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By Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.) | 11 Aug 2021 |

Resumption of racing at Malakpet means that the hiatus enforced by the pandemic has been shorter in 2021 than in 2020. Hopefully, the winter seasons of 2021-22 at all centres will start as usual and if they do, the progeny of five new stallions who entered the covering yard for the first time in 2018 will get an opportunity to showcase the talents of their sires. The new stallions are all imported and spread from Punjab in the North to Karnataka in the South.

While some readers will already be aware of them. For those who are unfamiliar, this article will bring them up to date.

BASEM (b 2011, Pivotal - Gonbarda by Lando)
Standing at Rolli Stud, Gurgaon (Haryana)
Racing Performance: 4 wins at 3 and 4 in England, all over 1600 m. Won on good to firm to good to soft. BOR: 110.
Other stallion sons of Pivotal in India: Excellent Art[GB]
Previous stallion at Rolli Stud: Stardan[IRE]

Darley-bred Basem was a yearling when his older full-brother Farhh, racing in Godolphin colours, placed in five Gr.1s in England. It was hence a foregone conclusion that Basem would follow in his footsteps and enter the yard of Saeed bin Suroor at Newmarket. He did not race at 2 while Farhh recorded a Gr.1 double that year. It would not be wrong to say that Farhh's exploits would have raised the expectations about Basem. However, though Basem scored four times over a mile and placed thrice from his first nine starts at 3 and 4, he did not quite come up to Farhh's high level. His best performance was in placing a close third in the Betfred Mobile Strensall Stakes, Gr.3 at 4. He failed to win at 5 from his five starts but placed second in his lone foreign foray when second in the France-Galop Anatolia Trophy in Istanbul.

Basem's sire Pivotal was bred and raced by Cheveley Park Stud. He was a top class sprinter, winning four of his six starts including the Nunthorpe Stakes, Gr.1 at York. Returning to the place of his birth to take up stallion duties, he has been an outstanding success. Starting at a modest GBP 6,000, his fee went up to as high as GBP 85,000 sheerly on the strength of the performance of his produce. The pick of his Gr.1 winners would be the dual Oaks winner Sariska, African Story (Dubai World Cup, Gr.1), Addeybb (Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Gr.1 in Australia), Excellent Art[GB] (St. James's Palace Stakes, Gr.1; Champion Sire in India), Farhh (Qipco Champion Stakes, Gr.1; sire), Kyllachy (Victor Chandler Nunthorpe Stakes, Gr.1; sire), Lightning Spear (Qatar Sussex Stakes, Gr.1; sire), Brando, Blair House, etc. Other Group winning sire sons like Captain Rio, Virtual, Eagle Top confirm his status as an established sire of sires.

Gonbarda, the dam of Basem, is a winner of five races in Germany including Preis von Europa, Gr.1 and Grosser Preis von Berlin, Gr.1. She has produced six winners including Farhh, Racing History (Winter Hill Stakes, Gr.3, etc) and Basem. Her pedigree is essentially German with that outstanding sire Birkhahn featuring five times in it. Northern Dancer figures just once in the pedigree of Basem and Mr. Prospector not at all. As such, he presents good outcrossing prospects.

A trifle short on performance, Basem is all the same a product of two Gr.1 winning parents and is a full-brother to Farhh, a successful sire. His main handicap is likely to be not enough mares of requisite class but he remains an interesting prospect for a private breeder -- alas, there are so few of them left -- to experiment with. He has nineteen foals from his first crop and sixteen from his second. He covered seventeen mares in 2020, the smallest number in his first three years at stud.

COUGAR MOUNTAIN (b 2011, Fastnet Rock - Descant by Nureyev)
Standing at Capricorn Stud, Nandoor (Maharashtra)
Racing Performance: 3 wins at 3 to 5 in Ireland and England (1200 m. to 1600 m.; all on good to firm going). BOR: 119
Other stallion son of Fastnet Rock in India: Smuggler's Cove[IRE]
Some previous stallions at Capricorn Stud: Tirol[IRE], Mull of Kintyre[USA], Juniper[USA]], Macchupicchu and Kingda Ka[AUS].

When Coolmore decided to bring Fastnet Rock, a Champion Sprinter and a Champion Sire in Australia, to Ireland in 2009, it was certain that some of his progeny from his first Northern Hemisphere crop would go to Ballydoyle. Cougar Mountain was one. Unfortunately, Cougar Mountain did not race at 2. He duly scored on his debut at 3 at Naas and then raced in Gr.1 contests in his next three starts over sprints in England. Inexperienced and pitched way above his level, it was little wonder that he finished among the also rans. Barring his first race, his remaining 31 starts were all in black-type races with eleven of them in Gr.1 contests. They were spread from 1000 m. to 2100 m. It would appear that for once the Ballydoyle operation didn't quite get to grips with the class and distance aptitude of Cougar Mountain. His two Group wins -- Shadwell Joel Stakes, Gr.2 and Invesco Pension Consultants Desmond Stakes, Gr.3 -- were over a mile. That was the distance over which he ran the best race of his career when a close third to Solow and Esoterique in the Queen Anne Stakes, Gr.1 at Ascot. He ended with a very respectable rating of 119.

