Maternal Instincts

Danehill has just clocked in for his second Australian Broodmare title.

Maternal Instincts

Danehill has just clocked in for his second Australian Broodmare title.

Photo by Bronwen Healy

That figure will multiply several more times before the story is over.

NATHAN EXELBY takes a closer look at the burgeoning record of Danehill as a broodmare sire and compares his current form to the more recent greats within the Broodmare Sire ranks.

Brilliant filly Unworldly will always have her place in Australian history as the brilliant – but ill-fated winner of the 2000 AJC Flight Stakes.

Sadly, she was never to race again after that day, but that single Group 1 win started what will no doubt become one of the greatest legacies in Australian – and indeed World – thoroughbred breeding.

Unworldly, a daughter of Quest For Fame from the unraced mare Spirit, became the first Group 1 winner from a Danehill mare in winning that 1600m race for three-year-old fillies almost seven years ago.

The Woodlands Stud filly heads up what is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing clubs in world racing.

The 'Danehill Mares Club' of Group 1 winners worldwide now tallies 16, with another four names added to the list from Australian racing alone in the past season.

Danehill has just wrapped up his second Australian Broodmare title, with earnings for the past season of $7.986million.

This included the Group 1 winners Tuesday Joy, Meurice Camarilla and Red Dazzler, along with six other stakes winners and 10 further runners that were stakes placed.

With Danehill exiting the seat of Australian Champion Sire in 2006, he has seamlessly slipped into the new role, continuing his championship winning trend.

It's hard to see the great Danzig stallion being dislodged from the broodmare title in the foreseeable future.

The Australian Stud Book lists no less than 420 daughters of Danehill on its books!

It is conceivable to think he will hold his position atop the broodmare table for the next decade ... and possibly beyond.

Despite Unworldly's win seven years ago, it has only been in the past couple of seasons that Danehill has become a true giant in the broodmare ranks.

He first slipped into the Top 20 in 2002-03, finishing in 18th place, with earnings of $2.4million and seven stakes winners.

The following year Danehill slipped to 25th position, but in 2004-05 the real giant emerged, as he surged to 5th position, with earnings of just under $5million.

For the past two seasons he has been on his own and his $1million winning margin in 2005-06 ballooned out to more than $2.3million in the season just completed.

In the past 12 seasons, only four horses have claimed the Australian broodmare title.

All of them were also multiple Champion General sires as well – Sir Tristram, Marscay and Bletchingly being the others.

Bletchingly, a three-time Champion Australian Sire, won his final broodmare title in 1999-2000.

Bletchingly's Group 1 total was added to last season when Undue won the Oakleigh Plate – his second win at racing's elite level.

His tally has now gone beyond the $80million mark, with the century of winners remaining a distinct possibility.

Bletchingly died in 1993, but his daughters' progeny are still winning races 14 years on.

The sire of the mighty Kingston Town finished only 23rd on the list this season, but was third last year, further underlining how the Danehill broodmare phenomenon is only just beginning.

Marscay, who like Bletchingly called Widden Stud home, has been the most successful broodmare sire of the past few years, with four titles between 1998-99 and 2004-05.

He is likely to surpass his former barnmate in terms of prizemoney in the near future, but has a way to go on the score of overall stakes winners, even though his G1 winners outnumber Bletchingly's.

Marscay has been remarkably consistent since his daughters first went to stud, and led by Haradasun, his daughters' progeny were again to the fore in 2006-07, winning $5.6million and putting him in the runner-up position behind Danehill.

Marscay's death came in 2000 – seven years after Bletchingly – and he still has numbers on side as his legacy continues to build.

While it is likely Danehill will overhaul both Bletchingly and Marscay within the next few seasons, it will be a few more years after that before he topples the stunning record of Sir Tristram.

A six times Champion Australian Sire, Sir Tristram's name appears on five of the past 12 Australian Broodmare titles.

For a long while, Sir Tristram was in battle with Sadler's Wells for the record number of Group 1 winners for a stallion.

Sadler's Wells eventually got the better of him, but Danehill has since overpowered both of them as his progeny plundered riches in both hemispheres.

At the current rate, it is inevitable that Danehill will one day overtake the former Cambridge Stud kingpin in broodmare success as well.

But Sir Patrick Hogan's favourite horse continues to add to his record.

He notched another Top 10 Australian finish last season, with six stakes winners and prizemoney of $3.9million, headed by the Spring Champion Stakes winner Teranaba.

Danehill is not yet quite halfway to Sir Tristram's prizemoney tally, his total stakes winners represent just over one third and his G1 winning tally is only 53%.

But weight of numbers – remembering he has 420 daughters at stud in Australia alone – will inevitably see him surpass the great New Zealander.

With this in mind, it is perhaps fitting that the chief contributor to Danehill's broodmare tally to this point in time is Sir Tristram's champion grandson, Vengeance Of Rain.

The Hong Kong based globetrotting son of Zabeel has won more than $A9million and is by far and away the single most important advertisement for Danehill mares to race thus far.

He is from the Blue Diamond winner Danelagh, who has also left the AJC Oaks winner Dizelle, winner of near enough to $1million.

This feat gives Zabeel the honour of being one of only three stallions to sire dual Group 1 winners from Danehill mares.

