Six of the Most Prolific Sires in British and Irish Horse Racing

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at! Today’s post is a little different for me… Recently I have thoroughly been enjoying learning more about bloodstock, bloodlines and breeding. I am no expert, but I am really enjoying researching and reading into it more so today let’s take a look at the top 6 most prolific sires within British and Irish racing – they are the top 6 according to how many times they have won Champion Sire.

Godolphin Arabian x Grey Robinson

First up, in 6th place is a horse called Regulus who won Champion Sire 8 times, in 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1761, 1763, 1765 and 1766. He was bred in England by Lord Chedworth in 1739 out of Grey Robinson and by Godolphin Arabian and after the death of Lord Chedworth he was sold to Mr Martindale.

Regulus won 8 Royal Plated in 1745 and a £50 plate and ended up retiring unbeaten to stud.

Regulus sired horses such as Royal (1749), South (1750) and Fearnought (1755). As well as producing the undefeated Alipes. He also produced a successful broodmare in Spilletta who produced an undefeated champion Eclipse who ran 18 times winning all 18 times and earning 2,149 Guineas. (I speak about Eclipse in more detail right here:

Regulus passed away at 26 years old.

St. Simon
Galopin x St Angela

In 5th place being crowned Champion Sire a total of 9 times in 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895 1896, 1900 and 1901 we have St. Simon. St. Simon was bred in Great Britain by Prince Gustavus Batthyany in 1881 by Galopin out of St. Angela. He was owned by the Duke of Portland and went into training with Mathew Dawson.

St. Simon finished his racing career undefeated winning 9 out of 9 runs and winning £4,676 in prize money, his wins included an Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Epsom Gold Cup all in 1884.

St. Simon was retired to stud in 1886 at 5 years old and he went on to sire 423 living foals who between them won 571 races and over £500,000 in prize money. Among his foals were 10 English Classic winners who won 17 Classics between them, the 10 Classic winners is the 3rd highest total of all time, only behind Stockwell and Sadler’s Wells who both have 12, however the 17 Classic race wins by his offspring ties him for the all time record with Stockwell.

His Classic winners were:

Memoir (Epsom Oaks & St Leger)
Semolina (1,000 Guineas)
Mrs Butterwick (Epsom Oaks)
Amiable (1,000 Guineas & Epsom Oaks)
Persimmon (Epsom Derby, St Leger, Ascot Gold Cup + Champion Sire four times)
St Fusquin (2,000 Guineas, Eclipse Stakes + Champion Sire twice)
Diamond Jubilee ( Triple Crown Winner, Eclipse Stakes + Argentina Champion Sire four times)
La Roche ( Epsom Oaks)
Winifreda (1,000 Guineas)
La Fleche who was sold for a world record price as a yearling in 1890 and went on to win the Fillies Triple Crown (1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and St Leger) plus the Ascot Gold Cup, Champion Stakes, Cambridgeshire Handicap and a 2nd in the Epsom Derby.

St. Simon died when he was 27 years old on April 2nd 1908 and his skeleton belongs to the British Museum of Natural History.

Sir Peter Teazle
Highflyer x Papillon

In 4th place is Sir Peter Teazle who won Champion Sire 10 times, in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1804, 1805, 1806, 1807, 1808 and 1809. He was bred in Great Britain in 1784 by Edward Smith-Stanley and the 12th Earl of Derby who both also owned him through his career. He was by Highflyer and out of Papillon.

Sir Peter Teazle had 21 runs in his career, winning 16 times with one of his wins being the Epsom Derby in 1787.

When he was retired from racing, Sir Peter Teazle stood at Derby’s Knowsley Stud in Lancashire where he sired a Doncaster Cup winner, 4 Epsom Derby winners, 2 Epsom Oaks winners, 4 St Leger winners and many more. He produced Walton and Sir Harry who also went on to be crowned as Champion Sire’s – Walton in Britain and Sir Harry in America.

Some of his biggest winners were:

Hermione (1791) who won 21 races including the Oaks in 1794.
Parisot (1793) who won the Oaks in 1796
Ambrosio (1793) who won 18 races, including the St Leger in 1796.
Sir Harry (1795) who won the Derby in 1798 – He was then imported to America for the highest price ever paid for a horse brought there. He went on to be a Leading Sire in America.
Archduke (1796) who won the Derby in 1799.
Ditto (1800) who won the Derby in 1803.
Fyldener (1803) who won the St Leger in 1806.
Paris (1803) who won the Derby in 1806
Paulina (1804) who won 8 races including the St Leger in 1807
Petronius (1805) who won the St Leger in 1808

Sir Peter Teazle passed away aged 27 on August 18th 1811.

