Darley announced on Tuesday that dual French Classic winner and leading sire Shamardal has been euthanised due to ‘health issues’. The son of Giant’s Causeway was 18.
Paying tribute to Kildangan Stud’s flagship stallion, 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.”
His story was a remarkable one because, as a youngster he was diagnosed as a ‘Grade 3 wobbler’, a syndrome caused by spinal compression in the neck, rated 0-5. Those graded 5 cannot stand up.
His owners claimed on their insurance but was then sold by the underwriters, treated and he recovered.
Michael Goodbody then purchased him as a yearling on behalf of Gainsborough Stud, outbidding Mark Johnston who initially trained the horse for Abdulla Buhaleeba then Gainsborough.
He won the 7f Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes as a 2yo before transferring to Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin, achieving the unique treble of winning the French 2000 Guineas, French Derby and St James’s Palace Stakes, the year Royal Ascot was contested at York.
Champion Juvenile in Europe and Champion 3yo Miler the following year, his sole career defeat in seven starts was at Nad Al Sheba when he failed to handle the dirt in the 2005 UAE Derby.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “We were all very sad to hear of the passing of Shamardal. He was a Champion 2yoand 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."
At stud he was Champion First Season Sire by earnings in 2009 and, the following year, his son Lope De Vega emulated his sire by winning both the French 2000 Guineas and French Derby in the same year as his 2yo son Casamento landed the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy for Sheikh Mohammed.
Last year, 2019, was a phenomenal one for the sire with an unprecedented three unbeaten Group One winning 2yos: Pinatubo, Victor Ludorum & Earthlight.
Another of his star performers, crack sprinter Blue Point, is currently standing his first season at Kildangan.