Shamardal dies at 18
Shamardal, dual Champion racehorse and a leading light on the Darley stallion roster for well over 10 years, has sadly been euthanised at Kildangan Stud as a result of health issues.
From the moment he stepped onto the racecourse, Shamardal marked himself as one to watch, leading from pillar to post to win his maiden by no fewer than eight lengths.
Lining up in the G2 Vintage Stakes on only his second start, Shamardal rewarded the faith shown in him by his then trainer Mark Johnston in spades, landing the seven-furlong contest by two and a half lengths from future Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko.
Another step up in class followed, this time against a high-class field in the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes. Shamardal, in what was by now his customary style, made all the running to win by two and a half lengths – not once seeing another rival.
He was duly named Champion two-year-old and was transferred to Godolphin, and the care of Saeed bin Suroor, at the end of the season.
After suffering what was to be his only defeat on the dirt at Nad Al Sheba, Shamardal returned to Europe, and winning ways, in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains - the French 2,000 Guineas.
A few weeks later, he doubled up his tally of French Classics in the Prix du Jockey Club, holding off a determined challenge from Hurricane Run, the horse who would go on to win the Arc later that year.
Shamardal concluded his racing career at York (where Ascot’s Royal meeting was staged in 2005), seeing off another quality field in the St James’s Palace and he could not have been more impressive, easing clear from three furlongs out to win even more comfortably than the three-length margin would suggest.
Sadly, injury meant he was not seen on the racecourse again, but Shamardal retired to stud not only unbeaten on turf, but never once even headed – a truly remarkable feat.
He stood his very first season in Australia, where his first crop was headed by multiple G1 winner Faint Perfume. He was also quick to make an impression at stud in Europe and was crowned leading first-season sire during his first northern hemisphere season, siring Solario Stakes winner Shakespearean and G1 performer Zazou.
Since then, Shamardal has consistently sired hugely talented racehorses – 25 of whom have been victorious at G1 level. Between them, they have won the Dewhurst, Eclipse, French Guineas (both 2,000 and 1,000), French Derby, Cheveley Park, EP Taylor, National Stakes and Racing Post Trophy, to name but a few.
Shamardal’s greatest performer to date is of course Pinatubo. This outstanding colt carried all before him in 2019, winning all six of his starts including the G1 National and G1 Darley Dewhurst. His Timeform rating of 134 was the highest allotted to a two-year-old for 25 years.
His second highest-rated performer is another horse who was unbeaten in 2019, Blue Point. The outstanding speedster is the only horse ever to have won three G1 sprint races at Royal Ascot and only the third horse in almost 100 years to complete the King’s Stand/ Diamond Jubilee double in the same week.
He is also establishing himself as a broodmare sire of the highest class, through Classic winners Awtaad and Latrobe, last season’s top sprinter Hello Youmzain plus G1-winning juvenile filly Pretty Pollyanna.
Saeed bin Suroor, who trained Shamardal at three 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 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.”
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”.
Sam Bullard, Darley's Director of Stallions said, “Shamardal has been the mainstay of our Irish stallion roster for many years and will be sorely missed by the team at Kildangan.
“His record as a sire speaks for itself and we have enjoyed many great days on the racecourse courtesy of his sons and daughters. Led by the imperious Pinatubo, Shamardal’s juvenile crop of last year was truly outstanding siring three unbeaten G1-winning juvenile colts, a feat never achieved before since the start of the Pattern.”