In Search Of An Outcross

Legal Eagle and Bela-Bela are inbred to the mighty Canadian champion

Saturday’s Gr1 races at Kenilworth provided further evidence, if any was needed, of the dominance of Northern Dancer, writes Sarah Whitelaw.

LQP winner Legal Eagle

Both Legal Eagle (L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate) and Bela-Bela (Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes) are inbred to that diminutive, but mighty, Canadian champion, and it is getting increasingly difficult to find a top class stallion without at least one line of Northern Dancer in his pedigree.

A few years ago, the world had a number of top class sires free of Northern Dancer in their pedigrees, with the likes of Street Cry (Machiavellian), Unbridled’s Song (Unbridled), Monsun (Konigsstuhl), Dynaformer (Roberto), and Dalakhani (Darshaan) all Northern Dancer free.

However, with Dalakhani now retired from stud duties and the others mentioned above all deceased, the list of “outcross” sires to Northern Dancer mares has grown increasingly small.

Every single one of the top ten sires (by stakes) in Britain for 2016 has at least one line of Northern Dancer in his pedigree, with several sporting two or more.

With sires such as Tapit (Pulpit) and Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) both carrying multiple lines of Northern Dancer (Tapit is inbred to Northern Dancer’s Triple Crown winning son, Nijinsky II) –despite not being direct male line descendants of the legend- the problem of finding such an outcross intensifies.

There are a large number of outstanding sires inbred to Northern Dancer and or his sons, Tapit and Dubawi included. This number includes Dansili (Danehill), Oasis Dream (Green Desert), Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) and the late, great Scat Daddy (Johannesburg).

Other top class sires inbred to Northern Dancer include Tavistock (Montjeu), Rock Of Gibraltar (Danehill), Exceed And Excel (Danehill) and Fastnet Rock (Danehill).

Clearly this list will continue to grow yet further.

Red hot US sire, Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie), has no fewer than three lines of Northern Dancer, despite not hailing from this dominant male line.

The champion – Frankel

With Frankel (another inbred to Northern Dancer) having made such an impressive start to his stud career, one can but wonder quite how many major sires free of ND blood will be found in the years to come.

It is interesting to note that while the male line influence of Lyphard (one of Northern Dancer’s top sire sons) has all but died out, his name can be found in a number of the world’s premier sires, with Dubawi (Dubai Millennium), Candy Ride (Ride The Rails), Oasis Dream (Green Desert) and Deep Impact (Sunday Silence) being prime examples.

Even sires like More Than Ready (Southern Halo) and Le Havre (Noverre) have at least one line of Northern Dancer.

Here are a few of the sires, recently represented by at least one major winner, who are free of Northern Dancer:


A P Indy –Prospector’s Delite

1992 Breeders Cup winner, A.P. Indy

1992 Breeders Cup winner, A.P. Indy

An impeccably bred horse (whose 1st dam was named US Broodmare Of The Year and whose second dam was outstanding producer, Up The Flagpole), Mineshaft was an outstanding racehorse and North American Horse Of The Year in 2003. Remarkably, he is by a Horse Of The Year (A P Indy), by another, (Seattle Slew).

He has since then quietly gone about compiling a highly respectable career at stud (albeit receiving top class books of broodmares) and ranks as one of AP Indy’s better sire sons.

Mineshaft, whose sons include 2016 US Leading First Crop Sire, Dialed In, was represented by five graded stakes winners last year (including G1 winner, Weep No More) and is also broodmare sire of 2016 Gr1 Kentucky Oaks winner, Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss). Remarkably, Cathryn Sophia is one of the few major winners of last year whose pedigree is devoid of Northern Dancer.


Street Cry – Blushing Ogygian

2002 Dubai World Cup - Street Cry (photo: Dubai Racing Club)

2002 Dubai World Cup – Street Cry (photo: Dubai Racing Club)

Another Northern Dancer free sire to have enjoyed notable success of late is dual Gr1 winner, Street Boss. The latter ended 2016 on a real high when his daughter, Decked Out, captured the Gr1 American Oaks. Decked Out was the second 2016 Oaks winner for her sire, whose Cathryn Sophia captured the Kentucky Oaks.

While Street Boss is unlikely to reach the heights achieved by his outstanding sire, Street Cry, he has already nearly 30 stakes winners to his credits, including top Australian sprinter, The Quarterback, and US Gr1 winners, Danza (Arkansas Derby) and Capo Bastone (King’s Bishop Stakes).


Taufan – Twin Island

The former Prix Morny winner will never be an outstanding sire, but, in Canford Cliffs and 2016 G1 Darley July Cup winner, Limato, he did throw two outstanding racehorses. Canford Cliffs, who won five Gr1 races in a row, is also now enjoying success at stud, with his first Northern Hemisphere crop having produced a total of five stakes winners as well as Gr1 Investec Oaks third, Harlequeen.

Gelded Limato, a horse with a truly electric turn of foot, also won the Gr1 Prix de La Foret and has already banked just under £1 000 000 in stakes.

Interestingly, Tagula is not only a total outcross for Northern Dancer but also for Mr Prospector –not a combination often found these days!


Cozzene -Kinema

Juddmonte Farms stand the consistently successful sire, Mizzen Mast (whose relatives include former leading SA sire and broodmare sire, Dancing Champ, as well as US superstar Zenyatta). The sire of a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners (Flotilla and Mizdirection), Mizzen Mast is arguably the best sire son left behind by former US champion sire, Cozzene (Caro).

His 40 odd stakes winners include such Gr1 winners as Ultimate Eagle, Midships and Hollywood Gold Cup hero Mast Track.

His prominent winners last year included Hong Kong Gr1 winner, Giant Treasure and graded winners, Mizz Money and One Mean Man.

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