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Fees announced for Darley champion first-time shuttlers

7 min read
Darley Australia has announced the introductory service fees for three superstar new shuttle stallions for 2021, lifting the number of Champion racehorses added to the Darley roster to seven in the past two seasons.

Pinatubo (Ire), Earthlight (Ire) and Ghaiyyath (Ire), along with star local sprinter Bivouac, are following in the world-class footsteps of last season’s new additions Microphone, Too Darn Hot (GB) and Blue Point (Ire).

New Kelvinside resident Pinatubo will stand for $44,000 (inc GST), while new Northwood Park duo Ghaiyyath and Earthlight will stand for $27,500 (inc GST) and $22,000 (inc GST) respectively.

“It’s incredible that we’ve been able to add seven champions to our roster in just the last two seasons – that’s not something that’s easy to do,” Godolphin Australia’s Managing Director, Vin Cox, said.

“Not only are they all Champions in their own right, but they’re all also the sons of Champion stallions.

“They’re the real deal, they’re multiple Group 1 performers, and we’re very excited to be offering this opportunity to Australian breeders.”

Darley has become renowned for its outstanding success with shuttle stallions, making an enormous impact on the Australian industry with the likes of Street Cry (Ire), Teofilo (Ire), Medaglia D’Oro (USA), Dubawi (Ire) and more recently Street Boss (USA) and Frosted (USA).

“We’ve been shuttling stallions for a number of years now, and we believe we’ve got the formula right,” Cox said.

“We evaluate each horse on its merit and assess how it fits in with the Australian gene pool, and how well it will be suited to Australian breeding and racing conditions.

“We’re very proud of the success that we’ve achieved with our shuttle stallions over the years, and now we’re looking forward to more of the same with these new additions.”

“We’re very proud of the success that we’ve achieved with our shuttle stallions over the years, and now we’re looking forward to more of the same with these new additions.” - Vin Cox

The highest-profile of those is Pinatubo, a brilliant racehorse and exceptional stallion prospect. He scored six unchallenged victories at two to be crowned Europe’s Champion 2-year-old.

He won twice at Group 1 level, capturing the Dewhurst S. – comparable to Australia’s Golden Slipper, as both are the most sought-after juvenile feature in their respective jurisdictions – as well as the National S. at The Curragh. The Dewhurst was also won by barn mate Too Darn Hot, plus the Champion Frankel (GB) and the late Shamardal (USA), while the latter was won by Dubawi.

Watch: Pinatubo’s two Group 1 victories

Pinatubo’s performances allowed the son of Shamardal to claim the Horse of the Year title as a 2-year-old, thanks to a season in which he earned a Timeform rating of 134. That’s higher than Frankel at the same age, becoming the highest-rated European juvenile for 25 years.

Pinatubo’s ultra-relaxed temperament is well-documented, with many close connections saying, “He just loved sleeping and eating,” sought-after characteristics in the Australian breeding and racing arena.

“I’m not sure you’d get any better 2-year-olds,” Cox said. “He’s the highest-rated 2-year-old in Europe in the last 25 years, he’s by a very good stallion in Shamardal, and he’s a proper horse. He’s great-looking and was an exceptional talent on the track.”

The speed of light

The second new stallion is Earthlight, and one would be forgiven for mistaking him for Lope De Vega (Ire), another high-class son of Shamardal.

Both Earthlight and Lope De Vega were trained by Champion French trainer André Fabre, both secured two elite-level Group 1 victories, both are chestnuts carrying a striking white blaze, and both bear the ‘Ire’ suffix carried by many a champion.

With the success of his sire and another sire son in Australia, Earthlight profiles as the ideal prospect for the Australian broodmare population, free of Danehill (USA) and from a 2-year-old winning mare.

Watch: Earthlight produce a course-record victory in the G1 Middle Park S.

Earthlight displayed blistering speed to win five times from five races at two, two at Group 1 level including running a course-record time in the Middle Park S. at Newmarket, and they’ve been racing there for over three centuries.

“He’s potentially flying under the radar a little bit, but I challenge anyone to have a close look at his record and what he achieved and fault him in any way,” Cox said.

“He was a multiple Group 1 winner at two. He’s not a pretender – he was a top-quality performer. He has other parts to his resume as well, with a quality pedigree and outstanding looks, but he doesn’t have to lean back on those at all. His racetrack performances speak for themselves, and I think he’s a terrific addition to Australian stallion ranks at what we believe is a very reasonable fee.”

"He (Earthlight) was a multiple Group 1 winner at two. He’s not a pretender – he was a top-quality performer." - Vin Cox

From an early age, Ghaiyyath displayed champion-like qualities. A €1.1 million foal at Goffs, the son of Dubawi from Group 1-winning Galileo (Ire) mare Nightime (Ire) is perfectly bred and the ultimate sales horse, with a race record to back these up.

At two, Ghaiyyath won at Group 3 level by 1.75l, and he continued on an upward trajectory through to five – something few champion racehorses are able to do without the temperament and tenacity to back up their type.

Crowned Longines World’s Best Racehorse and Cartier Horse of the Year for 2020, the Charlie Appleby-trained entire took the two strongest races on the planet in 2020 and retired a four-time Group 1 winner.

Watch: Four-time Group 1 winner Ghaiyyath in full flight

These elite-level victories saw him beat 11-time Group 1 winner Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), six-time Group 1 winner Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and seven-time Group 1 winner Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), plus a host of other racetrack stars.

He retired to stud having won his races by a combined 41l, or an average of 4.5l.

“He was the highest-rated horse in the world in 2020, and it’s very exciting for us, for Victorian breeders and for the Australian industry as a whole to introduce a horse of this calibre,” Cox said.

“With him, it’s not all about absolute precocity, but it’s the absolute quality of the horse. If you look past the horses that offer the sheer speed, it’s these types of stallions that take you to the big dances a bit later on – the Cox Plates, the Cups and the Tancred S."

Star local sprinter

Completing the quartet of Champions being added to the Darley roster is the star local sprinter Bivouac, a son of Exceed And Excel who has won seven races including the G1 Darley Sprint Classic, Newmarket H. and Golden Rose. His fee will be announced on the completion of his racing career, with his final Australian start likely to be this Saturday's G1 TJ Smith S.

“He’s our locally bred, locally raced horse, and we’re very fond and proud of him,” Cox said. “He was a very good 2-year-old, and he’s carried on through his 3-year-old and 4-year-old seasons and is still racing extremely well. We’re hoping he still has some more racing in him, and some more Group 1 performances.

“He’s everything Australian breeding stands for, we’re rightly very proud of him and looking forward to offering him to Australian breeders once his racing career is over.”

Watch: Bivouac's three Group 1 victories