Sadler’s Wells x Urban Sea

Third on the list is Galileo who won Champion Sire 12 times and is the current reigning Champion Sire. He has won in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Galileo was bred in Ireland by David Tsui and Orpendale in 1998 by Sadler’s Wells out of Urban Sea. He was owned by Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor and went into training with Aidan O’Brien.

Galileo ran 8 times, winning 6 times including the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes all in 2001.

Galileo retired to stand as a stallion at Coolmore Stud, where originally he would stand at their County Tipperary stud in Ireland for part of the year and then move to their Australian branch in New South Wales for the other half of the year. However since 2012, he has stood exclusively in Ireland. Interesting since 2008 his stud fee has always been privately negotiated, but he is known to be the most expensive stallion in the world with some saying his fee was north of €400,000″ and suggested to be as high as €600,000 in 2018.

In August 2018, Sizzling gave Galileo his 328th European Group race win as a sire, which took him past the record previously held by his own sire Sadler’s Wells. On November 9th 2019 Magic Wand became his 84th individual Group/Grade 1 winner putting him level with Danehill for most such winners sired. After Minding’s victory in the 2016 1,000 Guineas, Galileo became the sire of winners of all 5 British Classics. Also in 2016, in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe he sired the first 3 finishers, Found, Highland Reel and Order of St George. In the 2019 Derby he was the sire, grandsire or great grandsire of 12 out of 13 runners and was the broodmare sire of the 13th.

If I name every horse he has produced we would be here all day, so here are just a few of his big winners: (If you want a more in depth look you can read all about him right here:

Nightime (2003) who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas
Sixties Icon (2003) who won the St Leger
Celestial Halo (2004) who won the Triumph Hurdle
Soldier of Fortune (2004) who won the Irish Derby and Coronation Cup
Frankel (2008) who won the Dewhurst Stakes, 2,000 Guineas, St James’s Place Stakes, Sussex Stakes Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Sakes, International Stakes and Champion Stakes
Treasure Beach (2008) who won the Irish Derby and Secretariat Stakes
Great Heavens (2009) who won the Irish Oaks
Ruler of the World (2010) who won the Epsom Derby
Australia (2011) who won the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and International Stakes
Order of St George (2012) who won the Irish St Leger x 2 and Ascot Gold Cup
Churchill (2014) who won the National Stakes, Dewhurst Stakes, 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas
Anthony Van Dyck (2016) who won the Epsom Derby
Love (2017) who won the Moyglare Stud Stakes, 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks
Peaceful (2017) who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas
Serpentine (2017) who won the Epsom Derby
Empress Josephine (2018) who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas just last month.

Galileo has also produced sons who have went on to be sires themselves including Teofilo, New Approach, Nathaniel and probably the most famous of them Frankel.

Galileo is currently 23 years old and living at Coolmore Stud in Ireland.

Herod x Rachel

In second place is Highflyer who was Champion Sire 13 times, in 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1781, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796 and 1798. Highflyer was bred in Great Britain by Sir Charles Bunbury in 1774 by Herod, out of Rachel.

In his racing carer, Highflyer had 14 races and won all 14 times, he was retired to stud undefeated. Sadly the owners of Highflyer had a plan to make them rich and their plan was to breed Highflyer to as many mares as possible to bring in the stud fees. Many criticised them for this and believed they were over-breeding him which later they were proven correct when he died at just 19 years old.

During his stud career, Highflyer produced 469 winners which included 3 Epsom Derby winners, 3 St Leger winners and 1 Epsom Oaks winner.

Some of his big winners were:

Noble (1783) who won the Epsom Derby
Sir Peter Teazle (1784) – Who we looked at above – who went on to win 16 races including the Epsom Derby
Skyscraper (1786) who won the Epsom Derby
Volante (1789) who won the Epsom Oaks
Diamond (1792) who won many races including the 1,000 Guineas

Highflyer sadly passed away at just 19 years old on October 18th in 1793.

