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Mehmas At The Double

One day after racing resumed in Britain on June 1, Mehmas (Ire) notched his first winner in the country less than an hour after he had recorded his first ever winner, in Italy. From thereon, the Tally-Ho Stud resident was pulling double all season, opening up an easy lead over his fellow European freshmen and bossing his way to a new first-season sire record which, with 56 winners, was 17 clear of that previously held by Iffraaj (GB).

It is, frankly, a staggering tally, with 101 of his 121 named first-crop foals having set foot on a racecourse in 2020. Moreover, there was strength in depth. Mehmas’s 12 black-type performers include four stakes winners, led by Supremacy (Ire), winner of the G1 Middle Park S. and G2 Richmond S. and Minzaal (Ire), winner of the Gimcrack S and third behind the former in the Middle Park.

Having passed this first stage with flying colours, the challenge now is for Mehmas to sustain this dominance. He covered 177 mares in 2018, and unsurprisingly the results of those matings were popular at the most recent round of yearling sales. The true test of any stallion is what happens when his runners turn three and beyond. We’ve seen plenty burn brightly in their debut season with runners only to fizzle out, but nonetheless this son of Acclamation (GB) is most certainly a stallion to follow keenly in 2021.

Take Mehmas out of the equation and 24 winners is a decent first tally. That was the number of winners notched by Whitsbury Manor Stud’s Adaay (Ire) in 2020 from his 64 runners. He is missing a stakes winners but has been represented by three black-type performers and two useful dual winners, Shark Two One (GB) and Twaasol (GB), both rated in the mid-90s.

With Mehmas and Adaay the leaders in Ireland and Britain respectively, the emerging young sire in France was Haras de Colleville’s Goken (Fr), who was another stallion to make his mark almost as soon as racing resumed in France, and the day after his stud-mate Galiway (Fr) had supplied the first juvenile winner of the season in the high-class Sealiway (Fr). What will certainly have pleased his breeder and Colleville’s owner Guy Pariente is that Goken is a son of the stallion who made the Normandy stud’s name, Kendargent (Fr).  Furthermore, his 15 winners, including the Group 3 winners Livachope (Fr) and Go Athletico (Fr), came from a first crop of just 61 foals. Support for him will certainly grow, along with his popularity.

The Darley duo of  Territories (Ire) and Belardo (Ire) feature in fourth and fifth in the European table, with the former hailing from the family of Shamardal and Belardo, by Lope De Vega (Ire), being one of Shamardal’s grandsons.

The 19 winners and seven black-type horses for Territories represent a decent start and they included the Group 3 winner Rougir (Fr), who was also third in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac. Belardo is certainly worth noting and following closely in the season to come. From his 51 runners, he has 13 winners, four of which were stakes winners, with Isabella Giles (Ire) landing both the G2 Rockfel S. and G3 Prestige S. and Lullaby Moon (GB) winning the G3 Prix Miesque and listed Two-Year-Old Trophy among their four wins apiece.

Coolmore’s Pride Of Dubai (Aus) did not return to Ireland after his debut season but a case could be made for him doing so in future. The son of Street Cry (Ire) was champion first-season sire in his native Australia last year and, from 43 runners in his sole northern hemisphere crop he sired 11 winners, five of which were stakes winners. These include the Italian Group 2 winer Telepathic Glances (Ire) as well as Flying Visit (Ire) and Star Of Emaraaty (Ire), who are Group 3 winners in Ireland and Britain respectively.

Another of the young Kodiac (GB) stallions at stud, Kodi Bear (Ire), joined Adaay in the top ten, with 17 winners from his 54 runners, which again was an encouraging debut for a sire with 79 first-crop foals. Plenty of stallion masters have Clive Cox to thank for getting their youngsters off to a good start (think Supremacy) but in the case of Rathbarry Stud’s Kodi Bear, Cox trained both the stallion and his best offspring to date, the 107-rated Cobh (Ire), winner of the listed Stonehenge S. and third in the G2 Royal Lodge S.

As a grandson of Pivotal (GB) and son of Kyllachy (GB), Twilight Son (GB) was always going to be a popular new recruit to Cheveley Park Stud and, by number of first-crop winners, he is third behind Mehmas and Adaay on 22. His sole stakes winner, Aria Importante, won both the G3 Premio Primi Passi and listed Eupili in Milan.

