The late Giant’s Causeway, who passed away, like maternal grandson Soft Falling Rain, in 2018, is having an increasingly significant impact as a broodmare sire.
Sarah Whitelaw writes that he is currently North America’s Leading Broodmare Sire by stakes for 2018, with Giant’s Causeway daughters’ offspring having banked more than $24 million in the Northern Hemisphere alone this year thus far.
A horse with strong claims to being the best son of multiple champion US sire Storm Cat, Giant’s Causeway was represented as damsire of two impressive graded stakes winners this past Saturday, in the form of the unbeaten One World (Captain Al) and promising US filly Liora (Candy Ride), who captured the Gr2 Concorde Cup and Gr2 Golden Rod Stakes respectively.
One World looks a leading contender for the upcoming Gr1 Cape Guineas, while Liora, a winner of two of her four starts, picked up ten points for the 2019 Gr1 Kentucky Oaks following her Golden Rod score.
One World’s dam Aquilonia was produced by an own sister (Leonila) to French Oaks winner Caerlina, while Liora’s dam Giant Mover is a stakes winning daughter of millionaire Gold Mover (Gold Fever).
Another Giant’s Causeway daughter, Salsa Star, is dam of talented filly Blamed, who scored the first graded victory of her career when landing Friday’s Gr3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct. Blamed has now won six of just eight outings with her prior scores including the Sunland Oaks.
To date, the ‘Iron-Horse’ has featured as the broodmare sire of 14 graded/group stakes winners this year alone – namely the above mentioned Blamed, One World and Liora, Sophie P (Gr1 Gamely Stakes), Hawkbill (Gr1 Dubai Sheema Classic), Mucho Gusto (Gr3 Bob Hope Stakes), Liam The Charmer (Gr2 John Henry Turf Championship), Sporting Chance (Gr3 Prix Eclipse), Charles Road (Gr2 Chairman’s Hcp), Berned (Gr3 Molly Pitcher Stakes), Zacada (Gr2 Avondale Cup), Let It Rain, Mandolina Czech, King Zachary (Gr3 Matt Winn Stakes) and the brilliant Gun Runner.
The above mentioned horses were sired by stallions from a host of major sire lines, varying from the likes of Curlin and his sire Smart Strike, to Bushranger and Mucho Macho Man and Zabeel and Dynasty.
The leading contributor to Giant’s Causeway’s impressive tally (in terms of stakes money earned) this year is the now retired Gun Runner.
The latter, who like Liora was sired by the outstanding sire Candy Ride, was North America’s Horse Of The Year for 2017 and ended his career with a dominant, two and a half length win in the $16.3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes.
Ironically, Gun Runner’s 12 wins included the Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race in which Giant’s Causeway was narrowly beaten in 2000.
Giant’s Causeway mares have produced 70 stakes winners in the Northern Hemisphere thus far, and close to 100 black type winners the world over.
His daughter Gardener’s Delight has proved a very successful broodmare in South Africa, with that mare’s progeny including Equus Champion Soft Falling Rain and Gr2 winner Let It Rain while Gardener’s Delight Rose Garden (Spectrum) is dam of recent winner Duchess Of Bourbon (Duke Of Marmalade) –said to be held in high regard by connections.
In South Africa alone, Giant’s Causeway is not only damsire of standouts Soft Falling Rain and One World, but also multiple stakes winner Call To Account (like One World sired by Captain Al), Cape Guineas runner up White River (by Trippi), multiple stakes winner A Time To Dream (like Let It Rain by Dynasty), stakes winner Wild Ash (Dylan Thomas), Gr3 Strelitzia Stakes winner Rich Girl (Rock Of Gibraltar) and Gr3 Champagne Stakes winner Beach Goddess (by Kildonan).
Now, the progeny of his daughters are starting to make their presence felt at stud. Multiple Gr1 winner Verrazano (More Than Ready) was an exceptionally gifted athlete, whose victories included a nearly ten length romp in the Gr1 Haskell Invitational.
Now standing at Ashford Stud, Verrazano (out of Giant’s Causeway daughter Enchanted Rock –whose relatives include former SA sires Formaz and Waldoboro) is currently the eighth leading First Crop Sire in the USA, with his early 2yo first crop runners including stakes winners Seek And Destroy and Stirling Drive.
Verrazao’s short-lived half-brother El Padrino (Pulpit) is the sire of 2018 Gr1 Frizette Stakes runner up Brucia La Terra.
Soft Falling Rain will be represented by his first runners this season, and if early interest is any indication, he too could go on to make his mark (albeit from a limited number of runners) with his progeny, while fellow Giant’s Causeway maternal grandson Gun Runner has proven massively popular since retiring to stud.
Interestingly, not only has Giant’s Causeway become one of the world’s premier broodmare sires, but his sire sons are showing signs of following suit.
Giant’s Causeway’s best sire son Shamardal is fast emulating his triple champion sire in becoming a top class broodmare sire. Still a relatively young broodmare sire, Shamardal is already damsire of the Gr1 winners Latrobe (Irish Derby), Awtaad (Irish 2000 Guineas, sire), Pretty Pollyanna (Prix Morny) and Mighty High (Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship).
With still plenty of daughters yet to be represented on the track, Shamardal, whose offspring also include the top class stallion Lope De Vega, looks set for increasing success as a broodmare sire over the years to come.