Sometimes You Just Have to Believe

Tara Madgwick - Tuesday August 13
When your business is creating the next generation of superior stallions, sometimes you just have to believe.

Storm CatThroughout the 1990's and into the next century there was no bigger stallion in the world than the Northern Dancer line sire Storm Cat with Coolmore investing heavily in his offspring and that unshakable belief in his ability to ultimately found a sire dynasty of the future has led them to a new chapter of success.

Among the many sons of Storm Cat that have stood for Coolmore over the years, champion racehorse Giant's Causeway is undoubtedly the best, emerging as Champion Sire in North America in 2009, 2010 and 2012 as well as being Champion Broodmare Sire for North America last year, but it is one of his lesser sons that has taken the sireline forward for Coolmore in a new and exciting way.

Before Giant's Causeway came along, Coolmore enjoyed success with a Group I winning 2YO son of Storm Cat in Hennessy (USA), who shuttled to Australia for five seasons between 1997 and 2001.

HennessyA strong muscular chestnut, he enjoyed moderate success in Australia and showed real versatility in his progeny with the expected slew of stakes-winning sprinting offspring outshone by his two best horses Grand Armee and Half Hennessy.

The former was a towering statuesque individual that was the best older weight-for-age horse of his time winning seven Group I races with an optimum distance of 1600 to 2000 metres, while the latter was a stunning looking classic colt that won the Group I Queensland Derby and could have done a lot more had he not been injured shortly after.

Grand Armee was ultimately the best horse Hennessy ever produced, but his next best was a Northern Hemisphere bred colt called Johannesburg (USA), who did amazing things as a two year-old in 2001.

JohannesburgHe was the world champion 2YO that year winning everything in Europe for Aidan O'Brien and then crossing the Atlantic to score a historic win in the Group I Breeders Cup Juvenile on dirt. He was one of the best and toughest two year-olds in history and shuttled to Coolmore Australia for five seasons between 2003 and 2007.

Johannesburg achieved a measure of success in Australia leaving Group I winners Turffontein and Once Were Wild, but was ultimately seen as disappointing in both hemispheres with the exception of one outstanding colt in Scat Daddy.

A Group I winner at two and three in the US, he joined the Coolmore US roster in 2008 at a modest $30,000 fee and also commenced a shuttling career to South America. 

He quickly emerged as something seriously special and if he had not died prematurely at the end of 2015 would undoubtedly be among the very best sires in the world.

Scat Daddy (pictured above) has 12.2% stakes-winners to runners with his final crop of foals now three year-olds and last year he produced the jewel in the crown, a horse called Justify.

The only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history, Justify raced just six times, all of them as a three year-old and won from 1400 to 2400 metres at the highest level earning him the title of US Horse of the Year in 2018 as well as Champion 3YO.

Justify Justify is one of five Group I winning sons of Scat Daddy now standing at Coolmore and four of them are in Australia this spring with Justify joined at Coolmore headquarters in the Hunter Valley by Mendelssohn (USA) and No Nay Never (USA), while Sioux Nation (USA) has been dispatched to Swettenham Stud in Victoria, a move that ultimately generated huge success for a horse called Danehill Dancer (IRE) if we step back in time.

Caravaggio (USA), the fifth Group I winning son of Scat Daddy standing for Coolmore, was here in Australia last year, but did not come this year with a return in 2020 pencilled in for the future.

Australian breeders cannot afford to ignore the rise of Scat Daddy as a sire of sires given the rare versatility and ability of these horses to excel over a range of distances and surfaces.

While Justify is priced above the budget of most breeders, and rightly so - the horse is a unicorn – Mendelssohn and No Nay Never are priced attractively for their credentials.

MendelssohnMendelssohn topped the Keeneland September Yearling Sale when bought by Coolmore for $3million, his impressive physique matched by an equally impressive pedigree page as he is a half-brother to not only champion mare Beholder, but also Group I winner Into Mischief, now one of the leading young sires in North America.

Mendelssohn won the Group I Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf and the Group II UAE Derby as a three year-old stamping himself as a high class performer, albeit not in the same league as a Justify.

He is a stunning horse no question and given his pedigree and race performance is remarkable value at $17,600.

No Nay Never is back in Australia for his fourth season and he's a little different to Justify and Mendelssohn in that he's now a proven sire in the Northern Hemisphere having been champion first season sire last year and to this point in time has sired 14 stakes-winners from his first two crops at an impressive 9.5% stakes-winners to runners.

The best of them is Ten Sovereigns, who was a Group I winner last season at two and recently won the Group I Darley July Cup (6f) to earn himself a slot as a possible Everest contender for Coolmore.

No Nay NeverNo Nay Never was one of the first Scat Daddy offspring to make his presence felt in Europe winning the Group I Prix Morny over six furlongs at two and is his first son to go to stud.

Coolmore's James Bester believes No Nay Never is the closest in type to his sire Scat Daddy and his fee in Ireland this year is 100,000 euros, so his $44,000 fee here is more than reasonable, albeit an increase on last year when he stood for $19,250 and the two previous years at $11,000.

Needless to say there is high expectations for his first Australian runners this season and if No Nay Never can replicate his European success, the Scat Daddy sireline will be well and truly on it's way on this part of the world.

Footnote : Thanks to Coolmore for inviting media to the farm on Monday to inspect some of the world's best stallions and enjoy the hospitality for which Coolmore is renowned.

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