With the jump season progressing at a pace, it’s interesting to take a look at the sires making the greatest impact.
In two of the past three years King’s Theatre has been the champion sire and he again has a commanding lead. With total prize money approaching £2million he is almost £800,000 ahead of his nearest rival.
Its familiar names that sit towards the top of the sires list with Oscar, Presenting, Beneficial and Milan in a tight battle for second. Beneficial was leading sire in the 2012-13 season. Sadly both King’s Theatre and Beneficial are no longer with us, but their offspring continue to make an impact.
The current champion has a considerable host of talented horses that appear to be well suited by the dryer conditions prevalent at the spring festivals. The New One has become one of the best two mile hurdlers in the business. Unlucky in last year’s Champion Hurdle, he is expected to go close again in March. A son of King’s Theatre he is able to cope with any ground conditions, though typically of the progeny is best on a sounder surface.
Menorah and Cue Card are two that have been flying the flag for the sire for many years now. The former had a terrific start to the season, showing his liking for good ground when winning the Charlie Hall at Wetherby. Tizzard’s star has yet to hit top form this season though the team will hope that he can do so at Cheltenham where he is likely to attempt to regain his Ryanair crown.
Glens Melody pushed Quevega to the limit in the mares hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. A daughter of King’s Theatre, she will be at her best on the likely sounder surface back at Prestbury Park in March.
Two other leading contenders at jump racing’s ‘Olympics’ are Kings Palace and L’Ami Serge. The latter has been impressing in testing conditions, but the likelihood is that he will be even more effective on a sounder surface. Just the other day ‘Pricewise’ got in on the act when deciding to ‘put up’ another from the bloodline with Carlingford Lough his tip to go close in the Gold Cup.
There’s little wonder that the likes of Beneficial and Oscar have their work cut out if they are to become the leading sire.
More Of That could still assist the former in ‘racking up’ a fair amount of prize money. The strapping son of Beneficial was a sensation last winter and is still the favourite to repeat his World Hurdle success. Jonjo has a habit of priming his stars for the big occasion.
The promising return of Monksland gave hope that he can be competitive when the major festivals arrive. He was runner-up at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012 behind Simonsig. A talented stayer, he is another likely to compete in the World Hurdle if staying fit and well.
At Warwick last Saturday it was the turn of Sego Success to show his potential for the Beneficial bloodline. An out and out stayer, he won a competitive novice chase and leapt towards the head of the market for the marathon National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham.
Lord Windermere remains the flag bearer for ‘Team Oscar’ and cannot be discounted from repeating his Gold Cup success of 2014. Lacklustre performances on testing ground so far this winter mirror his runs prior to that famous victory last March. He will arrive at Cheltenham undefeated in two visits to the Festival.
Many will be hoping for a ‘tear jerking’ performance from Rock On Ruby in the World Hurdle. Another that likes to hear his hoofs rattling on the turf, he has looked as good as ever this winter, but no ten-year-old has won the staying hurdlers crown since 1986.
Then there’s Splash Of Ginge who has already won twice at Cheltenham this winter and is sure to be competitive come the spring festivals, with a possible target being the Byrne Group Plate Chase. Nigel Twiston-Davies loves a winner at his local track and it would come as no surprise if this fella boosted the Oscar coffers.
As eyes turn to France in search of jump racing’s future stars, it’s still the old favourites that rule the roost when it comes to the ‘Leading Jump Sire’ table. Inevitably King’s Theatre’s dominance will soon come to an end. But for now his supremacy is undeniable.