Written 2010

There’s no doubting the predominating success of the Danzig / Danehill line in Australasia. Danehill alone was an amazing progenitor, his sons, which include Redoute’s Choice, Danzero, Commands, Danehill Dancer, Flying Spur and the latest kid on the block, Fastnet Rock, continue to haunt the Leading Sires lists and the cream are now producing sire sons of their own.

None of this is ‘new news’ – there is plenty of comment on the success of this branch of the Northern Dancer line and stud farms at all levels have in general rushed to seek out and install what they hope will be the next Danehill line star stallion in their barns.

The Australian Stud Book records that Danehill alone produced 1188 live foals in Australia during his life time and, as is the pyramidic way with reproduction, at the end of the 2009 breeding season his sons, grandsons and a great grandson covered 8284 mares, which is about 36% of the total broodmare population.

His daughters and tail male granddaughters made up 11% of the broodmare population in this same season, which doesn’t even include mares whose second dams are by Danehill.

If you assumed (incorrectly) that none of the Danehill line mares were covered by Danehill line stallions then a minimum of 47% of the foals born in 2010 will have Danehill somewhere in their pedigrees. 

Add to that population the progeny of Danzig’s other Australasian based sons and grandsons (such as Perugino, Testa Rossa, Golden Snake, Anabaa, Beautiful Crown, Belong To Me, Grand Lodge, Bianconi, Snaadee, Mister C, Minardi, Monashee Mountain, Desert Prince and Desert Sun) and a homologous characteristic to the modern Australian pedigree emerges.

Industry opinions differ on whether duplication of Danzig is emerging as successful.  As a pedigree analyst for many years, my vote is for the ‘negative’ (refer to my previous analysis in the October Breeding and Racing magazine on this subject). I also add that it is becoming very tedious of late analysing a catalogue when so many of the lots carry the same sires and damsires in their pedigrees.  What this does indicate though, is that a clearer answer to that debate is just around the corner.

On Day One of the Gold Coast Magic Millions sale, 20 of the 200 lots were inbred to Danzig, three of those inbred to his son Danehill.

A flick through the First Session of the upcoming Inglis Easter catalogue reveals that 14 of the 200 lots are inbred to Danzig, one of those being inbred to Danehill.

As I mentioned earlier, stud farms at all commercial levels have clambered for this bloodline since Danehill hit his straps in the mid 90’s.  The smarter ones have also started to look beyond their noses and see that they also need to stand stallions to which the daughters of all these Danzig / Danehill sires can be sent to. 

Unfortunately the Star Kingdom line has all but died out as far as stallions at stud is concerned.  The fabulous old stager Canny Lad, now rising 23, continues to produce stakes winners and showed a great affinity with the Danzig / Danehill line.  Redoute’s Choice is a product of this match. Canny Lad has 5 sons registered at stud, including Dodge.  Another successful representative is Show a Heart, who has one son, Junaluska, standing at a modest fee in Queensland. Marscay sons are also disappearing, with 10 registered at stud, the most successful of those being 18 year old Marwina, who has produced 4 Listed winners to-date.

On the subject of what we would regard as ‘colonial’ sires, Snippets continues to make a significant contribution to our industry.  Not only as he demonstrated compatibility with the Danzig / Danehill line (Snitzel, Magnus, Shellscrape, Belong To Many, Wilander, Wanted etc etc), but he is also producing some smart sons at stud.  New Zealand based Pins heads the table, and while he probably hasn’t had much exposure to the Danzig line as the Aussie based sons, he has worked extremely well with Australian based bloodlines such as Centaine (Century) and Star Kingdom line mares. Sons at stud in Australia include the promising Freshman Snippetson, Snowland, Akhenaton and Snip Valor.  With his death in 2002 however, there will not be any more direct sons going to stud.

Our first port of call has been seeking out the Mr. Prospector line.  A proven cross with Danzig and Danehill, Mr. Prospector had enjoyed some success here in previous decades, with sons such as Bellotto, Geiger Counter, Protos, Canadian Silver, Rhythm, Umatilla, Straight Strike, Woodman, Lion Cavern, Thunder Gulch and El Moxie leading the charge.

Since the ‘Danehill explosion’ (and with Mr. Prospector dying in 1999), the search for Mr. Prospector’s best bred sons and grandsons has been on in earnest.  Chile’s multiple Champion Sire Hussonet was torn away from his Latin ladies to nestle in the Hunter Valley and has found the daughters and granddaughters of Danehill much to his liking. Group winners Reaan, Gold Trail, Eagle Falls and Miss Darcy are living proof.  Hussonet already had enjoyed success with the Danzig line pre-import, producing two Chilean Group One winners from limited exposure to this line.

Hussonet, a rising 19 year old, already has several sons at stud in Australia. His US Group One winner, Host and Argentine champion Husson are probably the most appealing of the overseas bred sons.  Of the locally bred sons, Reaan and Husson Lightning are the first to go to stud.

Other Mr. Prospector line stallions to be brought to Australasia in the last decade (with mixed success) include Fusaichi Pegasus, Street Cry, No Excuse Needed, Dubawi, King Cugat, Dubai Destination, Faltaat, Bachelor Duke and E Dubai. Sons of Fusaichi Pegasus (Haradasun and Zizou) and Street Cry (Street Boss, Street Hero and Street Sense) have already hit Australian breeding barns.

