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Cape Cross - Goodwood August 1999

Cape Cross: one of 12 Group 1 winners by Green Desert and now a leading sire

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos) 

Green Desert officially retired from stud duty

GREEN Desert, one of the most influential sires of the past 25 years, has been officially retired from stud duty after failing to get any of a limited book of mares in foal this season. The 28-year-old son of Danzig will spend his retirement at Nunnery Stud in Norfolk, his home since he was transferred from the nearby Melton Paddocks in 1990.

Green Desert has never had the luxury of extremely big books - the largest being 88 in 2003 - yet such has been his success that his name has become a brand in itself with sons Cape Cross, Oasis Dream and Invincible Spirit each developing into leading sires.

Sam Bullard, director of stallions at Darley, under whose banner Green Desert stood for five seasons, said on Friday: "He has proven to be an outstanding sire of sires and we are fortunate enough to stand his very best son, Cape Cross and leading freshman of 2008, Kheleyf."

Although Green Desert was raced by Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum, for whom he won the 1986 July Cup and Vernons Sprint Cup and ran second in the 2,000 Guineas, he has been based throughout his 24-year stud career at Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stud. Stud director Richard Lancaster, whose association with Green Desert stretches back to when he was a yearling, said: "He has been a fantastic servant to all involved with him. His influence worldwide is incredible, firstly as the sire of some top-class horses and now as a sire of sires and broodmare sire.

"It's sad to see his stud career come to an end but he doesn't owe anybody anything."

A top-class racehorse who was one of the first sons of Danzig to stand to Europe and a $650,000 yearling to match, Green Desert was popular from the outset of his stud career, reportedly being fully booked for his first season at £25,000 not long after his retirement was announced.

That confidence was rewarded when his first crop of yearlings averaged 120,320gns at the sales and yielded 12 winners, enough to see him crowned the dominant leading first-season sire of 1990. Among them was the Moyglare Stud Stakes runner-up Inishdalla and would come to include Alex Scott's Nunthorpe Stakes, Haydock Sprint Cup and Breeders' Cup Sprint hero Sheikh Albadou, whose exploits in 1991 helped Green Desert to a personal best of second place on the British and Irish leading sires' list.

As his race record and pedigree suggested, Green Desert developed primarily into a speed influence; in addition to Sheikh Albadou, he sired two winners of the July Cup (Owington and Oasis Dream), four other winners of the Haydock Sprint Cup (Invincible Spirit, Oasis Dream, Tamarisk and Markab) and one winner of the Prix de l'Abbaye (Desert Lord). However, several of his progeny did stay further, notably Heat Haze, who won the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes over 1m2f.

The Racing Post's Tony Morris summed up Green Desert. "When he retired to stud," he said, "Europe was still heavily dependent on stock from America for quality racehorses. He is one of the chief reasons why that is no longer the case."

In all, he is the sire of 91 stakes winners, 40 of whom have scored at Pattern level.

Despite the early death of Owington and fertility problems that restricted Tamarisk, Green Desert has also excelled as a sire of sires - only on Sunday, his son Invincible Spirit was represented by a sixth Group 1 winner when Moonlight Cloud won the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Invincible Spirit is one of over 20 active sons of Green Desert at stud worldwide. Others include Cape Cross, who hit the heights thanks to Sea The Stars and Ouija Board, Oasis Dream, whose eight Group 1 winners include Aqlaam and Arcano, and leading New Zealand stallion Volksraad.

His daughters are also in demand thanks to a damsire record that contains 79 stakes winners including Group 1 winners Almutawakel and Total Gallery as well as three Group 1 performers by Dubawi inMakfi, Lucky Nine and Dubawi Gold.

Green Desert's fee hit a high of £85,000 in 2004 and 2005, and was advertised for the past two seasons at a private fee. He has 21 yearlings in his penultimate crop.

 

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