Great Rivalries By The Numbers


Fantastic Light and Galileo |

By John Boyce

For many with an equal passion for breeding as well as racing, even our favourite racehorses can lose a little of their lustre if their stud careers don’t go according to expectations. And again our views of some of racing’s great rivalries tend to take on a different hue after we have seen the stud careers of the protagonists. Listed here are some of some great double acts in the past 40 years or so. Some head-to-heads were conducted over a series of great races like Alydar and Affirmed, and some were once-off races that attracted huge interest. But judged by their exploits as stallions a few have turned into one-sided affairs. Take a look at Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard. The Brigadier may have defeated Mill Reef in the most famous renewal of the 2,000 Guineas, but he couldn’t get anywhere close to his rival’s excellent 16% black-type winners to foals, even though his 8.9% is respectable. In fact, Mill Reef’s ratio of stakes winners is the best among this small group, followed by Galileo’s 12.3%, who was vanquished by Fantastic Light is an excellent renewal of the G1 Irish Champion S. in 2001. We can also say Alydar gained a measure of recompense over his great Triple Crown rival Affirmed, siring 10.9% black-type winners to Affirmed’s also-excellent score of 9.3%, albeit from a better quality of mare. Easy Goer’s career was cut short but it looks like he was never going match his racetrack rival Sunday Silence’s outstanding achievements in Japan. And Bustino certainly got his revenge on Grundy but neither really left a mark at stud. Perhaps the most disappointing of all were To-Agori-Mou and Kings Lake, who sired only 29 stakes winners between them.

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