Racing: Giant's Causeway stakes claim as Sadler's heir

When a monarch draws near to the end of his reign, thoughts of the succession inevitably become more imperative. And although Sadler's Wells, not only the king of the Coolmore bloodstock empire but the most influential sire of modern times, is still holding court at the Co Tipperary stallion station that has been his home for 20 years, he is now aged 24 and getting more grizzled by the day. Every future season must be counted a bonus.

When a monarch draws near to the end of his reign, thoughts of the succession inevitably become more imperative. And although Sadler's Wells, not only the king of the Coolmore bloodstock empire but the most influential sire of modern times, is still holding court at the Co Tipperary stallion station that has been his home for 20 years, he is now aged 24 and getting more grizzled by the day. Every future season must be counted a bonus.

Sadler's Wells, a tough, talented runner, has exhausted most superlatives in his second career. In terms of championships, he is the most successful stallion in the annals of the Thoroughbred, his 14th title last year having eclipsed Highflyer's 206-year-old record; he has sired the winners of more than 100 Group or Grade One winners worldwide; he stands at a European record fee of £250,000 a service.

Right from the word go, the son of Northern Dancer made an impact, when two colts from his very first crop, Prince Of Dance and Scenic, dead-heated for the Dewhurst Stakes. Three more of their contemporaries went on the score at the highest level, Old Vic, In The Wings and Braashee.

But even Sadler's Wells did not do what another under the Coolmore banner achieved on Sunday. When Shamardal held on so gamely to take the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp he gave his sire, Giant's Causeway, his second Guineas after Footstepsinthesand's victory on the Rowley Mile 15 days earlier. You have to go back to 1982 for the last sire before him to notch two individual Classic winners from his first crop. That was Be My Guest, with On The House (1,000 Guineas) and Assert (French and Irish Derbys).

Like Sadler's Wells, Giant's Causeway was all man on the track, the so-called iron horse of 2000, winner of nine of his 13 races, including his famous five Group Ones in a row. He started his stud life at Coolmore's Irish base near Fethard, where he covered 181 mares, before transferring to the Kentucky arm of the business. His fee this year is $150,000 (£82,000), twice that of 12 months ago.

The increase is unsurprising; Shamardal was rated champion juvenile and the average price of his auction-sold yearlings last autumn was more than £135,000. And even though the highest-priced of them, the 1.25m guinea filly Mona Lisa, has been disappointing so far, another distaffer, Maid's Causeway, goes to the Curragh at the weekend with bright prospects of avenging her 1,000 Guineas defeat in the Irish version.

Three individual Classic winners in a season is not unprecedented - Sadler's Wells achieved it two years ago with Refuse To Bend, Yesterday and Brian Boru - but such a feat tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy by an established sire: the better you prove, the more opportunities you get. It would be sensational for a stallion at the start of his career.

The formula for success at stud is, thankfully, still a mystery; without that uncertainty the bloodstock business, a massive international factory floor behind the shop window of the racecourse, would collapse. If everyone could breed a top-notch horse, everyone would, and with no risk there would be no reward.

After nearly 300 years, the best advice is still the old adage "breed the best to the best and hope for the best". But where the shake of the genetic cocktail is concerned, success is a rare commodity; only five per cent of horses who go to stud can be judged a success.

Sadler's Wells was well performed, superbly bred and had a great attitude, but possession of those qualities does not guarantee success. Most good stallions, though, own at least two and Giant's Causeway has all three. The powerhouse chestnut is by the top-notch sire Storm Cat out of the Rahy mare Mariah's Storm, winner of 10 of her 16 starts and for whom Coolmore supremo John Magnier paid $2.6m at auction when she was eight months pregnant with Giant's Causeway. In his second season Giant's Causeway had a hard race virtually every time, yet never shirked, a trait which he seems to have passed on.

Footstepsinthesand was presented with 16 potential rivals in Saturday's Irish 2,000 Guineas at yesterday's penultimate declaration stage, including supplemented Newmarket runner-up Rebel Rebel and the favourite that day, Dubawi.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

News

Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls

Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

Year 3 Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 Teachers - Chelm...

ABAP Developer

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: SAP ABAP Developer - Rugb...

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?