To put Exceed and Excel's achievements in context, it is useful to know that since the start of Pattern racing only 16 other sires have passed the 150-Stakes winner milestone.
And while it is true to say that he enjoyed the benefits of shuttling every year where some other sires rely on only one crop per year, it is equally correct to point out that Stakes winners in the sprint divisions of both hemispheres – where Exceed And Excel flourishes – are very competitive arenas.
The Exceed And Excels are generally excellent two-year-olds and top quality sprinter-milers who love good summer ground. He’s so good at producing Group and Stakes juveniles that no sire has lived with him since he retired to stud. Only More Than Ready – who had a head start at stud – and his own sire, the great Danehill, have sired more juvenile Stakes horses.
"In terms of Stakes winning youngsters, he’s only one behind the mighty Galileo, with Danehill in top spot."
Moreover, we can expect Exceed And Excel (currently on 144) to overhaul More Than Ready (148) in the near future. In terms of Stakes winning youngsters, he’s only one behind the mighty Galileo, with Danehill in top spot.
It is very easy to underestimate how competitive it is for spring sires in racing. There are many more stallions chasing comparatively fewer black-type sprint prizes and it’s quite normal to see sires’ career averages of Stakes winners to foals a fair bit lower than for the dominant mile-to-middle-distance stallions.
In Exceed And Excel’s case, he’s an out-and-out speed influence. In the northern hemisphere his stock have a 6.8-furlong stamina index from mares that normally register 8.4 furlongs.
"Like many good sires, some of his very best runners break the mould."
In Australia meanwhile his stamina index is even lower at six furlongs from mares that usually produce winners at an average of seven furlongs. But like many good sires, some of his very best runners break the mould: three of his four highest-rated runners in either hemisphere according to Timeform – Excelebration (133), Helmet (125) and James Garfield (124) – were at their best beyond six furlongs.
Champion sire in Australia
Given that the prevailing conditions on Australian racecourses tend to be dryer than in Europe, plus the nature of racing itself, it’s not surprising that Exceed And Excel has sired the lion’s share of his Stakes winners (84) there.
"Significantly, he does even better with elite mares with 11.9% of their progeny becoming Stakes winners."
Furthermore, it’s a testament to the type of racehorse most coveted in Australia that Exceed And Excel was able to be become Champion sire in Australia, something that is less likely to happen in Europe. So far he’s sired 9.1% Stakes winners to runners in Australia, from mares that have produced 8.4% with other sires.
Significantly, he does even better with elite mares with 11.9% of their progeny becoming Stakes winners. I say significantly because not all sires are capable of upping their game when they cover top mares. It will come as no surprise either that with the exception of Helmet and Guelph, all his southern hemisphere-foaled G1 winners have come over six furlongs.
Great breeder return in Europe
In Europe Exceed And Excel stock include 7.1% Stakes winners to runners, which is par for the course from his mares. And, just as he does in Australia, Exceed And Excel had given breeders an even greater return from elite mares, siring 11.2% Stakes winners to runners.
So, in one sense, the Exceed And Excel of the north is just as good as the Exceed And Excel of the south. His success with elite mares is all the more commendable given that he cannot access Danehill-line mares, particularly in Australia.
"So, in one sense, the Exceed And Excel of the north is just as good as the Exceed And Excel of the south."
As time moves on Exceed And Excel has already got five stallion sons that have sired Stakes winners and his daughters are likely to be a perfect partners to other leading sires of the day. His daughters have already produced five southern hemisphere G1 winners, plus two of Europe top two-year-olds this season in G1 Middle Park hero Ten Sovereigns and Anthony Van Dyck.