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  Friday, 8 June, 2001, 21:42 GMT 22:42 UK
Sadler's Wells breeds success
Imagine leads home Flight of Fancy (l) to win the Oaks
Imagine leads home Flight of Fancy (l) to win the Oaks
BBC Sport Online's Frank Keogh reports on history being made by champion stallion Sadler's Wells.

In the heady world of horse breeding, Sadler's Wells has become the new champion of the world - and he comes with a heavy price tag.

The victory of his daughter Imagine in the Vodafone Oaks set a new record for top-class winners fathered by one horse.

And Galileo promptly provided him with his first Epsom Derby winner 24 hours later.

Sadler's Wells has now produced the winners of 47 individual Group One races.

That puts the American stallion two ahead of the New Zealand sire Sir Tristram, who died four years ago.


He's a marvellous sire, what can you say?
Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Not only that, but Sadler's Wells achieved the rare distinction of having produced the first three in the fillies' Classic, with the Queen's horse Flight of Fancy in second and Relish The Thought third.

And she was his fourth Oaks winner following Salsabil (1990), Intrepidity (1993) and Moonshell (1995).

Just for good measure he very nearly had the winner of the Coronation Cup earlier on Friday, but Wellbeing was just beaten by Mutafaweq.

The one remaining chink in the admirable armour of Sadler's Wells was that he had yet to father a winner of the Derby.

Five of his sons finished second, but he went one better on Saturday with Galileo to complete an Irish double in the Epsom Classics.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who is in charge of both Galileo and Imagine, marvelled at the record of Sadler's Wells: "He's a marvellous sire, what can you say?"

With Sadler's Wells turning out more winners than an Ethiopian middle-distance running coach, he is very much in demand.

Galileo aims to be the first son of Sadler's Wells to win the Derby
Galileo aims to be the first son of Sadler's Wells to win the Derby
And mare owners will pay huge sums to have their horses covered by him.

He serves about 200 mares every season, and with each mating reaping a reported fee of about 200,000, that brings in about 40m a year to the Irish-based Coolmore Stud company which owns him.

Breeders are prepared to pay the fees because as well as his sons and daughters being very successful on the racecourse, they sell for big prices before even having a run.

A colt by him sold at public auction last year for a European record of 3.4 million guineas, which in common currency is about 3.5m.

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