Sons of Mr. Prospector line stallion Machiavellian have a dual advantage with Danehill line mares.  Machiavellian not only contributes the proven ‘outcross’ on his sire line, but he is from the same tail female line as Danehill.  Currently Shamardal and Street Cry and his sons lead represent Machiavellian in Australia, while in New Zealand, No Excuse Needed (sire of Daffodil, Take the Rap etc) holds the flag.

Another individual to provide an outcross as well as reinforce Danehill’s tail female line is Halo. His first significant son in Australia was Don’t Say Halo, who was effective as a sire but has exceeded himself as a broodmare sire.  Daughters of Don’t Say Halo have produced 31 stakes winners to-date. Several of those are from the Danzig / Danehill line including Group One winners Undoubtedly (Redoute’s Choice) and Al Maher (Danehill) and further stakes winners Sharp (Danzero), Turban (Desert Prince) and Acquiver (Danehill).

Halo grandson More Than Ready (by Southern Halo) was the next star from this sire line.  Imported in 2001, he was slow to be really embraced by Australian breeders, who regarded him as a ‘dirt horse’. In his second year at stud, at a stud fee of $22,000 he served 70 mares, compared to a peak of 175 in 2008 and exceeding 160 mares in a further three seasons.  In 2009 his stud fee had risen to $148,500.

Testament to his affinity with the Danzig / Danehill line is headed by Group One winners Sebring (ex Flying Spur mare), Benicio (Danehill) and Perfectly Ready (Danehill).  August Proud (Langfuhr), Readyor (Danehill) and Hot ‘n’ Ready (Flying Spur) are other stakes winners bred on this cross.

Recent stallions to stud from the Halo line include More Than Ready’s sons, Sebring, Benicio and the handsome import Ready’s Image. Argentinean Group One winners Masterpiece and Alert are by Southern Halo.  Southern Halo also sired Dubleo, who like More Than Ready, is one of his US bred stakes winners. Southern Image is another import from the Halo line, being by his son, Halo’s Image. 

Half of these stallions are yet to have runners, the remainder being Freshman or Second Season sires, so it’s too early to see how they are working with Danzig line mares.

Another line which is being regarded as a valid outcross for the Danzig / Danehill line is Red Ransom.  Brought here in 1999, he took a while to make a big impression and his first son to stand here, Sri Pekan, did not make an impact.  It was some time before adventurous breeders started to take advantage of the outcross created by this representative of the Roberto line and begin to stand his best sons at stud.  Charge Forward, Domesday, Face Value, Markane and Red Dazzler lead the Australian based group.  All American and Onemorenomore will join these ranks in 2010. Charge Forward, whose oldest progeny are three year olds, has made an immediate impression, and like Hussonet, is demonstrating an affinity with Danzig / Danehill. His top three performers to-date, Headway (ex Flying Spur mare), Carlton Forward (Bianconi) and Solar Charged (Danehill), are testament to this. With Red Ransom’s death at age 23 last year, he is another key stallion with limited future input in the Australian breeding industry unless one of his sons founds another predominant branch.

Of course the Storm Bird / Storm Cat line has had some success in Australia and this is another avenue for outcross.  Bluebird was probably the earliest successful sire from that line to stand in Australia. While he wasn’t around to cover many Danzig (or certainly Danehill) line mares, of his 44 stakes winners as broodmare sire, 12 of these are by Danzig line stallions including Group One winners Metal Bender, The Duke, Yell and Russeting.

The current banner waver for Storm Cat is Tale of the Cat. A highly successful sire, his son Lion Heart had his first progeny in 2006.  His first Australian stakes winner, Double Heart, is out of a mare by Danehill’s brother Eagle Eyed.  Tale of the Cat’s sons Real Saga and Purrealist have proven popular with breeders.


An interesting sire line which is beginning to be explored is that of Pivotal. Pivotal’s progeny have won over 22 million English pounds and include 76 stakes winners. 

In Australia, Darley’s accomplished racehorse Excellent Art is the sole representative of this outstanding sire, having retired in 2009.  New Zealand shuttles his son Captain Rio, whose oldest progeny are Southern Hemisphere four year olds.  They include Group One winner Il Quello Veloce. Of his 8 stakes winners to-date, 3 carry Danzig (via Volksraad, Danehill and Grand Lodge).

Pivotal, now a 17 year old, is by Polar Falcon, a son of Nureyev.  With Cozzene as his dam sire and Bustino as his second dam sire, he represents a great outcross for the vast majority of our mares. Pivotal’s daughter Saoire, winner of the Group One Irish 1000 Guineas, is by Danehill.

If some stud owners had not been brave enough to buck this trend and stand non Danzig / Danehill line sires, we would be without General Nediym (by otherwise moderate sire Nediym), Encosta de Lago (Fairy King), Starcraft (Soviet Star) More Than Ready (Southern Halo), Secret Savings (Seeking the Gold),  Zeditave,Dehere,  Show a Heart (by early deceased Brave Warrior), Jeune (by Kalaglow), Falvelon (by Alannon), Sequalo (by Rustic Amber), Pins (by Snippets) and of course the sire dynasty created by Patrick Hogan and the unprepossessing racehorse and individual, Sir Tristram.


  1. Justin Carter says:

    That was an interesting read for a newcomer to the racehorse industry.
    Thank you

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