Aversion to Staying Races Among Commercial Breeding
Stradivarius was among the big names limbering up for Royal Ascot on a sunlit Warren Hill on June 9, and he was no doubt on trainer John Gosden’s mind as he spoke about the modern breeder’s misgivings over stamina-laden stallions.
The 8-year-old will bid for a record-equaling fourth Gold Cup (G1) at the royal meeting next week, but with this campaign due to be his last, a stud career beckons and it is one likely to revolve around national hunt mares, as has become customary for top stayers from the flat, with even middle-distance group 1 winners increasingly catching the eye of jumps’ breeders.
Stradivarius cantering up Warren Hill June 9
One such is Nathaniel , who Gosden trained to win the 10-furlong Coral Eclipse Stakes (G1) in 2012 and 12-furlong Betfair King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) of 2011, and who despite the best marketing efforts of Newsells Park Stud covered 77 national hunt-oriented mares in his 2021 book of 136.
Nathaniel has sired three Classic winners, including the Gosden-trained great Enable and last Saturday’s Cazoo Derby (G1) in Memory of Lester Piggott hero Desert Crown .
His former trainer said: “There’s become this terrible tendency here to become a bit speed to a mile-oriented, and anything that stays isn’t commercial.
“I think we’ve got an aversion to staying races. A very good horse won the Derby this year who is by Nathaniel, but the problem is you get in a situation where breeders think because they get a mile and a half they don’t want that horse, it’s not commercial, and therefore they walk away.”
Gosden, who began his training career in California, added: “We’re going to wind up like American racing, which is getting shorter and shorter, and it gets very one-dimensional.”
The Newmarket trainer, who shares the license nowadays with son Thady, also put Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) entry Lord North through his paces on Thursday.
Japanese stars Grenadier Guards and Shahryar at Carlburg Stables June 9
One of his rivals at Royal Ascot next week will be Shahryar , who represents the increasingly powerful racing nation of Japan, and Gosden pointed out how their stamina-centric bloodlines were the driving force of growing success on the international stage.
Shahryar, a son of Deep Impact , has won twice at the top level over a mile and a half and was another to stretch his legs on Thursday, at Roger Varian’s Carlburg Stables, where he is lodging with fellow Northern Farm-bred Grenadier Guards, a group 1-winning son of Frankel .
Gosden said: “It’s very interesting if you look at the influence of Deep Impact, his sire Sunday Silence was a mile and a quarter, mile and a half horse, but his son ran over two miles in Japan—and look what a great stallion he is.”