As we near the end of 2021, a year in which much of the world began to emerge from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, we realise how vulnerable our industry is to external challenges both pestilent and political. At the same time, we can marvel at the resilience shown by our industry in the face of these serious challenges.
The passing of three of the most important investors in bloodstock worldwide, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prince Khalid Abdullah and David Thompson will be acutely felt but it is heartwarming to see that the bloodstock operations that they founded are continuing into the future. Bloodstock sales worldwide performed strongly and international demand for high class bloodstock is truly remarkable. We should not however assume that this upward trend will continue indefinitely if the funding of racing in several European countries is not urgently addressed. If not, we will continue to see the inexorable movement of the highest quality racehorses and bloodstock to countries where the racing product is better funded.
2021 saw continued success at the top level for Ballylinch in both the stallion and broodmare divisions. Amongst the stallions Lope de Vega with 48 Stakes horses in 2021, confirmed that he is one of the world’s elite sires. He has achieved success at the highest level on four different continents and is one of those rare sires who can truly be called a global success.
New Bay has made the breakthrough to the top level with his first crop of runners, and he is set to cover an outstanding book of mares in 2022 with the support of most of Europe’s top breeders. His outstanding statistics for his runners have led to him becoming one of the most in demand young stallions in Europe.
Make Believe has made an outstanding start to his stallion career by siring the exceptionally talented and versatile Mishriff in his first crop. Mishriff was ably backed up by Group winners Noticeable Grace, Believe in Love, Ocean Fantasy and Rose of Kildare. His much stronger crops to come will see him establish himself as one of Europe’s leading sires for the future.
Waldgeist, the best son of the much-lamented Galileo since the outstanding Frankel, has been given a great chance to succeed in his stallion career. He was a really high class two-year-old who went on to win a vintage Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and his first foals in the hands of top breeders are giving every indication that he could be just as successful at stud as on the racecourse.
Dream Ahead, one of Europe’s finest sources of high-quality speed and already sire of 4 Group 1 winning sprinter/milers will relocate to Terry Holdcroft’s Bearstone Stud in the UK. Bearstone are the breeders of Dream Ahead’s top class sprinting filly Glass Slippers, winner of 3 Group 1 sprints and the first European to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Dream Ahead offers British breeders an excellent opportunity to use an outstanding racehorse and a proven Group 1 sire at a very attractive fee.
Lawman sire of last year’s European Champion 2yo Filly Pretty Gorgeous will remain at Haras de Grandcamp in 2022. He is now the sire of 6 Group 1 winners and is one of the most proven sires standing in France at Group 1 level.
Fascinating Rock whose first crop will turn four next year, will relocate to Burgage Stud in 2022. He is already a proven stakes sire on the flat and I am very confident that he will develop into a leading dual purpose sire, following the successful path previously travelled by both Bob Back and Shantou. He will continue to be supported and promoted by his shareholders Newtown Anner Stud and Ballylinch Stud.
The broodmares at Ballylinch had another successful year in 2021, lead by Alava whose New Bay colt Bayside Boy underlined his Classic credentials with victory in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes. Another two-year-old Fast Attack followed in Saffron Beach’s footsteps by winning the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes, and there is every hope she can develop into a Group 1 performer next season. Her dam, the stakes
winning sprinter Fort del Oro, hails from Lope de Vega’s first crop and confirms her sire’s credentials as a broodmare sire. The bittersweet moment of the season was undoubtably this year’s Irish Derby, where
Modernstone’s Group winner, Lone Eagle made a brave dash for classic victory only to be collared on the line by Hurricane Lane. We can’t wait to see what these and others can achieve next year.
With the support of John and Leslie Malone, we are continuously investing and improving the facilities at both Ballylinch and Castlemartin to give each horse, both resident and visiting, every chance to achieve their potential. As usual I would like to sincerely thank all our clients both at the farms and at the sales. Your support is greatly appreciated by all the team here at Ballylinch.
Finally, may I wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2022.