MANY horses who excel as juveniles, when they go to stud, are keenly exploited for their precocity, supplied with a surfeit of mares from speedy backgrounds and trusted to deliver early winners. Sometimes that policy works, but sustaining success almost always proves elusive. Next year there is a new kid on the block who seems to merit support, and so it goes on. The sprint-bred leading two-year-old rarely succeeds for long, hardly ever makes any kind of mark on the breed.
SIR PERCY was never going to be like that. He was a champion two-year-old, starting early with two wins over six furlongs in May and June, and remaining unbeaten, with a Dewhurst victory to clinch his title. But those juvenile triumphs came as a bonus. He was actually bred to excel as a three-year-old and those expectations were duly fulfilled when he chased the brilliant miler George Washington home in the Guineas and gave a display of surpassing gameness to prevail in a hotly-contested Derby.
The males in the first three removes of SIR PERCY’s pedigree provided an indication of what we should expect of him at stud. His sire, both grandsires, and three of his four great-grandsires were Classic winners. It was no wonder that SIR PERCY excelled at three, and to be expected that his stock, whatever they achieved at two, would tend to improve in their second season.
The mares that SIR PERCY covered in his first season at Lanwades were, with few exceptions, lacking in quality; nor were they numerous, with a resulting crop of just 50 live foals. Given such limited opportunity, it was much to the horse’s credit that 11 of the 30 runners to represent him as juveniles in 2011 won 18 races between them, highlighted by the Listed success of Coquet in the Montrose Stakes at Newmarket, and the Listed placings of Alla Speranza in Ireland and Percy Jackson in Germany.
It has come as no surprise that SIR PERCY’s first three-year-olds have been making their mark, most notably with a second win at Listed level for Coquet at Goodwood and a Group 3 placing for Cavaleiro in Lingfield’s Derby Trial. Bomar has been proving a star turn in Scandinavia, collecting a Listed win in the Swedish Derby before his second in the more competitive Norwegian Derby, while Free House remains unbeaten after four starts in Denmark and Sweden. These are early days for SIR PERCY’s second crop of two-year-olds, but there have already been three winners at home and Hyder has a second place in Listed company to his credit in Milan.
After SIR PERCY’s first two yearling crops sold so well – averaging more than four times his nomination fee - 25,823gns in 2010 and 29,789gns in 2011 with top prices of 260,000gns, 110,000gns, 80,000gns – and the successes achieved by his initial crop of runners, he has naturally proved more popular with breeders, so there are larger and higher-quality crops to follow. Meanwhile, he has already got earners of £337,535, establishing him as a sire with a rising reputation.
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