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Evergreen Australian stallions thriving in autumn of careers

5 min read
In a racing season where an extraordinarily strong crop of first-season stallions have captured many of the headlines, the older boys of the Australian stallion ranks are quietly creating their own piece of history.

Written Tycoon, 18, is headed back to Victoria for the upcoming season to Yulong Stud and currently leads the race to be crowned Australia's leading stallion with $15.3 million in prizemoney from his progeny so far in 2020/21. The stallion he leads in that battle by just over $500,000, is a 19-year-old, the now pensioned Arrowfield Stud stallion Not A Single Doubt.

Across the current top five stallions, which also includes I Am Invincible (16), Snitzel (18) and So You Think (NZ) (14), the average age is 17, the oldest for any Top 5 in the Sires' table as far back as the 2008/09 season.

At his current age of 18, should Written Tycoon win, he would be the same age as Street Cry (Ire) would have been when he claimed the award, and one year younger than Danehill (USA) in his final season as Champion Sire in 2004/05.

Given the level of support Written Tycoon had in the past couple of seasons, particularly last year at Arrowfield when he served his best book in terms of quality, and moving forward into his career at Yulong where he will be supported by a broodmare band of unprecedented quality, it would not surprise to see him at the top of the stallion rankings for some time yet.

The late Danehill (USA)

Both Danehill, who would have been 19 at the start of that season, and Street Cry, claimed those successes posthumously, so were not active stallions when they won those awards. It has not been since 1989/90, when the highly influential Cambridge Stud stallion Sir Tristram (Ire) was crowned Australia's Champion Sire, that an active stallion aged above 18 has won that accolade. Sir Tristram was 19.

The last time a stallion who was over 20 was crowned Australia's Champion Sire was Zamazaan (Fr) in 1987/88, when he was 23, while Better Boy (Ire) would have been 26 (he died in 1975) when he was crowned Champion Sire in 1976/77.

Written Tycoon 18
Not A Single Doubt 19
I Am Invincible 16
Snitzel 18
So You Think 14
Fastnet Rock 19
Zoustar 10
Exceed And Excel 20
Sebring 15
Pierro 11

Table: Age of Top 10 stallions on the current Australian Sires' Table

Expanding the criteria, the average age of the Top 10 stallions currently on the Australian Sires' Table is 16, which is the second highest average in the past 13 seasons, behind only the 2018/19 season which featured three stallions who would have been aged over 20 in Street Cry (21), Redoute's Choice (22) and High Chaparral (Ire) (20).

"The average age of the Top 10 stallions currently on the Australian Sires' Table is 16, which is the second highest average in the past 13 seasons."

There is currently not a stallion aged under 10 in the Top 10 list, with Widden Stud's Zoustar (10), the youngest. You have to go down to 27th in the list, Twin Hills Stud's Hallowed Crown, to find a stallion currently in single figures in age. To give that some context, there has been a stallion aged under 10 in the Champion Top 10 Sires' List in eight of the past 13 seasons.

Eight of the current Top 10 stallions on the Sires' table remain active, with the only exceptions being the pensioned Not A Single Doubt and former Widden Stud Sebring, who was sadly lost in February 2019.


Table: Average age of Top 10 Sires'

Setting new marks

It is not only Written Tycoon, who has had a career-high of 174 Australian winners, including 12 stakes winners, who is enjoying his best season among sires inside the Top 10.

Not A Single Doubt has set a new mark for progeny earnings ($14.86 million), I Am Invincible has had more Australian winners (186) than he has in any previous season and Coolmore's So You Think has set career bests in terms of total winners, stakes winners and progeny earnings with seven weeks of the season still remaining.

Coolmore's Fastnet Rock, who is 19, has enjoyed a remarkable run with his progeny both in Australia and New Zealand. He has had 14 Australian stakes winners in 2020/21 to be the leading sire in the country in that regard and is only four shy of his career best of 18, set in 2017/18.

He also had five stakes winners in New Zealand and is currently second on the Sires' Table across the Tasman Sea, with a significant contribution from star mare Avantage, who has won six Group 1 races this season.

Waikato Stud's Savabeel, who will turn 20 on August 1, is destined for a seventh Grosvenor Award as New Zealand's Champion Sire and leads all Australasian sires when it comes to combined stakes winners this season in both countries with 18.

At 20, Darley's Exceed And Excel, placed eighth in the Australian Sires' race is the elder statesman of those inside the Top 10 (you have to go down to Redoute's Choice in 32nd place to find a stallion which would be older).

He has had an amazing run in his past two seasons, and after having 14 Australian stakes winners in 2019/20, he has had another seven this season, which has his progeny on the verge of surpassing $10 million in seasonal earnings in Australia for just the third time.

He has had two Group 1 winners in Australia, Bivouac and September Run, and has also had Excellent Proposal win a Group 1 in Hong Kong, plus arguably his best credentialed sire sons are proving popular in the Hunter Valley.

2015/16Street Cry18*
2014/15Fastnet Rock13
2013/14Redoute's Choice17
2012/13Exceed And Excel12
2011/12Fastnet Rock10
2009/10Redoute's Choice13
2008/09Encosta De Lago15

Table: Age of Champion Sires' at start of season

* Projected age


*Arion statistics accurate as of June 8

* Stallions' ages calculated to Southern Hemisphere time

Stallion Table
Written Tycoon
Not A Single Doubt
I Am Invincible