There were four Kentucky-bred winners at Royal Ascot – Lady Aurelia (King’s Stand Stakes), Con Te Partiro (Sandringham Stakes), Caravaggio (Commonwealth Cup), and Sioux Nation (Norfolk Stakes). All showed speed and class. Two of them, Lady Aurelia and Caravaggio, are among the most widely praised and highly touted speed horses of last year and this.
The stunning thing is that all four are by one sire: Scat Daddy (by Johannesburg).
That singular accomplishment is a double-edged sword of thrill and pain for breeders and stallion managers because we lost the sire 18 months ago, and his final crop are now yearlings. Naturally, the stallion’s stock has never been more highly valued.
When the 11-year-old Scat Daddy died unexpectedly in his paddock at Ashford Stud early on December 14, 2015, the loss of the striking dark bay stallion was a terrible blow for Coolmore, and with the passage of subsequent seasons, the realization of how great the loss has gotten worse.
At the time of his death, Scat Daddy was at the pinnacle of his fame, at least to that point, and he was going to stand for a stud fee of $100,000 in 2016, upgraded from a very respectable $35,000 in 2015, with an already full book.
The stallion’s death blew a hole in those plans for the farm, as well as the plans for the 2016 matings of a large number of top-quality mares from around the world. To keep that ship of dreams from sinking, Coolmore made 2015 leading freshman sire Uncle Mo available to those breeders who were booked to Scat Daddy.
The only bright spot in an otherwise deep downer for breeders and for Coolmore was that Scat Daddy had sired 790 foals, according to industry stats, and there are 147 foals in his final crop, now yearlings, so the stallion has 937 lifetime foals from eight crops in the Northern Hemisphere alone.
Scat Daddy has produced 53 stakes winners to date from that same Northern Hemisphere pool of foals, about seven percent of the stallion’s 790 foals of racing age, which includes the 2-year-olds of 2017. A few of them have already started.
Scat Daddy was a big horse who sired big to good-sized horses, and they have speed, fairly early maturity, and good prospects to continue improving.
From the stallion’s juveniles of 2017 comes Sioux Nation, winner of the Norfolk Stakes last week at Royal Ascot. This is the same venue a year that showcased the flaming speed of Lady Aurelia, winner of the 2016 Queen Mary Stakes, and Caravaggio, winner of the Coventry Stakes.
Both the unbeaten Caravaggio, now six-for-six after his victory in the Commonwealth, and Sioux Nation race for Coolmore. The international operation also stands Scat Daddy’s highly regarded son No Nay Never, who won the Norfolk Stakes in 2013 for trainer Wesley Ward. No Nay Never added a further European prize, the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville, to his unbeaten juvenile record. Winner of the G3 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland and second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, No Nay Never is owned by and stands for Coolmore in Ireland.
Like his offspring, Scat Daddy was a top 2-year-old and comes from a line of similar performers. A winner of the G1 Champagne Stakes at 2 and the G1 Florida Derby at 3, Scat Daddy was the most accomplished racer by international champion Johannesburg, notably the best son of the Storm Cat stallion Hennessy. The latter was part of the fine crop of horses that included future top sires Unbridled’s Song and Maria’s Mon.
A winner from five and a half to nine furlongs, Scat Daddy showed high class to win twice at the G1 level, and he has passed on the capacity for exceptional speed, as well as the frequent ability to carry the speed a mile or more.
These are the traits in demand with breeders and with the major buyers at auctions. As a result, a half-brother by Scat Daddy to champion Beholder sold for $3 million at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale. And the stallion’s final crop of yearlings are going to be strongly sought after at premium auctions.
In addition, the best sons of Scat Daddy are now on everyone’s wish list of stallion prospects. The kink there is that quite a few of them are already owned by Coolmore. At least one very good prospect, however, slipped the net and is in South America.
Scat Daddy shuttled to Haras Paso Nevado in Chile from 2009 to 2011, and his seasons there resulted in several G1 winners. The best of these appeared to be Chilean Derby winner Il Campione. The latter won eight of 11 starts, and the handsome bay is standing at Haras El Paraiso in Argentina.
A success in both hemispheres, Scat Daddy has 83 stakes winners from both NH and SH coverings.