Multiple Group One winner and top sire Shamardal dies, aged 18

Thu 16 Apr 2020

Multiple Group One winner and renowned stallion Shamardal has died at the age of 18 as a result of recent health issues.

Trained by Mark Johnston to win the Vintage Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes as a two-year-old, the son of Giant’s Causeway joined Saeed bin Suroor in the Godolphin colours for his three-year-old season.

It proved a memorable one, as Shamardal landed the French 2000 Guineas, French Derby and the St James’s Palace Stakes, in the year Royal Ascot was held at York. His only defeat in seven career outings came on dirt at Nad Al Sheba in the UAE Derby.

Watch how the son of Giant’s Causeway won the Dewhurst in 2004 - ensuring he ended the year as champion two-year-old.

Bin Suroor told “We were all very sad to hear of the passing of Shamardal. He was a champion two-year-old and became one of Godolphin’s best horses, winning two Classics in France as well as the St James’s Palace Stakes.

“He went on to establish himself as a top sire, producing exceptional horses throughout the world, and everyone is going to miss him. It is a sad day, but I am sure that his progeny will continue his legacy both on the racecourse and in the breeding sheds.”

Based at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in Ireland, Shamardal’s highest-rated performer to date is the unbeaten Pinatubo, while his other Group One winners from five top-level victors last season included Earthlight and Victor Ludorum.

He is also the sire of now-retired sprinter Blue Point, who claimed four Group Ones in his own right, among them the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal meeting in 2019.

Joe Osborne, managing director of Godolphin Ireland, said: “Shamardal embodied mental and physical toughness – as a racehorse and as a stallion. As the racing world has seen over the past 15 years, he passed those qualities on to his progeny.

“He contended with a range of health issues over recent years and did so with fortitude and resilience. It’s a tough day for us saying goodbye to him. This is an appropriate time to thank our team of stallion personnel and support professionals who cared for him so well and so kindly throughout his time here at Kildangan Stud.”

Johnston is in no doubt that Shamardal is the best horse has trained.

Pinatubo, a son of Shamardal, excelled as a two-year-old last year

When becoming Britain's winning-most trainer in history, he said: "Shamadarl was the best. Every day I say the most important thing about racing your horses is the opposition. People look at the going, track, distance, jockey and so on but the number one thing is the opposition.

"But absolutely throughout the time I trained Shamadarl, I never considered the opposition because when you’ve got a horse like him the opposition's of no concern. All you are concerned about is can I produce him at his best - because if he’s at his best nothing can beat him. I suppose the dream is to find another one.

"When I had Attraction I thought I’d never have a horse as good again, but when she was a three-year-old Shamadarl was already in the yard. I’ve had great horses since but nothing like him: something that is simply better than all the rest."

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