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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Six of the best one-crop wonders at stud

Half a dozen sires who made hay despite limited opportunity

George Washington: the gorgeous one in his brief time at Coolmore
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This article was first published in April 2011.

Havre De Grace confirmed herself one of the leading older fillies and mares in training in America with a smooth success in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

The four-year-old also belongs in another, more bittersweet, category: she is a star performer from a single crop sired by an ill-fated stallion.

She is one of 96 foals by Breeders' Cup Classic hero and 2005 horse of the year Saint Liam, who was put down after fracturing his left hind leg at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky in the August after serving his first book of mares.

Saint Liam's sire line has recently been blighted with bad luck. He was by Saint Ballado, who died aged only 13 in 2002, before his offspring Saint Liam and Ashado embarked on Grade 1-winning sprees.

Saint Ballado's Grade 1-winning son Sunriver, a brother to Ashado, died in 2009 at Empire Stud in New York after covering his second book of mares, and another, Yankee Victor, stood at Airdrie Stud in Kentucky, where he sired Kinsale King, before being shipped in 2006 to South Korea, where he died this year aged 15.

And Saint Liam is not the only 'one-crop wonder', a sire who left a sole batch of foals to continue his bloodlines . . .

Shergar (b. 1978, d. ?)

The son of Great Nephew recorded the longest winning margin in the history of the Derby when blitzing his Epsom opposition 30 years ago this June.

After four-length victories in the Irish Derby and King George and a disappointing fourth in the St Leger, his owner-breeder the Aga Khan retired him to Ballymany Stud, with a syndicated value of £10 million.

Shergar: syndicated as a stallion with a value of £10 million

With just one of his first foals on the ground and in the week before he was due to start covering his second book of mares, Shergar was kidnapped by masked gunmen and his body has never been recovered.

Shergar sired 35 foals, including Authaal, who was bought as a yearling by Sheikh Mohammed for Ir3,100,000gns and went on to win the Irish St Leger, and Maysoon, who won the Fred Darling Stakes and reached the places in the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks.

Ajdal (b. 1984, d. 1988)

As a Dewhurst winner who became a champion sprinter at three, plus a Northern Dancer half-brother to Middle Park Stakes winner and sire Formidable, it was no surprise that breeders gave Ajdal strong support when he retired to Dalham Hall Stud at a fee of £35,000.

In August 1988, after covering his first book of mares, Ajdal had to be put down after fracturing a hind leg.

It took until Ajdal's first crop to turn five for the late sire to be represented by a first Pattern-race winner, when Reprocolor's son Cezanne landed a German Group 3 and the Irish Champion Stakes.

Ajdal's daughters - there were only 18 of them - did a better job of keeping the sire's name alive. Homage produced top miler Mark Of Esteem, later sire of Derby hero Sir Percy; Temple Stakes third Garah produced Prix Jean Prat winner Olden Times; and Avila produced Racing Post Trophy winner Dilshaan.

Mark Of Esteem, Olden Times and Dilshaan are all by Darshaan.

Owington (b. 1991, d. 1996)

Results suggest July Cup winner Owington's death in the same year that he retired to stud could have robbed the breeding industry of a fine stallion.

From only 37 foals conceived at a fee of £7,500, he sired Lowther Stakes winner Jemima and Group 1-placed trio Gateman, Whyome and Winning Venture.

His daughter Grandel has proven a fantastic producer of sprinters, having foaled Tax Free, Inxile and Green Beret.

Owington was by renowned sire of sired Green Desert and out of a mare by High Top, the same cross that gave us Paco Boy's sire Desert Style.

Dubai Millennium (b. 1996, d. 2001)

The apple of his owner-breeder Sheikh Mohammed's eye, Dubai Millennium won four Group 1s - the Prix Jacques le Marois, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the Dubai World Cup and the Prince of Wales's Stakes - by an aggregate 22½ lengths.

Dubai Millennium had covered three-quarters of his book at his birthplace of Dalham Hall Stud (at a fee of £100,000) when he was struck with grass sickness and put down in May 2001.

Dubai Millennium: the apple of Sheikh Mohammed's eye

From a crop of 56 foals, the son of Seeking The Gold sired five stakes winners, headed by National Stakes, Irish 2,000 Guineas and Prix Jacques le Marois winner Dubawi and Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein scorer Echo Of Light.

Dubawi, whose third crop of juveniles race this year, is one of the most exciting young sires around, having supplied Group 1 winners Happy Archer, Makfi, Poet's Voice and Secret Admirer.

Echo Of Light's first crop of juveniles make their debuts this year.

Dubai Millennium's first grandchildren via his daughters have filtered through to the racecourse, and they include Listed-placed pair Atlantis Star and Sweetie Time.

Mozart (b. 1998, d. 2002)

Another calamitous loss to the stallion ranks.

Champion sprinter Mozart - the third July Cup winner on this list after Ajdal and Owington - died of the intestinal complaint non-responsive acute colitis in the May of his first year at Coolmore.

Many of the best of Mozart's crop have taken after their sire - classy and blisteringly fast.

Amadeus Wolf put clear water between himself and runner-up Red Clubs in each of his three Group-race victories - the Gimcrack, Middle Park and Duke of York Stakes. His first foals are juveniles and he has recently been represented by his first winner - Hamza.

Dandy Man won only one Group race, the Palace House Stakes, but he was arguably unlucky not to win at Group 1 level, finishing first on the wrong side of the course in the 2008 King's Stand Stakes and running third in the Nunthorpe.

Dandy Man's first crop are this year's foals.

George Washington (b. 2003, d. 2007)

A brilliant winner of the Phoenix Stakes, National Stakes, 2,000 Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and a Danehill half-brother to Grandera, George Washington was dispatched to Coolmore Stud equipped with all the credentials to make an outstanding sire.

Sadly the one thing he was not equipped with was full fertility and he managed to get only one mare in foal before being sent back into training and meeting an untimely death in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Monmouth Park.

That one resultant foal, a half-sister to the dam of French Derby runner-up Best Name, was the star attraction of the 2009 Tattersalls October yearling sales, where she was bought by Peter Doyle on behalf of owner Julie Wood for 320,000gns.

Named Date With Destiny and in training with Richard Hannon, the filly looked to have immense potential when taking a Newbury maiden apart on her debut last July.

She was subsequently unplaced, but not beaten far, in the Prestige Stakes, Rockfel Stakes and last week's Tattersalls Millions Three-Year-Old Trophy.

Since the article was published, Dubawi has further strengthened Dubai Millennium's legacy by siring numerous Group 1 winners, with plenty of sons of his own at stud; Dandy Man has kept Mozart's name in lights by establishing himself as a solid source of precocious two-year-olds and sprinters; and George Washington's only foal, Date With Destiny, is the dam of Beautiful Morning, winner of the Listed John Musker Fillies' Stakes at Yarmouth in September 2017


Great trainer, great breeder: Bolger is a Tesio for our times

End of an era as Ballymacoll enters the home straight

Peace in our time? A possible end to the Coolmore-Darley rift

Results suggest July Cup winner Owington's death in the same year that he retired to stud could have robbed the breeding industry of a fine stallion
E.W. Terms
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