Farm Ireland

Monday 19 November 2018

Selecting the best sires this year

Go to the best and hope for the best. This is the kind of advice often given to horsebreeders when they are looking for a potential sire to breed their mare to. But while hope is definitely needed, it's a lot harder to say which horse is 'the best'. Is this concept based on his pedigree, his progeny, his potential, his price? At present, no one live stallion stands out as a sir


Coolmore Stud dominates the jumping sphere and stands ten or so stallions between Grange (Fermoy, Co Cork) and The Beeches (Tallow, Co Waterford) which cover 1,500-2,000 mares per annum.

Despite rumours, Coolmore has not bought Alflora but it does have a new arrival in Milan, successful at 7-14 furlongs and a champion 3-y-o stayer in Europe who landed the St Leger for Aidan O'Brien. The bay son of Sadler's Wells stands at 16.1hh and his nomination fee for 2004 is ?3,500.

Oscar is another son of Sadler's Wells. He has been very popular with breeders and his first crop are five-year-olds in 2004. He has also been well received at the sales, according to Coolmore's Albert Sherwood, with foals making up to ?35-40,000 last autumn while up to ?100,000 was paid at the Derby sale.

Stud fee in 2004 is ?2,500.

A third son on Sadler's Wells at Grange is Saddlers' Hall, whose first national hunt crop is four this year. Winner of a Coronation Cup and a champion at three and four years, he was a successful sire on the flat and his national hunt progeny have been selling well at the sales, with foals making up to stg£70,000. His fee for 2004 is ?5,500.

This year's line-up at The Beeches stud in Tallow, Co Waterford, includes Flemensfirth, which, being by Alleged, offers breeders an alternative to the Sadler's Wells line. He is a big bay horse standing 16.2hh. His first crop are five-year-olds in 2004 and are really just starting to come out, said Albert Sherwood. Fee for this year is ?2,500.

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Turtle Island, a son of Fairy King who won six races. His fee for 2004 is ?3,500.

Also at The Beeches is the old stalwart Glacial Storm who has now turned 19. The 16.2hh son of Artic Tern is in good health but is not covering as many mares as in the past. This is due to a physical problem and his fertility level is unaffected, according to Albert Sherwood. Stud fee for 2004 is ?4,000.

Glenview Stud is run by the Cashman family, its NH flag was carried high for many years by Strong Gale and its line-up for 2004 consists of Anshan, Presenting, Revoque, Blueprint and Dushyantor.

Of the Glenview stallions, Presenting is perhaps the one who is regarded by trainers as the most likely to follow in Strong Gale's footsteps. At 16.1½hh, he is not a particularly big horse but he tends to 'throw' good-sized stock. His first crop are now turning six and he has had a number of winners of bumpers and hurdles but, so far, only limited runners over fences. He is the sire of Firewood Present, Well Presented and several Irish points winners including three-time scorer Perspex Queen. Having covered 200-250 mares every year since going to stud, Presenting now has a lot of stock on the ground. A yearling fetched up to ?62,000 at Fairyhouse in November and a filly up to ?50,000. His stud fee for 2004 is ?5,000.

Anshan formerly stood in England before moving to Ireland and his first crop from Irish mares have just turned five. On the flat, he is the sire of the dual Group 1 winner Dark Moondancer and also Repertory, who has won a number of group 3s and is an out-an-out sprinter. On the national hunt front, he has already sired Pay It Forward and Red Ruffles, impressive winner of a bumper first time out in Newbury in the autumn. He is also sire of two points winners including The Rising Moon who headed the four-year-old ratings last year. Meanwhile, at the Derby sale, his stock fetched up to ?105,000. A liver chestnut horse standing 16.2hh, his stud fee for 2004 is ?2,500.

Last year, Liam Cashman felt there was space for another horse and decided to purchase Benny The Dip. But, unfortunately, he met with an accident and had to be put down. He then bought Revoque who previously stood as a primarily flat sire at Morristown Lattin. At 16.2hh and with a dam by La Fontaine, he will stand for the NH at Glenview but is also expected to cover some flat mares, particularly from Italy where he was the sire of last year's 1000 Guineas. He has already sired a couple of three-year-old hurdle winners in King Revo and Kentucky Blue. Stud fee for 2004 is ?2,000. Clongeel Stud, where around 500 mares per annum are covered, took a step back from the limelight when Mister Lord retired but now has a couple of budding replacements in Moonax and Oscar Schindler.

