King’s Theatre – a stallion to note at Cheltenham

The New One - another King's Theatre winner

The New One - another King's Theatre winner

Yesterday’s win for The New One in the Neptune Investments Management Novices’ Hurdle confirmed that last years’ top billing for King’s Theatre as the leading jumps sire was no fluke. It also took the sire to he head of the stallion’s table at the halfway point of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

King’s Theatre already has a string of Cheltenham winners in his portfolio, including Balthazar King, Brindisi Breeze, Cue Card, Captain Chris, Menorah, Riverside Theatre and Wichita Lineman. With Cue Card, Menorah and Riverside Theatre all in the Ryanair Chase today, and Captain Chris in tomorrow’s Gold Cup, and several other horses aiming for a first Cheltenham success, there’s every possibility of King’s Theatre improving his record.

His career at the Ballyinch Stud in Ireland lasted 14 years, from 1997 to 2011, when King’s Theatre succumbed to a bout of colic. By then he had provide himself a successful sire in both fields of racing, siring around 450 jump runners and a similar number of Flat race performers.

In the latter sphere, the most successful of his progeny was perhaps King’s Drama, who won raced in North America, where he won 10 of his 31 races, including the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes. That shouldn’t be a huge surprise, as when King’s Theatre was racing, trained by Henry Cecil, he was Champion 3 year old colt in 1994 after winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Success indeed.

But it is with his jumps offspring that King’s Theatre has proved more successful overall, and the next two days give him the chance to confirm his position as the current top Festival stallion. Perhaps he’s in the process of handing the baton on to one of his own. One of his sons who is now at stud, Great Pretender, had his first visitor to the Cheltenham enclosures when Ptit Zig finished third in the Fred Winter. Will Great Pretender be just that as a stallion, or can he match up to his dad?

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