Cox Plate heroes from Sadler's Wells line

published: 31 Aug 2015 in Pedigree analysis

EVER since it was first run at Moonee Valley in 1922, the weight-for-age Cox Plate, a race carrying $3m in prizemoney and run over 2040m in late October, has been a stage for great racehorses and excellence at stud. Coolmore sires Adelaide (IRE) and So You Think (NZ) are Cox Plate winners from the Sadler’s Wells male line, but they each took a different path to the race before etching their names on its honour board of great performers.

  Among the Cox Plate heroes of last century were Heroic (seven times Champion Australian Sire), Phar Lap, Chatham, Ajax, Beau Vite, Tranquil Star, Flight, Hydrogen, Rising Fast, Noholme (a good sire in America), Tulloch, Tobin Bronze (sired good winners America), Kingston Town, Octagonal, Strawberry Road (successful sire in America), Bonecrusher, Rubiton, Better Loosen Up, Saintly, Might and Power and Sunline.

  Superstar Kingston Town won the Cox Plate a record three times (successive years) and others who won it twice last century were Phar Lap, Chatham, Young Idea, Beau Vite, Tranquil Star, Flight, Hydrogen and Tobin Bronze. Sunline won it twice, but in separate centuries, scoring in 1999 and 2000. She finished second in 2001 behind Northerly (protest unsuccessful) and fourth when he joined the elite band of dual Cox Plate winners in 2002. Since then the Cox Plate winners have included Fields of Omagh (by Cox Plate winner Rubiton, successful 2003 and 2006), Makybe Diva (GB) (2005), So You Think (2009 and 2010), Ocean Park (2012) and Adelaide (2014).

  Last spring saw Adelaide (Gallileo (IRE)-Elletelle by Elnadim (USA)) become the first Cox Plate winner bred, owned and trained (Aidan O’Brien) in the northern hemisphere and also the first ridden by a visiting northern hemisphere jockey, Ryan Moore. Adelaide became only fifth northern hemisphere bred winner of the race, sharing this distinction with Makybe Diva (GB), an Australian bred, owned and trained mare who did not race in Europe.

  The earlier imported Cox Plate winners were Almaarad (IRE) (1989, raced by Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai, but trained here at Lindsay Park in South Australia by Colin Hayes) and back in 1922 Violoncello (GB) and 1924 The Night Patrol (GB). Also winner of the Caulfield Cup, inaugural Cox Plate winner Violoncello was imported and raced by Sydney retail store owner Sir Samuel Horden and later sired some good winners from use at his stud at Wingen near Scone. One of them, Viol d’Amour, finished second in the 1932 Cox Plate.

  The Night Patrol, the winner of the 1924 Cox Plate and a short half-head second the following year, was brought out to Australia and raced by The Earl of Stradbroke when he was appointed Governor of Victoria. When The Night Patrol finished second in his second tilt at the Cox Plate, the third placegetter was another import, Pantheon (GB), a five year-old, who subsequently sired dual Melbourne Cup winner Peter Pan. When Violoncello and The Night Patrol won the Cox Plate the race prizemoney was £1000 ($2000) out of which the winner’s take was £750 ($1500), a vast difference to the $3m ($2m for first) value of the race when it fell to So You Think and Adelaide.  

  Only a small number of northern hemisphere bred horses contested the Cox Plate last century, but the pendulum has swung in the past 10 years with an armada of imports flooding into leading Australian stables and an increasing number of class northern hemisphere racehorses flying in for Melbourne Spring races. Earlier the main aim for the visitors was the Melbourne Cup, but now they are chasing other major races, including the Cox Plate, one of the world’s richest and important weight-for-age races. 

  It is a participation that very likely gained a bigger incentive when Adelaide, a visitor, triumphed in the race last year. He was one of four European bred runners in the event, one of the others being Side Glance (GB), a close up fourth.  Treated as a four year-old in his Cox Plate, but actually a northern hemisphere three year-old, the good looking Galileo colt Adelaide had raced earlier in Great Britain, Ireland, France and the United States, appearing seven times. 

  He won three, his only start at two (1600m, by 2.5 lengths Ireland) and at three the Gallinule Stakes-Gr.3 (2000m, by 2.5 lengths) in Ireland, and in America the Secretariat Stakes-Gr.1 (2000m, 1.5 lengths, Arlington), finished second in the Belmont Derby-Gr.1 (2000m, New York), King Edward Stakes-Gr.2 (2400m, Royal Ascot) and Prix Hocquart-Gr.2 (2200m, Longchamp) and third in the Prix Niel-Gr.2 (2200m, Longchamp).

