02/16/2012 4:47PM

2011 stallion honors: Danehill, leading broodmare sire


Danehill dominated Australia and Europe for decades, named leading sire in Australia nine times, Britain and Ireland four times, and France two times. Now he adds his first broodmare sire title to that list.

Frankel was one of several stars who took Danehill to the top of the 2011 Northern Hemisphere earnings list for broodmare sires. But despite Frankel’s dominance as 2000 Guineas winner and European Horse of the Year, he wasn’t the leading earner to represent Danehill last year as a broodmare sire. That honor went to Danedream, a 3-year-old German-bred filly by Lomitas who upset the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Danehill daughters also produced Roderic O’Connor, who won the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas; Maybe and Nayarra, who were Group 1-winning European 2-year-olds; and Sarah Lynx, who won the Grade 1 Canadian International against males. Frankel, Roderic O’Connor, and Maybe are all by Irish super-sire Galileo, Sarah Lynx is by Montjeu, and Nayarra is by Cape Cross.

Danehill mares were represented by 34 Northern Hemisphere stakes winners in 2011, most of them in Europe, with earnings over $16.8 million.

Danehill’s sons Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur, Danehill Dancer, and Dansili have all secured at least one leading sire title in their respective home bases of Australia, Ireland, or Britain. Now the accomplishments of his many broodmare daughters help shine a new light on Danehill’s global influence.

Danehill was bred in Kentucky in 1986 by Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms near Lexington, Ky. He was the result of a unique mating, by Danzig (by Northern Dancer) out of Razyana by His Majesty. His second dam, Spring Adieu, was a half-sister to Northern Dancer. This cross resulted in 3x3 inbreeding to Northern Dancer’s dam, Natalma, which is a little unusual but may have provided Danehill with the genetic prepotency he would demonstrate as a stallion.

Danehill was sent to England to race for Juddmonte in 1988. After going 1 for 3 as a 2-year-old, he scored in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup, Cork, and Orrery stakes at 3 and placed third in the 2000 Guineas. At year’s end, he was highweighted sprinter for his age group. Sold by Juddmonte, Danehill entered stud at Coolmore in Ireland in 1990 and made the Southern Hemisphere season at Arrowfield Stud in Australia, the beginning of a legendary shuttle sire and a stud career that ended with his death in 2003.

Danehill was an instant and resounding success, especially in Australia, but his reputation quickly caught up in Europe. His first three crops in Australia sent out Danzero, Flying Spur, and Merlene, consecutive winners of the country’s premier juvenile event, the Golden Slipper Stakes, from 1994 to 1996. His early Group 1 stars up north were Coronation Stakes winner Kissing Cousin and Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup winner Danish.

Danehill’s first good colt in the Northern Hemisphere was third-crop runner Danehill Dancer, winner of the 1995 Group 1 Phoenix Stakes in Ireland at 2 and leading sire in Britain in 2009. Danehill’s first classic winner in the Northern Hemisphere was Desert King, winner of the 1997 Irish 2000 Guineas and Irish Derby. Desert King, out of a mare by Nureyev, was inbred 3x3 to Northern Dancer, the first of many Danehill descendants created on this pattern.

Bred to large books in both hemispheres, the Danehill legacy of stallion sons was quickly matched by his broodmare daughters, who have produced at least 185 stakes winners. Besides Frankel, Danedream, Maybe, Nayarra, Roderic O’Connor, and Sarah Lynx, previous Northern Hemisphere Group 1 winners out of Danehill mares include Art Connoisseur (by Lucky Story), Duncan (Dalakhani), Golden Lilac (Galileo), Intense Focus (Giant’s Causeway), Nannina (Medicean), Saoire (Pivotal), Siyouni (Pivotal), and Teofilo (Galileo).

The majority of those are inbred to Northern Dancer, and Danehill mares are having particular success blended with Galileo and Pivotal, both also from the Northern Dancer line. As with Nayarra, by Cape Cross, Danehill is showing up in inbreeding schemes to Danzig. The same will probably be true for Danehill as his influence continues to expand.

Danehill pedigree