'He Has Pride of Place Here': All Hail Teofilo, the Cups King

Teofilo is the sire of three of the last six Melbourne Cup winners | Darley Stallions


Seventeen years have passed since Teofilo (Ire), a member of the second crop of Galileo (Ire), blazed a trail through his unbeaten juvenile season, ending the year as champion two-year-old after beating Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) in the G1 National and G1 Dewhurst S.

Jim Bolger's homebred raced solely at seven furlongs that year, and his subsequent injury in the spring of 2007 meant that we could only guess at what he might have achieved at three and beyond. By that August he had been retired without ever returning to the track. His racing career may have been cut short, but his stud career has dropped plenty of hints as to what his profile may have been had he raced on.

Teofilo has been far from a one-dimensional stallion in his 16 years spent continuously at Kidangan Stud. This week, he has been back in the news courtesy of his third Melbourne Cup winner in the last six years, Without A Fight (Ire) having followed Cross Counter (Ire) and Twilight Payment (Ire) onto that particular roll of honour. While there are a good number of stayers among Teofilo's top runners – the Gold Cup winner Subjectivist (GB) and Prix du Cadran winner Quest For More (Ire) included – this is by no means his hallmark. If anything is, it's his versatility.

In his first crop Teofilo sired the Dewhurst winner Parish Hall (Ire), and if he looked like the second coming it was perhaps no surprise, as the colt, inbred 3×3 to Sadler's Wells, raced in the same familiar colours of Jackie Bolger, having been bred by her husband Jim, the man born on Christmas Day who masterminded Teofilo's own racing career and has bred a number of his best offspring.

The Irish St Leger winner Voleuse De Coeurs (Ire) was another member of that first crop, and since then Teofilo has been represented by a Group 1 winner from every year of production through to his current crop of four-year-olds, including Irish Derby winner Trading Leather (Ire), Irish 1,000 Guineas and Yorkshire Oaks winner Pleascach (Ire) and the Prix Jean Prat winner Havana Gold (Ire). The latter is of course the sire of the G1 Flying Five winner and rising young sire Havana Grey (GB), giving the line an extra speedy dimension. Among this season's three-year-olds has been the GII Sands Point S. winner Eternal Point (Ire), who has won two graded stakes races this autumn.

About to turn 20, Teofilo is at that stage where, if his influence is strong enough, he should be appearing as the broodmare sire of top winners, and this he has started to do with regularity. Last season's 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas winner Cachet (Ire) and Coroebus (Ire) were both out of Teofilo mares, giving him a notable Classic double. A son of Dubawi (Ire), the ill-fated Coroebus was bred on the reserve cross to that which produced Without A Fight.

Teofilo's run in this sphere is extended by last season's G1 Preis der Diana winner Toskana Belle (Fr) (Shamalgan  {Fr}) and by the previous year's Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), while the dual Group 1 winner Dreamloper (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) is also out of one of his daughters.

Given his location, it is no surprise that Teofilo has ended up covering a number of Dubawi mares, and there are now seven stakes winners bred on this cross from 49 named foals. His 24th Group 1 winner, Without A Fight, who started his career with Simon and Ed Crisford before staying permanently in Australia with Anthony and Sam Freedman, was bred by Dubawi's owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum. His dam Khor Sheed was bought for the sheikh as a yearling for 42,000gns by Luca Cumani. The half-sister to the Group 1 winner Prince Kirk (Fr) (Selkirk) had already passed through the Tattersalls sale ring as a foal, where she was signed for by Joe Foley at 22,000gns.

Khor Sheed, later trained by Cumani, won the Listed Empress S. at Newmarket on only her second start at two, and the following year claimed another Listed win as well as the G3 Premio Sergio Cumani, named in honour of the trainer's father. She has produced four winners to date, Without A Fight being way out in front on the list with an impressive 11 wins from his 23 starts. He became only the twelfth horse to win both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, and he has won a further two group races in Australia this year, as well as the G3 John Smith's Silver Cup and two Listed contests in England.

The December before Without A Fight made his debut, Khor Sheed returned to Tattersalls and was bought from Godolphin by Harry Dutfield for 26,000gns.  The Havana Gold foal she was carrying was born dead and she produced two subsequent fillies for Dutfield before being returned barren to the Tattersalls February Sale this year. By this stage, Without A Fight was a Group 3 winner and the mare's first foal, the unraced Sharja Spirit (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), had produced the Grade II winner Avenue De France (GB) (Cityscape {GB}).

Mick Donohoe signed for Khor Sheed on her fourth visit to the sale ring, buying the 15-year-old on behalf of Yulong for 28,000gns.

“She is in foal to Lucky Vega so that was a nice little update,” Donohoe confirmed. “She's a stakes-winning Dubawi mare and she had bred a stakes winner, and one of her daughters had bred a stakes winner, too.”

He added, “Harry Dutfield was very forthcoming with a genuine reason why she was barren, so she just made sense, and obviously the Teofilo horse was a good horse anyway, so it all worked out.”

On Wednesday, it was announced that Subjectivist, the aforementioned Royal Ascot winner, who also won the G1 Prix Royal Oak and G2 Dubai Gold Cup along with the most coveted staying prize of them all, would be standing at Alne Park Stud next year.  Havana Gold sadly died earlier this year, leaving only Massaat (Ire) and Parish Hall (Ire) of Teofilo's sons at stud, through it is easy to imagine the line continuing, at least in the immediate future, through his grandson Havana Grey.

As for Teofilo himself, he is reported to be in rude health ahead of his 17th covering season at Darley's Kildangan Stud, where his fee remains at €30,000. Unlike some, it hasn't fluctuated that much over the years. He started out at €40,000 and dipped to €15,000 in 'that difficult fourth season' that so frustrates stallion owners, and reached a high point of €50,000 in 2014.

Understandably, Kildangan's nominations manager Eamon Moloney is a big fan of Teofilo, having worked with him for years. He told TDN, “He's the most extraordinary horse and I just wish he got the credit he deserves.

“We make no secret of the fact that his fertility has slipped slightly through the years as he's got older, so he's been covering 80 mares per year and at that we can keep his fertility to a very high level.

“He's a very important member of Kildangan. Once Teo has started then the lads can start up the rest of the day. He's a big, substantial horse and he charges out to his paddock. He's a tough sort of a horse, but there's a gentle giant behind it.”

Moloney added, “He's in great health at 19, rising 20, and he very much has pride of place here.”


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