11/11/2010 3:46PM

Shamardal Living Up to Expectations


In the late spring of 2005, Shamardal had himself one of the most rewarding months in racing history when he ran off three consecutive victories at the highest level in England and France, winning two classics as well as one of Royal Ascot's most important races.
What made his winning streak remarkable was that he sandwiched a victory in the 1 5/16-mile Prix du Jockey-Club, or French Derby, around wins in the one-mile, Poule d'Essai des Poulains, or French 2000 Guineas, and Royal Ascot's one-mile St. James's Palace Stakes, which was run at York that year.
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, the son of Giant's Causeway out of a Machiavellian mare was a question mark at the Jockey-Club distance but gutted out a front-running neck victory under Frankie Dettori. A measure of his accomplishment can be found in the runner-up Hurricane Run, who would subsequently run off three straight 12-furlong victories in the Irish Derby, Prix Niel and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Perhaps it was Shamardal's second dam Helen Street that helped him get the trip at Chantilly. A daughter of the stamina influencing Troy, her daughter, Shamardal's dam Helsinki, is a full sister to Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry.
A colt who could carry his speed beyond 1 1/4 miles at the classic level, Shamardal was precocious as well, winning the 7-furlong, Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths from the talented Oratorio, a performance that earned him highweight honors on the 2-year-old European Classification. Sadly, a fractured front fetlock suffered while in training for the Eclipse Stakes forced him into retirement.
Bred in Kentucky at Watercress Farm by Brilliant Stable, Shamardal had been an enigma in his early days. Obviously well bred, he suffered from the wobbles, a horsemen's term for a type of spinal disorder. As a result he went unsold for $485,000 as a foal at the Keeneland November Sale. Sent to Tattersalls as a yearling the following October, he was knocked down by Maktoum Al Maktoum's Gainsborough Stud for a mere $50,000. With the death of Sheikh Maktoum the following January, all Gainsborough stock became the property of his brother, Sheikh Mohammed, who promptly transferred Shamardal to the Godolphin wing of his giant worldwide operation. He ended his racing career with four Group 1 wins between 7 furlongs and 1 5/16 miles.
Shamardal was hurriedly rushed into service at Darley Stud in Australia for the Southern Hemisphere spring season in late 2005. He has since shuttled batween Australia and Darley's Kildangan Stud in Ireland. His record at stud thus far has been at least as phenomenal as his record on the racetrack.
Shamardal got off to a fast start when a filly from his first crop Down Under, Faint Perfume, won the 1 9/16-mile, Group 1 Crown Victoria Oaks at Flemington. She has also won Rosehill's 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes and won Group 2 races at 7 furlongs and 1 1/4 miles.
In February, his daughter Siyaadah won the one-mile UAE 1000 Guineas on the Meydan Tapeta surface, but better was still to come in the form of Lope de Vega.
Named for the man considered Spain's greatest writer after Cervantes, Lope de Vega was stamped with Shamardal's peculiar brand of brilliance, as he made like his father in winning both the Poule d'Essai des Poulains and the Prix du Jockey-Club this spring.
This season Shamardal has been a leading sire of 2-year-olds in Europe. In the space of a week last month his sons Casamento and Dubai Prince were both stakes winners, Dubai Prince winning the 7-furlong, Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown by 3 1/2 lengths just two days after Casamento had taken the one-mile, Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
Those weren't the only juvenile stakes winners for Shamardal. Earlier this year his son French Navy won the one-mile, Group 3 Peix des Chenes at Longchamp. Dunboyne Express has won the Curragh's 6-furlong, 63-yard Anglesey Stakes, and Duel was recently the winner of the 1 1/8-mile, Group 3 Premio Guido Berardelli at the Capannelle in Rome.
To date Shamardal has sired 150 winners form 379 foals, 243 of which have raced. Of those 150 winners, 24 are stakes winners. The leading first-season sire of 2009 in Britain and Ireland, his offspring have earned a total of $12,431,378 from just three crops of racing age.
An excellent combination of speed and stamina on both the racetrack and in the breeding shed, Shamardal has led the way in establishing the budding reputation of his sire Giant's Causeway as a sire of sires along with Footstepsinthesand, who is the sire of Irish Group 2 winner Formosina and Irish Group 3 winners Steinbeck and Sent From Heaven, and Fort Samurai, who is the sire of Saratoga's Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes winner Le Mi Geaux.
Shamardal, who is at Darley's Kildangan Stud in Ireland, stood for a 2010 fee of 20,000 pounds (currently $32,230). That has been increased to 50,000 pounds ($80,575) for 2011.

This is the first installment of an occasional series on the world's leading sires and broodmares.