The late, great Nureyev is one of history’s finest sires. Despite his stud career being restricted by fertility issues, the son of Northern Dancer left behind 135 stakes winners – with a staggering 17 % of his foals becoming black type winners, writes Sarah Whitelaw.
His tally included 20 official champions, who ranged from undefeated 2yo Fasliyev, to star sprinter Stravinsky, to brilliant Arc de Triomphe hero Peintre Celebre, and the magnificent milers Miesque and Zilzal. The latter also had major fertility issues but did leave behind the Gr1 winners Among Men and Always Loyal and is also broodmare sire of leading South African sire Var.
Put in perspective, today’s top sires, Galileo (Sadler’s Wells), Dubawi (Dubai Millennium), and Tapit (Pulpit) are siring 10%, 11% and 8% respectively, and are, by and large, covering arguably higher class mares than did the fertility blighted Nureyev.
Stunningly, Nureyev himself was siring 10% Group/ Graded winners to foals, something only the truly elite sires achieve.
He also became a tremendous broodmare sire and headed the British Broodmare Sires List in 1997.
Daughters of Nureyev have produced numerous top class individuals, including the breed shaping sires Kingmambo (Mr Prospector) and Zabeel, Irish Derby winner Desert King (sire of the great Makybe Diva), Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown (sire of top class US athlete Dortmund), and French Oaks winner East Of The Moon (Private Account).
Nureyev is also broodmare sire of the highly successful US sire Northern Afleet –the sire of, among others, US champion and dual classic winner Afleet Alex. The latter is himself now a successful sire at Gainesway Farm with his progeny including such Gr1 winners as Dublin, Afleet Express, Texas Red, Materiality, Iotapa and Sharla Rae. Yet another successful sire out of a Nureyev mare is the Zafonic horse Iffraaj –whose dam, Pastorale, is a half sister to Cape sire Great Britain.
Not surprisingly, the legacy of this remarkable horse continues at the highest level around the world.
From the likes of Lonhro (Octagonal) and Savabeel (Zabeel), to King Kamehameha (Kingmambo) and the above mentioned Var, Nureyev’s name continues to be found in some of the world’s top stallions.
His sire sons are also now leaving their mark, and are becoming increasingly influential as broodmare sires.
One of Nureyev’s best sons,Theatrical, a former US Turf Champion and sire of over 20 Grade One winners, is damsire of more than 70 stakes winners, including Arc hero Rail Link (Dansili), GR1 Prix Jean Prat winning sire Lord Shanakill (Speightstown), and US Turf Champion, and six time GR1 winner English Channel (Smart Strike).
The latter has since become a highly successful sire in Kentucky, with his top runners including the Grade One winners The Pizza Man, V.E. Day and Interpol, to name a few.
Another son, the flying Stravinsky, is broodmare sire of Australian Horse Of The Year Lankan Rupee (Redoute’s Choice), triple Gr1 winning sire Rip Van Winkle (Galileo) as well as current US turf star, and Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes possible, Tepin (Bernstein).
Nureyev’s son Peintre Celebre, arguably his sire’s greatest male runner, also proved successful at stud, with his 120 plus stakes winners including 12 individual Gr1 winners –including exciting young SA sire Byword.
Peintre Celebre, like many other top class sons of Nureyev, is now also becoming a tremendous broodmare sire, with his daughters having produced the ill-fated triple Gr1 Melbourne Cup runner up Red Cadeaux (Cadeaux Genereux) and Gr1 Investec Oaks winner Talent (New Approach).
His son Polar Falcon, damsire of last year’s QIPCO Champion Stakes winner Fascinating Rock (Fastnet Rock) is another son of Nureyev whose name promises to be around in pedigrees for years to come.
His son Pivotal, one of the rags to riches sire success stories of the modern era, has long been regarded as one of the world’s top stallions. His offspring include more than 100 stakes winners (and at least 25 individual Gr1 winners), and Pivotal counts French sensation Siyouni and proven speed sire Kyllachy as among his successful sire sons.
Kyllachy’s son Dragon Pulse, winner of the Gr2 Futurity at two, has also made a pleasing start to his stud career and is currently the third leading first crop sire in Britain.
However, it is Siyouni who looks to be the true star, thus far, of the Pivotal dynasty. The former G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner was Champion First Crop Sire in France in 2014 and Champion Second Season Sire one year later.
His first two full crops include 8 stakes winners, most notably French 1000 Guineas winner Ervedya. The latter, whose dam is by Kingmambo son King’s Best, is yet another top class performer inbred to Nureyev.
Pivotal is also making his mark as a broodmare sire, with his daughters having already produced the likes of US Champion Main Sequence, Gr1 July Cup hero Mayson, Australian Gr1 winner The United States and exciting young SA sire Flying The Flag.
Nureyev’s Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winning son Spinning World, a close relative of promising SA sire Pathfork, is also in the news with his grandson, Jimmy Choux currently leading the New Zealand Sires’ First Crop List.
The legacy of this mighty sire is still being felt around the globe today-with inbreeding to the three parts sibling to Sadler’s Wells becoming a rapidly notable feature in major race winners.
Locally this trend has produced the talented, but ill-fated, Gr1 SA Classic runner up Mister Cricket, and it seems unlikely that that son of Judpot will be the last high class runner in South Africa who is inbred to one of history’s great stallions.