Freshman Sires: The Danzig Influence

Shalaa's first crop includes a filly out of Treve named Paris | Zuzanna Lupa


Monday heralded the first day of perhaps the strangest turf season any of us will ever witness. From Wednesday, Ireland has gone from racing behind closed doors to joining the rest of the Europe in learning to cope with no racing action at all.

There is now uncertainty over when the next 2-year-old race will take place but three of this year's 30 first-season sires in Europe are already off the mark with a first runner, with Buratino (Ire), Prince Of Lir (Ire) and Markaz (Ire) each having been represented by debutants at Naas.

In this first of two instalments looking at the freshman sires with runners during what is likely to be a truncated 2020 season, we are focusing on those from the Danzig line, and that's almost half of the bumper crop this year. We'll start with the Danehill subset, which features four sons of Kodiac (GB) and another four by Australian-bred sons or grandsons of Danehill.

The Kodiac Pack

Adaay (Ire)
Kodiac (GB) – Lady Lucia (Ire) (Royal Applause {GB}), Whitsbury Manor Stud

Adaay was bred on a speed on speed formula and, from his base at Whitsbury Manor Stud with its band of fast mares, he will have plenty of chances to replicate this in his own offspring. It's important to remember that speed is not always matched by precocity but in the case of Adaay, he was out early at two, winning his first two starts at Newbury and York over six furlongs. At three he stepped up to win the G2 Sandy Lane S., beating Limato (Ire) into second, and later that year he beat fellow freshman Coulsty (Ire) (also by Kodiac) into second in the G2 Hungerford S. when stepping up to seven furlongs. He stayed in training at four, running six times that year and coming closest to another win when beaten a head by Breton Rock (Ire) in the G3 Criterion S.

He was given decent support in his first season and has 96 juveniles this year.

Prince Of Lir (Ire)
Kodiac (GB) – Esuvia (Ire) (Whipper), Ballyhane Stud

 This breeze-up graduate hit the racecourse just a month after he was sold at Goffs UK, making a winning debut in beating The Last Lion (Ire), who was already a winner at that stage and later also finished second to Prince Of Lir in the G2 Norfolk S. at Royal Ascot. That was Prince Of Lir's final victory and he made just three more starts that season before being signed up for a stud career.

He, too, has plenty of speed in his pedigree. His half-brother Nitro Boost (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) won the listed Abergwaun S. last year over five furlongs, and their dam Esuvia won over the minimum trip herself and is a half-sister to G3 Laurent Perrier Champagne Sprint S. winner Resplendent Glory (Ire) (Namid {GB}).

One of his 77 first-crop 2-year-olds has already run and, as long as racing can resume in Britain and continue in Ireland, it will be no surprise if we see some more of Prince Of Lir's offspring out before too long.

Kodi Bear (Ire)
Kodiac (GB) – Hawattef (Ire) (Mujtahid), Rathbarry Stud

Kodi Bear was second to Adaay on debut at Newbury in May and then not beaten far when fifth to The Wow Signal (Ire) in the G2 Coventry S. before getting off the mark in the listed Winkfield S. back at Ascot in July. He closed out his juvenile campaign with a runner-up finish to Belardo (Ire) in the G1 Dewhurst S. A fruitful 3-year-old season saw the Clive Cox trainee land three more stakes wins, including the G2 Celebration Mile and G3 Sovereign S., but he was winless in four starts as a 4-year-old.

Out of an unraced mare, he traces back to a good Jim Joel family, with High And Dry (GB) as his third dam and more recent classy relatives including the treble Group 1 winner Esoterique (Ire). With 83 first-crop representatives he has a decent chance of making his presence felt.

Coulsty (Ire)
Kodiac (GB) – Hazium (Ire) (In The Wings {GB}), Rathasker Stud

Coulsty will have 45 youngsters to go into bat for him this year, making this likely to be a relatively hard task for him to feature among the leading names as the year progresses. Trained by Richard Hannon, he won in each of the four seasons he was in training, including on debut at two at the end of May and with the highlight being his victory at three in the G3 Prix de Meautry over six furlongs in very soft ground.

Despite being out of an In The Wings mare who won at up to a mile and a half and was herself out of a mare by Caerleon, Coulsty followed the tendency of his sire's offspring to prefer sprint trips and did all his winning between five and seven furlongs.

