Few three-year-olds in recent seasons have endeared themselves to British racegoers as much as Roaring Lion, who developed quite a following through the past season when carrying the maroon Qatar Racing silks to a splendid Group 1 four-timer in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, the Juddmonte International at York, the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the QIPCO Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
The charismatic grey fully deserved his Cartier Horse of the Year award. He retires to Tweenhills Stud with a bank of goodwill behind him and, presumably, excellent support from many of the most successful breeders in Europe.
Joining Roaring Lion on the Tweenhills roster will be Lightning Spear, one of the most admirable troupers of the Group 1 scene in recent seasons.
The super-tough son of Pivotal fully deserved his Group 1 victory (in this year’s Qatar Sussex Stakes, beating subsequent Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Expert Eye by a length and a half), and he is sure to appeal to breeders who value the traditional virtues of soundness, genuineness and durability.
Roaring Lion retires to Tweenhills Stud with a bank of goodwill behind him
Lightning Spear’s Sussex Stakes victim Expert Eye joins the Juddmonte roster at Banstead Manor Stud. A brilliant winner of the Qatar Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood as a juvenile, Expert Eye took a while to re-find that brilliance; but when he did, he was superb, winning the Jersey Stakes with ease at Royal Ascot before bringing the curtain down on his career in the best possible style with a thrilling victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.
Another horse who wound up a splendid career with a champion’s performance in the autumn was Cracksman, who joins the Darley roster with the excellent record of eight wins and three minor placings from only 11 starts.
His swansong came on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot when he landed the QIPCO Champion Stakes for the second year running, his six-length victory this year nearly matching the seven-length margin by which he had scored last year.
One of the very few horses ever to beat Cracksman was Poet’s Word, whose excellent campaign during 2018 reinforced the benefits which can ensue from keeping a high-class horse in training until maturity.
Poet’s Word fully deserves his place in the line-up, offering breeders access to a top-class horse
Cracksman was the odds-on favourite when Poet’s Word beat him in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, but the latter proved that was no fluke when doubling his Group 1 tally by taking Britain’s premier weight-for-age race, the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
A rare example of a recruit to the Shadwell roster who did not race in Sheikh Hamdan’s silks, Poet’s Word fully deserves his place in the line-up, offering breeders access to a top-class horse at a remarkably appealing fee.
Shadwell’s other new recruit to Nunnery Stud is the 2017 Duke Of York Stakes winner Tasleet, thrice a runner-up in Group 1 company and a son of the increasingly popular Showcasing.
Notwithstanding that Roaring Lion and Cracksman were both placed in the Derby, the only British Classic winner among the new intake of stallions in Great Britain is the 2016 St Leger hero Harbour Law, who retires to Batsford Stud.
He offers breeders high-class stamina at an affordable price, as does Hawkbill, who appeals as attractively priced on the Darley roster bearing in mind that his victories include Group 1 strikes in the Coral-Eclipse and the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic.
The fact that, like Roaring Lion, he is a son of the former champion US turf sire Kitten’s Joy is likely further to endear Hawkbill to mare-owners.
Breeders seeking the services of high-class sprinters are very well catered for among Britain’s new stallions, with the 2017 Darley July Cup and 32Red Haydock Park Sprint Cup hero Harry Angel likely to be top of many people’s lists.
Another Group 1-winning sprinter about to begin his stud career is Havana Grey
The brilliant son of Dark Angel finished second in another two Group 1 races and was durable too, having shown consistent top-class form at ages two (when he was an easy winner of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury), three and four.
Another Group 1-winning sprinter about to begin his stud career is Havana Grey, who received his just reward for a string of excellent performances when taking the Group 1 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on Irish Champions’ Weekend.
From Cadeaux Genereux through to Showcasing, Whitsbury Manor Stud has built up a reputation for standing outstanding sprinting sires. Havana Grey appeals as an ideal recruit to try to follow in such distinguished and speedy hoofprints.
Havana Grey’s former stablemate Unfortunately also retires as an appealing prospect. A son of the much-missed Society Rock, Unfortunately gained Group 1 honours by taking the Darley Prix Morny as a two-year-old (with Havana Grey in second) and he will be an interesting addition to the roster at Cheveley Park Stud, whose reputation for standing superb sprinters has been built up over the last 40 years thanks to the achievements of the likes of Music Boy and Pivotal.
Like Havana Grey, Unfortunately also landed a big win in Ireland this autumn, signing off with a solid victory in the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes over six furlongs at Naas in September.
Only a few miles to the west of Cheveley Park, two more fast horses are about to begin their new careers at the National Stud. Like Havana Grey and Unfortunately, Rajasinghe too was one of England’s best juvenile sprinters of 2017, his highlight being an impressive victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The son of Choisir is bound to appeal to mare-owners aiming to breed precocious juvenile sprinters, while the other new stallion at the National Stud, Lancaster Bomber, also offers both speed and precocity – and durability too.
