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Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock adviser John Ferguson

John Ferguson: does not think that Medaglia D'Oro is "a filly sire"


Medaglia purchase made 'sound financial sense'

DARLEY'S purchase of Medaglia D'Oro, the leading second-season sire in the US, seemed all the more timely as Gabby's Golden Gal, a daughter of Medaglia D'Oro last seen well beaten by the stallion's Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra, cruised to victory in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes on Belmont Stakes day, less than 24 hours after the acquisition was announced.

Medaglia D'Oro is part of an aggressive strategy to build Darley's global stallion operation.

Begun in earnest around the time Bernardini, aDarley homebred, was retired to begin stud duties as the US champion three-year-old male, the strategy saw the addition of top three-year-old colts Any Given Saturday, Hard Spun and Street Sense to Darley USA, while Authorized, New Approach, Manduro and Teofilo joined the British and Irish teams, and Admire Moon was obtained for Darley Japan – all in 2007.

However, Darley did not head-hunt Medaglia d'Oro; an offer to sell the horse was made to Sheikh Mohammed's team, said John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser to the Dubai ruler.

Emphasising the commercial focus of the stallion operation, he said the purchase made "good financial sense" because stock in the sire, who stood for $40,000 this year, is on the upswing.

"The stallions operate on a commercial basis, and we felt that the deal offered to us made good, sound financial sense," he said. "We feel the horse has a future. And if you're in the stallion business, everybody strives to have the most successful stallion.

"What has impressed us is that not only have his progeny raced well, they are good-looking, sound horses at the sales."

Another attraction is the horse's tail-male line; as a grandson of Sadler's Wells via El Prado, there is a suggestion he could produce runners suitable to the European Classics. "He breeds a good, scopey horse who can get a distance, and as a grandson of Sadler's Wells, there's noreason to think he won't do it in Europe as well," Ferguson said.

Medaglia D'Oro's ten runners who have won or been placed in black-type company this year include only one colt, but Ferguson said Darley is not concerned the stallion will be labelled a "filly sire".

"The filly bias, as it were, is absolutely not a concern to us. When Sadler's Wells first went to stud, everyone was convinced he couldn't breed a filly of any quality, but by the time his career was finished, he was as strong in that department as any other."




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