Australian Influence

Buratino (Ire)
Exceed And Excel (Aus) – Bergamask (Kingmambo), Kildangan Stud

 In this group we find a grandson and a great grandson of Danehill, both trained by Mark Johnston and both of whom won on debut in the first week of the season. In the case of Buratino, that victory came on Chelmsford's all-weather surface at the end of March but he was soon on turf, winning at Newmarket in mid-May. By the time he beat Air Force Blue in the G2 Coventry S. at Royal Ascot, he'd already run five times previously, including scoring a win on Derby day in the Woodcote. Group 1 placings in the Keeneland Phoenix S. and the Middle Park S. brought his juvenile campaign to an honourable conclusion.

Buratino was back out at three but failed to build on his busy 2-year-old season in five outings, starting with the 2000 Guineas, in which he was ninth. His dam Bergamask was listed-placed and won over a mile in France and the Danehill influence had already been seen to good effect in this family as she is out of a Sadler's Wells half-sister to Danehill Dancer (Ire).

Buratino, who has 88 juveniles to run for him, is the first freshman on the scoreboard with a placed runner as his son The Blue Panther (Ire) was third at Naas on Monday.

Fascinating Rock (Ire)
Fastnet Rock (Aus) – Miss Polaris (GB) (Polar Falcon), Ballylinch Stud

 Fastnet Rock is more typically associated with siring sprinters in Australia but he's been represented by a number of classy middle-distance horses in the northern hemisphere and this Newtown Anner Stud homebred certainly fits that bracket.

Fascinating Rock made just one back-end start at two but put himself in the Classic picture the following spring when winning the G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial. But he really came into his own as an older horse, winning the G1 QIPCO Champion S. at four and the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup the following May, taking his tally of wins to eight from 15 starts, all of them coming on ground with plenty of give.

He won't be expected to be siring early, fast horses but we can expect to se some of his 61 juveniles starting what should be progressive campaigns in the later part of this year.

The Last Lion (Ire)
Choisir (Aus) – Mala Mala (Ire) (Brief Truce), Kildangan Stud

It can never be considered satisfactory for a colt to retire to stud on the back of just one season but in the case of The Last Lion we certainly got our money's worth while he was in training. Ten starts, four wins, four seconds and two thirds reads his record, and what an admirable young colt he was.

So many times we'll see early-season maiden winners fade from view as the competition stiffens at the business end of the season. The Last Lion, however, bounced from winning the Brocklesby S. into runner-up finishes in group company at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood. He then notched a third-place finish to Blue Point (Ire) in the Gimcrack before winning the G3 Sirenia S., finishing runner-up to Ardad (Ire) in the G2 Champagne S., and finally meeting Blue Point again in the G1 Middle Park S. and finishing three-quarters of a length in front of him in victory.

One can only guess at what he might have achieved in the older sprinting ranks, and sadly his stud career to date has been hindered by fertility issues, so he has a relatively small group of 45 juveniles to represent him. It will be no surprise if there are some useful sorts among them.

Scissor Kick (Aus)
Redoute's Choice (Aus) – Back Pass (Aus) (Quest For Fame {GB}), Haras d'Etreham

An unfamiliar name when he started reverse-shuttling to Normandy but from a very familiar family to this part of the world.

A dual Group 3 winner at three and runner-up in the G1 Golden Rose S., Scissor Kick is a grandson of Skiable, the dam of Juddmonte's G2 Coventry S. winner Three Valleys (GB) and a half-sister Hasili (GB). That great matriarch's list of group-winning descendants grows year on year and includes the good stallion brothers Dansili (GB), Champs Elysees (GB) and Cacique (GB)—all sons of Danehill. Scissor Kick has 42 juveniles listed on the France Galop website.

Green Desert Prominent
Two sons and two grandsons of Green Desert account for six of the names on the freshman sires' list this season including Kodiac's half-brother Invincible Spirit (Ire), who has two new sons and a grandson bidding to make a similar start to that made by Cable Bay (Ire) last season.

Shalaa (Ire)
Invincible Spirit (Ire) – Ghurra (War Chant), Haras de Bouquetot

Shalaa has already led his peers in the sales ring via the prices achieved for his first crop both as foals and yearlings. He was also the most expensive new stallion of his intake at a fee of €27,500.

Green on his racecourse debut in May when running last at Newbury's Lockinge meeting, Shalaa only took another fortnight to get the hang of racing, winning his maiden at Newmarket and then sailing through consecutive wins in the G2 July S., G2 Richmond S., G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park S.

A pelvic injury delayed his return at three but he did finally make a comeback, winning the G3 Bengough S., before running down the field on his swansong in the G1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint.

Shalaa doesn't quite have the numerical firepower of some of his rivals, with 82 juveniles waiting in the wings, but there should hopefully be some decent individuals among them as he has not lacked classy mates. Chief among them is the queen of Al Shaqab's broodmare band, Treve (Fr). Her 2-year-old filly by Shalaa is named Paris (Fr) and is listed as in training with Andre Fabre.

