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No Nay Never sprinting at stud

6 min read
Young Scat Daddy sire No Nay Never has made a quick start to his Northern Hemisphere stallion career, currently the leading first crop sire. Emma Berry looks into the Wesley Ward-trained sprinter, whose oldest Australian progeny are soon to be seen at the 2019 yearling sales.

Any Royal Ascot racegoers who started the current century a bit slow on the international uptake didn’t have to wait too long to receive a couple of reality checks.

The first came in 2003 when the mighty Australian sprinting pioneer Choisir (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) carved his place into the annals of turf history with his brace of big wins.

A second readjustment was forced on the European mindset six years later when Kentucky-based trainer Wesley Ward brought a squad of five two-year-old sprinters across the Atlantic for Royal Ascot in 2009. Two of them won, the first American-trained juveniles ever to salute the judge in the Europe, headed by the five-length victory in the G2 Queen Mary S. of the brilliant filly Jealous Again (USA) (Trippi {USA}). Once again, in the blink of an eye the unthinkable became the new norm.

When one reflected on the immensity of Ward’s achievement, the thought sprang to mind that, so superior were the speed, precocity and class of the two-year-olds which he was introducing, if he was to keep coming back (which he has done) one day he would unveil a brilliant juvenile with ‘Potential Stallion’ stamped all over him.

Four years later such a horse appeared: No Nay Never (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}).

A mouth- watering stallion prospect

No Nay Never’s win in the G2 Norfolk S. over five furlongs at Royal Ascot in 2013 was superb, not least because he won easily despite blowing the start.

He seemed a perfect early-season two-year-old. It soon became clear that he was more than that. Two months later he followed up in the G1 Prix Morny before training on at three, ending up with a splendid second place behind Bobby’s Kitten (USA) (Kitten’s Joy {USA}) in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November 2014.

"Being a son of Scat Daddy was already an asset for No Nay Never at the outset, and it stands him in even greater stead now." - Emma Berry

Watch: No Nay Never win the Group 1 Prix Morny

By this time, Coolmore had snapped up No Nay Never for dual-hemisphere stud duties and it was easy to see why.

The form-book said that he was a mouth-watering stallion prospect, of obvious interest to any breeder looking to produce fast, precocious and progressive stock. Furthermore, his physique was every bit as impressive as his racing record suggested, while his pedigree enhanced his appeal further.

His sire Scat Daddy was quickly establishing himself as one of the best stallions in the world, while he came from the immediate family of Half A Year (USA) (Riverman {USA}), winner of the G2 St. James’s Palace S. at Royal Ascot.

No Nay Never

Being a son of Scat Daddy was already an asset for No Nay Never at the outset, and it stands him in even greater stead now.

A son of the former world-champion juvenile Johannesburg, Scat Daddy sadly died of a heart attack at Ashford Stud in Kentucky in December 2015, aged only 11.

His status has continued to grow posthumously, thanks to numerous stars headed by this year’s US Triple Crown hero Justify (USA) as well as the outstanding sprinters Lady Aurelia (USA) and Caravaggio (USA). The latest top-liner to emerge (from Scat Daddy’s final crop) is Ireland’s current leading two-year-old filly Skitter Scatter (USA), the impressive winner on Sunday of the G1 Moyglare Stud S. at the Curragh.

An extra bonus which No Nay Never’s pedigree contains for broodmare-owners is that his pedigree is entirely free of Danehill and Sadler’s Wells. That has made him very easy to mate, particularly for Coolmore whose broodmare band is saturated with the genes of those two great stallions; and particularly in Australia where Danehill is so ubiquitous.

Northern hemisphere success

No Nay Never is currently dominating the first-season sires’ table of European-based stallions. He is the wide-margin leader on earnings, and he has already been represented by 22 individual winners (of 28 races) headed by the stakes winners Land Force (Ire), Ten Sovereigns (Ire), Servalan (Ire) and Mae Never No (Ire).

It is easy to believe that No Nay Never’s first youngsters in Australia will make a similar impression to his northern hemisphere runners in the big juvenile races when they hit the track next season.

“The No Nay Nevers are precocious, fast and hardy horses and seem to be developing with racing and time. They are clean-winded with good minds. We love them.” - Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Land Force

The likelihood is that many of his stars will be the produce of mares from the Danehill sire-line, as is the case in Europe where G2 Richmond S. winner Land Force is from a Rock Of Gibraltar mare; G3 Round Tower S. winner Ten Sovereigns is from an Exceed And Excel mare; Fillies’ Sprint S. winner Servalan is from an Oratorio mare; G1 Phoenix S. and G3 Prix du Cabourg place-getters The Irish Rover (Ire) and We Go (Fr) are from Danehill Dancer mares; and G2 Superlative S. place-getter Neverland Rock (GB) is from a Fastnet Rock mare.

High opinions

Aidan O’Brien, trainer of the G2 Qatar Richmond S. winner Land Force as well as unbeaten Group 3 winner Ten Sovereigns, has naturally been impressed with the start the young stallion has made.

He says, “The No Nay Nevers are precocious, fast and hardy horses and seem to be developing with racing and time. They are clean-winded with good minds. We love them.”

American trainer Wesley Ward is the man who has the inside track on No Nay Never, having taken charge of him as a yearling and masterminded his racing career. He agrees that along with his obvious ability, the stallion is passing on that good temperament.

Wesley Ward and No Nay Never (Image courtesy of racingfotos.com)

He says, “I was very confident in him very early on. I broke him in myself and you could feel the strength in him, but he was also very wide between the eyes, a highly intelligent horse.”

Ward adds, “He was phenomenal at two and then we gave him time and he came back and he should have won the Breeders’ Cup. If you watch the re-run, he was in front right until the last.

“What’s really helping him now at stud is that he’s passing on not just his speed but also his intelligence. Physically he was the most beautiful horse I’ve seen. Once breeders take a look at him they’ll realise that he’s a horse they should be breeding to.”