When Exceed And Excel retired to stud as Australian Champion sprinter, it was little surprise that breeders flocked to send their mares to the handsome son of Danehill.
Since then, Exceed And Excel has never looked back and has now reached a new milestone as a stallion when his son Mr Stunning added a 250th Black Type win to his sire’s impressive record when landing the G2 Jockey Club Sprint in Hong Kong.
Exceed And Excel recorded his very first Stakes winner just 66 days into his stud career when Exceedingly Good took the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes on his racecourse debut. He then went on to become his sire’s first Group winner less than a month later when victorious in the G3 Maribyrnong Plate – Australia’s first major test for two-year-olds.
Two further Group winners in Believe’n’Succeed and Wilander, plus Stakes-winning duo Sugar Babe (also placed at G2 level that season) and Outdo saw Exceed And Excel crowned Champion first-season sire.
Meanwhile, his first northern-hemisphere crop were also beginning to make their presence felt, as Flashmans Papers landed the coveted Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, followed by victory in the G2 Lowther Stakes for his daughter Infamous Angel.
Reward For Effort takes the G1 Blue Diamond
Bigger and better was yet to come and Exceel And Excel reached a new high in February 2009, when Reward For Effort powered down the Caulfield straight to land the Blue Diamond and become his sire’s first G1 winner.
Helmet's record-breaking Caulfield Guineas victory
Helmet was the next outstanding two-year-old for his sire, winning at the highest level not once but twice during his juvenile campaign, with front-running victories in both the G1 Sires’ Produce and G1 Champagne Stakes.
Helmet went on to win the G1 Caulfield Guineas in record time at three and is now making his own name as a sire on the Darley roster in both Australia and Europe.
Helmet was one of three G1 winners for Exceed And Excel that year, with smart sprinter Margot Did landing the Nunthorpe in the UK, while his smart son Excelebration continued his upward curve when winning the Prix du Moulin.
Excelebration was a miler of the highest class, adding two further G1 victories to his record the following year. Racing during Frankel’s era, he would surely have another three G1 wins to his name had he not gamely taken on one of the world’s greatest racehorses throughout his three and four-year-old campaigns.
The following season and this time closer to home, two of Exceed And Excel’s juvenile daughters began to make their presence felt on the Australian turf.
Both Overreach and Guelph had placed in Stakes contests on their racecourse debuts and the progressive pair were soon to take the 2012/13 two-year-old racing scene by storm.
Overreach wins the Golden Slipper
Overreach added her first Black Type win in the Widden Stakes, which was to become the first of three consecutive wins at Stakes level for this outstanding filly. A four-and-a-half-length romp in the G2 Reisling Stakes followed, propelling her to favouritism for the world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the Golden Slipper.
Overreach duly obliged in the Slipper, cruising clear inside the final furlong to provide Gai Waterhouse with her fifth winner of this historic race and cement her own position as Champion two-year-old.
Exceed And Excel recorded a truly remarkable feat that day at Rosehill, also siring the second and fourth-placed horses in Sidestep (who would later be named Champion two-year-old colt) and the aforementioned Guelph.
Just a week after her tremendous effort in the Slipper, Guelph lined up in the G1 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick and coming with a withering late run, swept past her rivals to win by three quarters of a length. This was history repeating itself as not only did she become the second winner of the race for Exceed And Excel, she also emulated her dam Camarilla, who won back in 2007.
Guelph went on to victory in the G1 Thousand Guineas and G1 Flight Stakes the following season and was subsequently crowned Australia’s Champion three-year-old filly of 2013/14.
The very same season, Exceed And Excel was responsible for his second consecutive Champion two-year-old, this time in the form of Earthquake. Sheikh Mohammed’s homebred won her first four starts – including a hugely impressive victory in the G1 Blue Diamond before coming agonisingly close to winning the Golden Slipper, beaten less than a length.
Flamberge wins the G1 Goodwood Handicap
Exceed And Excel’s runners have had an impact at the highest level the world over, with his son Outstrip landing the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in the US, followed a few months later with victory for Amber Sky in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan, while more recently multiple G1 winner Flamberge has continued to fly the flag for his sire at home.
Mr Stunning notches a 250th Stakes win for Exceed And Excel in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint
Another of his international stars and provider of his sire’s 250th Stakes win - Mr Stunning - lines up in this Sunday’s G1 Kong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin where should he salute the judge for the third consecutive time, would provide a very fitting conclusion to 2017 for Exceed And Excel.