• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
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By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)
Saturday 09 Nov 2013
Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.)

The word 'usurps' is perhaps rather harsh because the Chettinad Stud stallion Always A Rainbow himself has done nothing wrong. The Champion Sire table is based on the stakes won a by a stallions's progeny and Always A Rainbow led Burden of Proof by a comfortable margin. Have a look at the top five slots in the table :-

Rank Sire Starters Winners Wins Stakes Earned
1 Always A Rainbow 92 64 202 Rs.11.40,73,461
2 Burden of Proof  141 76 123 Rs.8,02,40,933
3 Rebuttal 104 50 89 Rs.6,89,58,457
4 Placerville 145 66 122 Rs.6,41,80,454
5 Foyer 57 39 107 Rs.5,72,17,794

There are no errors in compilation of the table and yet it is not representative of the true standing of the stallions. That is because Always A Rainbow's earnings have been almost exclusively restricted to racing in the state of Tamil Nadu. He has topped the table in four of the last five years. When one centre can successfully skew the national statistics, something is drastically wrong. This is one major issue which is being ignored by all concerned. Burying heads in the sand is not going to solve the problem and leaves the breeders as a whole vulnerable to the charge that they are apathetic to the interests of their own stallions. 

Last year, Always A Rainbow thwarted Alnasr Alwasheek from becoming a Champion Sire for the first time in his career. That was the year of In The Spotlight. Alnasr Alwasheek is now 24 years old and it is unlikely that he can top the table in the coming years. So also with Burden of Proof who is now rising 21 and hence in his twilight years. A tribute needs to be paid to him.   

Bred by Lyonstown Stud in County Tipperary, Ireland, Burden of Proof raced in the colours of the renowned Vincent O'Brien and was trained by his son Charles. It was only in autumn of 2004 that Burden of Proof made his debut - a winning one - at The Curragh and the following month won the Juddmonte Bereford Stakes, Gr.3 - again at The Curragh - by six lengths to go unbeaten into his winter quarters. In fact, Burden of Proof raced only at Curragh in the first eight of his career starts. The son of Fairy King proved most hardy and durable, racing 32 times in his six years in training - all but two of those starts being in black-type races - and winning a dozen times at distances from 1200 m. to a mile. The majority of his wins came when the ground had some give in it and his victories included Budweiser World Cup International Stakes, Gr.2,  Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes, Gr.3 and Ragusa Stud Minstrel Stakes, Gr.3. Acquired by Michael Tabor, he moved to Ballydoyle late in 1998 into the stables of Aidan O'Brien. He won the Doyle Berkeley Court Amethyst Stakes, L - the third time he had won the race  in consecutive years - for his new connections. He was rated 118 - one pound more than Razeen and one less than Placerville. 

Burden of Proof arrived at Kunigal Stud to take up his duties in time for the 2000 covering season. One slight doubt concerning him was his long racing career because there are some people who believe that a long racing career mitigates against a successful stud tenure. The fact is that most horses are retired early and statistics regarding stallions with lengthy racing careers are not sufficiently representative. In any case, Burden of Proof's first crop laid any misgivings at rest. That crop contained six black-type winners including five Classic winners. Five individual Classic winners from the first crop - Fantabulous King (Kingfisher Derby Bangalore, Gr.1), Full Speed (Poonawalla Mysore Derby, Gr.1), Lindsay (Bangalore Fillies Trial Stakes, Gr.1), Camarioca (K.R.O.A. Mysore 1000 Guineas, Gr.3) and Staranzano (Vijay Textile Golconda 2000 Guineas, Gr.2) - broke Razeen's record of four. Burden of Proof's feat is yet to be matched. That crop, which announced his arrival, showed not only the class the stallion was transmitting to his progeny but also precocity. All his five Classic winners were three year-olds. He was the Champion Freshman Sire by a comfortable margin, second in the Juvenile Sires' Table to Placerville and occupied the sixth spot in the main table. 

Then, for some inexplicable reason, Burden of Proof regressed. In the next four years, he broke into the top ten just twice, being in ninth in 2005-06 and 2008-09. Just when it appeared that he might be afflicted with the Royal Gleam Syndrome, he reasserted himself to finish fourth in 2008-09. He has not been out of the top five since then and has stretched his tally of Classic winners to 14. He got his winter Derby winners through Abs Fabs and Arabian Prince and his first Indian Classic win was provided by the high class miler Siachen. He won the Super Mile with Aboline and the Stayers' Cup through Arabian Prince. Steinbeck and Alnasr Alwasheek rank higher than him among the living stallions but both will be 25 in a couple of months and hence hardly very active. 

Despite his brilliant start and admirable consistency of late, Burden of Proof has never quite got the recognition he deserves. He perhaps lacks the x-factor that stamped Razeen and Placerville and in truth they were superior to him. It is true that he has not, yet, sired a super star. Still, the ability to produce genuine runners consistently is a prized asset that is much lauded by owners and trainers. Burden of Proof's winners to named foals ratio is right up there with Razeen and Placerville. 

Burden of Proof has produced good winners from 1000 m. to 3000 m. It is around a mile, though, that his progeny is most comfortable and adept. Every stallion produces some horses who have are a bit different from the majority of his 'gets'.  Some of his produce - like Arabian Prince, Abs Fabs, Sans Pareil, So Perfect and a few others - have won good races at 2400 m.or more. What is significant is that the stamina in the case of four horses mentioned came from the damside. Burden of Proof himself was at his best around a mile. His pedigree is that of a miler. And, that is the aptitude he passes on to most of his progeny.   

There are two other tables where stallions are ranked according to the number of winners and wins which are informative. The top five in each category are:- 

WINS.  Always A Rainbow (202), Burden of Proof (123), Placerville (122), Foyer (107) and Epicentre (103). 

WINNERS. Burden of Proof (76), Placerville (66), Always A Rainbow (64), Epicentre (63) and Rebuttal (50). 

The usual suspects are all there though there is one name that has surfaced out of the blue. A.B. Stud"s Epicentre has unobtrusively crept in with a century of winners. Not many stallions get a hundred wins in a year so it is no mean achievement even if most them came in very ordinary races. A value for money stallion, the achievement comes too late for he has already been substituted by Green Coast as the No.1 stallion at Patiala.  

Kunigal Stud's star stallion can follow up with another good performance in the coming year for his crop of current two year-olds numbers 50 and is bigger than those of Rebuttal and Placerville. Always A Rainbow and Foyer, of course, will be right there once again and Multidimensional - sixth this year - is certain to break into the top five. In fact, Multidimensional ought to be in the dog-fight for the top honours though his second crop is smaller than his first.  

Rebuttal had four Classic winners in his first crop - the same as Razeen - but his next two have seen him cool off a bit. In his second, he had just one Classic winner and that was the Indian Derby hero Super Storm. He hasn't had one in his third crop so far and with just 34 two year-olds has a stiff task ahead of him. Despite dwindling numbers, Placerville could spring a surprise if the lofty expectations surrounding Southern Emperor are met. 


The National Horse Breeding Society of India published the first volume of Indian Turf Statistical Record covering the year 1975-76. The Champion Sire that year was Punjab who was then standing at Broadacres. That was the last time a stallion standing south of the Krishna wore the crown.