A Stormy Classic Season

Storm Cat influence remains strong

Storm Cat

Storm Cat (Northern Dancer – Terlingua)

Saturday’s English and US classic races saw the influence of the late, great Storm Cat to the fore in no uncertain fashion.

The former dual US Champion sire is the broodmare sire of Saturday’s Gr1 Qipco 2000 Guineas winner, Gleneagles (Galileo) and great grandsire of Friday’s Kentucky Oaks winner, Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection), while his son, Yankee Gentleman, is broodmare sire of brilliant Kentucky Derby winner and US Triple Crown hope, American Pharoah (Pioneerof The Nile). Another descendant of this superb male line, Lucida, ran second in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas.

2000 Guineas

Finish of the Two Thousand Guineas by Samuel Henry Alken

Finish of the Two Thousand Guineas by Samuel Henry Alken

The exceptional Gleneagles, Europe’s Cartier Champion Two-Year-Old Colt last year, must rate highly on the list of the world’s most exciting stud prospects. As a champion and classic winner by the world’s finest stallion, Gleneagles, a full brother to Irish 1000 Guineas winner, Marvellous, is out of a Gr2 winning own sister to Horse Of The Year and breed shaping stallion, Giant’s Causeway. He also continued the remarkable success that the magnificent Sadler’s Wells male line has enjoyed in the English 2000 Guineas. The second Galileo son to win this race (Frankel winning in 2011), Gleneagles is the fourth colt in the past five years descended in male line from Sadler’s Wells to land the Newmarket classic. The only colt not tracing back to Coolmore’s founding father was Night Of Thunder – but the latter colt is out of a mare by Galileo.

To date, seven colts who trace back to Sadler’s Wells have won the English 2000 Guineas, and with Galileo and his sons’ ever growing success, it seems a racing certainty that this number will increase further. However, the past weekend’s major classic races belonged to a different scion of the Northern Dancer legacy – Storm Cat.

Kentucky Derby

2015 Kentucky Derby logo

2015 Kentucky Derby

Remarkably, Storm Cat’s name occurs in the pedigree of the first three finishers home in this year’s Kentucky Derby. The above mentioned American Pharoah was followed home by Firing Line (a great great grandson of Storm Cat), while third placed finisher, Dortmund, is out of a mare by one of Storm Cat’s finest sons in Tale Of The Cat. Storm Cat’s influence was also felt in the Kentucky Oaks this weekend, with both the winner, Lovely Maria, and third placed filly, I’m A Chatterbox (Munnings), carrying his name in their respective pedigrees.

In North America on Saturday, two sons of Storm Cat, Bernstein and Giant’s Causeway were represented by graded stakes winners, Tepin (Churchill Downs Turf Mile) and Catch A Flight (Gr3 Precisionist Stakes) respectively.

International Influence

Black Minnaloushe

Black Minnaloushe – SA Classic double

The Storm Cat influence was also felt on Champions Day last weekend at Turffontein when his Irish 2000 Guineas winning son, Black Minnaloushe, featured as the sire of Gr1 SA Nursery winner, Arabian Beat. Black Minnaloushe himself was also responsible for a rare and remarkable South African classic double last year, when (also on Champions day), son Louis The King and daughter Ash Cloud landed the Gr1 SA Derby and Gr1 SA Oaks respectively. Black Minnaloushe’s paternal half brother, Tiger Ridge, was another son of Storm Cat to enjoy classic success in South Africa, with A P Indy’s half brother responsible for the classic winning fillies Cherry On The Top (Triple Tiara) and Maybe Yes (KRA Fillies Guineas). As an exceptionally well bred horse who covered some really good mares during his stint in South Africa, Tiger Ridge looks like adding further classic strikes to his score as a broodmare sire in future.

Remarkable Legacy

While Storm Cat himself was best known as a sire of fast precocious stock, the mighty son of Storm Bird, nonetheless, has left behind a remarkable classic legacy.

He himself was the sire of US classic winners Sardula (Kentucky Oaks) and Tabasco Cat (Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes) and Storm Cat sons Bluegrass Cat and Cat Thief ran second and third in their respective Kentucky Derbies. In Europe, Storm Cat’s classic legacy was enhanced by daughter Nebraska Tornado’s success in the Gr1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), while his greatest son, Giant’s Causeway, ran second in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas of his year. Storm Cat is also broodmare sire of champion and Irish 1000 Guineas winner, Misty For Me, who, like Gleneagles and his classic winning own sister Marvellous, was sired by Galileo.

Male Line

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

As indicated, Storm Cat sons and grandsons continue to extend this remarkable sire’s classic legacy. Giant’s Causeway’s classic legacy continues unabated, with the former Horse Of The Year having already made a formidable impression in European classics. His classic winners include Footstepsinthesand (2000 Guineas), Ghanaati (1000 Guineas), Penelopa (German Oaks) and Shamardal (French 2000 Guineas, French Derby).

Shamardal, who has established himself as one of Europe’s best and most reliable pattern race producing sires, is himself the sire of a dual classic winner in the form of promising young stallion Lope De Vega. The latter emulated his sire’s double when he won both the French 2000 Guineas and Derby in 2010, and Lope De Vega, whose first crop also contains Gr1 Dewhurst Stakes hero, Belardo, has already got off the mark with a classic winner in the form of Hero Look (Premio Pariolo – Italian 2000 Guineas).

With a number of other well-performed sons retiring to stud, most notably perhaps Eclipse Stakes winner Mukhadram, Shamardal’s European classic legacy looks sure to grow substantially over the coming years. He went close to adding to his already fine record when daughter Lucida ran a good second in Sunday’s Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Giant’s Causeway, who looks on course to becoming potentially successful a broodmare sire as is Storm Cat himself, is also the damsire of French 1000 Guineas Beauty Parlour (Deep Impact).

Other sons to enjoy classic success at stud include former star 2yo, Hennessy, whose daughter, Special Duty, was awarded victory in both the 1000 and French 1000 Guineas of 2010, while another son, Catienus, is the broodmare sire of 2013 Kentucky Oaks winner Princess Of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior).

Another Storm Cat son, Forestry, sired US classic hero Shackleford, who was victorious in the Gr1 Preakness Stakes of 2011. However, strikingly, while Storm Cat and sons have between them sired at least one Preakness/Belmont Stakes winner, this otherwise potent male line is yet to strike in North America’s most famous horse race of all – the Kentucky Derby. Storm Cat’s greatest son Giant’s Causeway has himself not enjoyed the best of fortune in the Run For The Roses, with his son and favourite, Eskendereya, a late scratching from the 2010 Derby, and another of the sire’s Gr1 winning sons, Carpe Diem, only managing tenth in this year’s race.

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