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Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Four big talking points following events in Britain and Ireland

Mark Scully reflects on another busy week in the world of bloodstock

Kew Gardens after winning the St Leger at Doncaster
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Galileo pushes to the front of Classic Kew

It was another memorable weekend for Galileo, who not only joined his sire Sadler's Wells on 73 individual worldwide Group/Grade 1 winners on Sunday but bagged yet another British Classic courtesy of Kew Gardens' victory in the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday.

Such is Galileo's dominance of Britain's Classics in recent years, it can be hard to come up with new ways to quantify the brilliance of Coolmore's breed-shaping sire.

On the face of it, there was a feeling of 'dog bites man' about the St Leger. It was a fine performance from a talented colt, no doubt, but as for Galileo siring another Classic winner - what's new?

Upon further reflection, it appears we did Galileo a disservice as it turns out the victory was more significant than it seemed, given it saw him eclipse his father's tally of individual British Classic winners.

Sadler's Wells sired 12, of which Galileo was of course one but thanks to Kew Gardens, the latter is now the father of 13 to have won at least one of Britain's five most important Flat races.

From only 14 crops of racing age, it is yet another remarkable achievement by the great sire and Frankel, of course, is the leader of the illustrious crew.

The rest are: Australia, Capri, Churchill, Forever Together, Gleneagles, Kew Gardens, Minding, New Approach, Ruler Of The World, Sixties Icon, Was and Winter.

Sadler's Wells, meanwhile, had: Alexandrova, Brian Boru, Entrepreneur, Galileo, High Chaparral, Imagine, Intrepidity, King Of Kings, Milan, Moonshell, Refuse To Bend and Salsabil.

Roaring Lion with (L-R) Sheikh Fahad, John Gosden and Hannah Wall

Roaring Lion will have breeders licking their lips

Roaring Lion took a little while to get everybody on board, your correspondent included, earlier in his career. While clearly talented, there was something about his application at the business end of races that left at least a grain of doubt in some minds.

In the wake of his third consecutive Group 1 triumph though, when he overcame a formidable Ballydoyle tactical challenge to take the Irish Champion Stakes, there can be few who doubt the fact this is a colt out of the top drawer and his Qatar Racing connections were in no mood to talk him down yesterday.

Pre-race, David Redvers told Gary O'Brien of At The Races that Roaring Lion is Sheikh Fahad's organisation's most important horse ever and after the race, the main man himself ducked the question of whether he will stay in training at four in the style of somebody who thinks the answer in fact is: "Probably not."

Racing fans may not like that but the fact is, the point at which the risk of continuing to race Roaring Lion is outweighed by the riches and opportunities available to him at stud, as demonstrated recently by the likes of Golden Horn, must be fast approaching.

Perhaps, like that fellow John Gosden star, Roaring Lion will be seen one or two more times yet, with the Breeders' Cup clearly an option but there is little left for the horse to prove in terms of his ability.

Breeders will be licking their lips at the prospect of sending their mares to Tweenhills Stud to be covered by him, given he will provide a valuable outcross option.

Those who love seeing him out on the track should make the most of every chance we get to see him again as the end could well be near.

Sepoy did not return to Dalham Hall this year

Was Sepoy written off too soon by Europeans?

Sepoy reverse shuttled to Darley's Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket for five northern hemisphere breeding seasons between 2013 and 2017, standing for a fee of £15,000 each time. Despite that decent stint and relatively affordable covering fee though, the four-time Australian Group 1 winner failed to make enough of an impression and Darley elected not to bring him back up in 2018.

He always covered a healthy book of mares in Britain, with a high of 131 in 2015 and a low of 109 the year after, and the initial response in the 2015 yearling sales was positive, Sepoy posting an average of almost 79,000 guineas, with a high of 300,000gns.

All three of his British-trained stakes winners, Kilmah, Dabyah and Unforgetable Filly, came from that crop but with only 40 winners in total from 58 runners, high expectations were not met.

The average steadily declined thereafter, dropping to 49,000gns in 2016, 23,500gns in 2017 and only 6,500gns last year. That sealed the son of Elusive Quality's fate as far as a return to Dalham Hall this year went but were we a little hasty in rushing to judgement?

Sparkle'n'joy, from his 2016 crop, won the Ingabelle Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, becoming his tenth individual stakes winner. Somewhat surprisingly, half of those winners have come in Britain and Ireland, while only three have been provided in his home nation, albeit one of those being a Group 1 winner, where his fee is now down to $11,000 from $16,500 in 2017.

The tale is reminiscent of Sepoy's late former stud mate Poet's Voice, whose good-looking first crop failed to live up to the hype of their good looks, only for the received wisdom to subsequently take a bashing thanks in large part to Poet's Word.

Maybe the nature of the market means we have seen the last of Sepoy on these shores but given some patience, it is not hard to imagine a collective change of mind could take place one day and bring him back.

Soldier's Call and Danny Tudhope run out impressive winners of the Flying Childers Stakes

Showcasing still delivering the goods

Whitsbury Manor Stud's Showcasing has concluded his eighth year at stud, where he was offered for a career high of £35,000 for the second consecutive year and events on the track continue show the son of Oasis Dream in a good light.

Soldier's Call is the latest talented juvenile to represent him, adding Doncaster's Group 2 Flying Childers to his Group 3 win in France and the Windsor Castle Stakes and doing so in most impressive style. Bought for 85,000gns from Book 2 last year, he was conceived for a fee of £15,000 and has bagged more than £142,500 in prize-money so far.

The numbers often tend to look favourable whenever Showcasing is concerned. At the Goffs UK Premier Sale last month, 17 of his yearlings were sold for a combined £913,000, producing an average a shade over £53,700, more than double his 2016 covering fee of £25,000.

It will be intriguing to follow Showcasing's progress in the years to come, with the higher fee bringing a higher quality of mare, at least in theory. Given he now has a Group 1-winning colt on his CV in the shape of Advertise, those who have invested in him during the last two years would have to be optimistic.

That is the beauty of this stallion. There is always the chance of him throwing a very smart one and from the point of view of commercial breeders, there can be few stallions in Britain who make more sense than Showcasing at the moment.

Breeders will be licking their lips at the prospect of sending their mares to Tweenhills Stud to be covered by Roaring Lion
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