Kayf Tara raises bar for British jump stallions

OK, who can name the best six of the 71 individual Group One winners sired by Sadler's Wells, and where they are now. The top three are probably easy: Montjeu, rated 137 by Timeform, is successfully ensconced alongside his wonderful sire at Coolmore. Ditto Galileo, third best with a mark of 134. In between them was Old Vic (136), currently top of the pile as a sire of jumpers in Co Kildare.

Then came Doyen (134), who is at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, with his oldest offspring now yearlings, and Opera House (131), who has done well as a stallion in Japan.

All five shared at least one attribute; they were middle-distance horses of the highest order, with four King Georges, six Derbys and an Arc between them. So all credit to the next in the pecking order, Kayf Tara. For a stayer to achieve a rating of 130 in the modern era is a testament to his sheer quality.

The dual Gold Cup winner is alive and well and living in Gloucestershire, at Overbury Stud near Tewkesbury. And on Sunday at Naas, there occurred a significant milestone in his second career, when his first-crop son Velanmar became his first Graded winner, in the Slaney Hurdle at Naas.

Young stallions particularly jump stallions based in Britain need racecourse advertisements to maintain the quality and quantity of their mates. On both counts the domestic jump breeding industry faces a sisyphean task against its Irish counterpart. Last year, for instance, there were 6,836 foals born in Ireland designated for careers as hurdlers and chasers, compared with 1,585 in Britain. Last season Irish-bred horses won 143 Graded races, those with the (GB) suffix 22, and only three of those were by recognised specialist jump sires. Numbers turn possibility into probability.

And Kayf Tara is undoubtedly one of the brightest hopes for the future for British jump breeders. Simon Sweeting, owner of Overbury Stud, was more than relieved to see the photo-finish as Naas go Velanmar's way. "It was a huge result," he said. "Not only did it show our breeders that that we can do it in this country, and that they don't have to send their mares to Irish stallions. But we showed to those in Ireland what the horse can do."

And therein lies the bigger picture. The two industries are symbiotic; the factory floors and conveyor belts interdependent. Young horses criss-cross the Irish Sea at all ages to be traded and re-traded. "Ireland is the biggest market-place for Kayf Tara's stock," explained Sweeting, "I get calls from some of the biggest dealers there wanting me to point them at his likely colt-foals. They are very keen on him."

Which, of course, brings another set of pressures. Irish stallion masters would rob their blind grandmothers to get their hands on Kayf Tara. The 14-year-old has all the must-have attributes: he was classy, determined and competitive and he is like Old Vic and one of Coolmore's own brightest young jump sires, Oscar by the greatest patriarch.

In the recent past, the British industry has lost the likes of Alderbrook and Classic Cliche to Ireland and the spreadsheets produced by those with Kayf Tara on their hit-list might be persuasive. In Britain, he has been covering an average of 150 mares a year; in Ireland it could be nearly double that.

But happily, he is still owned by Sheikh Mohammed, one of whose favourites he was, and who does not have to take the money and run. "We have no desire to sell the horse," the Sheikh's manager, John Ferguson, said. "We're thrilled with the start he's making."

With the production line now up and running, there should be better to come. Kayf Tara, whose fee is 2,500 this year by comparison, Old Vic stands at 12,000 (8,400), the most expensive jump sire there has ever been has covered not only some high-quality British-based mares notably Dubacilla but also, significantly, increasing numbers from Ireland. A case, perhaps, of the mount-ain coming to Mohammed.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past