THE massive share of Group I races in the 2009-10 season taken out by descendants of Northern Dancer and particularly his son Danzig will not alter irrespective of the outcome of an appeal against last week’s verdict to disqualify Ortensia as the winner of the 2010 Group I The Galaxy.
Of 68 Group I events in Australia for that season, 44 were won by members of the Northern Dancer tribe of which the Danzig branch of sire-sons, grandsons and greatgrandsons claimed 29. Danzig’s best son, Danehill, and his tribe of sons accounted for 21 of those 29 wins — the VRC Australian Cup victory by Zipping crediting the dual-hemisphere champion with his 89th Group I winner worldwide and the other 20 won by progeny of his sons Fastnet Rock, Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur, Nothin Leica Dane, Danewin, Commands, Danasinga, Catbird and Keeper, and a grandson, Stratum.
At Randwick in April, Ortensia was the second Group I winner of the season for Perugino, by Danzig, after Rostova in the Group I SAJC Robert Sangster Stakes. But with Ortensia disqualified after a positive post-race dope test, the Galaxy prize, pending an appeal, will fall to Shellscrape, second over the line in the Randwick sprint feature. Shellscrape, a $40,000 buy at the 2007 Magic Millions National weanling sale, is a first-crop son of Dane Shadow, by Danehill.
Small wonder, then, that the Danzig factor remains the flavour of the year for the Australian breeding season, with the former brilliantly fast son of Northern Dancer and his matchless sire-son Danehill again dominating the pool with a 30 per cent slice of the near 800 active stallions. And the dominance is also reflected among the platoon of first-season sires in Australia for the 2010 spring.
Victoria’s Eliza Park clearly subscribes to the Danzig factor since its stallion roster of 11, headed up by the state’s leading sire Bel Esprit (by Royal Academy), includes six male-line members: Danehill’s son Shinzig and his grandsons Magnus (by Flying Spur), Wanted (Fastnet Rock), the Redoute’s Choice duo God’s Own and Sharkbite and Bushranger, by Danetime. Bushranger, standing his first season at Eliza Park, holds immense interest not only because he topped his generation as a dual Group I juvenile winner in two countries, but also for the fact he is one of a rare handful of stakes winners inbred to Danzig to go to stud.
Eliza Park secured a half-share interest in Bushranger in April, when he was working through his first book of mares on his birthplace, the Tally Ho Stud in Ireland. Bushranger covered his first northern season at Tally Ho at a fee equivalent to just under the $11,000 fee set for him at Eliza Park.
Danzig, who sired more than 130 stakes winners, never had the chance to win a stakes race. He was retired and given his opportunity at stud on the basis of brilliant wins on his three racecourse appearances, a brief career restricted by unsoundness. But that was a trait he certainly did not pass on to Danehill, nor to Green Desert, the other Danzig element in Bushranger’s pedigree.
At stud, the pair have sired a variety of top-class runners over a wide distance range with Danehill’s staying notables the Derby winners Nothin Leica Dane, North Light and Desert King as well as the resilient Dylan Thomas and admirably tough Duke of Marmalade and Green Desert celebrated through his son Cape Cross, sire of multiple classic winners Sea The Stars and Ouija Board.
Danetime was a juvenile winner at 1200m and was tried up to 1600m without success at three. Bushranger never went beyond 1200m in his 10 starts but, like Danetime, showed high proficiency over the sprinters’ course.
Indeed, Bushranger can claim to have been the fastest two-year-old in Europe in 2008 having posted race and track records in winning his pair of Group Is in different countries. Bushranger clocked a race record in winning the Group I Prix Morny at Deauville and then lowered Oasis Dream’s race and course record in the Group I Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Bushranger is from the last foal crop of Danetime, who shuttled to Western Australia for four seasons but died early into the fourth year, 2005. Megatic, the Group I WATC Railway Stakes winner, is the best performed runner from Danetime’s Australian seasons, along with Group winners Denebella, Roman Time, Famous Roman, So Secret and Dark Target.
The Stewards’ Cup (1200m) at Goodwood may only rate as a Listed race in England, but it is every bit as competitive as the Group I VRC Newmarket Handicap here and Danetime won it as a three-year-old, landing a massive plunge and beating 29 others.