The Underdog Retires

Sire of champions, but never Champion Sire – life’s tough when you’re a sire of speed

National Assembly has retired from active duties. Getting up in the mornings is becoming more and more difficult for the now twenty-six year old stallion. And yes, size does matter, for at fifteen-three hands even enjoyable tasks are becoming unsurmountable when the joints are stiff.

Born in Canada in 1984, National Assembly never raced. He is by Danzig (and looks alike) out of non-winning mare Renounce from a good family, and a stud career in a minor country was always on the cards. He arrived at Highlands in South Africa in 1988 and was quickly syndicated amongst breeders far and wide. Getting properly supported was a different matter, though. The Beck farms at the time already stood Golden Thatch, Argosy, Steady Beat, Elevation, Capture Him, Bush Telegraph, Enchantment. They got the cream of the broodmares. Low-flying newcomer National Assembly had to do with whatever crumbs he could get. The hard way.

How he showed them!

The main feature of National Assembly’s early stud career was his remarkable percentage of winners to runners. Eighty percent was the norm, and his achievement of 95% for the colts born in 1995 must stand as an unassailable record.

Stakes performers made for another notable number – most years the percentages were in double figures, and the 29% achieved with stakes performing colts from his crop of 2000 is unheard of. To make things more unbelievable still, that crop of colts was the biggest one he ever had, numbering 37 (with 28 fillies making a total crop of 65).

In aptitude, National Assembly is a sire of speed, pure and simple. Some 60% of his offspring won up to 1400m. Another 30% stayed a mile. Which leaves 10% for winners over a mile and more – where the big-race money is. As result, National Assembly never made it to Champion Sire. He got the classy Gr1 winners alright, but sire championships are decided on earnings and in South Africa prize money reaches dizzy heights only in races from a mile upwards. Life’s tough when you’re a sire of speed.

National Assembly’s Gr1 winners

1991 c National Emblem – champion

1991 c Bold Thatch

1991 c Secretary General

1994 f Historic Lady – champion

1995 c Big Brass

1996 c Grand Format

1997 f Forward Filly – champion

1998 f Enchantress – champion

1998 c Flight Alert

1999 c National Currency – champion

1999 f Duchess Daba

2000 c Grand Emporium

2002 f National Colour – champion

2002 c Ndabeni

2003 f Trust Antonia

Bold Ruler features prominently in his best offspring, through Jungle Cove, Home Guard.

As a broodmare sire, the sprint filly Sweet Sanette (by Jallad) is making headlines in Hong Kong at present. She’s following on the heels of multiple Gr1 placed filly Kiss For Kate (also by Jallad) and champion Enchantress’ Gr1 winning daughter Laverna (also a champion – by Parade Leader).

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