St Leger winner Shantou – Sire of promising NH stayers

Briar Hill

Briar Hill - Son of Shantou

Wounded Warrior was one of the more eye-catching winners over the weekend, when successful in a beginners chase at Navan.

Ridden aggressively by the ever impressive Bryan Cooper, the Gigginstown gelding had far too much for the Willie Mullins trained Blood Cotil. Noel Meade’s charge had previously chased home the classy Don Poli, and it was clear in post-race interviews that the trainer thinks highly of his horse. He is a formidable looking five-year-old who seems sure to have a bright future as a staying chaser. His characteristics appear typical of the sire’s progeny to date.

Shantou is the sire in question. Trained on the flat by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, he is the son of duel Arc winner Alleged. Third in the Epsom Derby of 1996, he went on to win the St Leger later that year, before beating the wonderful Swain in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in 1997. Shantou was a powerful stayer over middle distance trips, with plenty of class thrown in. He was known as a bit of a character, criticized by some as being slightly disingenuous.

Currently standing at Burgage Stud in Co. Carlow, Ireland, he is certainly producing a number of top-quality National Hunt stayers. Briar Hill is of course one of his best known offspring. Trained by Willie Mullins and owned by the Wylies, he was favourite for the Albert Bartlett in March and is expected to take high order as a staying hurdler with the World Hurdle a possible target.

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Morning Assembly is another of the high-profile progeny. After a solid effort in the RSA Chase, he is considered by many to be a likely Grand National type in years to come. Another to impress in recent weeks is the Warren Greatrex trained Shantou Bob. Last seen chasing home a Nicky Henderson ‘hotshot’ at Sandown, this fella was finishing the race off stronger than any. That was over two and a half miles and he looks sure to appreciate further.

Finally a mention for the David Pipe trained Tullyesker Hill who won the recent Pertemps Qualifier at Newbury in tenacious fashion. He led from the drop of the flag, and further proved the staying prowess of his famous father.

When in November Neil Mulholland spent £80,000 for a four-year-old called Shantou Village, he was no doubt dreaming of glory in such staying races as the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle and the RSA Chase. Recent history suggests that he may well be on to something.

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