The Next Generation Of Darley Sires


Too Darn Hot | Darley


For any breeder of Thoroughbreds, the opportunity to watch one's carefully cultivated lines thrive across generations must be one of the greatest rewards that can be derived. The team at Darley can take pride, then, in fact that it has three Group 1-winning stallions by its own sires with their first crops to sell at the upcoming foals sales.

Masar (Ire) will be remembered as a true game-changer for Godolphin on the racecourse. By emulating his sire New Approach (Ire) in winning the G1 Derby, Masar became the first blue riband winner to wear the Godolphin silks. Sheikh Mohammed purchased New Approach from Jim Bolger after he had won the G1 National S. and G1 Dewhurst S., and New Approach raced in the colours of Princess Haya. Bred by Godolphin, Masar is from New Approach's seventh crop, and he is out of the dual UAE Classic winner Khawlah (Ire), who is out of Villarrica (Selkirk), a granddaughter of Urban Sea purchased by Sheikh Maktoum from the Tsui family. Khawlah is a daughter of Sheikh Mohammed's homebred stallion Cape Cross (Ire), who stood at Kildangan Stud his entire career.

Godolphin purchased Blue Point (Ire) for 200,000gns at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2015. The three-time Royal Ascot Group 1-winning sprinter is by Shamardal, the breed-shaping sire that Sheikh Maktoum purchased from Tattersalls as a yearling for 50,000gns in 2003. With the exception of one season at Dalham Hall, Shamardal likewise stood his entire career at Kildangan until his death last year.

Too Darn Hot (GB) is a champion 2- and 3-year-old bred by the Lloyd-Webbers' Watership Down Stud. He is by Sheikh Mohammed's second-generation stallion Dubawi (Ire) who, bar one season, has stood his entire stud career at Dalham Hall Stud. Dubawi will stand for the sixth consecutive year at £250,000 in 2022, and will be the most expensive sire in the world. Too Darn Hot is out of the three-time Group 1-winning Dar Re Mi (GB), who is by Singspiel, another of Sheikh Mohammed's influential homebred sires who stood at Dalham Hall until his death in 2010.

Masar and Too Darn Hot are preparing to stand their third seasons at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, while Blue Point holds court at Kildangan Stud in Kildare.

Masar is about as blueblooded as they come, being inbred 3×4 to Urban Sea, and he offers breeders a highly progressive profile, being an early, Group 3-winning 2-year-old who trained to win the Derby and finish third in the G1 2000 Guineas. He was full in year one with 146 mares bred at a fee of £15,000, and covered 99 this year for £14,000.

“I think we pitched him at a good fee; he [has been] competitively priced,” said Dalham Hall nominations team member David Appleton. “We've been really happy with Masar's foals. There are some that look precocious and early and others that will need a bit of time and will be yearling prospects. They're generally nice horses with enough bone, a bit of quality about them, much like him. He tends to stamp them in terms of his colour and his make and shape, so it's exciting.”

Liam O'Rourke, Darley's director of studs, stallions and breeding based in the UK, was particularly enthusiastic about a handful of Godolphin's homebred Masars at Dalham Hall.

“We have a very nice filly out of a mare called Golden Globe,” he said. “She has a lot of quality. She's maybe not quite as big as the others but she has loads of size nonetheless, and presence. She's a very correct walker and looks like she's going to be a really nice yearling.”

Golden Globe (Jpn) is by Shamardal, as is Kazziana (GB), the dam of another standout Masar filly.

“We have another excellent filly out of Kazziana,” O'Rourke said. “She's an exceptionally good-looking foal. She's very strong and the point I'd make about her is that she exemplifies what Masar seems to be doing with his foals, which is putting a lot more substance into them than we may have expected. She has very good bone on her.”

“We have a colt out of Lady Marian (Ger) who is very well related,” O'Rourke added. “Her best foal is Loxley, who is by New Approach, and she is a Nayef mare. He is a really high-quality foal, very correct and very refined with tons of quality. He's been really nice from the time he was born and has developed through those summer stages into a lovely weanling at present. I think he'll be a really lovely yearling too.

“Beneath that we have some others that are improving all the time, and they'll probably be better yearlings than they are foals, which is an exciting thing to be able to say because often times if a foal is really nice initially it can often be plain as a yearling. Masar was a slow burner himself and I think he'll imprint that on his foals; they'll become really good-looking yearlings. The signs are very good.”

Appleton said Masar has myriad qualities that should stand his foals in good stead.

“Masar had speed, which every good horse needs,” he noted. “You speak to the likes of John Gosden and he'll tell you even horses that stay a trip have to have speed. He had that in abundance. He also has an incredible temperament. He's a very nice horse to be around. He's a very relaxed horse and that comes through the pedigree. He's by New Approach out of a Cape Cross mare. The temperament, the precocity and speed–he has everything you'd want.”