  Adelaide was assessed on 54.5kg in the World Rankings for three year-olds of 2014 and awarded a Timeform of 128 (equal fourth; two pounds above the 126 awarded Danehill when he was named Europe’s Champion 3YO Sprinter for 1989).

Sadler’s Wells cross with Danzig

BRED on Coolmore in Ireland, raced by a Coolmore partnership and looked after by their Ireland headquartered trainer, Aidan O’Brien, Adelaide is by their homebred Sadler’s Wells-sired English and Irish Derby winner Galileo and from Elletelle, a very smart Gr.2-winning two year-old by July Cup-Gr.1 winner and former NZ shuttler Elnadim (USA), a Danzig Great Britain champion sprinter at three and four.

  Adelaide is bred on a similar sire cross to that which produced the unbeaten giant of European racing Frankel (dam by Danehill), both being by Galileo and from mares by Danzig sires. While So You Think’s dam is by a son of Nijinsky, Adelaide’s second dam Flamanda is by Niniski, also a son of Nijinsky. His third dam is Listed winner Nemesia (family 4r), a daughter of champion Mill Reef and Elegant Tern, by another champion in Sea-Bird  The first horse in 60 years to be European champion at two, three and four, the European record holder for consecutive Gr.1 wins (10) and the highest Timeform Rated Horse in History (147), Frankel as a sire is to have his first progeny in 2016. Located at Saudi Arabian Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Banstead Manor Stud at Newmarket UK, Frankel, not surprisingly, has had exceptionally high quality books in his initial use as a sire, use that has included a small number mated to southern hemisphere time for Australian breeders. Frankel and his sire Galileo are two descendants of Sadler’s Wells who are predicted to shape European breeding and racing through much of this century.

  Galileo, Sadler’s Wells and Danehill from their use at Coolmore in Ireland have made it probably the most dominant powerful breeding and racing operation in European history. Sadler’s Wells and Danehill, both now deceased, have left huge legacies through sons and daughters, but the Galileo influence is only in its infancy.

  He has got off to a bold start in Europe through Darley dual hemisphere-used Teofilo (IRE) (dam by Danehill) and New Approach (IRE) (Ahonoora). Teofilo is an unbeaten Champion European Juvenile whose early progeny include Trading Leather (dam by Sinndar; won Irish Derby) and Sonntag (Stategic; won Queensland Derby), and among 
New Approach’s offspring are Dawn Approach (dam by Phone Trick; undefeated European champion at two and Champion 3YO Miler, won English Derby; stands at Darley, Great Britain), Talent (Peintre Celebre (USA); won English Oaks) and May’s Dream (Archway (IRE); won Australasian Oaks at Morphettville).

  Two other Coolmore Galileo sires with winners are Soldier of Fortune (IRE) (Erins Isle, an Irish Derby winner standing in France, and Ireland-based Rip Van Winkle (IRE) (Stravinsky (USA)), a Gr.3 winner at two, European Champion 3YO Miler, European Champion Older Horse 1900m-2100m at four. Soldier of Fortune was a prominent European two-crop sire in 2014 and Rip Van Winkle, a shuttler to Windsor Park in New Zealand, had 16 winners to Gr.1 level in his first crop juveniles in Europe last year and has had some smart performers among his first New Zealand runners 2014-15. Rip Van Winkle’s best European two year-old, Dick Whittington, 
was produced by a Danehill mare.

  There are 19 sons of Galileo in Weatherbys English Stallion Book covering the just completed 2015 northern hemisphere breeding season. Those yet to have runners include Frankel, Australia (GB) (Coolmore, dam by Cape Cross (IRE), won American Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, English Derby, Irish Derby), Intello (GER) (Danehill; unbeaten at two, won French Derby at three), Nathaniel (IRE) (Silver Hawk; European Champion at two, three and four), Noble Mission (GB) (Danehill; brother to Frankel, three Gr.1 wins at four), Roderic O’Connor (IRE) (Danehill; Gr.1 winner and second at two, Irish 2000 Guineas winner at three), Ruler of the World (IRE) (Kingmambo; European Champion 3YO, won English Derby), Kingsbarns (Belmez (USA); a leading European 2YO).

