In the race to land this year's Leading First Season Sire title in Britain and Ireland, the quartet of stallions at the top of the table has seen some expected names come to the fore, though there's also a surprise amongst them.
The very smart and quite lightly-raced Due Diligence (2011, War Front - Bema by Pulpit) won three sprints at two and three years in the US and Ireland and was runner-up to Slade Power in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ascot. From eighteen European first-crop winners to date (through November 17th, 2019), his best runners are the useful sprinters Streamline (Sirenia Stakes), Good Vibes (Cornwallis Stakes) and Irish six-furlong listed winner Sir Boris, who finished a creditable third in the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte in October. Due Diligence ranks fourth on the First Season British/Irish Sires list, amassing total prize money of £333,152. He holds fourth on the French First Season Sires table and is sixth on overall European earnings with €420,150 in total prize money. Early indications suggest that he nicks well with mares from the bloodlines of Danehill, Indian Ridge and Sadler’s Wells, producing three winners from each line to date. Due Diligence stands at Whitsbury Manor Stud in Hampshire for £8,500 in 2020 (£4,000 in 2019).
GOOD VIBES (GB) wins the Gr.3 Cornwallis Stakes at @NewmarketRace.— GBRI (@GBRI_UK) 11 October 2019
Bred by @WhitsburyManor he becomes the second Group winner for first season sire DUE DILIGENCE who stands at Whitsbury Stud. Due Diligence is now the leading first crop sire by number of stakes winners. pic.twitter.com/vDdDKnu1Sc
Given his breeding and smart form over seven furlongs at two, the high-class dual 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles (2012, Galileo -You'resothrilling by Storm Cat) has not surprisingly got off to a fine start with his first crop. His current twenty-four European winners have won thirty races (twenty-one in Britain/Ireland). Seven of his two-year-olds are already classed as at least useful by Timeform, including his highest earner, the Royal Lodge Stakes winner Royal Dornoch (£105,791). He is also responsible for smart sprinter Royal Lytham (July Stakes), listed five-furlong winner Southern Hills, Chesham Stakes third Highland Chief and Precious Moments, who ran a close second in the six-furlong Airlie Stud Stakes at the Curragh in June before breaking her duck there in October. With many of his two-year-olds in the hands of top trainers, among them Aidan O’Brien, Gleneagles’ sons and daughters look set to enjoy plenty of opportunities. He currently ranks in third place both on the First Season British/Irish Sires list, with £441,901 in earnings, and on European prize money, with €636,293. Gleneagles appears to nick particularly well with mares from the bloodline of Danehill and his sons, yielding seven winners to date. Gleneagles stands at Coolmore Stud in Ireland for €35,000 in 2020 (€30,000 in 2019).
👑Son of Gleneagles Royal Dornoch gets the better of Kameko to land the G2 Royal Lodge Stakes for Aidan O'Brien— Sporting Life (@SportingLife) 28 September 2019
7⃣ It's the Ballydoyle trainer's seventh success in the race
🏇Royal Dornoch is 33/1 for the Derby following the Newmarket successpic.twitter.com/m8k2fJMF2s
Night of Thunder (2011, Dubawi - Forest Storm by Galileo), pictured above winning the 2000 Guineas, is another unsurprising high-ranker on the new sires list. Well bred and very smart, he won at six furlongs to a mile (he won the Lockinge Stakes on his sole start at four, as well as the Guineas). Ranking second on the British/Irish First Crop Sires List by prize money with £482,636, he is in third on the French equivalent list and currently leads in European First Season Sire earnings with €1,004,981, some €250,000 ahead of his nearest rival. From his twenty-seven European winners, twenty-two have won in Britain/Ireland. Night of Thunder's nine at least useful runners include his leading earner Under The Stars (£138,712), winner of the Princess Margaret Stakes in the summer and more recently the Tattersalls October Auction Stakes at Newmarket, and the listed seven-furlong winners Molatham (smart) and Thunderous (unbeaten in three runs). Pocket Square won a mile maiden at Ascot before progressing to win the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs at Deauville over the same trip in October. Night of Thunder’s first crop has produced six and four winners respectively from the Danzig sirelines of Green Desert and Danehill. Previously at Dalham Hall Stud, Night of Thunder will stand at Kildangan Stud in Ireland for €25,000 in 2020 (£15,000 in 2019).
The valuable £150,000 @Tattersalls1766 October Auction Stakes is won by UNDER THE STARS, a daughter of high-flying NIGHT OF THUNDER (@DarleyStallions) whose first crop are operating at a staggering winners to runners rate of 65%.— GBRI (@GBRI_UK) 5 October 2019
The filly cost just 6,000gns buy from Book 3. pic.twitter.com/3EGuw5gPBD
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the domestic list is the current leader, Cable Bay (2011, Invincible Spirit - Rose de France by Diktat), his dam descending from the male line of Warning rather than the more commercially popular and prevalent Northern Dancer or Mr Prospector lines. Cable Bay was a smart and tough performer at two to four and had twenty starts (eighteen in stakes races), earning £325,037 in his racing career. His two major successes came in the John of Gaunt Stakes and the Challenge Stakes, both over seven furlongs, the latter his final outing. He also finished runner-up in the Dewhurst Stakes at two. Cable Bay tops the First Season British/Irish Sires list with £588,037 in total prizemoney, while he's second only to Night of Thunder on the European First Season Sire table with €756,567 in prizemoney, approximately €120,000 ahead of Gleneagles.
Cable Bay’s sixty-four European runners have produced twenty-five winners of thirty-eight races. Winning at between five and seven furlongs, twenty of his winners have been in Britain/Ireland, six are already classed as useful by Timeform and include Molecomb Stakes winner Liberty Beach (inbred to Warning), who closed her season with a gallant second to Living In The Past in the Lowther Stakes at York in August. His leading earner, King’s Lynn (£148,560) stepped up on his promising debut to land the valuable Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,00 2-Y-O Stakes at around six furlongs in September. Five-furlong winners Jouska and Separate (also a seven-furlong winner) were placed at Group 3 level and Ropey Guest was placed in four such contests, going down by half a length to Kenzai Warrior in the Horris Hill Stakes at Newmarket in the last of them. Three of Cable Bay's winners are out of daughters of Pivotal daughters (another is out of a granddaughter, with a further four winners from the Danehill sireline. Cable Bay stands at Highclere Stud in Berkshire for £15,000 in 2020 (£6,500 in 2019).
🌟 GROUP WINNER FOR First Crop Sire CABLE BAY (@JakeJWarren) 🌟— EBN (@bloodstocknews) 31 July 2019
2YO filly LIBERTY BEACH looked impressive when winning the Gr.3 Molecomb Stakes @Goodwood_Races for owner & breeder Philip Wilkins.
Congratulations to all connections #readallaboutit @tattsascot @MickleyStud pic.twitter.com/Ap2whHnDNQ