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A look at the busiest sires in Britain and Ireland in 2017

Coolmore National Hunt division dominates list once again

Soldier Of Fortune: the busiest sire for two years running, in his racecourse pomp
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Coolmore's dominance in the National Hunt stallion market is once again illustrated in the recently published Weatherbys Return of Mares, as their roster accounted for the six busiest sires in Britain and Ireland in the past covering season.

The jumps squad belonging to 'the Lads', spread between the Grange and Castle Hyde studs in County Cork and Beeches Stud in County Waterford, had also accounted for five of the six most active sires in 2016 and a remarkable nine of the top ten in 2015.

In strongest demand of all this year, as was the case 12 months earlier when he first returned to his native Ireland having started his stallion career in France, was Irish Derby hero Soldier Of Fortune.

The son of Galileo's popularity in 2016 could be explained more by the promise offered by his exciting young jumps representatives, as well as his own good looks, but by the end of the 2017 covering season there was harder evidence he was becoming a National Hunt sire of note, such as the high-class hurdlers Mega Fortune and Tin Soldier and a first Cheltenham Festival scorer in Flying Tiger.

Indeed, he actually managed to increase his already prodigious book size at Beeches Stud in the space of a year: from 304 to 352 in 2017.

For the second year in succession, Grange Stud resident Getaway gave best only to Soldier Of Fortune in terms of popularity. The son of Monsun, whose young crops yielded five point-to-pointers who fetched six-figure prices at boutique sales in the 2016-17 jumps season, received 284 mares.

Beeches Stud resident Mahler, another son of Galileo, is in third position on the table of busiest sires with son Sutton Place, a three-time Graded winner over hurdles, doing most to encourage the breeders who sent him 262 mares.

Westerner and Champs Elysees, sons of Danehill who stand at Castle Hyde, covered books of 250 and 248 mares in 2017, with Walk In The Park, the Grange Stud-based source of the exceptional Douvan, rounding out the top six for Coolmore with 228 appointments in the breeding shed.

Dark Angel is nothing short of a phenomenon in the breeding industry, having chalked up three new Group 1 winners this year – Battaash, Harry Angel and Persuasive – to earn a fee increase to €85,000 having started out at €10,000, and with a clutch of stallion sons of his own at stud. So it is no surprise to see he was the seventh most active sire, and the busiest designated for Flat breeding, with 223 mares sent to his court at Yeomanstown Stud.

Zoffany was the second most in-demand Flat sire, on 217, with Kodiac in third on 196.

Breeders evidently could not get enough of Frankel after his first two-year-olds ran and sent him 195 mares – the greatest patronage of any British-based sire this year.

That figure represented a significant increase on his book sizes after his first yearlings and foals were on the ground, with 130 mares in 2016 and 114 the year before that.

Galileo, sire of Frankel as well as the sought-after Soldier Of Fortune, covered 178 mares this year compared with 158 in 2016 and 181 in 2015.

BUSIEST SIRES IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND IN 2017

Soldier Of Fortune
Sire Galileo
Stands Beeches Stud, Ire
Mares 352

Getaway
Sire Monsun
Stands Grange Stud, Ire
Mares 284

Mahler
Sire Galileo
Stands Beeches Stud, Ire
Mares 262

Westerner
Sire Danehill
Stands Castle Hyde Stud, Ire
Mares 250

Champs Elysees
Sire Danehill
Stands Castle Hyde Stud, Ire
Mares 248

Walk In The Park
Sire Montjeu
Stands Grange Stud, Ire
Mares 228

Dark Angel
Sire Acclamation
Stands Yeomanstown Stud, Ire
Mares 223

Mount Nelson
Sire Rock Of Gibraltar
Stands Boardsmill Stud, Ire
Mares 222

Sageburg
Sire Johannesburg
Stands Garryrichard Stud, Ire
Mares 220

Zoffany
Sire Dansili
Stands Coolmore, Ire
Mares 217

Doyen
Sire Sadler's Wells
Stands Sunnyhill Stud, Ire
Mares 200

Ask
Sire Sadler's Wells
Stands Beeches Stud, Ire
Mares 197

Kodiac
Sire Danehill
Stands Tally-Ho Stud, Ire
Mares 196

Frankel
Sire Galileo
Stands Banstead Manor Stud, GB
Mares 195

Footstepsinthesand
Sire Giant's Causeway
Stands Coolmore, Ire
Mares 191

Milan
Sire Sadler's Wells
Stands Grange Stud, Ire
Mares 191

Ocovango
Sire Monsun
Stands Beeches Stud, Ire
Mares 188

Mehmas
Sire Acclamation
Stands Tally-Ho Stud, Ire
Mares 187

Vadamos
Sire Monsun
Stands Tally-Ho Stud, Ire
Mares 184

Camelot
Sire Montjeu
Stands Coolmore, Ire
Mares 179

Galileo
Sire Sadler's Wells
Stands Coolmore, Ire
Mares 178

The Gurkha
Sire Galileo
Stands Coolmore, Ire
Mares 175

Sea The Stars
Sire Cape Cross
Stands Gilltown Stud, Ire
Mares 175

Dubawi
Sire Dubai Millennium
Stands Dalham Hall Stud, GB
Mares 174

Iffraaj
Sire Zafonic
Stands Dalham Hall Stud, GB
Mares 171

Click here to read our guide to the European breeding-stock sales, including catalogue previews, broodmare sire stats and more

Soldier Of Fortune actually managed to increase his already prodigious book size in the space of a year: from 304 to 352 in 2017
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