With the valuable major spring festivals to come, the National Hunt sires’ table will doubtless be shaken up in the coming months but at the pivotal point of the jumps season, the recently deceased King’s Theatre holds the lead, just as he did at this time last year.
Ballylinch Stud’s stalwart, who died in June, led for much of last season, only to be pipped at the post by Presenting, whose son Ballabriggs landed the Grand National, a hugely lucrative seasonal finale. Once again King’s Theatre has a fine array of representatives, which include the high-class mare Voler La Vedette, Cue Card, Menorah and Captain Chris.
As always, Rathbarry Stud’s Presenting is not far away and currently lies in fourth place. He has 51 winners to King’s Theatre’s 55 and more than £700,000 in progeny earnings, while the leader exceeds £800,000.
Way out in front by number of winners is Beneficial, who stands in Ireland at Knockhouse Stud. He has sired a staggering 81 winners from 267 runners this term, giving him a strike rate of 30% and second slot in the table, with earnings just over £8,000 short of King’s Theatre’s tally. Among his major earners are the top-class chasers Cooldine and Becauseicouldntsee.
Oscar and Flemensfirth are also occupying their customary top ten slots, with the former currently in third place with 53 winners and Flemensfirth in sixth, on 59 winners but with a lesser prize-money haul.
The late stallions Anshan, Old Vic and Accordion continue to make their presence felt but there are two new names among the current top ten and they are both sons of Sadler’s Wells: the Grange Stud-based youngster Milan and Kayf Tara, who is Britain’s leading representative.
With his eldest runners turning seven in 2012, Milan has already impressed many with a good strike rate in bumpers and novice hurdles. It won’t be long before we see plenty of his offspring lining up to compete over fences. His leading contender is the four-time winner Duke Of Lucca, a member of his first crop who has already made a successful conversion to steeplechasing, having won a beginners’ chase at Wincanton on 1 December.
Overbury Stud’s Kayf Tara boasts an impressive strike-rate this season of 34% for his 38 winners from 111 runners. Carruthers and Planet Of Sound provided him with the one-two in the Hennessy Gold Cup and such stalwarts as Kayf Aramis and Micheal Flips continue to advertise his talents.
Exactly half of the top 20 jumps sires in Britain and Ireland are sons of Sadler’s Wells and the late, great sire and sire of sires continues to hold a top 20 slot himself. He is currently in 14th position and was represented by a Grade 1 winner over Christmas when his son Synchronised won the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.