Sons of Danehill rise in rival studs
- BY:TONY ARROLD
- From:The Australian
- August 27, 2012 12:00AM
COOLMORE Stud’s new recruit and former globetrotting galloper Musir in a training spin at Sha Tin. Picture: Hong Kong Jockey Club Source: Supplied
HISTORY records that Danehill, the single-most influential agent of modern breeding in Australia, and indeed the world’s most spectacular dual-hemisphere stallion, enriched the thoroughbred fabric of this country through a joint effort by two major studs.
When his racing career was done with in England, the Arrowfield Stud at Scone, NSW, and Ireland’s Coolmore Stud secured the Danzig horse from his owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah — the Saudi Arabian prince whose colours today are carried by Frankel, the best racehorse on the planet.
Frankel, of course, is a son of Coolmore’s European champion sire, Galileo. Frankel was bred by Prince Khalid from his broodmare, Kind, a daughter of Danehill.
For his 12 stud seasons in Australia, Danehill stood under the management for half his time with Arrowfield, the other and latter half with Coolmore.
The joint venture between the studs soured in the mid-1990s when an extraordinary private auction in the rooms of a Sydney barrister took place with Danehill the object for sale.
Coolmore won the day and Arrowfield, having lost tenancy of its Denman base to the Irish conglomerate, used the multi-million-dollar cashflow to set up a new site at Scone, from where it still operates.
Naturally, the rift between the studs ended any shuttle stallion arrangements, but Arrowfield more than got by via standing sons of Danehill — Danzero, Flying Spur and Redoute’s Choice — who had been conceived under its management.
Coolmore also benefited in kind through Danehill as its roster is headed today by Fastnet Rock, who was homebred for the stud and retained to race and stand at stud after the public had been given an opportunity to buy Australia’s reigning champion sire as a yearling.
Whether the passage of time has been sufficient to smooth over, even a little, the differences between the two studs, new recruits for the coming spring season at Coolmore and Arrowfield suggest there is at least high respect for one another’s breeding programs.
Arrowfield this spring has added to its roster the lightly raced Smart Missile, who might well have been far and away Fastnet Rock’s finest racing son, having shown flashes of jaw-dropping ability.
Coolmore, in addition to its battalion of homebred sons of Danehill, has this season secured Musir, the best performing son of Arrowfield’s twice premier sire, Redoute’s Choice.
A competitive fee of $16,500 has been set for his debut season.
Musir was conceived and foaled on Coolmore for his breeder, Dubai-based Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, who chose to ship the bay colt to South Africa as a rising two-year-old to train and race under Mike de Kock.
Musir has been a Redoute’s Choice rarity, training on from two to five years, competing in five countries and winning in South Africa, Dubai and Turkey as well as placing in Group company in three outings in Hong Kong (twice) and England.
From 17 starts, he ran eight wins, three seconds and three thirds for prizemoney of $2.3 million. He was a Group I winner on grass over 1200m in South Africa, he landed a Group II and a Group III (the UAE 2000 Guineas-Derby double) on the all-weather track at Meydan in Dubai as a three-year-old.
At five years, Musir won a Group II and a Group III on the grass circuit of Meydan.
Musir was placed five times from six attempts at four years, with the highlight his win in the Group II Topkapi Trophy (1600m) in Istanbul.
The richest race in Turkey, the Topkapi Trophy drew a quality field of eight but Musir put in a monster performance to win by 3 1/2 lengths.
Coolmore’s interest in Musir was based on a consciousness of Redoute’s Choice’s track record at stud on top of Musir’s sustained ability and toughness, deepened through his mother, Dizzy
As her name suggests, Dizzy De Lago is by Coolmore’s two-time champion sire, Encosta De Lago, a Fairy King horse for which claims have been made that he is the most successful Australian-bred stallion of the modern era.
The maternal attraction goes further since Dizzy De Lago was foaled by Spring Reel, a British-bred mare by Mill Reef, a grandson of Nasrullah. And Spring Reel’s fourth dam is the Tudor Minstrel mare Aimee, grand-dam of Blushing Groom, another of Nasrullah’s grandsons.
Mill Reef was just about everyone’s idea of the classic thoroughbred. He won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Dewhurst at Newmarket as a two-year-old, the English Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at three, and the Coronation Cup and King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at four. At stud, Mill Reef left the English Derby heroes Shirley Heights and Reference Point — the former his best son at stud — with Group I winner and major West Australian sire Marooned his best in Australia.