Ballylinch Stud not only has the globally popular Lope De Vega (Ire) as its lynchpin but it also has some promising young stallions on the way through, including New Bay (GB), who, from a first crop of 77 foals, was represented by 43 runners and 12 winners in 2020. Encouragingly, this group includes four stakes performers, among them the G2 Royal Lodge S. winner New Mandate (Ire) and G3 Oh So Sharp S winner Saffron Beach (Ire). Unfortunately, the gelded New Mandate cannot be aimed at this year’s Classics but, being out of an Authorized (Ire) mare, one could reasonably expect him to improve further with age and distance. Saffron Beach looks a worthy Guineas contender for Jane Chapple-Hyam and her step-brother Ben Sangster, who races the filly in partnership with his son Oliver and James Wigan.

Haras de Bouquetot’s Shalaa (Ire) was the toast of this crop as his first foals and yearlings hit the sales, and he has sired 21 winners overall from his first northern hemisphere crop, two of those coming in America and one in Kazakhstan. His best European performers are the G2 Coventry third Saeiqa (GB) and the 102-rated No Speak Alexander (Ire). 

Just bubbling under the top ten were Prince Of Lir (Ire), whose 13 winners include the G2 Norfolk S winner The Lir Jet (Ire), and The Gurkha (Ire) on 14 winners. 

As is often the case, the table is numerically dominated by Irish-based stallions. In addition to those mentioned above, the smaller British contingent includes Bobby’s Kitten, whose 12 winners were led by Sheikh Hmadan’s promising dual winner Monaasib (GB), who was runner-up in the G2 Beresford S. With Roaring Lion having met an early demise and Hawkbill having been relocated to Japan, the Lanwades Stuyd resident leads the charge for his successful American sire Kitten’s Joy in Britain, with Kameko having recently taken up stud duties at Tweenhills.

Also worth noting among the young German stallions is the Deutsches Derby winner Isfahan (Ger), who, from only 10 starters, notched five winners including Italian Group 3 winner Isfahani (Ger).

Second-crop sires of 2020
Darley’s Night Of Thunder (Ire) made a huge impression with his first-crop runners and the 2019 champion first-season sire retained the upper hand as his second crop took to the track, albeit with fewer eye-catching juveniles than in his dazzling debut season. A Group 1 winner eludes him, though surely not for long, as the son of  Dubawi has 14 stakes winners to his credit, with G2 Dante S. Winner Thunderous (Ire) and G2 Oaks d’Italia victrix Auyantepui (GB) his leading lights in 2020.

We’ve already touched on Ballylinch Stud’s small but select stallion roster above and Make Believe (GB) continued his fledgling career in upwardly mobile fashion with a first-crop Classic winner to add to his credentials. The Prix du Jockey Club winner Mishriff (GB) remains the star of his runners to date, while Believe In Love (Ire) was consistent and progressive for Roger Varian and Koji Maeda, winning five of her nine starts in 2020, culminating in the G3 Prix Belle de Nuit in October.

The six stakes winner for Coolmore’s Gleneagles (Ire) in 2020 included the Jessica Harrington-trained Silence Please (Ire). His contemporary Golden Horn (GB) matched him on 51 winners for the year and, while the Darley stallion could do with a few more stakes winners, he has a decent array of highly-rated winners who could yet take that next step into group class.

Similar comments apply to Shadwell’s Muhaarar (GB), whose 52 winners for the year equalled the tally of Night Of Thunder. The Francis Graffard-trained Paix (Ire), from the family of Irish Oaks winner Chicquita (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}), was his star performer of the season with victories in the G3 Prix de Lutece and listed Prix Frederic de la Grange.

Worthy of a special mention in this category is Haras de Colleville’s son of Galileo (Ire),  Galiway (GB). With only 85 foals from his first two crops, his 18 winners include the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere victor Sealiway (Fr) and Kenway (Fr), winner of the G3 Prix la Rochette and two listed contests. Both are out of mares by his fellow Colleville resident Kendargent.

Also noteworthy is the Ashford Stud-based American Pharoah, whose 27 runners in Europe this year included 16 winners. Top of the pile was the G1 Criterium International winner Van Gogh, a son of the dual Oaks winner Imagine (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells).

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