In the coming months, the remaining bloodstock belonging to Ballymacoll Stud will be auctioned at Tattersalls – 9 yearlings, 6 horses in training, 9 foals and 22 broodmares. As the foreword to the catalogue that lists them says, ‘The dispersal of the Ballymacoll bloodstock is the most important sale of its type in a generation. Not since the Joel dispersal in 1986 have purchasers had the opportunity to acquire stock from a single farm so carefully nurtured over nearly 60 years by successive generations of the same family. Rarely, if ever, has a broodmare band of such select numbers achieved so much on the global stage.’
Earlier this year, we set the scene for the dispersal in Saying goodbye to Ballymacoll and then looked at one of the two families, that descending from Coventry Belle, which have contributed to so much of the stud’s success.
Let’s now look at the other family, the one which Ballymacoll developed from Jamaica. Among the horses that came with the purchase of Ballymacoll in 1960 was that year’s Park Hill Stakes winner and Irish Oaks runner-up Sunny Cove, a great granddaughter of Jamaica. Sunny Cove became the grandam of Sun Prince whose 1971 Prix Robert Papin win was the first Group 1 prize which trainer Major Dick Hern won for Ballymacoll. Also third in the 2000 Guineas, Sun Prince achieved the notable feat of winning three years running at Royal Ascot (Coventry, St James’s Palace, Queen Anne Stakes). Another notable descendant of Sunny Cove was Helen Street who won the Irish Oaks after emulating her dam Waterway by winning the Prix du Calvados at Deauville as a two-year-old.
Helen Street also became another good broodmare by Ballymacoll’s first Derby winner Troy (like City Fortress and Pilsudski’s dam Cocotte – see the Coventry Belle article), and is the main reason why Troy’s name continues to appear in many pedigrees today. Not only was she the dam of the Godolphin Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, sire of current Australian star Winx, Helen Street also became the grandam of another top sire Shamardal. Street Cry’s Ballymacoll origins were no doubt the reason Hellenic’s daughter Justlookdontouch was sent to him, a mating which produced the filly Abingdon whose two listed successes in 2016 included a very appropriate victory in the Lord Weinstock Memorial Stakes at Newbury.
Rather than Sunny Cove, though, it was her half-sister Sunland who was to prove more influential for Ballymacoll thanks to her daughter Sunny Valley whose two most notable performers on the track were Sun Princess and Saddlers’ Hall. Sun Princess was still a maiden until she ran away with the 1983 Oaks by twelve lengths and went on to win the Yorkshire Oaks and St Leger too. She was yet another to carry the Ballymacoll colours into a place in the Arc, finishing second to All Along. At stud, Sun Princess produced eight winners, most notably her first foal Prince of Dance who was from the first crop of Sadler’s Wells. He dead-heated in the Dewhurst Stakes (with another son of Sadler’s Wells, Scenic) but had to be put down after contesting the following year’s Derby when found to be suffering from cancer of the spine.
Sadler’s Wells also produced a good colt to Sun Princess’ dam Sunny Valley two years after Prince of Dance. Saddlers’ Hall couldn’t quite match his half-sister’s exploits in the St Leger, in which he finished second, but he did well as a four-year-old when his wins included the Coronation Cup, and like Sun Princess he was placed in the King George.
Sunny Valley’s other foal of note was Dancing Shadow, not so much for her racing career (though she was third in the Nassau Stakes) but as a broodmare. As well as being the grandam of Irish 2000 Guineas and Champion Stakes winner Spectrum, Dancing Shadow is also the great grandam of Conduit and the fourth dam of Glass Harmonium. In addition, this is also the family of a couple of notable winners who didn’t carry the Ballymacoll colours, namely St Leger winner Millenary (out of a half-sister to Spectrum’s dam River Dancer) and Irish and Yorkshire Oaks winner Petrushka (out of a half-sister to Spectrum).
Spectrum wasn’t a great success at stud but as previously discussed he combined well with Ballymacoll mares from the Coventry Belle family, producing the brothers Golan and Tartan Bearer and their near relative Gamut.
Conduit followed Sun Princess and Millenary to become the third member of this family to win the St Leger (in 2008, making him the final classic winner in the Ballymacoll colours) before winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf at three and again at four when earlier leading home a Ballymacoll one-two in the King George completed by Tartan Bearer.
Glass Harmonium only won in Group 3 company in Europe (the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown – a race also won by Tartan Bearer – which commemorates the early trainer of the Ballymacoll horses), but he went on to Group 1 success in Australia in the Mackinnon Stakes. Glass Harmonium’s seven-year-old half-brother Arab Spring (by Monsun) could prove the final group winner in the Ballymacoll colours, having won the John Porter Stakes in 2015 and last year’s September Stakes.