By The Numbers

How Royal Ascot has shaped the global stallion landscape

One of global racing’s greatest weeks, Royal Ascot has had a remarkable influence on breeding and bloodstock on both sides of the equator.

Two future champion stallions, wearing the same Juddmonte colours, would parlay imperious performances at Royal Ascot into brilliant careers at stud.

Danehill (Danzig) and Frankel (Galileo) are linked through their breeder and their pedigrees, with the former being the damsire of the latter, but also through their racing careers, which occurred over two decades apart.

Both broke their maidens in August of their two-year-old years, and as three-year-olds both would contest the 2000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1m), with Danehill finishing third in 1989 and Frankel posting a six-length romp at Newmarket in 2011.

However, it was Royal Ascot which proved definitive for their racing careers. It was there in 1989 that it was decided that Danehill would be focused on sprinting, and his decisive victory in the Cork and Orrery Stakes (Gr 3, 6f), now the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, followed up by his win in the Haydock Sprint Cup (Gr 1, 6f), would pave the way to his enormously influential global stud career.

Frankel’s win in the 2011 St James’s Palace Stakes (Gr 1, 1m) at his first Royal Ascot was workmanlike, but 12 months later his blitzing 11-length success in the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr 1, 1m) would become the highlight of his remarkable 14-start unbeaten career and one of the most dominant wins in the meeting’s long history.

Danehill and Frankel are the only Royal Ascot winners to go on to claim the title of champion sire of Great Britain and Ireland since 2000, with Danehill winning a trio of titles from 2005-2007, while Frankel secured his first success in 2021, breaking the 11-year reign of his own sire Galileo (Sadler’s Wells).

Prior to that pair, you must go back to Mill Reef (Never Bend), winner of the 1970 Coventry Stakes (Gr 2, 6f) and the sires’ title in 1978 and 1987, to find a Royal Ascot winner among the list of champion sires in Great Britain and Ireland.

Others in that category in the past 50 years include Kris (Sharpen Up), the winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes in 1979 before being crowned champion sire in 1985, and Petingo (Petition) who won the same race in 1968 and was champion sire in 1979.

Royal Ascot winners to become champion stallions of Great Britain and Ireland (since 1970)

      Stud record
Horse Royal Ascot victories Year(s) champion sire Winners SW G1w
Danehill Cork and Orrery Stakes 2005, 2006, 2007 1623 347 84
Frankel St James’s Palace Stakes

Queen Anne Stakes

2021 501 121 28
Mill Reef Coventry Stakes 1978, 1987 215 62 19
Kris St James’s Palace Stakes 1985 441 75 12
Petingo St James’s Palace Stakes 1979 110 28 6

Danehill’s influence was felt globally thanks to the landmark deal struck to initially shuttle him to Arrowfield Stud in 1990, and then later to Coolmore Australia.

He would also win nine Australian champion sires titles and became the most influential force in Australian breeding in the 21st century, through his many sire sons and broodmare daughters.

While his global fame as a stallion surpassed his reputation as a racehorse, his Royal Ascot racetrack success has carried through time. What is not as well known, however, is that he is one of four Royal Ascot winners since 1945 to have then become champion sire of Australia.

That list also includes Last Tycoon (Try My Best), who won the 1986 King’s Stand Stakes (Gr 1, 5f) and then shuttled to Australia, standing at Segenhoe, Arrowfield and Coolmore, while he also spent a season in New Zealand. In 1993-94, he claimed the Australian sires title, thanks largely to the contribution of his three-year-old star Mahogany, who won four Classics.

Showdown (Infatuation) was Australia’s champion sire twice in the 1970s, following on from a racing career which included a win in the 1965 Queen Anne Stakes, while the tremendously influential Star Kingdom (Stardust), a five-time champion sire, won the Jersey Stakes, when named Star King at the royal meeting in 1949.

Royal Ascot winners to become Champion Australian stallions (since 1945)

      Stud record
Horse Royal Ascot victories Season(s) champion sire Winners SW G1w
Danehill Cork and Orrery Stakes 1994/95 to 1996/97 (3), 1999/00 to 2004/05 (6) 1623 347 84
Last Tycoon King’s Stand Stakes 1993/94 922 80 16
Showdown Queen Anne Stakes 1975/76, 1977/78 298 46 12
Star Kingdom Jersey Stakes 1958/59 to 1961/62 (4), 1964/65 (1) 261 60 18

Royal Ascot’s influence among the race record of Australia and New Zealand-based stallions remains strong. A look across the honour boards of Royal Ascot compared to the 2023 stallion rosters reveals as things stand, there are 15 Royal Ascot winners on rosters of Australasian farms this year.