  The 24 flat racing sires likely to be housed in the Coolmore stallion yards in Ireland in 2016 are to include Galileo and his sons Ruler of the World, Kingsbarns, Australia, Rip Van Winkle and 2014 Cox Plate winner Adelaide. It will be Adelaide’s first season in Ireland, but he will be coming off a predictably well-supported southern hemisphere use at Coolmore Hunter Valley. He debuts here on $22,000 and presumably will have a good supply of Danehill line mares. 

  Adelaide is one of two Cox Plate winners who will service mares at Coolmore Ireland in 2016 after use at their Hunter Valley complex. The other is So You Think (High Chaparral (IRE)-Triassic by Tights (USA)), a New Zealand bred Australian racehorse, and he will be no stranger to his Irish surrounds as he visited them before as a racehorse and sire.

  Put to stud in Australia in 2012 and Ireland in 2013, this son of the now deceased Sadler’s Wells son and Coolmore shuttler High Chaparral, a winner of six Gr.1 races, including the English Derby, Irish Derby and two renewals of the American Breeders’ Cup Turf, has some 260 foals from his first Australian seasons. The first of them are now two year-olds and 
it is expected he will provide high quality performers across the whole spectrum of distances.

  Also, the high respect engendered in his racing exposure in Great Britain and Ireland could see progeny of So You Think challenging in the European classics. He has more than 50 first crop foals and, no doubt, Aidan O’Brien will be looking after some of them.

  So You Think, a 16.3 hand bay/brown got by High Chaparral from Triassic, a winner in New Zealand of the Waikato Fillies’ Classic-Gr.2, by Tights (USA), a tough multiple stakes winner by Nijinsky, challenges as the greatest Australia racehorse to compete in Great Britain and Ireland. The two-hemisphere racing career, one which saw him trained in Australia by Bart Cummings, and in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, saw him race 23 times (12 Australia) for 14 wins (10 Gr.1, five in each hemisphere) and six other Gr.1 cheques. His second dam is stakes placed Astral Row (Long Row (GB)) and third dam Pak Pun Bay (family 13a) is by the Pinza horse Matinee Idol (GB) and from Philpolo (Marco Polo II (FR)-Philadelphia by Foxbridge (GB)). This is a branch of the Juliet (GB) family via her VRC Oaks winner Sylvia (Fisherman (GB)).

So You Think was world class

THE Australian Gr.1 achievements were wins in the MVRC Cox Plate (twice), VRC LKS Mackinnon Stakes, MRC Caulfield Stakes and Underwood Stakes, a second in the VRC Emirates Stakes and a third 
in the VRC Melbourne Cup. In Europe his Gr.1 performances were wins in the Irish Champion Stakes, Curragh Tattersall’s Gold Cup (twice), Royal Ascot Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Sandown Eclipse Stakes, seconds in the Ascot Champion Stakes and in an initial crack at the Prince of Wales’s and fourths in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Dubai World Cup.

  Timeform, a measure of thoroughbred excellence, awarded So You Think high annual ratings of 133 (2010, for Australian performances), 131 (2011) and 2012 (132). He was in the Top 10 in the World Rankings for four years and named Champion 3YO Colt in Australia 2009-10, Champion Miler Australia 2010-11 and Champion Older Horse Ireland 2011 
and 2012.

  So You Think (2015 fee $49,500) is one of four first class performers by High Chaparral shown in Stallions 2015 as being available in Australia. The others are Dundeel (NZ) (dam by Zabeel; second season Arrowfield, Hunter Valley, fee $27,500), Monaco Consul (NZ) (Star Way (GB), Kings Creek, Hunter Valley, $8800) and visitor Toronado (IRE) (Grand Slam; Swettenham Victoria, $22,000).

  A dual Gr.1 winner in England, Toronado for his efforts at three was assessed in the World Rankings as Equal Leading 3Y0 Male (Medium) and Joint Champion European 3YO Miler Europe and received a Timeform of 133, the same as So You Think received for 2010. Both So You Think and Toronado (The English National Stud) are the only sons of High Chaparral in Weatherbys current Stallion Book, but both are to have the opportunity to play roles in the era of Sadler’s Wells in both hemispheres. The two Cox Plate winners, So You Think and Adelaide, are well equipped to spearhead this spread of excellence. n