08/20/2007 11:00PM

Darley buys Irish sire Invincible Spirit

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Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley operation has purchased a 26 percent interest in the Irish National Stud's young stallion Invincible Spirit, whose early runners include 2007 French Derby winner Lawman.

Invincible Spirit is a 10-year-old Green Desert horse with just two crops of racing age. In addition to Lawman, Invincible Spirit has sired group winner and Group 1-placed Captain Marvelous; group winners Conquest, Campfire Glow, and Fleeting Spirit; and five other black-type winners.

This represents the latest in a string of high-profile purchases Maktoum has made in his quest to acquire world-class stallions and prospects. Purchases this year include Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and runner-up Hard Spun, Haskell winner Any Given Saturday, and French and German champion Manduro.

Irish National Stud chief executive John Clarke told Racing Post, which first reported the sale Tuesday, that the stud had turned down an offer from an American concern to buy the stallion outright earlier this summer but decided to let shareholders cash in on Invincible Spirit's rising value. The stud retains a 47 percent stake in the sire.

The deal was private, but Racing Post said the stallion has been valued at about $60 million, equal to the record value placed on Fusaichi Pegasus when Coolmore Stud purchased him in 2000.