They are Champion sons by three Champions in their own right, and as a group they are arguably the finest selection of first-season stallions ever to be offered by Darley in Australia.
Blue Point, Too Darn Hot and Microphone, sons of Shamardal, Dubawi and Exceed And Excel, will launch their southern hemisphere stud careers in 2020. They are Europe’s Champion Sprinter, Europe’s Champion two and three-year-old and Australia’s Champion juvenile respectively and offer local breeders all the speed and precocity they demand.
A truly exceptional sprinter, in 2019 Blue Point did what no European-bred horse had done in almost 100 years when winning Royal Ascot’s two G1 sprints, the Diamond Jubilee and the King’s Stand Stakes. Even more remarkable was that he had also won the King’s Stand the previous year.
Blue Point won the G2 Gimcrack Stakes at York by three lengths. After placings in both the G1 Middle Park and the Dewhurst Stakes later that season he returned at three with victory in the G3 Pavilion Stakes, where he broke Ascot’s six-furlong track record.
At four he dominated Dubai’s top turf sprints and recorded his first triumph in the King’s Stand, the season prior to him winning Royal Ascot’s G1 sprint double.
Blue Point retired with a Timeform rating of 131, and is currently standing his first northern hemisphere season alongside his sire Shamardal at Kildangan Stud in Ireland, where he has proved extremely popular.
Too Darn Hot earned the European Champion Two-Year-Old crown in 2018, following scintillating victories in each of his four starts. He added the European Three-Year-Old title in 2019 following two G1 victories at three.
A son of the all-conquering Dubawi out of a three-time G1 winner Dar Re Mi, Too Darn Hot possessed the juvenile brilliance so desired in Australia with four outstanding victories in a nine-week period. He opened his account with a seven-length maiden victory at Sandown (UK), before scoring by four lengths in the G3 Solario Stakes at his next start and took the G2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster at his third.
Too Darn Hot confirmed his position as Champion Two-Year-Old with success in the G1 Darley Dewhurst at Newmarket, defeating future Royal Ascot G1 winner Advertise and Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.
A stunning victory in the G1 Prix Jean Prat over 1,400m at Deauville before conquering the best older horses in G1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood saw Too Darn Hot crowned Champion Three-Year-Old of his year. He retired as the winner of six of his nine starts with a Timeform rating of 132.
Too Darn Hot was raced by English composer Lord Lloyd Webber and his wife Lady Lloyd Webber, who together founded Watership Down Stud. In November 2018 an agreement was reached between Watership Down Stud and Godolphin for Champion Two-Year-Old Too Darn Hot to stand at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket at the end of his racing career.
Lord Lloyd Webber said, “We have been so thrilled with the way European breeders and industry professionals have supported Too Darn Hot that it makes this Australian adventure all the more exciting.”
“He has already taken us on an incredible journey and to now open him up to a completely new market is beyond our wildest dreams. He is in the best possible hands and we will certainly be asking Simon (Marsh) to find some wonderful mares with which to support him in Australia,” said Lloyd Webber.
Head of Sales in Australia, Alastair Pulford said, “To be able to offer Australian breeders these two prospects is a huge privilege.”
“We’ve seen what the Darley shuttle stallions have done for Australian racing with horses like Street Cry, Teofilo, Medaglia d’Oro and recently Night Of Thunder making a massive impression.”
“The sires of both these horses, Dubawi and Shamardal, stood with distinction on the Darley roster in Australia and the availability of such a quality pair as Too Darn Hot and Blue Point is set to give Australian breeders access to elite outcross bloodlines that are already proven in Australia.”
Bill Oppenheim of Stallion Spectator Ratings, an analysis rating system developed to project sires’ success said, “Too Darn Hot is the first horse to go to stud in Europe rated 9/9 since Sea The Stars, and he’s the only horse, of all these 12, to score both 9/9 on our principal scale and 7/7 on our two-year-old scale. He’s as close to a can’t miss proposition as it’s possible to be.”
Microphone enters stud as the Champion Two-Tear-Old of an elite crop and is a son of yet another Champion stallion, Exceed And Excel.
A four-time winner in a two-year-old season capped by his G1 Sires’ Produce win, Microphone raced on six occasions at two and was never out of the money. He also claimed the Listed Talindert Stakes at Flemington before landing the G2 Skyline Stakes at Randwick.
The son of Exceed And Excel’s strength and resilience shone through in heavy conditions when he was the first colt home when second in the G1 Golden Slipper. An exceptional victory in arguably the best G1 Sires’ in decades followed, where he accounted for G1 winners Loving Gaby, Kiamichi, Castelvecchio and Probabeel.
He returned at three to win the G2 Autumn Stakes before a narrow runner-up finish in the G1 Randwick Guineas.
“Microphone was a genuine Champion colt from a stellar crop that has since proven itself against older horses,” Pulford said.
“He’s by the world’s best sire of two-year-olds, there are Stakes winners right through his maternal family and he’s a very good-looking horse in the mould of his father.”
“This trio is as good as any group of new stallions Darley has offered in Australia.”
Managing Director of Godolphin Australia, Vin Cox added, “Microphone, Blue Point and Too Darn Hot represent true class - these three stallions are absolutely mouth-watering prospects.”
Too Darn Hot and Microphone will stand at Kelvinside, NSW, while Blue Point will stand at Northwood Park, Victoria. Service fees for all three will be announced later this month.