Masar will once again stand for £14,000 in 2022. His Dalham Hall studmate Too Darn Hot likewise remains unchanged at £45,000, down slightly from the £50,000 he commanded in his debut season. The champion 2- and 3-year-old of his generation thanks to victories in the G1 Dewhurst S., G1 Prix Jean Prat and G1 Sussex S., Too Darn Hot covered 172 mares in his debut season, and this year covered the best book of mares ever served by a European sire in his second season at stud bar Frankel (GB).

“Too Darn Hot has been incredibly well received for the two seasons we've had him,” said Dawn Laidlaw, Darley's head of nominations in the UK. “I could run through a list of the who's who of European breeders that have all used him, as well as our partners Watership Down and our own mares. He has covered mares from all the top breeders in Europe.”

“Right from the get-go with the first foals, the reports were really positive,” Laidlaw added. “We've been out looking at them and I can honestly say I've consistently seen some of the nicest foals by any of our stallions ever. They have a lot of Dubawi about them in the fact that they can be quite compact, but they probably have a bit more of that Singspiel quality and a bit of Too Darn Hot's own quality. When you have all the top breeders telling you they have nice foals at home, it's really positive and that certainly helped him with his second book. A lot of the breeders came back and will also be using him again next year.”

Too Darn Hot's momentum will also be aided by Dubawi's continued ascent as a sire of sires, with Time Test (GB) and Zarak (Fr) getting off to strong starts this season to join the likes of Night Of Thunder and New Bay as exciting young sons of Dubawi to watch.

Of Too Darn Hot, Laidlaw added, “he has a lot of quality, and he's the most athletic horse. He's a great walker and very agile. He probably has more quality than some of Dubawi's other sons, but Dubawi's sons are now doing exceptionally well-you have the likes of Night Of Thunder, and Time Test has made a great start this year with his first runners. Hopefully Too Darn Hot will follow in their footsteps. He has great potential.”

Darley Ireland Nominations Manager Eamon Moloney said star sprinter Blue Point was “heavily oversubscribed” in his first season, covering 180 mares.

“He has a huge level of fertility and covered some very nice mares,” he said. “I suppose the standout mare that comes to mind is the dam of Palace Pier, who has a fantastic-looking colt on the ground. There are 17 Blue Points coming to [Tattersalls December] and the pedigrees are strong. People stepped up and sent him a really nice, high-quality mare.”

Moloney said Blue Point was equally popular with breeders in year two, when he covered a similar number at €40,000, down from €45,000 in 2020. He remains at €40,000 for 2022.

“He's in a very healthy position, so it's all about the foals now,” Moloney said. “We've seen foals that have the kind of Shamardal qualities that we're used to seeing at Kildangan; people will describe a Shamardal head and they do have a bit of that. But what they have is the great shoulder and hip that Shamardal had, and a great movement.”

Moloney admitted to a bit of friendly competition between Teams Kildangan and Dalham.

“In the early part of February and March we were looking at the Too Darn Hots and were kind of looking on a bit jealous,” Moloney said. “These Too Darn Hots were amazing-looking, but the Blue Point foals have started to catch up. They're on a constant improve. We always think our Shamardals constantly improve throughout their foal and yearling year and we're finding that with Blue Point as well. So it's nice to see those similarities coming through.”

After Blue Point beat Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) to win the G1 King's Stand S. at four, the Darley team resisted the temptation to ship him off to stud and, on the recommendation of Charlie Appleby, kept him in training at five. That paid dividends, with Blue Point winning all five starts that season including a repeat in the King's Stand before adding the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. four days later to become the only horse to win three Group 1 sprints at the Royal meeting. That achievement, combined with the fact that he won the G2 Gimcrack S. at two, is a reflection on his toughness and constitution.

Blue Point stands alongside another young Group 1-winning son of Shamardal, Earthlight (Ire), at Kildangan, and another, Pinatubo (Ire), was foaled at Kildangan before going on to be champion 2-year-old and entering stud at Dalham Hall. The pride in Moloney's voice when topic of Shamardal and his sons is broached is palpable.

“It's fantastic to have a son of Shamardal in Kildangan,” he said. “It's building a legacy, and that's what it's about. Shamardal was so good for Kildangan for so many years, and when Blue Point came along it was just the satisfaction of so much hard work that had gone into developing the lines and breeding horses like that. Blue Point was bought, but he was very well bought and he was bred by a very good Irish farm [Oak Lodge Stud] and it was a fantastic effort by them. For us, having Shamardals, that's what we want. We want to bring the lines through. For Pinatubo and Earthlight to follow so quickly behind [Blue Point] is just fantastic as well.”

Masar, Too Darn Hot and Blue Point all have first-crop foals on offer at the upcoming Goffs November and Tattersalls December foal sales.

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