Australian visitors dominate European first season sires

published: 31 Aug 2015 in Nationwide

WHEN the Dream Ahead (USA) (Diktat-Land of Dreams by Cadeaux Genereux) colt Final Frontier took out the Anglesey Stakes-Gr.3 (about 1000m) on the Irish Oaks program on July 18, the prizemoney elevated him to that stage of the racing year into third place on the European Leading First Season Sires ladder and fifth on the European juvenile list. The success also meant the first three first crop sires in order of earnings, Zoffany (IRE) (Dansili-Tyranny by Machiavellian), Canford Cliffs (IRE) (Tagula-Mrs Marsh by Marju) and Dream Ahead, are all current visitors to Australia for southern hemisphere use. 

  Winner of six of nine starts, five Gr.1, Joint Champion European 2Y0 (2010, with Frankel) and at three European Champion Sprinter and Champion 3YO Miler France-GB, the Ballylinch Stud, Ireland-based Dream Ahead (2015 Australian fee $27,500) is coming up to his fourth season at the Emirates Park Stud at Murrurundi in the Hunter Valley. His first Australian crop of more than 80 foals turned two on August 1. These youngsters have been sold up to $380,000 at the yearling sales and many will run for prominent trainers.

  Now unbeaten in two starts, both at the Curragh, Dream Ahead’s July 18 winner Final Frontier is from Polly Perkins, a dual Listed winner in Great Britain at two by the Nureyev grandson Pivotal, a sire of 24 Gr.1 winners, including Excellent Art (IRE), a visitor to Coolmore in the Hunter Valley between 2008-11.

  The two sires ahead of Dream Ahead on the European First Season list, Zoffany (fee on application) and Canford Cliffs, (fee $13,750), are in the Coolmore complex in Ireland and like him have first crop two year-olds from use in Australia. Zoffany comes out to Coolmore in the Hunter Valley, and Canford Cliffs visits Philip Campbell’s Blue Gum Farm at Euroa in Victoria.

  For a few of the years of his use in Australia, Blue Gum Farm stood one of Coolmore’s most successful visiting sires, Last Tycoon (IRE) (Try My Best-Mill Princess by Mill Reef). His son Marju (IRE), a Royal Ascot Gr.1-winning miler and an English Derby second who visited in 2001 and 2002, is the sire of Mrs Marsh, the dam of Canford Cliffs. Ireland’s Broodmare of the Year for 2011, Mrs Marsh produced Canford Cliffs from a mating with Tagula (by the Stop The Music horse Taufan and from Twin Island by former NZ shuttler Standaan (FR)), a leading European two year-old and prominent miler at three described as a ‘proven source of precocious speed’. He represents the Hail to Reason male line.

  Tagula’s best son is Canford Cliffs, a winner of seven races (two from three at two) and second and third twice each in his 11 start career. His Gr.1 efforts were wins in the Irish 2000 Guineas, Ascot St James’s Palace Stakes, Goodwood Sussex Stakes, Ascot Queen Anne Stakes and Newbury Lockinge Stakes, a second in a second crack at the Sussex and thirds in the English 2000 Guineas and Deauville Prix Morny (at two).

  Fourth high weight European 2YO of 2009, a year he surged to a six length victory in the Coventry Stakes-Gr.2 (6f), Canford Cliffs went on to be Champion 3YO GB-Ireland, third in the World Rankings and second highest Timeform rated (131) and then at four assessed as the best miler in the World Rankings. Timeform rated Canford Cliffs and gelded five year-old Cirrus des Aigles (FR) equal best older males for the year with 133. The only older performer higher rated that year was Australia’s Black Caviar (135).  

  Coincidentally, Helsinge, the dam of Black Caviar and also of All Too Hard, is carrying a 2014 service to Canford Cliffs. He has had nice quality books in each of his three seasons and among those who have first crop prospects are daughters of Redoute’s Choice, Exceed and Excel, Encosta de Lago, Scenic (IRE), King’s Best (USA), Mukddaam (USA), Snowland, Hurricane Sky, Lunchtime (GB), Statue of Liberty (USA), Generous (IRE) and Rubiton. Trainers with Canford Cliff-sired juveniles include Mark Kavanagh, Paul Perry, Robbie Laing, Mick Price, Lee and Anthony Freedman and Darren Weir. They are likely to be more enthusiastic about their prospects following their sire’s very good start with his first European runners.

  The European statistics to mid-July have him in second place behind Zoffany by earnings in the first season statistics, and equal with him as the most successful by winners, each with nine. In addition they are in second and fourth place on earnings in the list for Leading Sires of Two Year-Olds in Europe. However by late July and after a surge of winners, Canford Cliffs was ahead by winners with 16.

  The European stats for sires of two year-olds are headed by Dark Angel (IRE) (Acclamation-Midnight Angel by Machiavellian) by earnings, but Zoffany leads all the sires by juvenile stakes winners, supplying four to that date..

