• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Friday 10 Nov 2017
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

CHAMPION SIRE IN INDIA 2016-17 (Decided by Stakes Won)

Rank Sire (Pedigree) Standing Stood At Starters Winners Wins Stakes Average Earning Index
(b 2004 Pivotal - Obsessive)
Poonawalla 54 29 55 Rs.5,13,14,740 2.05
(dk b/br 2008 Mr. Greeley - Aristocratic Lady)
Manju Meadows 39 24 36 Rs.3,20,94,241 1.78
(b 2008 Dansili - Ecoutila)
Ruia 16 10 13 Rs.90,97,650 1.23
(ch 2007 Kitten's Joy - Summer Theatre)
Sohna 24 7 8 Rs.48,07,540 0.43
(b 2007 Emerald Cat - Anaroma)
Capricorn 5 3 4 Rs.17,69,352 0.76

The most interesting of all end-of-the-year tables is the one pertaining to the first season sires. This is the key to the future. Eight new stallions went to stud in India in 2013 but there was no suspense whatsoever concerning who would be Champion Sire among them. That was already decided because Excellent Art had been launched with a mega book of mares and had 83 foals to run for him. What was intriguing was how he would fare when viewed from a long term perspective.

Excellent Art had a better first half of the year, his produce exhibiting precocity and speed. He tapered off in the latter half and most significant aspect was the fact that his progeny failed to win even a single Classic. Admittedly, a stallion should not be judged till his first crop has had a chance to run the Derby. At this point, it may be pertinent to compare his record with that of Arazan who, too, had 83 foals in his first crop. At the end of his first year, Arazan had more runners, more winners, more wins but Excellent Art's progeny has amassed more stakes and the stallion himself has a better AE Index. Arazan, however, had two Classic winners in Eternal Flame and Bold Command.

Excellent Art was a top class miler who was acquired by the Ballydoyle interests and later stood as a stallion at Coolmore, shuttling to southern hemisphere during the winters. He was well patronized and had plenty of foals. He started at 25,000 euros but his fee dropped and he was eventually sold to come to India. He has produced plenty of winners abroad including a Gr.1 winner -- Under the Louvre -- in Australia and his progeny has excelled over a wide variety of distances. The average winning distance of his progeny abroad is 8.4 fur. So it is reasonable to suppose that his runners will be at their best around a mile. Before the new calendars come on the walls, there are ten Guineas to be run India at five centres and they represent Excellent Art's best opportunity to showcase his caliber.

Being the Champion Freshman Sire is just a start. It does not really foretell how a stallion is going to do subsequently. In the past 25 years, only four stallions -- Razeen, Placerville, Burden of Proof and Multidimensional -- have added a General Sires Championship to their Freshman Sire title. It is interesting to note what the AE Index of those four stallions was in their first years -- Razeen 6.19, Placerville 4.59, Burden of Proof 4.27 and Multidimensional 3.64. The coming month and half is going to be very critical for Excellent Art.

Standing not far from where Excellent Art is located, Western Aristocrat has had a very encouraging start. The stallion is owned by Broadacres Stud, stands at Manju Meadows and has had mares from Nanoli Stud and Capricorn Stud visiting him. Despite this hotchpotch arrangement, Western Aristocrat has done well and has even had a Classic winner in Kangra. He is, like Rebuttal before him, a son of Mr. Greeley and as such is unlikely to produce too many plodders. What goes against him is that he has less foals in his next two crops together than what he had in his first.

The biggest disappointment of the year was Sohna Stud's Dean's Kitten. The stallion is a Gr.2 winner in U.S.A. where his career earnings were close to a million dollars. He had 32 foals in his first crop. For him to finish behind an Indian stallion who had just six must be very hard to accept. 

Ruia Stud's Dansili horse Surfrider had a purple patch in August when in a space of fortnight he had more than half of his winners. He comes from a reputed, fast family and has the makings of being more than useful. However, he has very small crops to follow and that will deny him the opportunity of expressing his capability.

The Indian St. Leger winner Macchupicchu belied all expectations by finishing ahead of two imported stallions Midnight Interlude and How's Your Halo. He has not been used since his first crop. Midnight Interlude at Nanoli Stud and How's Your Halo at Riverside Stud in Telangana have been on a short ration of mares and their foals to follow can be counted on one’s fingers. Not a very good augury. Beautiful Stranger, a winner of the Poonawalla Breeders' Multi-Million, Gr.1, was fortunate to be awarded the Casino Royale Indian 2000 Guineas, Gr.1 when the first and the second in that race were disqualified post race for testing positive. Now at Rejuvenation Stud in Rajasthan, the son of Glory of Dancer, has just five foals from his first three crops. His solitary runner during the year was non-earner.


Generally -- but not always -- a stallion does not better  or even match his first season AE Index. As the number of foals increases, the index drops. The stallion with the highest AE Index in India in his first crop was Santiago. The stallion was called Hafir in England where he won three races in two years. He then went to Hong Kong where he acquired his new name but ran just once before breaking down. Most horses in Hong Kong are geldings but Santiago was an entire and he came to India as a stallion in 1994.

Santiago stood his first year at Poonawalla Farms and had the staggering AE Index of 7.20 with his first crop. He then changed locations but was well patronized, especially in view of his first season success. His AE Index, helped by some of his first crop runners, dropped to 2.67 in his second year. Thereafter, he never had an AE Index over 1.00. He died in 2001.