By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Friday 04 Aug 2017
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

It has been a while since Razeen, Placerville, Alnasr Alwasheek, Glory of Dancer, Steinbeck and Burden of Proof departed and we still looking for their successors. Multidimensional fairly fills one of the slots but all others are still vacant and so far we have not had a glimpse of a likely candidate. Eight new stallions started covering in 2014 and their foals born in 2015 will commence racing from November this year. All eyes will be on their progeny and how they fare. Is there one among them who can rise above the rest in a manner to suggest that he will be a boon to the Indian breeding industry ?

Brief sketches of the eight new stallions are being provided here. Four this time and the other four later. Strictly in alphabetic order. 

AIR SUPPORT[USA] (b 2008 Smart Strike - Gaze by Danzig)

Standing at Kunigal Stud, Kunigal, Karnataka

5 wins at 2 to 4 on turf in U.S.A. (1700 m. and 2000 m.). Best Racing Post Rating 116.

Other stallion son of Smart Strike in India: Sedgefield

Previous stallions at Kunigal Stud: Admiralofthefleet, Brave Act, Burden of Proof, Serious Spender, Adler, Tejano and Bold Russian.

Bred and owned by Mr. Stuart S. Janney III, Air Support was trained by Hall of Fame handler Claude R. "Shug" McGaughey. In 21 starts over four years, Air Support won five races and placed six times for career earnings of $ 937,619. He was group winner at 2, 3 and 4. He won the Virginia Derby, Gr.2 at 3 and the Bowling Green Stakes, Gr.2 at 4. He was also second to Turbo Compressor in the United Nations Stakes, Gr.1 at 4. Mr. Prospector's son Smart Strike won the Philip H. Iselin Handicap, Gr.1 at Monmouth Park apart from five other races around a mile. Retired to Lane's End in Kentucky, Smart Strike proved to be an extremely talented stallion and his fee shot up from the initial $ 30,000 to $ 150,000 at his peak. Twice the Champion Sire in North America, he sired more than 100 stakes winners and 12 Champions. When Gaze, the unraced dam of Air Support, visited his court in 2007, the Janneys had to pay $ 125,000. This branch of the Cherokee Rose family has been with the Janneys for some generations and perhaps the most notable horse bred by them from it is that wonderful filly Ruffian, a Champion Two Year-Old and a Champion Three Year-Old, who died so tragically. There are plenty of stallions in the immediate family like Coronado's Quest, Private Terms, Blue Ensign, Light Spirits, Dover Ridge, Icecapade and Buckfinder.

Air Support, though, is bred on the lines of the Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. Fusaichi Pegasus was by Mr. Prospector out of a Danzig mare with Bold Irish as his fifth dam. Air Support is by a son of Mr. Prospector out of a Danzig mare and Bold Irish is his fifth dam as well.

Air Support came to India in time for the 2014 breeding season and covered 63 mares from which he had 48 foals. He has 37 foals in his second crop. Kunigal Stud will find it heartening that Burden of Proof did well with mares by sons of Mr. Prospector. When Air Support covers Burden of Proof mares -- and there are plenty of them at Kunigal -- the reverse cross comes into play.

CRIMSON CHINA[USA] (b 2008 Giant's Causeway - Parisian Affair by Mr. Greeley)

Standing at Gee Stud, Jaipur, Rajasthan

3 wins at 2 and 3 in England and U.S.A. (1700 m. and 1800 m.). Best Racing Post Rating 106.

First son of Giant's Causeway to stand as a stallion in India.

Previous stallions at Gee Stud: Sharp Attack, Dancing Beggar and Hazim.

Crimson China was bred by Plantation Stud and Silver Springs Stud Farm. He came up for sale as a yearling at Keeneland in 2009 but was led out unsold when the final bid of $ 120,000 did not cross the reserve. He was later acquired Highbury Terraces Owners Club and sent to Brian Meehan at Manton to be trained. He ran just twice in England as a two year-old, both times on All Weather. He was beaten a short-head on his debut at Kempton and then won at Wolverhampton. Shortly afterwards, he passed into the ownership of Team Valor and was shipped across the big pond to be trained by H. Graham Motion at his Herringswell Stables in Maryland. He won his debut race at Gulfstream Park and was then placed second in Rushaway Stakes. At that stage he was being talked of as a possible Kentucky Derby candidate. A poor run in Blue Grass Stakes,Gr.1, however, put paid that ambition. Not that it made any difference to his trainer who won the Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom. Crimson China then won the Lamplighter Stakes. He was still highly regarded for all his remaining starts at 3 were in Group company. He failed to place in any of them including in Air Support's Virginia Derby, Gr.2. At 4, dropped to allowance races, he placed twice from five starts.

His sire, Giant's Causeway, known as the Iron Horse while in training with Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle, won nine races including five Gr.1 contests. Retired to Ashford Stud in Kentucky, Giant's Causeway immediately made his mark with horses like Ghanaati, Shamardal, My Typhoon, Eskenderya and others. Several of sons made it to the stallion ranks -- Shamardal,  Aragorn, Red Giant (sire of Tororosso in India),  First Samurai, Footstepsinthesand (sire of Maisha in India), Intense Focus (sire of Temerity in India),  Frost Giant, etc. Parisian Affair, the dam of Crimson China, is a black-type winner herself and a half-sister to Elusive City, a winner of the Prix Morny, Gr.1 and a sire at Haras d'Etreham in France. Their dam is a half-sister to Young Senor who was a prolific winner producer at A.B. Stud in India. Parisian Affair is a daughter of Mr. Greeley. Mr. Greeley's sons Rebuttal and Western Aristrocat, have done well in India.