  The latter stats are headed by Dark Angel (IRE) (Acclamation-Midnight Angel by Machiavellian) by earnings, but Zoffany leads all the sires by juvenile stakes winners, supplying four to that date.  

His prowess as a sire was demonstrated with aplomb in June when he had the rare success of three stakes winners at the five-day Royal Ascot carnival. The winners were Waterloo Bridge (dam by Dr Fong (USA)), in the Norfolk Stakes-Gr.2; Illuminate (dam by Danzig sire Green Desert), in the Albany Stakes-Gr.3; and Washington DC (dam by Shinko Forest (IRE), 
a Green Desert sire), in the Windsor Castle Stakes-LR.

  Illuminate remained unbeaten in three starts when she won the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes-Gr.2 at the big July meeting at Newmarket and the other two have each won twice. The fourth Zoffany stakes winner, Argentero (dam by Pivotal), has also won twice, one in a Listed event in Ireland. This was followed by a fourth in the Railway Stakes-Gr.2 at the Curragh.

  A review of Illuminate by Dr Sieglinde McGee in the July 18 edition of the Irish Field suggested Zoffany’s racing and pedigree profile make him a candidate to get precocious and late season juveniles and potentially top class three year-olds and older horses up to 10f (2000m). Zoffany was one of the leading 10 European two year-olds of 2010, a year he won five of seven starts, including the Curragh Phoenix Stakes-Gr.1 and Leopardstown Tyros Stakes-Gr.3, and then at three was recognised as Joint Champion 3YO Miler in Ireland. He did not win at three, his final campaign, but showed superior class with seconds in the Royal Ascot St James’s Palace Stakes-Gr.1 (to Frankel) and Chantilly Prix Jean Prat-Gr.1 (to Mutual Trust).

  Zoffany is by one of Danehill’s greatest sire sons, Juddmonte Farm, Newmarket-located Dansili (GB), and his dam Mrs Marsh is by Machiavellian (USA). A son of Mr. Prospector, Machiavellian is a relation of Danehill, their second dams being half-sisters (they are also half-sisters to Northern Dancer).

  Fourth in the European First Crop Sires’ statistics was Roderic O’Connor (Galileo (IRE)-Secret Garden by Danehill (USA)) and close up behind him were Darley dual hemisphere sire Poet’s Voice (GB) (Dubawi (IRE)-Bright Tiara by Chief’s Crown (USA)) and Australian 2003-04 Horse of the year Lonhro (Octagonal (NZ)-Shadea by Straight Strike (USA).

  Champion Australian Sire 2010-11 and leading sire by winners and wins 2013-14 and 2014-15, Lonhro went to Kentucky in 2012, 2013 and 2014. His first northern runners are two and include four who have won in Europe and a winner at Woodbine in Canada. Another whose first Australian progeny were two year-olds on August 1, the imposing looking Poet’s Voice was a good class two year-old and miler in Great Britain.

  As mentioned earlier, the two leaders by earnings in the leading sires of two year-olds In Europe are Dark Angel and Zoffany, but a serious rival is 2012-13 Champion Australian Sire Exceed and Excel (Danehill (USA)-Patrona (USA) by Lomond). Used at Darley in the Hunter Valley and in Ireland, Exceed and Excel is in the leading six in these statistics and also high up the all age Leading European Sires’ list. The five most successful on earnings at mid-July in order or most earnings, Dubawi (IRE), Galileo (IRE), Cape Cross (IRE), Invincible Spirit (IRE) and Shamardal (USA), have all shuttled to Australia for southern hemisphere use.

  In the juvenile statistics, two of the seven who each have 10 or more winners are Equiano (FR) (Acclamation- Entente Cordiale by Ela-Mana-Mou) and Zebedee(GB) (Invincible Spirit-Cozy Maria by Cozzene), each with 11 winners. Both also among the leading 10 juvenile sires and in the Leading European Second Crop Sires’ list, Equiano (Swettenham Stud, Nagambie, Victoria) and Zebedee (Cornerstone Stud, Angaston, South Australia) are to be available in Australia this year. Equiano (fee $13,750) is on his fifth visit, but Zebedee ($17,600) makes his Australian debut. He is currently the leading European two-crop sire by winners and was the most successful first crop sire by winners for 2014 with 31 being successful.

  Three sires each have 30 or more two-crop winners to mid-July this year. They are Zebedee (38), former Patinack Stud Hunter Valley visitor Lope De Vega (IRE) (Shamardal-Lady Vettori by Vettori) (32) and Equiano (30). The most successful two-crop sire (10 or more runners) in Europe by percentage of winners to runners is dual hemisphere-used Australian Starspangledbanner (Choisir-Gold Anthem by Made of Gold (USA)). He has had 20 runners for 11 winners (three at stakes level) and a strike rate of 55% including recent Gr.3 winner Home of the Brave. Only one two-crop sire, Lope De Vega (four), has more stakes winners. He is not among the visiting sires this year. n