The runaway leader is of course Yarraman Park’s I Am Invincible who has notched up 24 stakes winners, more than twice as many as his nearest pursuer. And the significance of this tally? It is just two shy of the record for a season in Australia.
That record is currently held by two sires – the great Danehill and his grandson Snitzel (Redoute's Choice), both of whom have posted 26 Stakes winners in previous seasons. Danehill set the standard in 2001/02, adding an extra eight Stakes winners to the previous high mark of 18 set by Zabeel three seasons earlier. And although Danehill failed to improve on his 2001/02 score, he sired 21 Stakes winners in each of the following two seasons and therefore owned the three highest seasonal totals before Snitzel equalled his tally in 2016/17 and again in 2017/18.
Now it is down to I Am Invincible to equal or better the new standard – he needs to find three more breakthrough Stakes winners to own the record outright. It is of course easier these days to build a high score given the fact that stallions have larger foal crops, but it would still be a commendable achievement.
"Now it is down to I Am Invincible to equal or better the new standard." - John Boyce
Most stakeswinners in an Australia n season
|2018-2019||I Am Invincible||24|
|2017-2018||I Am Invincible||19|
|2012-2013||Exceed And Excel||17|
|2017-2018||Not A Single Doubt||16|
A tough task
When we take in New Zealand racing, Danehill holds the outright record with 28 Stakes winners, one ahead of Snitzel who posted 27 last season and the one before. I Am Invincible needs four more to topple this record and that task looks tougher but certainly not impossible. For the record Danehill also sired 29 Stakes winners in the northern hemisphere in 2005, but that achievement needs to be seen in the context of Galileo’s record of 47 Stakes winners in 2017. In fact the great son of Sadler's Wells has averaged 40 over the past five years in Europe.
Back in 2001/02 Danehill achieved 26 Australian Stakes winners from just 202 runners. That’s a strike rate of 12.9% which compares very favourably to Snitzel’s 7.9% two seasons ago and his 8.0% last season. This season I Am Invincible has so far recorded an 8.3% strike rate. Danehill sired four G1 winners in his record-breaking year and three more that were G1 placed. Snitzel equalled his famous grandsire’s number of G1 winners last season, but had no fewer than eight horses who also placed at G1 level – an outstanding achievement.
It’s worth reminding ourselves of Danehill’s numbers. He sired 172 Stakes winners from his southern base at a rate of 17.4% to runners. To put that in perspective, his mares’ progeny by other sires managed only 9.2%. His 172 Stakes winners looks safe for the foreseeable future – his son Redoute’s Choice is still 20 shy and grandson Snitzel didn’t get the elite mares soon enough in his career and is probably too far adrift given his current age.
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Snitzel has sired 86 Stakes winners at a rate 10% to runners. Like Danehill, he’s improving his mares who have managed 7.8% when bred to other sires. It’s the same story with I Am Invincible, who started out at an even lower lever. The dams of his current runners only achieved 3.3% Stakes winners by other sires, compared to 8.6% Stakes winners among those by I Am Invincible. Given the quality of mares now visiting both Snitzel and I Am Invincible, we can confidently predict that their ratios of Stakes winners will continue to rise, and maybe even increase the likelihood of 30 Stakes winners in a season.
I Am Invincible also has sired six juvenile Stakes winners this season, which is an outstanding achievement in its own right. Only 11 individual sires have ever matched that number, including Danehill four times, Rory’s Jester on three occasions and More Than Ready twice.
"Only 11 individual sires have ever matched that number." - John Boyce on I Am Invincible's juvenile stakeswinners this season
As things stand, the record for the number of juvenile Stakes winners stands at 10 and is shared between Rory’s Jester (in 1994/94) and Redoute’s Choice (in 2004/05). Snitzel’s nine Stakes winners in 2016/17 has come closest to the record in recent years, followed by Exceed And Excel’s tally of seven in 2012/13.
We can expect more and more pressure to be exerted on sires’ past achievements and there’s no doubt I Am Invincible has a great opportunity to make history this season.