Lancaster Bomber offers both speed and precocity
Lancaster Bomber showed top-class form as a juvenile in 2016 when he finished second in both the Darley Dewhurst Stakes in Great Britain and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in the USA. He was, though, much more than merely a quick-developer because he ended up showing top-class form at both three and four, as his several magnificent efforts in subsequent seasons showed.
His good runs at three included second places in both the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Mile and fourth place in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, while at four he finally gained a richly-deserved Group 1 success in the Tattersalls Gold Cup over ten furlongs at the Curragh in May.
This admirable son of War Front will sire plenty of winners if he can pass on his class, toughness, versatility and genuineness.
Another super-tough former Ballydoyle inmate about to commence stud duties in England is the speedy Washington DC.
With six wins (a maiden and five black-type events) and 15 minor placings to show for his 32 appearances, Washington DC has been a proper trouper among the sprinting ranks over the past four seasons, rarely running a bad race.
With highlights that included finishing second of 17 in the 2016 Prix de l’Abbaye, Washington DC ranks as one of the best as well as one of the toughest sprinters of recent years, and he appeals as potentially another good stallion for Bearstone.
Lancaster Bomber is not the only Dewhurst runner-up currently retiring to stud in the UK. The talented Massaat finished second in the Darley Dewhurst in 2015 before occupying the same position in the following season’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas.
Only lightly raced thereafter, he ran very well in his three starts as a four-year-old, winning the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury before finishing third behind Ribchester in the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp at Chantilly and second behind Limato in the Group 2 Godolphin Challenge Stakes at Newmarket. The son of Teofilo represents a very interesting addition to the line-up at Mickley Stud.
Dylan Mouth retires to stud with his durability and soundness fully proven
Worsall Grange Stud also takes on an interesting horse. Winner of the Derby Italiano in 2014, Dylan Mouth retires to stud with his durability and soundness fully proven, having won 14 of his 31 starts (including three Group 1 victories) and having scored in Pattern company at the ages of three, four, five and seven.
The roster at Tweenhills, already bolstered by the addition of Roaring Lion and Lightning Spear, will not receive its final new addition until the end of the year when Zoustar will arrive from Widden Stud in New South Wales for his first northern hemisphere season.
He will come from his homeland with a huge reputation, largely thanks to the fact that he currently holds a sizeable lead in Australia’s second-season sires’ rankings, his earnings having been greatly bolstered at the VRC Carnival at Flemington when he was represented by the first three home in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, a prestigious sprint which he himself had won in 2013 (and which his sire Northern Meteor had won in 2008).
The majority of the new sires in Ireland will be joining the Coolmore roster, with QIPCO 2,000 Guineas hero Saxon Warrior and Darley July Cup winner US Navy Flag being the most vaunted of the stud’s five new recruits. One of the quintet will be joining Zoustar in making the trip up to Europe from New South Wales, but in Merchant Navy’s case it will be a case of Ireland revisited.
The son of dual Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock has already made one trip northwards, having come to Ballydoyle in the spring to contest two races in Europe. He won both of them and thus holds the distinction of having won in Group 1 company in both hemispheres, having taken the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington last year and this year’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Since then, Merchant Navy has been back in his homeland, covering mares at Coolmore’s Australian farm in the Hunter Valley. Sioux Nation and Gustav Klimt complete the list of new boys retiring to Fethard.
The new stallion on the Darley roster at Kildangan is also a well-travelled sprinter with Group 1 laurels in both hemispheres.
Winner of eight of his 33 starts, Jungle Cat has struck twice at the highest level during 2018, having taken the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on Dubai World Cup Night and the Ladbrokes Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield during the recent Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The new recruits to Rathbarry and Tally-Ho are also tough, fast horses who have enjoyed a rewarding year. James Garfield kicked off his season by beating Expert Eye in the Al Basti Equiworld Greenham Stakes at Newbury (where he had won the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes as a two-year-old) before putting together a string of good runs, most notably finishing second in Group 1 company in France.
Kessaar has only one season of racing behind him, but he has done well during that campaign with two Pattern race triumphs on his score-card. He now heads home to his birthplace, Tally-Ho Stud, to stand alongside his father Kodiac.
Two horses stand out among the new stallions in France as boasting top-class recent form. Recoletos, who joins the roster at Haras du Quesnay, has enjoyed a terrific campaign in 2018 with Group 1 victories in the Churchill Coolmore Prix d’Ispahan and the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp.
The new Darley stallion at Haras du Logis, Cloth Of Stars, a Group 1 winner in last year’s Prix Ganay, has finished in the first three in 15 Pattern races and holds the particular distinction of having been placed in the past two runnings of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Most recently Cloth Of Stars chased home Enable and Sea Of Class in October, having previously split Enable and Ulysses in the same race last year.
That he and Ulysses should have fought out the minor placings was particularly fitting as they are closely related: one could call them ‘three-parts brothers in blood’ because their dams (Strawberry Fledge and the 2007 Oaks heroine Light Shift) are full-sisters while their sires (Sea The Stars and Galileo) are half-brothers.