06/09/2005 11:00PM

Coolmore has classic prospects all over globe

Belmont entrant Andromeda's Hero is by Fusaichi Pegasus, one of Coolmore's star stallions.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - No 3-year-old will have a chance to win the Triple Crown this year, but the stallions from the Coolmore group's international array of sires will have taken a classic in their third country in the past eight days should Andromeda's Hero get home in the Belmont.

Last Saturday, Motivator (by Coolmore sire Montjeu) won the Derby at Epsom, and then Shamardal (by Ashford sire Giant's Causeway) won the French Derby (Prix du Jockey Club) at Chantilly.

Not only are both stallions represented by their first crop of 3-year-olds this season, and not only are both Coolmore sires, but Montjeu also is the sire of the second-place finishers in the English and French classics. A tip-top 12-furlong performer by the great Coolmore stallion Sadler's Wells, Montjeu appears to be siring horses with a very similar aptitude and, most importantly, similar class.

If Andromeda's Hero (by Fusaichi Pegasus) wins the Belmont, John Magnier and his confederates at Coolmore will be toasting their successes with crates of champagne, as the result will give them an international classic trifecta.

Even without the Belmont, the European classic results have been both positive and numerous for Coolmore, whose young sire Giant's Causeway has sired a pair of classic winners in Shamardal and Footstepsinthesand.

A handsome chestnut, Giant's Causeway is the best European-raced son of Storm Cat. Giant's Causeway's consistency and grinding determination to win were important factors in making Storm Cat as popular with breeders and owners in Europe as he has been with breeders here in the States.

Coolmore figured out that Storm Cat was a sire of the first magnitude fairly early, and followed up that assessment by taking a sizable stake in the stallion in the form of lifetime breeding rights when Overbrook chose to make a number of those available to breeders a few years ago.

The international operation's commitment to Storm Cat was not limited to support of the stallion with their top mares. Magnier, typically through his longtime associate Demi O'Byrne, has been one of the leading buyers of Storm Cat's offspring at the yearling sales.

Magnier also has assembled a large cast of Storm Cat sons and grandsons at his international studs. In Kentucky at Ashford, for example, the Storm Cat influence is present in farm stallions Giant's Causeway, Hennessy, Tale of the Cat, Lion Heart, Johannesburg, Black Minnaloushe, Hold That Tiger, Van Nistelrooy, and High Yield.

Magnier has backed the sons of Storm Cat because he clearly believes in the line as one of the strongest avenues of descent for the Northern Dancer line, and because he has found that American breeders will strongly support sons of Storm Cat.

In comparison, Coolmore has only a pair of Storm Cat's sons in Ireland: One Cool Cat and Statue of Liberty. Coolmore stands Sadler's Wells in Ireland, and there the emphasis has shifted to that great sire's sons, including Montjeu, as well as the younger High Chaparral and Galileo.

The emphasis, in general, on the dominant Northern Dancer sire line is as evident at Coolmore as it is at Ashford, although there is more variety in the lines of descent in Ireland. In addition to Sadler's Wells and his sons, Coolmore stands stallions descending from Nureyev, Lyphard, Danzig, and his son Danehill, as well as a second remaining son of Northern Dancer himself in Night Shift.

With this level of emphasis on the Northern Dancer line, there is an obvious need to outcross somewhat with another line, and the outcross line of choice for the past decade and a half with the international breeding community has been Raise a Native, especially through his son Mr. Prospector.

The premier stallions from this line at Ashford are two of Mr. Prospector's sons: Woodman, sire of European classic winner Hector Protector and American classic winner Hansel, and the Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.

Fusaichi Pegasus is the most prominent Ashford stallion aside from Giant's Causeway. A $4 million yearling who kept up the best traditions by winning a classic and then being sold for mega-millions as a stallion prospect, Fusaichi Pegasus has had a promising and successful first crop, now 3.

One of the top freshman sires last year, Fusaichi Pegasus has sired runners who seem to be getting better with distance and maturity. And one of those who has shown signs of improvement is Andromeda's Hero, winner of a stakes in his fourth start, third in the Arkansas Derby to Afleet Alex, and eighth in the Kentucky Derby after an eventful trip.

A good galloper with classic prospects, Andromeda's Hero is out of Marozia, by Storm Bird, who is also the sire of Storm Cat. Is anyone sensing a pattern here?