Territories (GB)
Invincible Spirit (Ire) – Taranto (GB) (Machiavellian), Dalham Hall Stud

The winner of a conditions race at Chantilly on his second start, Territories was later third in the G3 Prix La Rochette and runner-up in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. He won his Classic trial, the G3 Prix de Fontainebleau, in Paris before heading to the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket where he found only Gleneagles (Ire) too good for him. His Group 1 cap was earned in the Prix Jean Prat and he was also runner-up in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois before returning at four to add another two Group 3 places to his record.

He's from a family which has already produced some decent stallions. His fourth dam Helen Street (GB) is the dam of Street Cry (Ire) as well as his sister Helsinki (GB), later the dam of Shamardal. Both Street Cry and Helsinki are by Machiaevellian, the damsire of Territories, who has a decent chance with 110 first-crop representatives, a number of whom caught the eye of seasoned sales judges.

Marcel (Ire)
Lawman (Fr) – Mauresmo (Ire) (Marju {Ire}), Anngrove Stud

The G1 Racing Post Trophy winner started his stud career at the National Stud and was there for two years before transferring to Ireland's Anngrove Stud. Owned by the late Paul Makin, who took a keen interest in selecting his first book of mares, he has 20 juveniles this year, with David Evans, Tim Easterby and James Ferguson among their trainers.

Marcel suffered some knee trouble at three and made just one final start when finishing last in the 2000 Guineas. His dam is an unraced daughter of Absaar, a half-sister to Sheikh Hamdan's Melbourne Cup winner At Talaq.

Awtaad (Ire)
Cape Cross (Ire) -Asheerah (GB) (Shamardal), Derrinstown Stud

Despite siring the likes of Ouija Board (GB) and Sea The Stars (Ire), Cape Cross was arguably never fully appreciated during his lifetime but he is responsible, as sire and grandsire, for two of this year's freshmen, both of them Classic winners.

Awtaad, trained by the legendary veteran of the Irish training ranks Kevin Prendergast, ran just twice at two, breaking his maiden on the second of those outings at Leopardstown in late October. He sustained that winning form to land the Madrid H. on the opening day of the following turf season before stepping up to the listed Tetrarch S. and then on to glory in the Irish 2000 Guineas. In a vintage edition of the G1 St James's Palace S. he was third behind the English Guineas winner Galileo Gold (Ire) and French Guineas winner The Gurkha (Ire) before recording his final victory in the G2 Boomerang S. on Irish Champions Weekend.

He will have been well supported by his breeder Sheikh Hamdan and, with 93 juveniles, has a chance of keeping his name in the reckoning in the freshman sires' table.

Harzand (Ire)
Sea The Stars (Ire) – Hazariya (Ire) (Xaar {GB}), Gilltown Stud

Harzand gave Pat Smullen the most memorable day of a long and successful career in the saddle when winning the Derby for his breeder the Aga Khan and Dermot Weld.

He ran just once, unplaced, at two, but won a Cork maiden in the March of his Classic season before landing the G3 Ballysax S. Glory in the Irish Derby followed his Epsom success but that was to be his last win before midfield finishes in the Irish Champion S. and the Arc.

We can probably expect to see better things of his first crop once they turn three—though Sea The Stars' German Derby-winning son Sea The Moon (Ger) took many by surprise when his first juveniles emerged—and, with 72 juveniles, he has not received the numerical support given to some of his rivals.

Charming Thought (GB)
Oasis Dream {GB}) – Annabelle's Charm (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}), Dalham Hall Stud

Another freshman this year for Darley is the Middle Park S. winner Charming Thought, who had won a maiden and a novice race before being plunged straight into Group 1 company. His nose victory over Ivawood (Ire) at Newmarket, with Muhaarar (GB) back in third, was to be his last win. He returned at three but was unplaced in three starts, and he has 50 2-year-olds to run for him this season.

His dam Annabelle's Charm was a listed winner over a mile as a 4-year-old and she is out of a sister to Group 1-winning juveniles Aristotle (Ire) and Ballingarry (Ire), both by Sadler's Wells. Their half-brother Starborough (Ire) (Soviet Star) won the G1 Prix Jean Prat.

And look out for…
The Danzig connection is also applicable for the American-based Flintshire (GB), a son of Dansili (GB), and the War Front stallions Air Force Blue and Hit It A Bomb, all of whom are likely to have a smattering of first-crop runners in Europe this year.

We will bring you the second part of this first-season sire overview later this week.



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