The most successful of that cohort are a pair of locally bred horses who travelled to England to take on the best, but under the eye of Aidan O’Brien.

Starspangledbanner emulated his own sire Choisir (Danehill Dancer), and his great-grand sire Danehill by winning the Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2010. In a stud career which has covered spells for Coolmore Ireland, Rosemont Stud and Coolmore Australia, he has produced 30 stakes winners, among them a trio of Royal Ascot winners.

His northern hemisphere-bred son State Of Rest is among those Royal Ascot winners, victorious in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and he kicks off his Australian breeding career at Newgate Farm this season.

One year after Starspangledbanner’s victory, O’Brien returned with another Coolmore-owned antipodean star, So You Think (High Chaparral), who had won two Cox Plates (Gr 1, 2040m) for the legendary Bart Cummings. He would finish runner-up in the 2011 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, but returned to win the same race in 2012.

So You Think’s stud career at Coolmore Australia has now taken full flight and he has 53 stakes winners, among them ten Group 1 winners, while he was runner-up in the Australian sires title last season.

Merchant Navy (Fastnet Rock), who won the 2018 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, and who is about to begin the second phase of his career at Kooringal Stud, is the other locally bred Royal Ascot winner on a roster in 2023.

The other active stallions in Australasia who won that feature sprint are Cambridge Stud’s Hello Youmzain (Kodiac) and Darley’s Blue Point (Shamardal). Blue Point has the best Royal Ascot record of any current stallion, having also won the King’s Stand Stakes on two occasions.

Circus Maximus (Galileo), who is entering his third season at Windsor Park Stud in 2023, is another multiple Royal Ascot winner, having won both the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes.

The Queen Anne Stakes also features on the resume of Swettenham Stud’s Toronado (High Chaparral) along with Haunui Farm’s Ribchester (Iffraaj), who also won the Jersey Stakes (Gr 3, 7f) at the meeting.

Other Royal Ascot victors to stand in either Australia or New Zealand this season include Oaklands Stud’s Power (Oasis Dream), Mapperley Stud’s Contributer (High Chaparral), Little Avondale’s Time Test (Dubawi), Coolmore’s Churchill (Galileo), Darley’s Pinatubo (Shamardal) and Bombora Downs’ Dandino (Dansili) 

Darley’s Palace Pier (Kingman), who was recently ruled out of shuttling to Australia this season having travelled in 2022, is a dual Royal Ascot Group 1 winner, while other Ascot winners to have recently been active on this side of the world include Calyx (Kingman), Sioux Nation (Scat Daddy), Declaration Of War (War Front), Caravaggio (Scat Daddy), Highland Reel (Galileo), No Nay Never (Scat Daddy), Iffraaj (Zafonic) and Choisir.

In an increasingly global bloodstock industry, stallions don’t have to step on a plane to have an influence across the world. No stallion has proven this more than Frankel, who now has 16 stakes winners in Australia, including three Group 1 winners, despite having never left Banstead Manor Stud.

Recently, Kingman (Invincible Spirit), another Royal Ascot winner in the Juddmonte colours turned star stallion, emulated his barnmate by producing an Australian Group 1 winner in JJ Atkins (Gr 1, 1600m) victor King Colorado.

Royal Ascot winners on a 2023 Australasian stallion roster

Horse Royal Ascot victories 2023 stud
Blue Point Diamond Jubilee Stakes,

King’s Stand Stakes x 2

Churchill Chesham Stakes Coolmore Australia
Circus Maximus St James’s Palace Stakes

Queen Anne Stakes

Windsor Park Stud
Contributer Wolferton Handicap Mapperley Stud
Dandino King George V Handicap Bombora Downs
Hello Youmzain   Diamond Jubilee Stakes Cambridge Stud
Merchant Navy Diamond Jubilee Stakes Kooringal Stud
Pinatubo Chesham Stakes Darley
Power Coventry Stakes Oaklands Stud
Ribchester Queen Anne Stakes

Jersey Stakes

Haunui Farm
So You Think Prince of Wales’s Stakes Coolmore Australia
Starspangledbanner Golden Jubilee Stakes Coolmore Australia
State Of Rest Prince of Wales’s Stakes Newgate Stud
Time Test Tercentenary Stakes Little Avondale Stud
Toronado Queen Anne Stakes Swettenham Stud

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