Moonax, whose first crop is rising five, has had a multiple winner in France, a bumper winner in Yardbird and a couple of points winners, including .

Meanwhile, in the sales ring, his stock have also been a solid trade, with foals making up to ?10,000 and stores up to ?30,000.

While Moonax might have been "a bit of a character" as a racehorse, stud owner Denis Vaughan said there are no complaints about the temperament of his progeny from breeders or trainers. "His stock are taking a bit of time to mature but he will have a good lot of runners in the spring."

Moonax, a 16.2hh chestnut son of Caerleon, won six races including two Group 1s, stands at ?1,000 in 2004.

Oscar Schindler (IRE), now entering his second full season at Clongeel, was another really good middle-long distance racehorse, who won five races including the Group 1 Irish St Leger twice.

His first crop are rising four and he has already had a two-year-old winner. The son of Royal Academy stands at 16.3 and his fee for this year is ?1,250.

The first crop from Windsor Castle, by Generous, who won twice as a two-year-old and also the Group 3 Queen's Vase, will turn four in 2004 while the Clongeel line-up also includes Kahtan, a striking son of Nashwan who won four races on the flat and over hurdles.


Ballyvolane Stud, Bruff, Co Limerick, stands Moscow Society, one of the country's leading living sires.

Born in 1984, Moscow Society retired as a four year old from racing after getting injured. During his racing career he was placed as a two year old and won his maiden as a three year old. He also finished second in the Queen Vase at Ascot, but injured himself and was forced to retire.

He was bought out of Henry Cecils yard and this year covered 200 mares. Some of his more notable winners include Galway Plate winner Moscow Express, Rouble, a Group 1 winner, and Society Brief, a group winner.

Old Road Stud owner Hugh Williams bred Moscow Society himself out of one of his own mares. Moscow Society's fee for 2003 was ?4,000 and is expected to be in that region this year.

Another stallion standing at the stud is High Roller, a horse by Generous.

This ten year old was also bought out of Henry Cecils yard, when a damaged ligament put an end to his racing career as a three year old.

Of his first crop of foals, less than an handful have run, but none have won yet. His first crop are five year olds this year, and one is still at Hugh Williams, and another is in training with Arthur Moore.

High Roller is covering about 40 mares annually and has a stud fee of ?1,000 for colts, with fillies free.

The third stallion standing at Old Road Stud is Fahris. This 16.2 is also by Generous and is also a 10-y-o.

He won seven races during his career, including a Group 3. He raced between two and five years old and won over 7f to 1m. He raced in the US and UK before injury and has been with Hugh Williams for the past two years.

His stud fee is ?1,000 for colts and free fillies.

The Old Road

The two EBF nominated stallions standing at James Hannon's Waterford-based stud this year are Witness Box and Busy Flight.

Witness Box is 16 this year and the 16.1 bay stallion and has been with James Hannon in Tallow since he retired to stud in 1995.

By Lyphard and out of Excellent Alibi, he was a Grade 3 winner and was placed in a Grade 1.

One of the highlights of his career was beating Vintage Crop into second place in the Anheuser Bush Curragh Cup in 1994 over 12f. He won the Northumberland Gold Cup at Newcastle in 1992, and was second in the Doncaster Cup and the Goodwood Cup.

His first crop includes Take The Stand who won over hurdles and had three wins over fences. Chief Witness is another from the first crop and he won three hurdles races on the trot.

Another second crop horse is Paddy The Piper, who finished second in his bumper, before going on to win two others.

At the sales a 4-y-o made ?60,000 at the Derby sale, while a yearling made ?15,000 at Goffs in December. During his first year at The Old Road Stud he only covered 20 mares, but last year he covered more than 200. His fee last year was ?1,750, and it is expected to be slightly more than that this year.

The other stallion at James Hannon's stud is Busy Flight. This 16.1 bay is by Pharly and out of Bustling Nelly.

He only retired in 1999 and his first runner, See Me There, was in December, when he finished fifth of 17 in a 1m6f bumper at Warwick.

Busy Flight has a stud fee of ?1,000 this year.