The Soldier who’s earning his stripes

Hailing from an illustrious “Blue Hen” family and with 37 Stakes winners to his name already, Soldier Hollow is steadily climbing the ranks of top sires to have stood in Germany. By John Boyce.

The influential mare Thong set the European breeding industry on its current trajectory in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her first three foals all by Argentinian champion Forli – born in 1969, 1970 and 1971 – were Special, who produced Nureyev plus the dam of Sadler’s Wells; Thatch, the three-year-old who set the summer of 1973 alight with consecutive victories in the St James’s Palace Stakes, July Cup and Sussex Stakes, and Coronation Stakes heroine Lisadell. Special needs no introduction and Thatch was the first stallion, way before Sadler’s Wells, from the Thong family to stand at Coolmore, from where he achieved reasonable success, siring fellow July Cup winner Thatching. 

Lisadell, meanwhile, has carved out her own niche down through the years. There have been 431 Lisadell descendants that have made the racecourse and 32 of them have become Stakes winners. Her most famous descendant is the brilliant Japan Cup victor El Condor Pasa, rated 136 by Timeform after he’d finished second in the 1999 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. But another has been doing sterling work in Germany since he retired to stud in 2008. Soldier Hollow with a Timeform rating 121 was one of the better descendants of Lisadell, winning 12 of his 31 races from the age of two to seven, including two renewals of the Group 1 Premio Roma and two of the Group 1 Bayerisches Zuchtrennen, both over a mile-and-a-quarter. 

Soldier Hollow, who stands at Gestüt Auenquelle at a fee of €30,000, has sired five Group 1 winners to date.

Soldier Hollow, who stands at Gestüt Auenquelle at a fee of €30,000, has sired five Group 1 winners to date.

As a male-line descendant of Sadler’s Wells through In The Wings, Soldier Hollow is one of 140 Stakes winners inbred to Thong within five generations. Now with nine crops at the races, Soldier Hollow has proved himself to be a stalwart of the Germany breeding industry. He has sired more Stakes winners (37) than any sire retired to stud in Germany this century. He currently has only seven great German sires ahead of him in the all-time Stakes-winner list and he’s got every chance of overhauling three of them – Areion (44), Surumu (46) and Dashing Blade (54) – in the foreseeable future. But it’s hard to see him running down Acatenango (72), Big Shuffle (73) and the outstanding Monsun, who had no fewer than 113 Stakes winners to his name. Nevertheless, 37 Stakes winners is an impressive tally. 

Also impressive is his 10.5% Stakes winners to runners which, given the quality of mares he’s covering – particularly in recent years – is about what we should expect. His mares have produced Stakes winners at a rate of 11.1% with other sires. The fact that his Stakes winners have been in Germany has also depressed their average Timeform rating. Soldier Hollow’s Stakes winners are rated 110 by Timeform on average, which is about four pounds behind the Stakes winners by the very best sires in Europe. Monsun is the standard bearer among German sires and his percentage of Stakes winners to runners was an excellent 16.9% and his Stakes winners have recorded an average Timeform rating of 114.  Moreover, his best ten runners have an average rating of 127.7, compared with Soldier Hollow’s 116.5. That said, Soldier Hollow’s numbers are better when we examine his runners from elite mares.  His percentage of Stakes winners rises to 17.5% and his runners’ average rating climbs to 112. These numbers are all the more impressive when compared with 14.4% Stakes winners from his elite mares’ other offspring.

Soldier Hollow’s top-rated performer, Dschingis Secret (right), defeats the Dubai Sheema Classic and Eclipse Stakes winner Hawkbill in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin.

Soldier Hollow’s top-rated performer, Dschingis Secret (right), defeats the Dubai Sheema Classic and Eclipse Stakes winner Hawkbill in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin.

Timeform has already given a higher mark to three of Soldier Hollow’s offspring than they gave to him. First-crop star Pastorius, rated 124, won three times at the highest level, taking back-to-back Group 1s – the Germany Derby and Grosser Dallmayr Preis – as a three-year-old, before following up with a victory in the Group 1 Prix Ganay a year later. Second-crop star, Ivanhowe rated 123, won the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden and Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern over a mile-and-a-half as a four-year-old before moving to Australia, where he picked up another two Group 1s, the Doomben Cup and Ranvet Stakes, both over 2,000m. But perhaps the best of all Soldier Hollow’s progeny is the 125-rated Dschingis Secret, who took time to reach his full potential as a four year-old during when he took a three-race winning streak – the Group 2 Grosser Hansa Preis, the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin and the Group 2 Prix Foy – into the 2017 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe where, in a stellar field, he finished sixth to Enable. 

SOLDIER HOLLOW'S GROUP WINNERS

Form

Name

Born

Sex

Dam

Broodmare Sire

G1w

DSCHINGIS SECRET

2013

C

DIVYA W

PLATINI

G1w

PASTORIUS

2009

C

PRINCESS LI W

MONSUN

G1w

IVANHOWE

2010

C

Indigo GirlWG1p

STERNKOENIG

G1w

WELTSTAR

2015

C

WELLENSPIEL W

STERNKOENIG

G1w

SERIENHOLDE

2013

F

SaldenehreWLRp

HIGHEST HONOR

G2w

ARS NOVA

2010

F

ASUMA W

SURUMU

G3wG1p

WAI KEY STAR

2013

G

WAKYTARA W

DANEHILL

G3wG1p

DESTINO

2015

C

DIVYA W

PLATINI

G3w

DABBITSE

2009

G

Djidda UR

LANDO

G3wG2p

AXANA

2016

F

ACHINORA W

SLEEPING INDIAN

G3w

SHADOW SADNESS

2012

G

SHADOW QUEEN W

LANDO

G3w

DALLAS AFFAIR

2014

F

DAYTONALRwG3p

LANDO

G3wG2p

WELL SPOKEN

2014

F

Well American P

BERTRANDO

G3w

PELLIGRINA

2016

F

PEARLS OR PASSIONLRw

MONSUN

G3w

WHISPERING ANGEL

2016

F

WAMIKA W

SHIROCCO

G3w

PARTHENIUS

2013

G

PRINCESS LI W

MONSUN

G3wG1p

SON MACIA

2013

F

SINAADA W

ZINAAD

About the author

John Boyce

John Boyce grew up on a stud farm and is a bloodstock journalist and former editor of Pacemaker and of The Thoroughbred Breeder. He has been part of the Darley/Godolphin team since 2001 as Group Marketing Head and then Group Head of Research. He is currently responsible for stallion and broodmare analysis to help the organisation’s stud, sales and marketing teams.

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