Fastnet Rock, a son of Danehill, was a sensation in Australia, on the track and in the covering yard. He hasn't reached those dizzy standards in the Northern Hemisphere but has sired some good horses. Descant, the unraced dam of Cougar Mountain, produced seven winners. She is a half-sister to successful stallions Zafonic and Zamindar. This is the Juddmonte family of Elmaamul (sire), Reams of Verse, Midday, etc. His rating and his eminent pedigree make Cougar Mountain a stallion to keep an eye on; especially, as the best of his produce will be raced by Mr. K.N. Dhunjibhoy. An interesting point to take note of is that Cougar Mountain's sire is by Danehill out of a Royal Academy mare. His barn-mate Kingda Ka is by a son of Danehill out of a Royal Academy mare.

Cougar Mountain has just eight foals from seventeen mares he covered in 2018. He is better represented with 23 foals in his second crop and has covered 48 mares in 2020 so it is likely that his third crop will be his biggest.    

FIERO[JPN] (br 2009, Deep Impact - Ruby by Danehill)
Standing at: Manjri Stud, Pune (Maharashtra)
Racing Performance: 5 wins at 3 to 5 in Japan (1400 m. and 1600 m; three on firm going, two on soft). BRPR 118.
Only son of Deep Impact at stud in India.

Some recent stallions at Manjri Stud: Don't Forget Me[IRE], Senure[USA], Major Impact[USA],  Arabian Gulf[GB], Phoenix Tower[USA] and Strong Suit[USA]

Strong Suit passed away midway through the covering season of 2019 at Manjri Stud. The reliable Phoenix Tower had his own book to cover and Arabian Gulf had always been a supporting stallion. Manjri Stud would have been in a quandary but the need for a new stallion had been anticipated by the management and Fiero had already been acquired so a crisis was averted with foresight. Fiero, born in the Land of the Rising Sun, follows in the footsteps of Hakuchikara and Win Legend. Hakuchikara was gifted by Japan to the Turf Authorities of India when the first Asian Racing Conference was held in India in 1966. It was a while before he landed in India in 1968 at the age of 15. Winner of the Tokyo Yushun, Gr.1, the Japanese Derby, he was the first  -- and for a long time the only -- Japanese horse to win a graded race in the U.S.A. He was a stayer and despite poor patronage in India, he did produce three Classic winners -- Goldfinder, Tokaido Express and Topspin -- who won over 2400 m. or more. The exploits of Win Legend, a highly successful current sire, are too recent to elaborate on.

Fiero was bred by Shadai Farm and purchased for 42,000,000 yen (roughly US $ 400,000) by Kameko Makato Holdings Co, Ltd. He was trained throughout his career by Hideaki Fujiwara. He did not win a Group race in Japan but was twice second in Mile Championship Stakes, Gr.1 and also third in Yasuda Kinen, Gr.1. Unraced at 2, he was a durable customer who raced respectably even at the age of 8. His sire Deep Impact has taken over the mantle of Sunday Silence at Shadai Stallion Station. Outstanding sire and a confirmed sire of sires in Japan, Deep Impact's influence has spread to Europe recently with the likes of Classic winners Saxon Warrior, Beauty Parlour and Snowfall. Fiero's unraced dam is a full-sister to Rock of Gibraltar while that excellent sire Riverman is also from the same family.  

Though Deep Impact's progeny often excels over longer distances, Fiero, like Saxon Warrior and Beauty Parlour, excelled around a mile, the ideal distance aptitude for India. At Manjri, Fiero will get good mares to cover and a lot of his progeny will be raced by Mr. Shapoor Mistry in his own colours. 23 foals in his first crop is an adequate launching pad. That number increases to 34 in his second crop while he covered 52 mares -- more than any of his contemporaries -- in 2020. He is one of the main contenders for the Champion Freshman Sire though he faces a stiff competition from Sanus Per Aquam[IRE].

SANUS PER AQUAM[IRE] (b 2013, Teofilo - Fainne by Peintre Celebre)
Standing at: Kunigal Stud, Kunigal (Karnataka)
Racing Performance: 3 wins at 2 in Ireland and England (all over 1400 m.; from good to firm to good to soft). BOR 110.
Other son of Teofilo at stud in India:
Some recent stallions at Kunigal Stud: Tejano[USA], Burden of Proof[IRE], Brave Act[GB], Serious Spender[USA] and Air Support[USA].

