Racing: Ingredients Down Under to breed super horse

By Dave Sanders

Carbine, one of New Zealand's finest stallions.  Photo / File
Carbine, one of New Zealand's finest stallions. Photo / File

Racing has seldom been in better heart.

In Britain, the deeds of the recently retired Frankel saw crowds flock back to the racecourse, bringing 20 per cent more punters to the track every time he stepped out.

Officially rated by many as the greatest horse of all time, one of the vagaries of the breeding game means a horse of Frankel's calibre could be bred Down Under.

Australian breeders had available most of the genetic ingredients to produce a super horse of their own because Galileo, his sire, stood there for three seasons.

Danehill, his damsire, is the predominant sire in Australia, with a staggering 35 per cent of all broodmares there being bred to sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of the son of Danzig.

Hundreds of Danehill mares were in Australia when Galileo stood there, which may have produced a similar nick to the one which has captivated the hearts of British racing fans.

But for some strange reason, sons of the great stallion Sadler's Wells never caught on across the ditch.

Galileo was a flop, breeding just one group winner in three Australian crops.

Sadler's Wells, who died in 2011, was a son of Northern Dancer and though he won the Irish 2000 Guineas, he was not considered the best racehorse of his generation. That title went to El Gran Senor but Sadler's Wells outdid his rival in the breeding barn to become the greatest sire of modern times.

Two of his sons, Montjeu and Galileo, have dominated the European sires' statistics for the best part of a decade.

Montjeu also stood in New Zealand and achieved better success, although it was late.

The only Sadler's Wells stallion to have had any success in Australia is one of his oldest, Scenic, who has sired a stayer, 2008 Melbourne Cup winner Viewed (over 3200m). He also sired Scenic Blast, the 2009 winner of the glamour sprint, the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. However, a third son of Sadler's Wells, High Chaparral, is one of the boom sires.

Several sons of Montjeu are at stud here, including second season stallion Guillotine and first season sires Tavistock and Nom De Jeu, who won the AJC Derby.

There is a special New Zealand connection to this bloodline, which was founded by the Italian genius Frederico Tesio.

He famously went to England and spent £100 to buy a mare by English Derby winner Spearmint, a son of New Zealand's finest stallion, Carbine.

He was the winner of 33 of 43 races, including the 1890 Melbourne Cup, and was bought in 1895 by the Duke of Portland and shipped to stud in England.

Tesio bred the mare, Catnip, to a French stallion, and produced Nogara who he put to Pharos, the full brother of his first choice Fairway.

He couldn't get a service to Fairway. It greatly irked Tesio at the time but fate played a bigger hand.

The resultant foal was Nearco, the foundation sire of not only the Northern Dancer line, but also that of both New Zealand's most famous modern sires Sir Tristram and Zabeel (Royal Charger) and the Bold Ruler line through Nasrullah.

Such is the dominance of this sireline that only 12 stallions out of the 163 who have progeny at the sale do not come from a line through Nearco.

- Herald on Sunday

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