04/26/2011 1:56PM

Sadler's Wells, top sire, dies at 30

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sadler’s Wells, a globally influential sire and broodmare sire for the last two decades, has died at age 30, Coolmore Stud in Ireland announced Tuesday.

The Northern Dancer horse died of natural causes, according to the County Tipperary-based breeding conglomerate. Sadler’s Wells had stood at Coolmore Ireland since retiring to stud in 1984. He was pensioned in 2008.

“He was undoubtedly the best sire Europe has ever seen, and through his sons Galileo, Montjeu, High Chaparral, and Yeats, along with grandsons Hurricane Run and Rip Van Winkle, he has left a wonderful legacy at Coolmore and his influence looks set to continue for many years to come,” Coolmore manager Christy Grassick said in the Coolmore release. “We all feel privileged to have been involved with such a special horse.”

Bred by a partnership including Robert Sangster’s Swettenham Stud, Sadler’s Wells was a Group 2 winner as a juvenile, then went on to build a spectacular record at 3. He won the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Coral Eclipse, Phoenix Champion, and Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes. Also in 1984 he was runner-up in the Prix du Jockey-Club in France and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, as well as the ungraded Gladness Stakes. He was France’s champion miler that year.

But his most lasting mark was in the breeding shed. He led the sire list 11 times in England, seven times in Ireland, and four times in France. His more than 320 stakes winners included Epsom and Irish Derby winners Galileo and High Chaparral, French and Irish Derby winners Montjeu, Old Vic, and Dream Well; Epsom Oaks- and Irish Derby-winning filly Salsabil; Epsom and Irish Oaks winner Alexandrova; Epsom Oaks winners Intrepidity and Imagine; Irish Oaks winners Dance Design, Moonshell, and Ebadiyla; and Hollywood Turf Cup winner Sligo Bay.

Sadler’s Wells has sired the winners of six Breeders’ Cup races, more than any other stallion: Barathea in the 1994 Mile; Northern Spur in the 1995 Turf; High Chaparral, winner of the 2002 Turf and dead-heat winner of the 2003 Turf; In the Wings in the 1990 Turf; and Islington in the 2003 Filly and Mare Turf.

Sadler’s Wells also has led the broodmare sire standings multiple times in three countries: six times in France, five times in Ireland, and four times in England. He also was North America’s leading broodmare sire in 2008-10 and was ranked among the leaders in 2005-07.
Sadler’s Wells daughters have produced more than 250 stakes winners, including Coolmore’s current possible Kentucky Derby starter Master of Hounds.

Sadler’s Wells also has had influence on American breeding through his late son El Prado, the foundation sire for Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs operation. An Irish juvenile champion, El Prado sired Medaglia d’Oro, Kitten’s Joy, Artie Schiller, Borrego, and numerous other Grade 1 performers. El Prado was North America’s leading sire in 2002.

Sadler’s Wells was out of Fairy Bridge, Ireland’s top-weighted 2-year-old filly in 1977. He was a full brother to another successful sire, Fairy King; to Group 1 winner Tate Gallery; and to Group 3 winner and Group 1-placed Fairy Gold.

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