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Champion sire Siyouni set to exert greater influence in Australia

6 min read
Champion sire Siyouni (Fr) has made a significant impact at stakes level in Australia from limited representation and the Haras de Bonneval resident’s influence is expected to increase in the future.

Cover image courtesy of Zuzanna Lupa

Siyouni’s latest star is the three-time Group 1 winner St Mark’s Basilica (Fr) who races in the ownership of a Coolmore partnership following his purchase by MV Magnier for 1,300,000 gns (AU$2.48 million) at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.

The colt toyed with his rivals when taking out the G1 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) on Saturday to complete a rare French Classic double, after an earlier win in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas).

St Mark’s Basilica is a half-brother to the dual top-flight winner Magna Grecia (Ire), who stood his first season at Coolmore Australia in 2020.

It is therefore highly likely that St Mark’s Basilica will follow in the future, and as the Group 1 2-year-old winner of the Dewhurst S. and this season’s French Classics, it makes him an attractive stallion prospect.

Both St Mark’s Basilica and Magna Grecia, a son of Invincible Spirit (Ire), were products of mating plans made by Victorian Bob Scarborough, who continues to breed from their dam Cabaret (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

His choice of Siyouni as an ideal mate for Cabaret will ensure a strong future welcomed by Australian breeders for St Mark’s Basilica, whose sire is available at The Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval to be bred to Southern Hemisphere time.

“St Mark’s Basilica was born on the farm as the mare was covered for a second year to Siyouni. He was quite typical of Siyouni’s foals, a beautiful mover I remember,” said Georges Rimaud, Manager of the French studs for The Aga Khan.

“Siyouni will be available on Southern Hemisphere time and we have announced a stud fee of €100,000 (AU$157,200).

“Although we don’t expect a large number of mares, probably a dozen or so as we have in the past, but we’re happy to make him available and have a few enquiries.”

Georges Rimaud (left) | Image courtesy of Zuzanna Lupa

Smart Australian record

Siyouni has produced five winners from seven Australian representatives including the G2 Todman S. winner Aylmerton and the Listed Without Fear S. winner See You In Spring.

See You Soon and Direct have been winners and Group 2 placegetters while Le Vizir and Persepolis have both also been successful.

“It started with Aylmerton a few years ago, and with a very small number of foals since he has done well. A few mares in foal have been exported south since,” Rimaud told TDN AusNZ.

“Yearlings have gone through the ring bringing good prices and I am sure that we’ll see more successes from his offspring in the future.”

Siyouni’s progeny have sold for up to $550,000 at Australian yearling sales in 2021.

“He is a very nice horse to handle and very professional. He usually covers large books of mares and has very good fertility,” Rimaud said. “Siyouni tends to stamp his offspring with his strength and depth, they are generally very powerful individuals. He was Champion 2-Year-Old over 1400 metres - isn’t that what you’re looking for in Australia?”

“Siyouni tends to stamp his offspring with his strength and depth, they are generally very powerful individuals.” – Georges Rimaud

Siyouni has produced six individual Group 1 winners with Laurens (Fr), Sottsass (Fr) and Ervedya (Fr) all successful multiple times at the top level.

Few European Derby winners have won over 1200 metres as 2-year-olds, but St Mark's Basilica is in that unique category having broken his maiden over that trip at The Curragh in August, just 13 days after running fifth in the G1 Phoenix S.

Third over 1400 metres in the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S. last September, the bay then claimed the G1 Dewhurst S. at Newmarket on his juvenile finale in October.

Whether he ends up a G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe contender remains to be seen and it is more likely that he will become another from Ballydoyle who is able to mix it between a mile and 10 furlongs.

“He relaxes and quickens and is a very easy horse to manoeuvre, he's a very intelligent horse. We know the pace he has and it makes him very special. He has those qualities you need in France more than anywhere really,” trainer Aidan O’Brien told TDN Europe.

“He puts a race to bed very quickly and very few can do that. He's out of a Galileo mare by Siyouni and he has the qualities of both.

“He (St Mark's Basilica) puts a race to bed very quickly and very few can do that. He's out of a Galileo mare by Siyouni and he has the qualities of both.” – Aidan O’Brien

“We'll see how he comes out of this and it's possible he'll stay further, but when you have a horse who is able to quicken over a mile like he can you don't know. We'll see what the lads want to do, but he's a very exciting horse.”

Coolmore Australia is only too aware of the drawing power St Mark’s Basilica would create in Australia.

“St Mark’s Basilica is an extremely rare proposition, having the necessary speed to win over 1200 metres as a 2-year-old, with enough class to stretch out and win the French Derby over 2100 metres as a 3-year-old,” said Tom Moore, Coolmore Australia Marketing and Nominations.

“He has now won three Group 1 races in a row, including the Dewhurst S. as a juvenile, and is one of the most exciting sire prospects in the world.

“Given the success of Siyouni in Australia, with four stakes horses from only seven runners, there is no doubt that he would be extremely popular as a stallion in this part of the world. It is a great achievement by his Australian breeder Bob Scarborough to produce two Champions in such quick succession.

“St Mark’s Basilica’s half-brother Magna Grecia, the only ever Invincible Spirit to win Group 1s at both two and three, was extremely popular in his first season at stud last season and we are eagerly awaiting his first-crop foals this spring.”

Australian breeder Bob Scarborough

Haras de Bonneval
St Mark's Basilica
Aga Khan Studs