Shamardal Image Credit: Darley

Dubai: The thoroughbred racing world has lost one of its most successful and prolific stallions with the death of Darley flag-bearer Shamardal due to ‘health issues.’

Shamardal, 18, had been standing at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in Ireland since his retirement as a three-year-old in July, 2005.

Darley is the thoroughbred stallion division of Godolphin, the global horse racing organisation founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The French 2000 Guineas and Derby winner sired 25 Group 1 winners led by Godolphin’s history-making Royal Ascot winner Blue Point and undefeated Pinatubo, who was rated 134 as a two-year-old, the best for the past 25 years.

Paying tribute to the son of Giant’s Causeway, 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.”

Shamardal Image Credit: Godolphin

Godolphin’s Saeed Bin Surour, who trained Shamardal to complete the unique feat of winning three Group 1 races in succession, said: “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 (2000 Guineas and French Derby) 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.”

Mark Johnston initially trained Shamardal for Emirati businessman Abdulla Buhaleebam where he won all three of his juvenile starts including the Dewhurst Stakes (G1).

He was subsequently acquired by Sheikh Mohammad’s Gainsborough Stud before being transferred to Bin Surour at the end of 2004.

Sadly, his sole career defeat in seven starts came at Nad Al Sheba when he failed to handle the dirt in the 2005 UAE Derby, won by stable companion Blues And Royals.

At Kildangan he was Champion First Season Sire by earnings in 2009 and, the following year, his son Lope De Vega emulated Shamardal by winning both the French 2000 Guineas and French Derby in the same year.

Last year, 2019, was a landmark year for Shamardal when three of his progeny — Pinatubo, Victor Ludorum and Earthlight — emerged as unbeaten Group One winning two-year-olds.

One of his most famous offspring is Godolphin’s Blue Point, who is currently standing his first season at Kildangan.