Broodmare Sires of 2019: A Pivotal Hat Trick

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Pivotal | Cheveley Park Stud

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Through the 2019 season we seemingly never had to wait too long for the next big-race triumph for a son or daughter of a mare by Pivotal (GB) (Polar Falcon). It is no surprise, therefore, that the 27-year-old Cheveley Park Stud patriarch has ended the year not merely completing a hat-trick of titles as Champion Broodmare Sire of Great Britain and Ireland but also topping the European table too.

One of Pivotal’s principal advantages as a broodmare sire is, of course, that Sadler’s Wells does not appear in his pedigree, which means that the majority of Pivotal mares are compatible with Galileo (Ire) and his sons. Pivotal’s daughters were collectively responsible in 2019 for eight individual Group 1 winners in Europe who between them won 12 Group 1 races. Three of the eight are by Galileo: Magical (Ire), Hermosa (Ire) and Love (Ire). Furthermore, Cheveley Park Stud’s homebred G1 Tattersalls Falmouth S. heroine Veracious (GB) is by Galileo’s best son Frankel (GB).

It would, though, be grossly unfair to Pivotal to attribute his success as a broodmare sire solely to the fact that his daughters are generally compatible with Galileo.

For one thing, a mare has to be high-class to merit a place in Galileo’s book, whoever she is by; secondly, Pivotal’s daughters regularly produce good horses from a broad spectrum of stallions.

G1 Investec Coronation Cup winner Defoe (Ire) is by Dalakhani (Ire) whose pedigree is not merely devoid of Galileo: it is devoid of Northern Dancer entirely. Showcasing (GB), Kodiac (GB) and Fastnet Rock (Aus), sires respectively of Advertise (GB), Fairyland (Ire) and One Master (GB), are similarly free of Galileo, notwithstanding that all three hail from the other branches of the Northern Dancer sire-line.

To put Pivotal’s achievement of three consecutive Broodmare Sire Championships of Great Britain and Ireland into perspective, he ranks as only the third horse since the start of the 20th century to have topped the table three years running, following St Simon (five consecutive seasons, 1903 to 1907) and Sadler’s Wells (seven consecutive seasons, 2005 to 2011). Company does not come any more elite than that.

Taking minor honours in the British and Irish broodmare sires’ table were two father-and-son pairs: the next four places behind Pivotal were filled by Danehill Dancer (Ire), Galileo (Ire), Sadler’s Wells and Danehill. All four horses have, like Pivotal, now been regulars in the upper reaches of the table for years. Remarkably, the same five horses filled the first five places in 2016, when Danehill Dancer stood at the head of a father-and-son quinella with Danehill in second; third, fourth and fifth places that year were held by Pivotal, Galileo and Sadler’s Wells.

Danehill’s regular presence among the leaders is easy to understand when one bears in mind that the most obviously successful nick of the current century has been ‘Galileo over a Danehill mare’, a recipe which has yielded 15 individual Group 1 winners headed by Frankel.  Danehill was Champion Broodmare Sire during Frankel’s final season of racing in 2012 (thus ending the seven-year reign of Sadler’s Wells) and then topped the table again in both 2014 and ’15.

Perennial Champion Sire Galileo has understandably never been Champion Broodmare Sire. For obvious reasons, no stallion has ever been Champion Sire and Champion Broodmare Sire in the same season (although Galileo came close in 2018 when second in the Broodmare Sires’ table). On this basis, one would say that, if Galileo is ever to become Champion Broodmare Sire, it is unlikely to happen for some time yet. One can, though, envisage him following in the footsteps of his own sire Sadler’s Wells, who was Champion Sire for the 13th and final time in 2003 and then won the first of his seven Broodmare Sires’ titles in 2004.

It is, incidentally, remarkable that Sadler’s Wells was able still to take such high rank in the Broodmare Sires’ Table 38 years after his birth, but being damsire of the mighty Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {GB}) obviously helps. One might make a similar comment about Danehill, who was born in 1986 (five years after Sadler’s Wells) and died in 2003. Danehill’s best representative as a damsire in 2019 was G1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris and G1 Juddmonte International winner Japan (GB), one of three Group 1 winners of 2019 bred on the tried-and-tested Galileo x Danehill cross which also struck gold with G1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song (Ire) and Cape Of Good Hope (Ire), a stakes winner during the year in both England and Australia. Galileo also regularly gets good results from Danehill Dancer mares and this cross yielded two top-class 3-year-olds of 2019: G1 St James’s Palace S. and G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp winner Circus Maximus (Ire) and G1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Sovereign (Ire).

In the European Broodmare Sires’ Table, the same four horses followed Pivotal home with one addition thrown in. Galileo, Danehill Dancer and Sadler’s Wells came in second, third and fourth with Danehill sixth. Nestling in among these greats is another legend: Monsun (Ger) occupied fifth place thanks to the G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {GB}) whose earnings account for more than half of his maternal grandsire’s total. Galileo’s higher placing in the European table than in the British and Irish one can largely be attributed to the seven-figure bankroll accumulated by G1 QIPCO Prix du Jockey-Club winner Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}).

Oasis Dream (GB) and Shamardal deserve credit as the only two horses in the top 10 in the GB/Ire table aged less than 20. (They were born in 2000 and 2002 respectively). Oasis Dream finished sixth in that table and eighth in the European table, one place behind the ever-reliable Dansili (GB), with G1 Phoenix S. winner 2-year-old Siskin (First Defence) his principal earner. Shamardal, of course, had a fantastic season as a sire of racehorses thanks to his three Group 1-winning 2-year-old colts headed by the champion Pinatubo (Ire) but, already well established as an extremely good broodmare sire, he also featured prominently in this role, his grandchildren headed by G1 Betfair Haydock Park Sprint Cup S. winner Hello Youmzain (Fr) (Kodiac {GB}).

One could highlight several other broodmare sires who had very solid seasons, but overall the season was all about Pivotal. By topping the table in Great Britain and Ireland for a third consecutive year he has, as highlighted above, joined an elite band alongside St Simon and Sadler’s Wells. Those two could be described as all-rounders, having been multiple champions as both sire and broodmare sire; whereas Pivotal’s niche in the history books will revolve particularly around his role as a sire of broodmares, notwithstanding that he has produced at least 27 individual Group/Grade 1 winners over the years and currently has several very good sons at stud. As regards his place among the broodmare sires’ pantheon of the modern era, he has now put himself alongside the legendary Habitat (Champion Broodmare Sire of Great Britain and Ireland in 1987, ’94 and ’96) and ahead of both Darshaan (GB) and Rainbow Quest (GB) who each topped the table twice.

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