A PHENOMENAL ACHIEVEMENT
Article by Tony Morris
Tony Morris will contribute monthly features to www.juddmonte.com. If you have a query relating to historic events, horses or racing personalities, or want his view on any aspect of Flat racing and breeding, past or present (with the exception of advice on matings), write to email@example.com with your request.
The usual focus of this monthly feature is to
highlight a subject chosen by you, the visitors to this website, but this one represents
an exception to the rule. I make no
apology for paying tribute to the home
team, which at the end of May celebrated the phenomenal achievement of having
bred its 100th Group 1/Grade 1 winner.
And no, I
don’t mean that when Noble Mission notched his victory in the Tattersalls Gold
Cup on the Curragh he was recording the 100th top-level success for a
Juddmonte-bred. The century he brought
up, much more remarkably, was for individual winners. The number of victories in that elite
category is actually far higher, and if the calculations of one who got seven
per cent in ‘O’ Level Maths in 1958 – and still struggles with figures – are to
be credited, the tally stands at 182. My
best guess for when Juddmonte’s double century of wins will be chalked up would
be 2018, but it might well come sooner, such is the regularity with which star
performers have been coming along.
I, or anyone else, envisage what would follow when I sat in the press box at
Keeneland in July 1978 and watched Humphrey Cottrill sign the docket for a $225,000
In Reality yearling who would go into training at Beckhampton with Jeremy Tree
under the name of Known Fact. It was the
start of a venture that has delivered world-wide success at an unprecedented
level, consistently dominating its competitors.
Who is to compare? Yes, the Aga
Khan has bred winners of more than 100 Group 1/Grade 1 races, but he had a
25-year-old headstart over Khalid Abdullah and he remains some way short of a
century of individual winners in that bracket.
months after the purchase of Known Fact that colt became a Group 1 winner in
the Middle Park Stakes, and it was he who recorded the first classic triumph in
the green, white and pink in the 2000 Guineas of 1980, benefiting from the
disqualification of Nureyev. He was also
to record a notable victory over the tip-top miler Kris in the Queen Elizabeth
II Stakes, which then carried only Group 2 status.
yearling purchase, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky graduate Dancing Brave, had
come and gone, having created a tremendous impression as winner of the 2000
Guineas, Eclipse, King George and Arc, before his owner began to make his mark
as a breeder. Fittingly, it was Known
Fact who was responsible for the first to collect at the top level, when
Warning, his son out of Oaks runner-up Slightly Dangerous, won the 1988 Sussex
Stakes at Goodwood, and the same colt notched again later, lowering the colours
of Salse in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, by then elevated to
Group 1 status.
crop included Danehill, who won the Haydock Sprint Cup and went on to become a
multiple champion sire for Coolmore, and in the following year the operation
gave notice of its growing impact with the production of four colts and a filly
who were all to succeed at the highest level.
Roger Charlton, Jeremy Tree’s successor at Beckhampton, registered a
wonderful Derby double, with Quest For Fame at Epsom and Sanglamore at
Chantilly, while Houseproud picked up another French classic for André Fabre in
the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
Juddmonte was already flying.
English classic, the St Leger, was secured through Toulon, the pick of the 1988
crop, and 1989 saw the births of three fillies who were to earn renown –
Dancing Brave’s sister Jolypha in the Prix de Diane and Vermeille, All At Sea
in the Prix du Moulin, and Toussaud in the Gamely Handicap in California.
foaled in 1990 proved exceptional, with no fewer than nine registering
successes in the top bracket. There was
a second home-bred Derby success with Commander in Chief, who promptly added
the Irish Derby to initiate a Curragh classic double completed by Wemyss Bight in
the Oaks. The star of the juvenile set
was Zafonic, a triple Group 1 scorer in Britain and France who went on to excel again at
three with an outstanding performance in the 2000 Guineas.
and Wandesta were both three-time winners from the 1991 crop, the former in
Europe, the latter in the States, but a quieter period followed, just two
notching in America among the foals of 1992, while the next year’s team drew a
blank. Any idea that the operation might
now be on the wane was soon scotched.
Three top-class fillies emerged from the 1994 group, including Reams of
Verse, whose Oaks victory provided the first in an English distaff classic, and
another juvenile champion, Zafonic’s son Xaar, proved the headline act among
those foaled in 1995. Of the four to
score from the 1996 crop, three notched in the States, but the other was Wince,
whose victory in the 1000 Guineas meant that Juddmonte now had a full set of
home-bred English classic winners. There
was unquestionably one better than that quartet in Dansili, whose efforts at
the top level included three seconds, three thirds and a fourth, but his
ill-luck has been overturned at stud, where he has become a prolific sire of
Group 1 celebrities.
