Former Cambridge Stud shuttler Cape Cross dies

15 Oct 2017

By Kelsey Riley

Group One winner and Classic sire Cape Cross has been euthanised at Darley’s Kildangan Stud at age 23 due to complications from old age. The Green Desert stallion who shuttled to Cambridge Stud for several years was pensioned from stud duties last year.

Bred by Sheikh Mohammed, Cape Cross began his racing career with John Gosden before moving to the yard of Saeed bin Suroor at four, for whom he won the Gr.1 Lockinge Stakes at first asking. The dark bay added wins in the following season’s Gr.2 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Gr.2 Celebration Mile before retiring to stud.

Cape Cross made an immediate impact in his second career, being crowned champion first-season sire.

That crop contained one of his true stars in the form of Ouija Board, the winner of seven Group One races, including the Epsom and Irish Oaks, two renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Ouija Board would go on to produce the dual Derby winner Australia, by Galileo.

A handful of Group One winners followed in his ensuing crops, but it was five years later that Cape Cross’s next superstar came along: the Horse of the Year and six-time Group One winner Sea The Stars, widely considered one of racing’s greatest ever.

Sea The Stars’s top-level wins included the Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and has since sired a Derby winner himself in Harzand. Six years later, Cape Cross’s Golden Horn emulated some of the feats of Sea The Stars when he recorded the Derby/Arc double and was named Horse of the Year.

Harzand wasn’t the only European Classic winner last year to boast Cape Cross in his pedigree, with Cape Cross’s son Awtaad taking out the Irish 2000 Guineas for Sheikh Hamdan.

Cape Cross has also made a major impact as a broodmare sire. In addition to Australia, his daughters have produced Gr.1 Cheveley Park Stakes winner Serious Attitude and his stint shuttling to Cambridge Stud in New Zealand resulted in a pair of Group One winners from his daughters in that country. His daughters have produced an additional 17 Group winners in both hemispheres.

His chief flagbearer in New Zealand was Group One star Seachange.

“He has been an integral part of the Godolphin and Darley stories, and an integral part of Kildangan,” said Joe Osborne, managing director of Godolphin Ireland.

“He was our first major success as a stallion. He was champion first-season sire, making an immediate impact, and went on to sire a collection of outstanding racehorses, who left their mark in some of the world’s great races. As an individual, he was the boss. You did it his way. He very much ruled the roost.” -