But it has been a steep learning curve.
Along with the shuttle success stories, are many failures.
Judging the success or otherwise of a stallion is a subjective affair and results are tempered by expectation. Off the back of early success by Danehill, Last Tycoon and Royal Academy, expectations were set at a high bar.
As a result, in the early part of this century, a large number of underperformed shuttle horses were given opportunities - 137 shuttle stallions began their stud careers in Australia between 2002 and 2007, many for only one or two seasons.
Most failed to achieve the expected result and tough lessons were learnt.
The market reflected this, with only 87 shuttle stallions launched in Australia between 2008 and 2013. We also learned valuable lessons, and our results - which far exceed industry success - reflect this knowledge.
Since 2001, Godolphin have stood:
- 32 shuttle stallions that have foals of racing age.
- Of these, 50% have sired G1 winners from their Australian conceived progeny.
- 30% have sired multiple G1 winners.
Considering that only 42% of all stallions at stud in Australasia with 100 or more runners in the same period have sired G1 winners, and 23% more than one, we think this is a record to be proud of.
Their progeny, including the incomparable Winx (Street Cry), have helped put their breeders, their owners and their connections on the world racing map.
Our five most successful shuttle stallions are:
None were immediately popular. In fact, Street Cry only sired 57 foals in his first crop. But we persisted until their oldest progeny had raced at least one season.
The five exceptional stallions all have at least four of these factors in common:
1. They were multiple G1 winners.
2. Their two-year-old form is a bonus but not vital. Teofilo, Dubawi and Shamardal were all G1 winners at two in Europe, Street Cry was G1 placed at two in America. Medaglia d’Oro was second from his only two-year-old start.
3. Three-year-old and four-year-old form is most important. Teofilo did not race after two through injury, but the remainder all improved after their two-year-old career.
4. They are all by successful sires, but those stallions need not have been successfully represented in Australia. For example, Machiavellian (Street Cry), El Prado (Medaglia d’Oro) and Giants Causeway (Shamardal), among others
5. Their best form is from 1600m to 2000m. Teofilo only raced up to 1400m.
The lessons we have learnt have been put into practice. We now only shuttle horses to Australia that meet at least four of these five criteria based on the above.
Our current group of shuttle stallions, Frosted, Harry Angel, Street Boss, Ribchester, and Territories all have what it takes to be a leading stallion and follow the success of their predecessors. If you want to breed a good horse I would encourage you to consider them in your mating plans.