Thursday, May 19, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: Sirelines in the 2016 Irish 2,000 Guineas

Northern Dancer. Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
When Northern Dancer won two legs of the U.S. Triple Crown 52 years ago, it was obvious that the little bay horse was something special but it took years to realize just how special he was. Today, Northern Dancer is found in pedigrees around the world with his influence on full display in this weekend’s Irish 2,000 Guineas where every horse entered comes from his sireline.

Overall, of the 13 sires and broodmare sires in the 2,000 Guineas as of Thursday, 10 of them can trace their male line directly to Northern Dancer.

Northern Dancer can thank his son Sadler’s Wells with a large assist from grandson Galileo for a lot of the representation in this race. Galileo has the distinction of having runners in the Irish 2,000 Guineas as both a sire and as a broodmare sire with one other runner by one of his sons giving him a total of four runners in this race as a sire, broodmare sire or grandsire. Galileo has absolutely dominated the European Guineas races so far this year with his daughters producing the British 2,000 Guineas and French 1,000 Guineas winners, his son winning the British 2,000 Guineas and three of his daughters filling the trifecta in the British 1,000 Guineas. With four runners as a sire and one other as a broodmare sire running in the Irish 1,000 Guineas as of Wednesday night, he looks to complete another double this weekend.

Galileo. Coolmore photo.
Galileo’s sire Sadler’s Wells is continues to prove that Galileo isn’t his only high class son, with a runner out of a Montjeu mare also participating in this edition of the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Like many races in Europe, Coolmore’s sires are well represented here. In addition to the aforementioned Sadler’s Wells and his sons, another runner is by a Coolmore stallion in Fastnet Rock. Coolmore's U.S.-based European Horse of the Year Giant’s Causeway isn't the sire of broodmare sire of any horse in this race but he is the sire of Shamardal, who is the broodmare sire of one runner and whose son Lope de Vega also has a runner in the race.

Darley also plays a big part in the pedigrees seen in this race with the aforementioned Shamardal standing for the operation. They also stand the evergreen sire Cape Cross, who was pensioned from breeding duties this year but has a son looking to give him another classic success here. Cape Cross’ latest big runner was last year’s European Horse of the Year Golden Horn but the stallion is also the sire of 2009 European Horse of the Year Sea the Stars and U.S. champion Ouija Board.

Golden Horn
Darley stands multiple Galileo sons and that approach has been well rewarded this year with the 12-year-old Teofilo looking for his fourth Irish classic victory as a sire with Sanus Per Aquam

Kentucky stallion War Front, who has etched his place as a top European sire, is again the only stallion who is represented by two runners in this race after holding that distinction in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas three weeks ago. His champion son Air Force Blue looks to rebound from a disappointing showing in that race while Air Vice Marshal looks to improve off a fourth place finish in the same race.

U.S. breeders will recognize many of the broodmare sires in the entries with two of the runners out of U.S.-based stallions' daughters. Two-time Kentucky Derby winner-producing sire Maria’s Mon is the broodmare sire of U.S.-bred Air Force Blue while Arch takes credit for being the broodmare sire of Air Vice Marshal.

Fourteen stallions have sired Irish 1,000 Guineas winners since 1999 with Galileo (three winners) holding the distinction as the only stallion to produce more than one Irish 2,000 Guineas winner in the 21st century. He looks to join Danehill and Storm Cat as sires who have been both the sire and broodmare sire of Irish 2,000 Guineas winners in this era.

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