European Third-Crop Sires: A Solid Bunch

While breeding produces more than its share of upsets, a look at the leading European third-season sires has a reassuringly predictable quality about it, the pecking order being very close to what most knowledgeable judges would have predicted on the basis of performance, pedigree, and opportunity.

The leader by cumulative earnings, New Approach (TrueNicks) (by Galileo (TrueNicks)), has been a star since a trio of his first crop juveniles captured stakes events at the Royal Ascot meet. One of that group, Dawn Approach (TrueNicks) (dam by Phone Trick), went on to earn honors as European champion 2-year-old and added the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) at 3. A later developer from that same first crop is Talent, who became her sire's second classic winner when taking the Epsom Oaks (Eng-I). Talent is out of a Peintre Celebre (TrueNicks) mare, which gives a fascinating pedigree as Galileo is a Sadler's Wells/Mr. Prospector cross, where Peintre Celebre is by Sadler's Wells' three-quarter brother Nureyev out of a mare by Mr. Prospector's genetic relative Alydar.

New Approach has sired seven other Northern Hemisphere stakes winners, including Libertarian, a group two winner who also took second in the Epsom Derby (Eng-I). Libertarian (dam by Darshaan) is one of two stakes winners by New Approach out of Shirley Heights line mares, and New Approach also has stakes winners out of mares from the Danehill and Green Desert branches of Danzig. He's also got a much better strike rate than his sire with the Mr. Prospector line, with stakes winners from daughters of Machiavellian, Gone West, Seeking the Gold, and Fusaichi Pegasus (TrueNicks).

While New Approach is by Galileo, a Sadler's Wells/Mr. Prospector cross, the second on the list, Henrythenavigator (TrueNicks), is bred on a reverse of that nick. A son of Kingmambo—Sequoyah, by Sadler's Wells, Henrythenavigator was a talented 2-year-old, winning the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II), but was better at 3 when he took the English and the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (both gr. I), the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I), and Sussex Stakes (Eng-I). Henrythenavigator is actually one up on New Approach by group/grade I winners with the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) scorer George Vancouver (dam by Danzig); Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) winner Pedro the Great (out of a mare by Rainbow Quest); and Sudirman (out of a mare by Desert Style, a son of Green Desert).

Henrythenavigator has three other stakes winners, two out of mares from the Nijinsky II line (through Royal Academy and Caerleon) and the other from a daughter of Arch (TrueNicks).

European champion older horse Duke of Marmalade (TrueNicks) (Danehill) has made his way up to third on the list by earnings and is the overall leader of this bunch by individual stakes winners with 11. His best is Venus de Milo, a group winner who also took second in the Irish Oaks (Ire-I) and is one of two stakes winners for the sire out of mares by Galileo (since Duke of Marmalade is out of a Kingmambo mare, you have Mr. Prospector/Nureyev through Kingmambo, and Sadler's Wells/Mr. Prospector through Galileo), and he also has a stakes winner out of a mare by Sadler's Wells. Duke of Marmalade has also worked over the German sires Monsun and Nebos, and has two stakes winners out of Kenmare line mares and two out of Shirley Heights line mares.

Henrythenavigator's old rival, the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victor Raven's Pass (by Elusive Quality (TrueNicks)) is fourth. He has four stakes winners, including the group scorers Steeler (dam by Darshaan) and Secret Number (out of a mare by Alleged). The second Danehill-line horse in this group is the Criterium International (Fr-I) and Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) captor Mount Nelson (by Rock of Gibraltar (TrueNicks)). His quartet of stakes winners includes last year's Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II) winner Berkshire, and group III-winning juvenile Purr Along. Oddly enough, two of his four stakes winners are out of different daughters of Mountain Cat, a horse who is a Northern Dancer/Graustark cross, where Danehill is a Northern Dancer/His Majesty (brother to Graustark) cross.

Another with four stakes winners is our first French horse, Falco (Pivotal). His best is the juvenile group winner Snowday (out of a mare by Forest Wildcat). Tamayuz, a Prix Jean Prat (Fr-I) winner by the Gulch horse Nayef (TrueNicks) from the family of Galileo, has been more prolific with six stakes winners, three group, including the Flying Childers Stakes (Eng-II) scorer Sir Prancealot (dam by another Storm Cat horse, Catrail).

Following Falco among the French stallions are Literato (by Kendor, from the Kenmare line), winner of the Champion Stakes (Eng-I); and the Prix d'Ispahan (Fr-I) scorer Sageburg (by Johannesburg). Literato has a very good first-crop filly in Alterite (out of mare by Sadler's Wells' son Dream Well), who started in the French provinces but graduated to take last year's Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) in the U.S. as well as running third in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). Sageburg has four stakes horses: two out of Sadler's Wells line mares and two out of Danzig line mares, including the group II-winning Peace Burg.

Finally, we'll give call outs to following sires who are worthy of mention. One of the last holdouts for the Riverman line, Sakhee's Secret (by Sakhee), has turned out to be a prolific sire of 2-year-old winners and has two black-type scorers. The Arlington Million (gr. IT) captor Spirit One (by the Anabaa horse Anabaa Blue) has three first-crop group performers, including group winner Eleuthera. Astronomer Royal (TrueNicks) (Danzig) has four stakes winners including the group/graded winning siblings Stellar Path and Sir Patrick Moore. And the now Italian-based mile ace Ramonti (by Martin Alonso, a son of Marju), has five stakes horses including group winner Montiridge, U.S. stakes scorer Redressthebalance, and the Italian Derby (Ity-II) third Ancient King.

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