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Race against time for Coolmore to establish a Scat Daddy sire-line

Martin Stevens looks at the last crops by the sire of the moment

Scat Daddy: the last crop by the late son of Johannesburg are yearlings
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It has not all been Galileo and Guineas glories for Coolmore in recent years. John Magnier and his associates have experienced their fair share of misfortune too.

No setback can have stuck in the throat quite as much as the premature death of Scat Daddy in December 2015. Only weeks earlier it had been announced that the son of Johannesburg's covering fee at Ashford Stud in Kentucky would be increased to $100,000 from $35,000.

That price hike came at the end of a year in which his daughter Acapulco asserted her authority in the Queen Mary Stakes and found only Mecca's Angel too good when taking on her elders in the Nunthorpe. Dacita, El Kabeir, Nickname and Pretty N Cool had all won big races in the US, while his Chilean-bred offspring once again dominated their native country's racing scene.

Scat Daddy already had an outstanding Royal Ascot winner on his record before Acapulco in the shape of No Nay Never, who had taken the Norfolk Stakes and confirmed his brilliant precocity by winning the Prix Morny, and it is likely the sire would have been popular with European breeders - as well as Americans - at his six-figure fee in 2016.

With the arrival of further royal meeting winners Caravaggio, Lady Aurelia, Sioux Nation and Con Te Partiro since then, it is probable that Scat Daddy would also have been in fierce demand at an even more extravagant fee, with Coolmore throwing their full weight behind him.

That, alas, is futile conjecture. What we can be certain of, however, is that Coolmore will do their utmost to secure a lasting legacy for Scat Daddy in the limited time available, with 2018 the last year we will be treated to the sight of his two-year-olds exploiting their raw power and supreme strength on the racecourse.

Two-year-olds in the spotlight

The Jockey Club of North America lists the sire as having 159 northern-hemisphere foals in his 2015 crop, which at this early stage has yielded seven winners – including last week's Norfolk Stakes scorer Sioux Nation and Coventry Stakes third Murillo – from just 13 starters.

The Albany Stakes third, Take Me With You, is not among that number as the twice-raced filly remains a maiden - although not for long, you would have to think.

Some of those Scat Daddy two-year-olds fetched fancy prices at the sales. Coolmore's MV Magnier stretched to $3 million to secure last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale top lot, a half-brother to Beholder and Into Mischief since named Mendelssohn; and to $750,000, at the same auction, for a colt out of the stakes-winning Not For Love mare Fools In Love who has been called Seahenge.

Both Mendelssohn and Seahenge are at Ballydoyle alongside Sioux Nation, who was bred by Coolmore vet John Halley, and Murillo, a $500,000 Keeneland November foal acquisition.

Sioux Nation: Norfolk Stakes winner highlights Scat Daddy's juvenile crop

Coolmore are, of course, not the only ones who have Scat Daddy progeny on their radar, and Take Me With You was an $800,000 Fasig-Tipton two-year-old purchase by Kerri Radcliffe on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds.

David Redvers paid the top price of 675,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up Sale for the sire's half-brother to Round Tower Stakes winner Great White Eagle. He is now named Kings Shield and stabled with John Gosden. Redvers also bought the William Haggas-trained Special Purpose, a filly out of the useful Holy Roman Emperor mare Pussycat Lips, for £90,000 at Doncaster last year.

Other Scat Daddy two-year-olds in Gosden's care include the unraced pair West Palm Beach, a filly out of the Danehill Dancer mare Shelley Beach bought by Demi O'Byrne as a yearling at Tattersalls for 260,000gns; and Mr Marrakech, a homebred colt out of the winning Rock Of Gibraltar mare Morocco Moon for Alice Bamford. He also has Dichato, a homebred colt for Don Alberto Stable who was a close third at Newmarket this month.

Dean Ivory has a pair of unraced Scat Daddy juveniles – Daddy's Daughter, a filly out of the El Corredor filly mare Golden Stripe, and One Cool Daddy, a colt out of the Empire Maker mare Coup bought at the breeze-ups for 95,000gns.

Pascal Bary, Mikel Delzangles, Simon Dow, Richard Hughes, Adrian Keatley and Jean-Claude Rouget will also be happy to have two-year-olds by the sire at home.

After the week that Scat Daddy has had, the value of those horses has been enhanced without them having left their boxes. The careers of the colts will be closely monitored and if they show enough talent to suggest they would be worth a shot as a stallion they will be a precious commodity indeed.

As for the fillies, an event away from the hullabaloo of Royal Ascot last week reminded us of their ability and breeding appeal.

Silent War - the first foal (by War Front) out of Scat Daddy's dual Grade 1 winner and $2m broodmare purchase Lady Of Shamrock - was a decisive winner on her debut for Freddy Head at Maisons-Laffitte on Wednesday.

Fireworks for final yearlings

Then there is the final crop of 147 yearlings. It is not difficult to imagine some blitzkrieg bidding battles for the best conformed examples who come up for auction this year. The Maktoum family and its associates might not deign to recognise the brilliance of a Coolmore sire, even if he is no longer around, but just about every other major racing organisation will surely want a runner with the most fashionable designer label of the moment.

Those purchasers who dipped into Scat Daddy's foal drafts last year might have got themselves a relative bargain - even Mayfair Speculators, which paid $750,000 for his half-brother to Chachamaidee at Keeneland. At the same sale, bidding for Caravaggio's sister reached $625,000, not enough to meet her reserve.

Many of the yearlings will have persuasive pedigrees – a half-brother to Giovanni Boldini, a sister to Acapulco, a colt out of Cheveley Park Stakes fourth Come To Heel and a filly out of Ashland Stakes heroine Karlovy Vary to name just a few – but even those who come on the market and have lighter pages will no doubt look a lot more alluring as they go under the hammer in light of recent events.

Next comes No Nay Never

Scat Daddy's final crop will head to the ring at the same time as the first crop of his son No Nay Never, who has commanded a fee of €20,000 and €17,500 since being retired to Coolmore in County Tipperary. He covered 145 and 170 mares in his first two seasons, respectively including 28 and 34 black-type performers. His first crop contains half-siblings to Photo Call (a colt), The Wow Signal (a colt) and Waterloo Bridge (a filly).

The first No Nay Never foals sold for a respectable average of 38,409gns in Britain and Ireland last year, and agents and trainers may well have renewed confidence in his debut yearlings after seeing his sire reiterate that knack for producing Royal Ascot winners.

And whatever chances have been granted to No Nay Never at stud, it is a safe bet that Caravaggio – eight pounds superior to the earlier Royal Ascot winner on Racing Post Ratings – will receive even stronger support, whether he retires to Coolmore's base in Ireland or the US.

Norfolk Stakes winner Sioux Nation is also poised for a career at stud, perhaps eventually as a more affordable entry point into the Scat Daddy line, depending on his future efforts. Maybe Murillo will develop into a stallion prospect too. 

Coolmore supremo John Magnier acknowledged at Ascot that Scat Daddy provides "a cross that we need", referring to the alternative bloodlines required to mate with the many Sadler's Wells and Danehill-line mares on his farms. Aidan O'Brien praised the "pure, raw speed" of the sire's progeny.

Confidence in Scat Daddy at Coolmore appears sky high. With only two crops of two-year-olds left to represent him, however, it will be a race against time to further establish this unexpected wellspring of stallion talent.

It is not difficult to imagine some blitzkrieg bidding battles for the best conformed Scat Daddy yearlings who come up for auction this year
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