With the Northern Hemisphere racing season winding down, it is a good time to look back at the leading stallions of the major racing countries for the year 2014.
It was no race for the general sires title in 2014, with Galileo’s progeny earning over £7.1 million. Sadler’s Wells’ finest son is currently more than £4 million clear of runner up Invincible Spirit, a stunning achievement even for a stallion as remarkable as Galileo. Galileo, who was landing the premiership for the sixth year in a row, has now won nine sires titles and is without peer in the ranks of today’s stallions. In 2014, Galileo’s seven Group 1 winners included Australia, the third Galileo colt to win the Investec Derby (he was preceded by New Approach and Ruler Of The World), as well as champions Noble Mission and Gleneagles. Galileo’s half brother, Sea The Stars, has made an excellent start to his stud career, with his first runners, 3yos in 2014, including the Group 1 winners Sea The Moon, Taghrooda and Vazira.
Invincible Spirit, (Green Desert), whose offspring in 2014 included Horse Of The Year, Kingman, was second ahead of Shamardal, who had a remarkable season this year. The son of Giant’s Causeway was represented by three major G1 winners (Dan Excel, Mukhadram, Baltic Baroness) in the Northern Hemisphere in 2014, while his son Lope De Vega stamped himself as a sire of note, with his first runners including G1 Dewhurst Stakes winner Belardo.
Lope De Vega was not the only young stallion, however, to make a positive impression with his first runners. Remarkably, no fewer than nine first crop sires standing in Britain or Ireland this season were represented by at least one Group winner in their first crop. This number includes Starspangledbanner (sire of Prix Morny hero The Wow Signal) and Rip Van Winkle (sire of Phoenix Stakes winner Dick Whittington).
The French sires premiership is almost automatically won by the sire of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner and in 2014 it was no different. Motivator, whose brilliant daughter, Treve, won the Arc for a second year in a row, landed the sires premiership, despite his 19 runners including just six winners. In total, Motivator (who was also France’s Champion Sire in 2013), was represented by three stakes winners in France this year, with the majority of his €3.345 million stakes being generated by Treve’s prize money of €2.945 million.
A number of French based stallions, however, did stamp themselves as potentially exceptional sires in 2014. Notable among them was French Derby winner Le Havre (by Noverre), sire of dual French classic winner Avenir Certain (French 1000 Guineas, Oaks) in his first crop and second to Motivator on the general sires log, and the brilliant first crop sire Siyouni (by Pivotal). A half brother to Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes winner Siyouma, Siyouni was represented by 14 individual first crop winners, which included three group winners. His stud fee has risen to €20,000 following this exceptional start, which sees Siyouni well clear on both the French and German first crop sires logs.
The well bred Tertullian (a three parts brother to Arc winner, Urban Sea- also the dam of Galileo and Sea The Stars) currently heads the German sires log. However, the 12 time stakes winning son of Miswaki is only marginally clear of runner up, and former Horse Of The Year, Soldier Hollow. The latter, an intriguingly inbred son of In The Wings, was represented by his second Group 1 winner, when his son, Ivanhowe, shocked the previously unbeaten German Derby winner, Sea The Moon, when winning the Grosser Preis von Baden. Ivanhowe went on to claim further Group 1 success when victorious in the Grosser Preis von Bayern.
Sons of Danehill have dominated Italy’s general sires log in recent years. The now Avontuur based, Oratorio, won the title in 2012 and 2013, and another champion son of Danehill, Dylan Thomas, heads the Italian Sires Log in 2014. A six time Group 1 winner, and arguably his sire’s best son on the track, Dylan Thomas had a magnificent season in 2014. His progeny won no fewer than seven Italian feature races, and he also sired the winners of both the Derby Italiano (Italian Derby) and Oaks D’Italia (Italian Oaks) in the form of Dylan Mouth and Final Score.
Remarkably, six sons of Danehill fill the first ten positions on the Italian log – with the now South African pair of Oratorio and Duke Of Marmalade in fifth and seventh places respectively.
The influence of the late, great Sunday Silence continues to dominate Japanese racing and breeding. Seven of the top ten stallions on the 2014 Japanese General Sires log are sons of the 1989 US Horse Of The Year, and remarkably, 14 of the country’s G1 races were won by the descendants of Sunday Silence.
Sunday Silence’s finest son, Deep Impact, is currently well clear on the general sires log, and is bidding to lift his third title. The former Triple Crown winning champion has been represented by five G1 winners in 2014, including classic winner Harp Star and Tenno Sho hero, Spielberg.
However, former King George hero, Harbinger (by Dansili), is currently leading the Japanese first crop sires log.
Tapit, who will stand for $300 000 in 2015, looks set to win his first general sires title this year. The brilliant son of Pulpit, who was represented by three individual Grade 1 winners in 2014, has had 16 winners during this year and his offspring have earned a record breaking $15.363 million. Tapit, whose daughter Untapable became her sire’s fifth Breeders Cup winner when she won the recent Breeders Cup Distaff, is more than $4 million clear of Giant’s Causeway on the general Sires log at the time of writing.
There are also a number of really promising first crop sires in North America. They include Quality Road, who currently heads the first crop log by stakes, and former Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver. Both Raise A Native horses, Quality Road and Super Saver have both been represented by Grade 1 winners (Hootenanny and Competitive Edge) in their first crop of runners and both look like stallions of tremendous promise.