On a week when much will be written about the great Frankel (Galileo–Kind, by Danehill) as he retires to Juddmonte Farms to serve his first season at stud in 2013, this writer had pause to reflect on the outstanding performance of his broodmare sire, Danehill, who has thus far proved himself a phenomenon as a sire and broodmare sire in two hemispheres—a true breed shaper. I was fortunate enough to very briefly work with Danehill while at Coolmore Stud in Ireland and Arrowfield Stud in Australia, but more importantly to work with many of his stock on the farm and at the racetrack. The Danehills were generally well known for two attributes: temperament and response to training. Many were blessed with a laid back, unhurried attitude to everything, which was doubled up with an outstanding response to training in that whatever you served up to them, they were generally ready to take more the next day and not lay down for a week like some others. These attributes made them generally a pleasure to be around and train on, and these seem to be traits passed on through his best sons and daughters.
We have previously discussed how outrageously successful Galileo has been with Danehill mares. Frankel aside, horses such as Teofilo (IRE) (TrueNicks, ), Maybe, Roderic O’Connor, Golden Lilac, and Cima de Triomphe are among the 15 stakes winners bred on the nick, which speaks volumes for the quality of the racehorses that are being produced by what is sure to be a phenomenally popular nick for years to come. But just as Galileo has established other alternatives to Danehill (Roberto line mares being one), Danehill as a broodmare sire is certainly no “one trick pony”. Indeed, as prolific as the Galileo/Danehill nick is, he has another 9 stakes winners by other sons of Sadler’s Wells who may find increasing success with Danehill mares, even if the critical factor of quality is generally ignored by breeders (which is often the case). On Sadler’s Wells line stallions, one has to ponder—had he been able to live a little longer—if Singspiel, who has the stakes winners Pale Mimosa, Ludka, and Village Fete out of Danehill mares, might have been the Galileo alternate. Singspiel is of course out of Glorious Song, a champion daughter of Halo (he from the same family as Danehill) who was also the dam of leading sire Rahy.
Rahy features as the broodmare sire in another highly successful nick for Danehill mares in the Ashford Stud stallion Giant’s Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO), a grandson of Storm Bird. Irish champion 2-year-old Intense Focus and Australian group I winner Juste Momente are both by Giant’s Causeway out of Danehill mares, as are three other stakes winners, and his son Footstepsinthesand has the stakes winners Steinbeck and Chachamaidee out of Danehill mares. Shamardal, another son of Giant’s Causeway, already has the stakes winner Duel out of a Danehill mare. Shamardal is out of a full sister to leading sire Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), by Machiavellian, whose own dam, the rather inbred Coup de Folie, is also by Halo and from the family of Danehill (see a pattern here?). Machiavellian is the sire of the Cheveley Park Stud stallion Medicean, who is out of a Storm Bird mare and is the sire of group I winners Nannina and Siyouma and stakes winners Sapphire and Regional Counsel all out of Danehill mares (his good daughter Mince being out of a mare by Danehill Dancer). Medicean’s first crop son Dutch Art has got in on the act with stakes winner Lady’s First out of a Danehill mare.
Talking of Halo, Danehill mares have done well with leading Japanese sire Sunday Silence but extraordinarily well with Southern Halo’s son More Than Ready (TrueNicks,SRO), with no less than nine stakes winners, headed by group I winners Benicio (AUS) (TrueNicks), Dreamaway, and Perfectly Ready (read more on the More Than Ready/Danehill nick). Just as Galileo has forged a highly successful nick with Danehill line mares in Europe, More Than Ready has found success in the Australian broodmare population with mares by Danehill and his sons. Of course for Danehill mares there are other options in Australia with a lot of success being found with sires from the Zabeel sire line, including recent stakes winners by the now duel hemisphere sire Lonhro (AUS)(TrueNicks,SRO) and the one-time shuttle sire Reset (AUS) (TrueNicks). Finally, Danehill mares seem to have done well with Gone West and his sons, with Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO) (Sepoy (AUS) (TrueNicks), Camarilla, Mr Big, Related, etc.), Zafonic (Trade Fair), and Western Winter (Winter Burst). Sort of makes you wonder if a son of Speightstown (TrueNicks,SRO) who was successful in Europe might be in the right place at the right time to capitalize on all the Danehill line mares there.