It was the year Galileo won the Epsom Derby, Monarchos became only the third horse to break the two-minute barrier for the Kentucky Derby, Arc hero Sakhee got inched out as Tiznow took his second straight Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Northerly won the first of his two Cox Plates. It was also a year when a very special crop of foals came into the world.
Nearly one in eight of the world’s most successful 100 stallions of today were born over the 12 months of 2001 as those equine legends were doing their stuff on the track. Which makes it the most influential year of all as far as current top-level racing stock is concerned.
Headed by the likes of Tapit, Iffraaj, Kitten’s Joy and Fastnet Rock, the class of 2001 have maintained their effectiveness better than any from more recent seasons, as shown in the chart below, taken from the latest sires’ standings in the TRC Global Rankings.
Left axis equals the number of stallions born each year that are in the top 100 in the world sires' rankings
The stallions born in 2004 and 2005 haven’t done badly, with 11 and 10 representatives in the top 100 respectively, but they haven’t been able to catch 2001, which still has 12.
Of course, a stallion’s effectiveness inevitably diminishes as he gets older, so it’s pretty remarkable that five born as long ago as 1993 are still successful enough to hold a place in the top 100.
It takes a few seasons before a sire’s full potential can be realised in these rankings - he needs ideally to have been represented on the racecourse by at least four crops - so no horse foaled since 2007 is likely to take particularly high order in the table. And that makes 2008’s total of six stallions in the 100 particulary impressive. But then that was the year that gave us Frankel, Uncle Mo and Enable’s sire, Nathaniel.
- The record of 2002 may not look unusually notable - with eight representatives in the top 100 - but it’s hard to beat in terms of top-end quality: four stallions foaled that year are in the top eight.
- 2003, which you would expect to be as productive as any, fares poorly, with just four representatives.
- Oldest horse in the 100: Monsun (born 1990 - died 2012).
- Oldest stallions still active: Northern Afleet, Pivotal, Distorted Humor (all born in 1993).
- Youngest stallion in the 100: Pierro (born October, 2009).
- Biggest climber last week: Written Tycoon (whose progeny won one G2 and two G3s at Caulfield on Saturday). He gained 12 rankings points to climb from 32 places to #32. He was foaled in 2002.
Which stallions were foaled in which year
Listed in order as they stand in the rankings
Monsun (died 2012)
Smart Strike (died 2015)
Unbridled’s Song (died 2013)
Encosta De Lago (retired)
Cape Cross (died 2017)
Captain Al (Nov)
More Than Ready
Exceed And Excel
Not A Single Doubt
I Am Invincible
Duke Of Marmalade
Holy Roman Emperor
Sea The Stars
Pioneerof The Nile
Lope De Vega
Lookin At Lucky
Click here for a list of all last week’s biggest TRC Global Rankings points gainers.
Click here for a list of all the week’s Group and Graded winners.