Of the six
to score at the elite level from the 1997 crop, the pick in America was
probably Aptitude, by virtue of his successes in the Hollywood Gold Cup and
Jockey Club Gold Cup, while the home team was headed by Observatory, who
famously halted Giant’s Causeway’s triumphant skein in the Queen Elizabeth II
Stakes. The second foal of that
wonderful matron Hasili was Banks Hill, foaled in 1998, and far from suffering
the frustrations of her brother Dansili, she excelled in the highest bracket,
collecting wins in three countries, the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, the
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Belmont Park, and the Prix Jacques le
Marois at Deauville. Her contemporary
MIZZEN MAST, whose biggest win came in the Malibu Stakes, has thrived as a
sire for Juddmonte at his base in Kentucky.
the successful half-dozen from the 1999 crop were fillies, Heat Haze (by Green
Desert out of Hasili) and Sightseek collecting nine wins between
them to make Juddmonte dominant among the older distaff ranks in the States,
while in Europe the star was Zenda, heroine of a Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. Hasili figured among the successful mares
again with her 2000 Danehill product Intercontinental, winner of a Matriarch
Stakes and a Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but there were three classic
scorers in that crop – Nebraska Tornado in the Prix de Diane, Empire Maker in
the Belmont Stakes, and Brian Boru in our own St Leger. In addition, there was crack sprinter OASIS DREAM, hero of a July Cup and a Nunthorpe, and now a flagship sire at Banstead
Manor, renowned for much more than mere sprinters.
Post, leader of the 2001 generation, added to the tally of classic victories
with his win in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, and there was a narrow miss in
the St Leger by Quiff, who had preceded her trip to Doncaster with a success in
the Yorkshire Oaks. A lull followed when
none of the 2002 crop rose to the top, but among the 2003 foals was RAIL LINK,
who brought the big breakthrough for DANSILI as a sire with his triumph in the
Arc. His contemporary Price Tag briefly
seemed to have ensured that months earlier, only to be disqualified after
finishing first in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, but by the end of her
three-year-old campaign she was a legimitate Grade 1 winner, successful in the
had two more of the leaders in the 2004 crop, Passage of Time landing the
Critérium de Saint-Cloud, and Zambezi Sun emulating RAIL LINK in the
Juddmonte-sponsored Grand Prix de Paris, and among his foals of 2005 was
Proviso, a four-time Grade 1 winner as a five-year-old in the States. Not to be outdone, that mare’s contemporary,
Observatory’s son Twice Over, also hit the target four times, with an Eclipse
and a Juddmonte International alongside two scores in the Champion Stakes.
public favourite emerged from the 2006 crop in OASIS DREAM's daughter Midday,
who failed by a head to cope with Sariska in the Oaks, but went on to collect
six times at the top level, adding the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf,
Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille to an unprecedented triple in the Nassau
Stakes. The best of her sex from the
following generation finished first only once in Group 1 company, taking the
Cheveley Park Stakes, but her score was trebled and a classic double secured
when Special Duty was awarded the 1000 Guineas and the Poule d’Essai des
Pouliches by the stewards at Newmarket and Longchamp respectively. Prestige victories came more conventionally
for her contemporary Workforce, hero of a Derby run in record time before
notching a first success in the Arc for Sir Michael Stoute after several
been stars a-plenty before, but in 2008 came the megastar – the magnificent, unbeaten,
unbeatable FRANKEL. In a career
master-minded by the incomparable and much lamented Sir Henry Cecil, he was a
champion for three consecutive seasons, won fourteen times, at the top level in
ten of them. He earned so many
accolades, not least as the highest-rated horse in Timeform’s history, while
adding another certainty to the long-cited duo of death and taxes; we will
never see one better.
FRANKEL thrived at two, three and four, his year-younger brother Noble Mission
has waited until five to achieve peak performance, aided by a change in
tactics. There may yet be more to come
from him, perhaps a Group 1 in England, where his generation has so far missed
out. DANSILI came to the fore again as
sire of two of the stars from the 2010 crop, Flintshire taking the honours in
the Grand Prix de Paris, Winsili exceeding expectations to capture the Nassau
Stakes and earn a date with FRANKEL in her first season as a broodmare.
unlikely event that you have failed to notice, the generation foaled in 2011
has uncovered the best since FRANKEL in Kingman, an undoubted star among the
three-year-olds after his victories in the Irish 2000 Guineas and St James’s
Palace Stakes, and surely destined to confirm his class in open-age contests in
the months to come. In common with so
many of Juddmonte’s stars over a long period, he exemplifies the continuity of
quality in the operation’s families, being a son of Zenda, herself a mile classic
heroine in her racing days.
Tony Morris has been writing about racing and breeding for over 50 years, contributing to numerous publications at home and abroad. He is the author or co-author of several books, was named Racing Journalist of the Year in 1990, and in 2010 received the TBA's highest award, the Devonshire Bronze, for his 'outstanding contribution to the British breeding industry. He has travelled widely, attending race meetings and bloodstock sales in various countries, and has been privileged to see many of the best horses and meet many of the most prominent personalities in the industry over the last half-century.
Date: 3 July 2014