YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD STALLION DOWN
Taken from the Thoroughbred Daily News, 7th August 2018
TDN Pedigree Analyst Andrew Caulfield delves into the resurgence of OASIS DREAM.
How many times after a big race have we been reminded by a disappointed trainer that "horses are not machines"? The same applies to stallions. No matter how successful a stallion has been, we must accept that there is no guarantee that each of his crops will produce a similar quota of top performers. Even in the days when the superstar stallions achieved at least 15% black-type winners, these normally highly consistent horses occasionally suffered a below-par year. For example Danzig - a horse with 18% black-type winners - sired three Group 1 winners in each of his first three crops, but his fourth contained just one Group 2 winner and one Group 3. And Nureyev - who achieved a magnificent 17% - had a blip with his 1995 crop, which produced nothing better than a couple of Group 3 winners. Last week's Group 1 action in Europe saw winners by two sires whose lengthy careers have inevitably featured the occasional lapse.
Coincidentally, both these sires at one time ranked as the highest-priced stallion in Britain. Clearly demand has fallen,even though Oasis Dream, at 18, has been represented by 16 Group 1 winners. Part of the problem for any high-priced stallion is that sooner or later he will face competition from the sons which helped set his fee soaring. He will also face the boredom factor, where the breeders' wandering eyes turn to younger often cheaper alternatives, whose racecourse exploits are fresher in the mind.Oasis Dream, for example, is in competition at Banstead Manor with Kingman, a horse from the same sire line as Oasis Dream, and who is out of a Classic-winning half-sister to Oasis Dream. Pivotal's fee went from £85,000 in 2008 to £45,000 four years later (Lightning Spear was conceived as a fee of £65,000 in 2010). The reduction in Oasis Dream's fee has been even more dramatic, from £85,000 in 2014 to £30,000 four years later. Oasis Dream was popular at his reduced fee, covering more than 120 mares. The latest reduction, from £50,000 in 2017, reflected a disappointing 2017 season on the home front, where Mystic Dream was his only group scorer (there were other group winners in the UAE, Italy, where Folega won the Gr.2 Oaks d'Italia,and France, where Polydream displayed her potential with her defeat of Laurens in the Gr.3 Prix du Calvados and her second to Wild Illusion in the Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac).
But you can't keep a good stallion down. In addition to Polydream, who reminds her trainer Freddy Head of the outstanding Moonlight Cloud, Oasis Dream is responsible for 11 two-year-old winners from 19 runners in Britain and Ireland. Three have already earned black-type, notably Pretty Pollyanna, who is the highest-ranked two-year-old filly following her clear-cut triumph in the Gr.2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.There could easily be more black-type performers among the recent juvenile winners by Oasis Dream, which include the winning Ascot newcomers Production and Ceratonia, as well as those progressive youngsters Zander and Swiss Air. Ceratonia is a half-sister to last week's Gr.1 Nassau Stakes winner Wild Illusion.
Oasis Dream, of course, was a champion two-year-old, a winner of the Gr.1 Middle Park Stakes, who developed into a champion sprinter with victories in the Gr.1 July Cup and the Gr.1 Nunthorpe. He clearly inherited a lot of his speed from his sire Green Desert and grandsire Danzig rather than from the bottom half of his pedigree, which features three exceptional mile-and-a-half winners as the sires of Oasis Dream's first three dams. I've heard it said that the worst thing to happen to Oasis Dream as a stallion was the emergence in his second crop of that magnificent filly Midday. A close second to Pivotal's daughter Sariska in the 2009 Gr.1 Oaks, Midday went on to win three editions of the Gr.1 Nassau Stakes, as well as the Gr.1 Yorkshire Oaks, Gr.1 Prix Vermeille and Gr.1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Midday's dam Midsummer won over 11 furlongs and this encouraged the belief that Oasis Dream was an ideal medium for trying to inject speed into middle-distance mares. This type of strategy has enjoyed some success with such as Lady Jane Digby, Sri Putra, Opinion (a Group 1 winner over a mile and a half in Australia), Querari, Folega, Free Port Lux and Hard Dream. The dams of this collection included daughters of such noted stamina influences as Niniski, In The Wings, Sadler's Wells, Acatenango, Monsun and Galileo. However, Oasis Dream's overall record suggests that he is best suited by mares with speed in their background - hence the saying that Midday was the worst thing to happen to him.
He has sired winners of the Gr.1 King's Stand Stakes (twice), Gr.1 Commonwealth Cup, Gr.1 July Cup, Nunthorpe Stakes, Gr.1 British Champions Sprint Stakes, the Gr.1 Golden Shaheen and Gr.1 Prix del'Abbaye de Longchamp.
Polydream follows Muhaarar as his second winner of the Prix Maurice de Gheest. Oasis Dream's juveniles have also collected the Gr.2 Coventry Stakes,Gr.2 Norfolk Stakes, July Stakes, Gr.2 Cherry Hinton Stakes (now the Duchess of Cambridge), Gr.1 Prix Morny, Gr.2 Gimcrack Stakes (three times), Middle Park Stakes, Gr.1 National Stakes and the Gr.1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. It is worth mentioning that Pretty Pollyanna's first two dams are daughters of the unbeaten two-year-old champions Shamardal and Zafonic.
Polydream arguably stays a bit better than Oasis Dream, who disappointed when tried in the Gr.1 Breeders' Cup Mile. Her dam Polygreen was yet another talented homebred for the Wertheimer brothers. She won the Listed Prix d'Angerville over a mile before finishing seventh to Oasis Dream's half-sister Zenda in the Gr.1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. Transferred to California, she added further successes over 6 and a half furlongs and a mile. Polygreen's best previous winner was the smart Red Ransom filly Evaporation, who did well at around a mile. Polygreen's dam Yxenery was a listed winner over a mile at two and three for the Wertheimer brothers and the next dam, Polyxena, enjoyed listed success over a mile and a mile and a quarter. The exciting possibility therefore exists that Polydream - like Moonlight Cloud - could be campaigned very successfully from 6 furlongs to a mile over the next few years.
Date: 07 August 2018