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What a Sire!


When Nathaniel roared away to win Saturday’s G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, he gave his sire, Galileo (himself victorious in the race in 2001), yet another G1 winner this season. Galileo’s current crop of 3yos include no fewer than six G1 winners (as well as the very promising Seville and Galikova) .

Whilst Galileo has certainly benefitted from large books of quality mares (his 3yos in total number 162 youngsters out of some of the world’s finest mares), he has, without question, proven himself a truly exceptional stallion.  Of his current crop of 3yos, 4% are G1 winners, and this total could yet rise. It is also worth noting that of Galileo’s G1 winning 3yos, five are classic winners! Of the ten top earning horses in the UK during the current season, three are sons of Galileo.

It is also interesting to note, that while Galileo himself is well clear on the UK general sires list, his son Teofilo is second, by prize money, on the first crop sires list, and it could well be, come the end of the season, that Galileo and Teofilo wrap a sires list double.
To date, Galileo’s first six crops of racing age (Northern Hemisphere only) include 20 individual G1 winners.
On a separate note, it is interesting that the first three home in the King George were all grandsons of Sadler’s Wells – the most influential sire in Europe over the past two decades.

The King George winner, Nathaniel, however is out of an exceptional mare. Magnificent Style, a daughter of Silver Hawk, has now produced seven stakes winners – five of which are graded or group winners. One of her G1 winners, Playful Act, sold for $10.5 (R71 million) at the 2007 Keeneland November Sale – and was not in foal at the time.

Storm Cat dud?

Storm Cat

I was surprised to hear that a well known television presenter is alleged to have said that Mogok is the only decent Storm Cat line stallion in the country. Whilst Mogok has certainly shown himself capable of siring a G1 winner, it is worth noting that the last two Champion First crop sires in this country, Black MInnaloushe and Tiger Ridge, are both sons of the mighty Storm Cat. (Also worth noting that Var, himself a former top first crop sire and a proven successful sire, is a grandson of Storm Cat.)

There are also a number of Storm Cat stallions in South Africa, ie Carpocrates and Brave Tin Soldier, who are yet to be represented by runners, and who can hardly be referred to as failures.  And it is hard to think of another stallion whose sons have been champion first crop sires in back to back years.

Storm Cat’s sons, and grandsons, have been influential throughout the world and their success has carried over to South Africa. It can best be described as foolish to say otherwise.

Local is Lekker

Captain Al

It is amazing to think that for a fifth straight year, South Africa’s champion sire will be a locally bred horse.
At this stage, it is hard to say whether the champion will be Jet Master or Captain Al, as the two are locked in a titanic battle for championship honours. At the time of writing, just R38 360 separating the pair, with Jet Master marginally ahead of his rival. However, Captain Al was represented by more individual stakes winners during the season (11) than Jet Master (7).

Jet Master had more local G1 winners (Past Master, Ebony Flyer) than Captain Al (Emerald Cove) this season.

The sires list will be decided, in all likelihood, on Saturday, where there are 12 races. Neither sire has a runner in the first, but both have in the second –  Jet Master has Wings Over Skye, and Captain Al Captain’s Catch. Nothing for either stallion in race three, or race four. In race five, the G1 Thekwini Stakes, Captain Al has two runners, Stern Line and Ocean’s Swift, whilst his rival has the superbly bred Jeter.

Neither sire has a runner in race six, the G1 Premier’s Champion Stakes, but in race seven, the G1 Canon Gold Cup, Captain Al is represented by the quietly fancied Captain’s Wild. Captain Al is also represented by Captain’s Secret, who runs in race eight – the G1 Champions Cup. TBA Paddock Stakes winner Emerald Cove (Captain Al) runs for her sire in race, the G2 Gold Bracelet, but Jet Master has two sons race in race ten, the Listed Darley Arabian Stakes (Jet Jamboree and Masterpiece). Both Captain Al (Dance With Al) and Jet Master (Phantom Fighter) have runners in the penultimate race, and Captain Al’s speedy daughter, Mana Mou, runs in the final race, the Listed Umgeni Handicap.

All in all, Captain Al will be represented by eight runners on the day, as opposed to the five offspring for Jet Master, which suggests that Captain Al could conceivable close the gap on his rival.

Jet Master

The 2010/2011 season has been a triumph for locally bred sires, as not only are they 1-2 on the general sires list, but SAF breds Captain Al and Victory Moon are 1-2 on the 2yo sires list.

The season past was also a huge triumph for Al Mufti, sire of both Captain and Victory Moon. The deceased Al Mufti, who was represented by G1 winners Top Seller (Cape Derby) and Happy Landing (President’s Challenge) in the season, was ninth on the general sires list and fourth on the leading broodmare sires list (Al Mufti is the damsire of the promising sprinter Magico this season, to name but a few).

The influence of Bramalea (winner of the G1 CCA Oaks and dam of Roberto) on the 2010-2011 general sires list is also worth mentioning. Not only is she dam of Roberto (sire of Al Mufti), she is also the granddam of Rollins – damsire of Jet Master.

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