Kunigal Stud lost its Champion Sire Burden of Proof just after the 2016 covering season was over. Serious Spender was put down in February 2017 and exactly a year later Brave Act also departed. With just Air Support left, another hand was urgently required and thus Sanus Per Aquam arrived at Kunigal for the 2018 covering season.

Bred and trained by Jim Bolger in Ireland, Sanus Per Aquam raced in the colours of the trainer's wife. The colt had a splendid two year-old campaign, winning three of his six starts and placing in the other three. A winner on debut late in June at the Curragh, he scored an encore a few days later at Leopardstown. He was very short odds-on to win the JRA Tyros Stakes, Gr.3 and was in the lead midway up the straight. He was narrowly beaten by Deauville, now a stallion at Usha Stud. Another Ballydoyle runner, Johannes Vermeer, beat him in the Willis Champions Juvenile Stakes, Gr.3 where he was third. His next two starts were at Newmarket where he prevailed in a fighting finish to win the Somerville Tattersalls Stakes, Gr.3 but was only third in Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, Gr.1 behind Ballydoyle's Air Force Blue and Massaat. Over the next two years, he was twice on the board but never got a paying place. A possible reason for the decline was that he was always raced beyond 1400 m. over which he had won all his three races. Also, he rarely got the good ground he possibly needed.

Till Frankel came along, Teofilo was Galileo's most successful stallion son. Some of Teofilo's progeny -- like Subjectivist, Cross Counter, Pleascach, Twilight Payment, Trading Leather, Exultant -- are wont to stay but there are other good runners around a mile. Teofilo's sons at stud include Havana Gold, Parish Hall, Massaat, Portage, Palentino, Kermadac and Arod (in India; foals yet to race).  Sanus Per Aquam should be suited pedigree wise  to mares who have strains of Burden of Proof and Razeen in them. There isn't any dearth of them at Kunigal.

35 foals in his first crop from 45 mares covered give Sanus Per Aquam a decided numerical edge in his quest for Champion Freshman Sire honours. The number comes down to 16 in his second crop while he covered just 17 mares in 2020.
SHIFTING POWER[GB] (ch 2011, Compton Place - Profit Alert by Alzao)
Standing at: Badal Stud, Muktsar (Punjab)
Racing Performance: 4 wins at 2 to 4 in England (1400 m. and 1600 m.; won on good and good to firm going). BOR 115
Only son of Compton Place at stud in India.

Recent stallions at Badal Stud: Kly Green[GB], Sussex[GB] and Total Gallery[IRE].

The only chestnut in the quintet of new stallions, Shifting Power took his place alongside Total Gallery at Badal Stud in 2018. Interestingly, both Shifting Power and Total Gallery are grandsons of Indian Ridge. Owned by Ms. Ellaine Chivers and Potensis Ltd., Shifting Power was lodged in the Herridge Stables of the Hannons at Marlborough in Wiltshire. He ran twice at 2 and won both his starts for Hannon, Sr. who retired at the end of 2013. For Hannon, Jr. also, he won two races and earned his black-type laurels. He won his first start at 3 to complete his hat-trick and then was second to Kingman in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, Gr.1 and to Charm Spirit in Prix Jean Prat, Gr.1 at Chantilly. As a four year-old, he was first third in the Bet365 Sandown Mile, Gr.2 and then picked up the Ladbrokes Royal Windsor Stakes, L. He pulled up lame at Epsom in the Diomed Stakes, Gr.3 during Golden Horn's Derby week-end and raced just twice more before he was retired.

Compton Place was a smart sprinter who counted the Darley July Cup, Gr.1 among his three wins. Retired as a stallion to stand at Whitsbury Manor Stud in Hampshire, he had a long career during which he produced some notable sprinters like Borderlescott, Deacon Blues, Pearl Secret, Prolific, Godfrey Street and others. The Boussac-Aga Khan dam line has very stout origins but there is more speed among the recent generations. The Siyouni filly Laurens, a recent multi-Gr.1 winner, is the obvious pick from the immediate family. Going further back, the family did well for Marcel Boussac with this branch being developed by the Aga Khan.

Shifting Power's pedigree, like that of Basem, has only one line of Northern Dancer and none of Mr. Prospector and hence offers good outcross options. With 23 foals, he has decent representation in his first crop while his second has 25. He covered 26 mares in 2020.


Every set of new stallions leads to anticipation and prompts some questions.  Which stallion will be the first to sire a runner? Who will be the first to sire a winner ? In which month (Nov, Dec, Jan 22, Feb, Mar) will the first winner arrive ? Which stallion will emerge as the Champion Freshman Sire ?

The overall expectations need to be tempered according to the point of view. A small breeding establishment is merely hoping that their new import will produce regular winners and prove popular with smaller trainers. Any black-type 'gets' of the stallion are merely a bonus. On the other hand, the larger stud farms want the progeny of their stallion to excel at exalted levels. For them, a stallion who gets plenty of winners but no black-type performers is a disappointment.