There are 11 foals in the first crop of Crimson China and 15 in the second.

GUSTO[GB] (b 2009 Oasis Dream - Pickle by Piccolo)

Standing at Bishan Stud, Nakodar, Punjab

6 wins at 2 and 3 (1200 m. and 1400 m.). Best Racing Post Rating 112.

Other stallion son of Oasis Dream in India: Crown Jewels

Gusto is the first stallion to stand at Bishan Stud.

Gusto was a 120,000 euros yearling, purchased at Goffs by John Warren on behalf of Highclere Thoroughbreds. He raced for barely ten months when with trainer Richard Hannon, Sr. in Hampshire. He won just once in his first five starts and then reeled off five races in a row, four them Listed events including Prix Sigy at Maisons-Laffitte in France.  Three of his wins were on All Weather and three on turf. He won twice on good going and once on good to soft.

European Champion Two Year-Old Oasis Dream was a brilliant sprinter in Mr. Khalid Abdullah's colours. In his four wins you can find the Darley July Cup, Gr.1, Victor Chandler Nunthorpe Stakes, Gr.1 and Shadwell Stud Middle Park Stakes, Gr.1. He was retired to Banstead Manor Stud and started at a modest fee of GBP 25,000. After a somewhat slow beginning he came into his own, his fee shot up to GBP 85,000 as he produced horses like Midday, Muhaarar, Ertijaal, Main Aim, Muarrab, Growl, Tuscan Evening, Lady Jane Digby, etc. He is a versatile sire and some of his progeny stays much further than he himself did. Some of his sons have made it to the stallion ranks. Naaqoos, Querari, Power, Monitor Closely, Aqlaam, Frozen Power, Approve and others are today young stallions at stud.

Pickle, the dam of Gusto, won seven races including Wilshire Handicap, Gr.3 and Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap, Gr.3. The immediate family appears a bit thin on paper but this is the Polly Flinders branch of the great Pretty Polly family. Gusto is represented by 15 first crop foals and he has 19 foals in his second.

KNIGHT'S TOUR[AUS] (b 2008, Reset - Hestia by Machiavellian)

Standing at Sans Craintes Stud, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

3 wins at 3 from 4 starts in New Zealand (1400 m. and 1600 m.)

First son of Reset to stand as a stallion in India.

Previous stallions at Sans Craintes: Right Ahead, Fortune's Guest, Amber Flash, Grand Parade, Wassl Reef, Ajaad, McDuck, Groom Street, Mudeer, Vesuvius, Polar Falcon, Midtown, Lord Admiral, Lucifer Sam and Mathematician.

Sans Craintes Stud at Coimbatore is the southern most breeding establishment in India if one discounts Ms. Patricia Norrelli-Bachelet's boutique private breeding venture at Kodaikanal.  Sans Craintes also has the distinction of having stood the most number of stallions in the last three decades and is this year introducing two more.

Knight's Tour[AUS] was bred by Darley's Australian arm but did his racing in New Zealand. He is, perhaps, the first New Zealand raced horse to stand as a stallion in India. Darley sold Knight's Tour as a weanling to New Zealand-based Shelby Park Stud for $ 25,000. The new owners entered him in the Karaka Select Sale where he was bought by the Hong Kong owner Dominic Li and given to trainer Stephen "Sticko" McKee. Knight's Tour did not race at 2 but after he had won on his debut at 3 at Te Aroha, there was an offer of $ 130,000. The trainer strongly advised to owner not to sell. On his next start Knight's Tour was third to Xanadu and Vincent Street and then won the Waiwera Water Great Northern Guineas, Gr.2 at Ellerslie, ridden by James McDonald, beating Ocean Park and Vincent Street. He won another mile race and was being aimed at the New Zealand Derby when he broke down. His jockey James McDonald won that year's Derby on Silent Achiever and he reckoned that Knight's Tour would have run a creditable race had he run. Knight's Tour has 25 foals in his first crop and 16 in his second.

Reset, the sire of Knight's Tour, was unbeaten in his five starts at 3, winning Cadbury Australian Guineas, Gr.1 at Flemington and Futurity Stakes, Gr.1 at Caulfield. In the Guineas, he beat Starcraft who later went to England where he won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, giving 4 lbs and a three-parts of a length beating to Dubawi. Reset stands at Northwood Park in Victoria and is a successful stallion having produced the likes of Fawkner, Pinker Pinker, Rebel Raider, Hauraki, Set Square, etc. Hestia, the dam of Knight's Tour, was a winner in Ireland before she went down under. She is a half-sister to Flying Cloud (Ribblesdale Stakes, Gr.2),  Captain Webb (Glasgow Stakes, L) and Sky Song (dam of Laverock, won Prix d'Ispahan, Gr.1; and grandam of Pierro, Champion Two-Year Colt in Australia, Ambience, won Wakeful Stakes, Gr.2, etc), etc. This is the Canalette family, an excellent running family which has produced plenty of useful -- but not outstanding -- stallions.


Mr. S. Pathy, who owns Sans Craintes Stud is a true animal lover. He is an internationally acclaimed authority on dogs. Horse breeding is his hobby. He was the first to introduce the Star Kingdom male-line to India in the shape of McDuck. He has now introduced the Sir Tristram male-line to India. Sir Tristram was a son of Sir Ivor, owned by Mr. Raymond Guest, who won the Epsom Derby and the Washington D.C. International. Sir Ivor did not quite make it as a sire of sires in Europe or U.S.A. but founded a strong male-line in the Southern Hemisphere through Sir Tristram. In India, too, the Sir Ivor has done fairly well with Knight of Medina, Ponza, Master Lad and Sir Bordeaux achieving varying degrees of success.