All eyes are firmly on the Gold Coast this week with the Magic Millions Bloodstock's extravaganza of racing, yearling sales and special events.
A massive 1065 yearlings have been gathered for its world-renowned yearling auction beginning yesterday with 888 catalogued lots of Book 1 continuing today, and concluding on its action-packed evening session on Saturday night. Book 2 session is Sunday.
Today will see a half-sister to recent Group 1 winner Vow And Declare (won Melbourne Cup) feature, the filly is by outstanding Widden Stud sire Star Witness.
Also, today is a first Australian crop filly from Fastnet Rock stakes winner Lake Geneva, by Coolmore Stud shuttler American Pharoah, who has proved an immediate US stud success.
Yarraman Park's hot sire I Am Invincible is represented with the most progeny at 53 catalogued, followed closely with 52 by champion Australian sire Snitzel.
Stallions represented with their first progeny are Australian bred sires Astern (by Medaglia d'Oro), Awesome Rock (Fastnet Rock), Capitalist (Written Tycoon), Defcon and Divine Prophet (Choisir), Extreme Choice (Not A Single Doubt), Flying Artie (Artie Schiller), Kiss And Make Up (More Than Ready), Odyssey Moon and Sooboog (Snitzel), Star Turn (Star Witness), Stratum Star (Stratum), and Winning Rupert (Written Tycoon).
Also in this category are NZ bred Xtravagant (Pentire), and US bred Air Force Blue (by War Front), American Pharoah (Pioneerof The Nile), Bobby's Kitten (Kitten's Joy), and Frosted (Tapit), Irish bred Cable Bay, Shalaa and Territories (Invincible Spirit), and Japanese bred Maurice (Screen Hero), and Mikki Isle (Deep Impact).
The first progeny of NZ based sires with sale yearlings include NZ bred Tarzino (Tavistock) and Turn Me Loose (Iffraaj); Australian bred Rageese (Street Cry), Tivaci (High Chaparral), and Vanbrugh (Encosta de Lago), while the Irish bred Belardo (Lope de Vega) has two lots.
Saturday will see the Gold Coast Turf Club's annual The Star Magic Millions raceday, which features two $2m events. The Greg Hickman, Warwick Farm, trained Fastnet Rock gelding Eleven Eleven looks a huge threat in the $2m Magic Millions Three-Year-Old Guineas.
Big numbers in England, Ireland
Australian industry enthusiasts would have thought that the high numbers of mares served by an individual stallion in recent stud seasons had surely reached a maximum a sire can handle.
Figures via the Australian Stud Book has Coolmore Stud's Rubick serving the most during the 2018 stud season at a massive 263 mares, followed by another Coolmore horse, Merchant Navy, and Newgate Farm's Deep Field each serving 246 mares. That stud season saw a total of 13 stallions each serve 200 mares or more.
However, there were 19 stallions who served 200 or more mares in the 2019 northern hemisphere stud season - figures were released via Weatherbys, who has the role of registering all Thoroughbreds in Great Britain and Ireland in The General Stud Book.
The top four stallions - Order Of St George, Soldier Of Fortune, Getaway, and Walk In The Park, are known as "jumps" stallions, sires known for long-distance stamina, and prominently used by breeders looking to breed a staying galloper or solely for National Hunt and jumping events.
Both Order Of St George and Soldier Of Fortune each served a whopping 275 mares, and interestingly both are Coolmore stallions and both are by their iconic champion sire Galileo (by another Coolmore iconic stallion Sadler's Wells).
Of the "flat" stallions, Sioux Nation - who stood his first Australian season at Swettenham Stud at Nagambie, served the highest number at 241 mares. The dark bay horse is the first son by his short-lived but outstanding US sire Scat Daddy to stand in Victoria.
Zoffany served 216 mares and Lope de Vega 207, while another Coolmore shuttler Churchill (just finished his second Australian season) served 214.
An interestingly named Coolmore stallion is Australia, who served 229 mares. A GB bred son of Galileo, Australia won the English and Irish Derbies.
In Australia, there have been three horses with the nation's name. A mare born in 1898 by GB bred Gossoon; another mare born in 1958 by GB bred Nilo; and a stallion born in 1999, being a non-winner by Victory Prince.