The others are More Than Ready (Benicio and Perfectly Ready) and Quest For Fame, who has since had Rosehill Guineas winner De Beers join the inaugural inductee, Unworldly.

To date, there has been no less than 42 different sires to have produced a stakes winner from a Danehill mare.

Fourteen of them are available to breeders in Australia and New Zealand in 2007.

As the search continues for that all important 'outcross' it seems Danehill himself will be the one telling us which is the right way to go.

Although at this rate, there's not too many crosses that are failing right now, with more than 630 individual winners already on the books.

It seems the same qualities that made him an immortal sire are well on the way to doing the same for his legacy as a broodmare sire.

But unlike the great deeds we witnessed in his career as a sire, which is now starting to wind down, this is a story that has only just begun.

DANEHILL - $65.5million earnings, 59 stakes winners, including 16 G1 winners:

Vengeance Of Rain, Barely A Moment, Dizelle, Nannina, Perfectly Ready, Red Dazzler, Sunday Joy, Teofilo, Saoire, Tuesday Joy, Meurice, Benicio, De Beers, Camarilla, Unworldly, Dane Julia

Season 2006-07 Stakes Winners (in Australia)

Tuesday Joy



Red Dazzler

Banc de Fortune


Perfectly Ready



New Spice

Stakes Placed

Just Momente, El Maze, Sir Lago, Hairy, Woodala, Al Be Nimble, Familial, Shining Light, Switchblade, Brazen Hussey


Sir Tristram - $137M earnings, 166 stakes winners, including 30 G1 winners:

Triscay, Saintly, Ethereal, Freemason, Viscount, Filante, Lotteria, Nothin' Leica Dane, Elevenses, Miss Margaret, Nimue, One Under, Foxwood, Midnight Fever, Vapour Trail, Bint Marscay, Guineas, Linesman, Mahtoum, Smiling Like, Danske, Gatherneaux, Sirstaci, Kenny's Best Pal, Happiness, Tapildo, Cherontessa, Teranaba, Timber Trader, Viking Ruler

Bletchingly - $80.3M earnings, 95 stakes winners, including 18 G1 winners:

Al Mansour, Saleous, Telesto, Undue, Charge Forward, Bonanova, Clay Hero, Stella Cadente, Kenwood Melody, Special Dane, El Mirada, Crawl, Fraternity, Shout From Maroof, Coogee Walk, Only A Lady, Portland Player, Z'Oro

Marscay - $78.5M earnings, 68 stakes winners, including 20 G1 winners:

Elvstroem, Eremein, Defier, Mr Murphy, Yippyio, Haradasun, Pantani, Bollinger, Camarena, La Baraka, Scenic Peak, Marstic, Catbird, Akhenaton, St Basil, Arkady, Barkada, Diamond Quest, Mr Celebrity, Lovelorn

Vain - $73.9M earnings, 96 stakes winners, including 14 G1 winners:

Joie de Grise, Bel Esprit, Chief de Beers, Golden Sword, Ike's Dream, Jetball, Kenvain, Arlington Road, Preserve, Centro, Keltrice, Ideal Planet, Vegas, Proprietor

Luskin Star - $53.8M earnings, 42 stakes winners, including 9 G1 winners:

Merlene, Dashing Eagle, Miss Pennymoney, Strategic, Nova Star, Paint, Stratum, French Resort, Minegold

Stallions to Sire Stakes Winners from Danehill Mares:

Zabeel (4), Quest For Fame (5), More Than Ready (2), Gilded Time, Medicean (2), Red Ransom, Sunday Silence (4), Galileo (2), Pivotal, Carnegie, Strategic, Elusive Quality, Caesour, Brief Truce, Zafonic, Snippets, Soviet Star (2), Fusaichi Pegasus, Brocco, Cape Cross (3), End Sweep (2), Falvelon, Mind Games, Kaapstad, Primo Dominie, Green Perfume, Unbridled's Song, Kingmambo, El Moxie, Dr Devious, Nashwan, Fuji Kiseki, Selkirk, Seeking The Gold, Giant's Causeway, Zeditave, Intidab, Thunder Gulch, Old Spice, Canny Lad, Distant Music, Singspiel.

Sires with Stakes Placed progeny:

Quest For Fame (3), Lomitas (2), Giant's Causeway, Black Minnaloushe, Fuji Kiseki (3), Carnegie, Generous, Fasliyev (2), Fusaichi Pegasus (4), Faltaat, Linamix, Stravinsky, Masterpiece, Lizard Island, Encosta De Lago (2), Al Akbar, Kyllachy, Ela-Mana-Mou, Acatenango, Marscay, Royal Applause, Rory's Jester (2), Umatilla, Sakura Bakushin O, Peintre Celebre, Brocco, Canny Lad (2), Tale Of The Cat, Unbridled's Song, Spectrum, Woodman, Fusaichi Concorde, Geiger Counter, Orpen, Irish River, Torrential, Lycius, Pivotal, Magic Albert, Kenvain, Mister Baileys, Ali-Royal, Highest Honor, Gone West, Blues Traveller, Star Way, Thunder Gulch, Hussonet, Fantastic Light, Twist And Turn

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