2020 will be remembered by most as a year of unprecedented difficulty and great challenges. I think it is to the great credit of our industry, with the support of governments throughout the world, that both racing and breeding were able to continue to operate without putting the health of the general public at risk. Now with the prospect of effective vaccines on the horizon we can hope that 2021 may see the return of owners and spectators to racecourses, thus allowing normal service to resume.
Meanwhile at Ballylinch, 2020 was a year of continued success for both the stallions and the broodmare band. Lope de Vega has confirmed that he is one of the best sires in the world. Now the sire of Group 1 winners on 4 different continents, his outstanding crop of two year olds – including Aunt Pearl, Lucky Vega and La Barossa – point towards the influence that he will have in the years ahead.
Make Believe’s first crop of three year olds have confirmed that he is one of Europe’s most promising young sires. Led by Prince Faisal’s Mishriff, a most impressive winner of the Prix du Jockey Club, who was ably backed up by the Group winning fillies Rose of Kildare, Believe in Love and Ocean Fantasy. Make Believe is the only sire from his crop with a Classic winner and he is now attracting the support of Europe’s leading breeders. He will continue his ascent to the top of the sires’ table.
New Bay has the pedigree and race record to make a top sire and his first crop of two year olds have shown that he is on course to realise this potential. Group 2 Royal Lodge winner New Mandate and the unbeaten Group 3 winner Saffron Beach lead the way, but they are backed up by a host of other highly rated two year olds. Given his brilliant strike rate, the market has recognised his potential and you can expect great things from New Bay in 2021.
Fascinating Rock also had his first crop of runners in 2020. He is a little behind the pace of his stud companions so far, but the reports on his progeny from their trainers is very positive. With the progress he himself made from two to three he could well be the surprise package of 2021.
Our newest recruit at Ballylinch is the outstanding Arc winner Waldgeist, a racehorse of the highest class with a superb pedigree. We are delighted with the support he has received in his first season at stud. A homebred champion for Ammerland and Newsells Park, his first book of mares is packed with quality and will give him every chance to emulate his racecourse success in the next phase of his career.
Our French based stallions Dream Ahead and Lawman both tasted success at the very highest level. Dream Ahead’s daughter Glass Slippers made history by becoming the first European trained winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, her third Group 1 victory. Dream of Dreams win in the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup also ensured Dream Ahead maintained his position as Europe’s elite source of speed.
Lawman already the sire of two Classic winners, has good prospects for a third with the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile winner Pretty Gorgeous. She will have a great chance in whatever Guineas her trainer Joseph O’Brien decides to target. His yearlings sold very well this year realising up to 150,000gns with the median and average well up on previous years.
The broodmares at Ballylinch have also had a year to remember highlighted by the stunning success of Aunt Pearl at the Breeders’ Cup. Bred in partnership with Ecurie des Charmes, the daughter of Lope de Vega and Matauri Pearl is one of the most exciting two year olds anywhere in the world. Another young mare, Modernstone, is the dam of Classic prospect and impressive Group 3 Zetland Stakes winner Lone Eagle. We can’t wait to see what both of 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.
Finally, thank you to each of our loyal clients, your support is greatly appreciated. The entire team and I would like to wish each of you a happy and healthy 2021.