Sadler’s Wells
Northern Dancer x Fairy Bridge

Number 1 on the list is Sadler’s Wells who was Champion Sire 14 times, in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000,2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. He was also the leading sire in France in 1993, 1994 and 1999.

Sadler’s Wells was foaled on April 11th 1981 by Northern Dancer, out of Fairy Bridge by Breeders at Swettenham Stud in America. He was owned by Robert Sangster and was trained by Vincent O’Brien.

In his racing career Sadler’s Wells had 11 runs winning 6 of them and finishing 2nd in 4 of them. In the 6 wins was the Beresford Stakes in 1983 and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, Irish 2,000 Guineas, Eclipse Staes and Phoenix Champion Stakes in 1984.

In 1985 Sadler’s Wells was syndicated by Coolmore for €800,000 a share with a total value of €32 million. His initial stud fee was around £125,000 with it increasing in 1990 to £150,000.

In 1989 Sadler’s Wells set a world record by having 11 stakes winners in one year and in 1990 his daughter Salsabil won the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and Irish Derby which very much helped steer him to his first Champion Sire title. In 2004 when he won his 14th title, this made him another record breaker after breaking Highflyer’s record of 13 titles.

Sadler’s Wells sired 12 English Classic Winners which were:

Salsabil who won the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks
Intrepidity who won the Oaks
Moonshell who won the Oaks
Entrepreneur who won the 2,000 Guineas
King of Kings who won the 2,000 Guineas
Imagine who won the Oaks
Galileo who won the Derby
Milan who won the St Leger
High Chaparral who won the Derby
Brian Boru who won the St Leger
Refuse to Bend who won the 2,000 Guineas
Alexandrova who won the Oaks

In 2001, his daughters held the first 3 positions in the Oaks. Sadler’s Wells also sired 14 Irish Classic winners including in 1999 his sons held the first three positions in the Irish Derby.

In 2001 his stud fee increased to £200,000 with roughly 200 mares each year visiting him which increased his winners rapidly. Briefly he held the all time record for the number of Stakes winners when Roman Saddle became his 177th Stakes winner in July 2001, passing Mr. Prospector’s record of 176 stakes winners.

In 2002, Sadler’s Wells sired his 200th Stakes winner becoming the first stallion to achieve that landmark, however Danehill passed him reaching 300 Stakes winners in 2005, in which Sadler’s Wells achieved in 2008.

In 2011 when Sadler’s Wells passed away he had sired 323 Stakes winners including 73 individual Group/Grade 1 winners on the flat, also producing several National Hunt winners too.

Some of his big winners not yet mentioned are as follows (again we cannot go through every single one as we will be here all day so here are just a few):

Saddlers’ Hall (1988) who won the Coronation Cup
Barathea (1990) who won the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Mile
Pridwell (1990) who won the Aintree Hurdle
Istabraq (1992) who won the Royal Sunalliance Novices’ Hurdle, Irish Champion Hurdle x 4, Champion Hurdle x 3 and Punchestown Champion Hurdle
Ebadiyla (1994) who won the Irish Oaks and Prix Royal Oak
Kayf Tara (1994) who won the Ascot Gold Cup x 2 and Irish St Leger x 2
Galileo (1998) probably one of his best known children who won the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes as well as going on to be a Champion Sire 12 times (so far)
Gossamer (1999) who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas and Fillies’ Mile
Yesterday (2000) who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas
Percussionist (2001) who won the American Grand National
Yeats (2001) who won the Ascot Gold Cup x 4, Coronation Cup, Irish St Leger and Prix Royal Oak
Alexandrova (2003) who won the Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks
Synchronised (2003) who won the Welsh Grand National, Lexus Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup

Also interesting to mention, in November 2007 Sadler’s Wells daughter Playful Act out of Magnificient Style wa sold at the Keeneland Breeding Stock Sale for a world record price of $10.5 Million USD.

On May 13th in 2008, Coolmore announced Sadler’s Wells would be retiring from breeding due to declining fertility and on April 26th 2011 he passed away peacefully at home in Ireland at Coolmore Stud.

So there we have it, according to the amount of Champion Sire title’s they hold those are the 6 most prolific sires in the United Kingdom and Ireland over the years. I have found it so interesting to research this kind of stuff recently so I hope you have all enjoyed reading it too! I will see you all on Monday for a full week of posts starting with The History of the Queen Anne Stakes ahead of Tuesday’s renewal!


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