Five key breeding angles from a busy week of racing and sales
Qatar Racing, Camelot and the bouyant National Hunt market to the fore
Qatar Racing stockpiling stallion talent
Shortly before Royal Ascot, it was announced that Australian champion first-season sire Zoustar would be shuttling to Tweenhills Stud to stand the 2019 northern hemisphere breeding season under the Qatar Racing banner.
The son of the much-missed Northern Meteor rates an exciting addition to the British ranks, having sired three Group 2 winners in his native land, namely Lean Mean Machine, Sunlight and Zousain, and broken the record for progeny earnings by a first-season sire.
Those exploits mean Zoustar, who is part owned by Sheikh Fahad's Qatar Racing, sit in third on the general Australian two-year-old sires' list, giving best only to the mighty Snitzel and the upwardly mobile I Am Invincible.
And after a breakthrough Group 1 win in the Coral-Eclipse on Saturday, Qatar Racing's Roaring Lion has all but cemented his berth at Tweenhills when the curtain is eventually brought down on his racing career.
The progressive three-year-old is looking an increasingly appealing stallion prospect, with his strong two-year-old form and Group 1-winning three-year-old season backed up by a robust pedigree. He is a son of influential US turf sire Kitten's Joy and the Street Sense mare Vionnet, also a winner on turf in the US and a close third in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes over ten furlongs.
In turn, Vionnet is a half-sister to stakes winners Alexis Tangier, Bronson, Moulin De Mougin and Schiaparelli out of the Grade 3-winning Avenue Of Flags mare Cambiocorsa.
With Zoustar and, potentially, Roaring Lion set to join the up-and-coming Havana Gold, Hot Streak and Charm Spirit - who stands alternative seasons in France and whose first crop has yielded nine winners already - the Tweenhills stallion ranks look set to pack an increasing punch over the coming seasons.
Galileo sire sons going strong
Given his own potency, sire sons of the great Galileo always seemed likely to make their mark at stud. But even so, it is hard not to be impressed by the rate at which his progeny continue to supply Group 1-winning sons and daughters of their own.
His latest Group 1-producing sire son is Intello - responsible for Intellogent, the game winner of the Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville on Sunday. Incidentally, Intellogent was chased home by Cascadian, who is by another of Galileo's sons in New Approach, and Gustav Klimt, himself a son of Galileo.
Sunday's result takes the number of Group 1 races in 2018 won by the progeny of Galileo's sire sons to eight. Leading the way is Frankel, whose top level winners in 2018 include Prix Ganay and Coronation Cup victor Cracksman, Yasuda Kinen scorer Mozu Ascot and St James's Palace Stakes hero Without Parole.
Meanwhile, New Approach supplied the winner of arguably the most significant race of them all, the Derby, courtesy of Masar, while Teofilo got in on the action with his Australian-bred son Happy Clapper having landed the Canterbury Stakes and the Doncaster Mile in his home country.
And with a whole stack of well-credentialled young sons already at stud, such as freshman sire Australia as well as eye-catching newcomers like Churchill, Decorated Knight, Highland Reel and Ulysses, the influence Galileo has on the breed could be about to reach monumental levels.
The success of his sons means that Galileo has, by his own exceptionally high standards, endured a relatively quiet spell of late. Although it should be noted that he is still over £1 million clear of his nearest rival, Frankel, in the European sire standings.
Camelot marches on
The progeny of Camelot have been laying siege to their rivals for much of the summer, and hot on the heels of Latrobe giving the son of Montjeu a breakthrough top-flight winner in the Irish Derby, Athena provided the Coolmore resident with a second elite scorer after claiming Saturday's Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes.
Not only did Athena showcase the depth of her talents at Belmont, but her trans-Atlantic raid also highlighted her cast iron constitution, having made a remarkably quick turnaround after finishing third behind Urban Fox in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh just six days earlier.
The three-year-old filly has now run eight times this season, a string of performances that also includes a creditable fourth in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot only ten days prior to running in the Pretty Polly.
Recent results have seen Camelot surge clear in the European second-crop sire standings, with his progeny's prize-money haul of well over £1,800,000 giving him an advantage in excess of £1m more than his nearest pursuer, Intello.
He is also clear by number of winners, with an impressive 43 of his runners having got on the scoresheet.
No Nay on the way
As the Flat season rumbles on, the pecking order among this year's first-season sires is becoming that bit clearer and one young stallion who is rapidly rising to the top of his class is No Nay Never.
The son of the late, great Scat Daddy has supplied ten winners across Europe, and is one of only two freshmen to have reached double figures, along with Rathasker Stud's Bungle Inthejungle on 12.
Also of note is No Nay Never's strike-rate, with his ten winners supplied at a clip of 43 per cent, the highest among those sires who have fielded more than ten runners.
He has also provided two stakes winners already, with the Jessica Harrington-trained Servalan landing the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies' Sprint Stakes and Land Force - who was the first European winner for his sire - running away with the Tipperary Stakes.
Moreover, that trio are joined by other promising types such as Woodcote Stakes winner Cosmic Law, the Newmarket winner Neverland Rocks and the Tom Dascombe-trained Jonah Jones, who landed a Haydock novice event by four lengths on Thursday.
After that success Dascombe said: "Jonah Jones is a proper horse from a very good stallion," and given the trainer's prowess with juveniles it could well be worth taking heed of his comments.
Top tier of National Hunt market in rude health
Last week's Arqana Summer Sale became the third National Hunt auction in succession to post a record-breaking price for a store, with leading French trainer Guillaume Macaire giving the session-topping sum of €180,000 for a two-year-old Poliglote half-brother to star chaser Silviniaco Conti.
Read the full reports from the Arqana Summer Sale:
That purchase follows on from Aiden Murphy and MV Magnier parting with a store sale record price of €365,000 for a Milan half-brother to Altior at the Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale, and Paul Nicholls snapping up a Flemensfirth gelding out of a half-sister to Master Minded for €325,000 to set a new high mark at the Goffs Land Rover Sale.
And while the Goffs UK Spring Store Sale didn't see a record-setting top lot, the £140,000 Kayf Tara gelding bought by Gordon Elliott was the most expensive store sold in Doncaster for over a decade.
It remains to be seen how demand will hold up in a post-Brexit economy but, in the short term at least, it will nevertheless be interesting to see what kind of impact the National Hunt fraternity makes at this week's Tattersalls July Sale.
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