2-winning chaser Eclair De Beaufeu.
For more on NH stallions
“I try to look at ours with a stockman’s eye but what has been encouraging is the good reports we’ve had from other breeders and from those who have come to us to buy his stock” – Something for everyone at Alne Park
“Concertista is just one of the mares that Jayne McGivern is sending and Put The Kettle On is also coming from Dahlbury” – Exciting times as Golden Horn settles in at Overbury Stud
“He could just be a diamond in the rough” – Only officially open for business in recent months, Foxwood Stud’s first covering season is going to be a busy one with breeders seemingly keen to take advantage of young stallions representing the Sholokhov and Saint Des Saints sire lines as well as a proven option in Racinger
“You can see how he cost €300,000 as a yearling – he a lovely model, 16.1 with a good walk” – Sea The Stars’ Group 1-winning son Mekhtaal joins Knockmullen House Stud