The South African stallion log is ranked according to progeny earnings. Last season, Fort Wood finished third on the log but with the fewest starts of any of the top 10 sires. If they were ranked by earnings per start, Fort Wood would be on top. At 19.33 and 58.71, he was also best by percentage wins and percentage in the money. Currently fourth on this seasons log, with under 6 months to go, the same figures apply. He would top the log of earnings per starts, percentage winners, and percentage in the money. If someone in South Africa was told they could have any horse at the national sale for free, or could get a free service to any stallion, the most popular choice would be Fort Wood, of that Iím confident.
Fort Woodís sim pedigree is Sadlerís Wells x Pretense x Swaps. In his first five generations, he is inbred only to Hyperion: 5f x 4f, 5m. His sire, Sadlerís Wells, needs no introduction. His dam, Fall Aspen, has so much bold black type amongst her foals that she would fill a page of a catalogue by herself. Fort Wood himself won a Gr1 in France over 10 furlongs as a three year old. His three parts sister by Northern Dancer,† Northern Aspen, won a Gr1 in the USA. His unraced full sister, Dance of Leaves, has produced the multiple Gr2 winner, Charnwood Forest, and the Gr1 winner and now sire, Medaaly.
Fort Woodís brother by Danzig, Hamas, won the Gr1 July Cup in England. His Gr2 winning sister by Shareef Dancer, Colorado Dancer, is the dam of no less than Dubai Millenium. The list goes on! Thereís his brother by Woodman, Timber Country, winner of the Gr1 Breeders Cup Juvenile, Gr1 Preakness, and Gr1 Champagne Stakes. Donít forget Prince Of Thieves, by Hansel. Both he and Timber Country finished 3rd in the Gr1 Kentucky Derby. There are too many other graded or group winners to mention here.
What about Fort Woodís record as a sire himself? To start with, he is the only sire in South African history to produce three†runners to earn the†coveted Horse of the Year title as three year olds: Horse Chestnut, Dynasty, and Celtic Grove, and that from only his first seven crops to race. Iíve written about Horse Chestnut before: Iím not likely to see a better racehorse in my lifetime. From those first seven crops of only 336 foals (272 runners), Fort Wood has sired no less than 9 Gr1 winners, 11 Gr2 winners, and 7 Gr3 winners. Thatís 27 individual graded stakes winners, or 8% graded stakes winners to foals!
Rated by number of wins per distance category compared with the sire population as a whole, Fort Wood produces horses with stamina. The following table shows the percentage wins by Fort Woodís foals per distance category, with the population average in brackets:
5 Ė 6.5 furlongs††††††††††† 16% (38%)
7 Ė 7.5 furlongs††††††††††† 15% (15%)
8 Ė 9 furlongs†††††††††††††† 40% (29%)
9.5 Ė 10 furlongs††††††††† 21% (13%)
10.5 furlongs†or more††† †8% (5%)
Now letís look at Fort Wood in the sim. As of writing, he is available for a mere 26 points. Can you find a better bargain for a blue-blooded Gr1 winner, proven exceptional sire, and sire of sires? From his 53 runners in the 5 seasons from 2001, he has only one stakes winner. That foal is my own Wonder Lawn, a 43 point bargain I bred last season that failed in a Gr3 by a whisker. Iím hopeful that he will become Fort Woodís first group winner soon. Nick N Nick has won 4 times from 12 starts. Spin Spin Sugar II is a stakes placed winner of 12 races. The Shadow Man is a stakes placed winner of 6 races. Colonization (retired) won 8 races.
Wonder Lawn (Roy x Ghadeer(Fr)) Ė 3m x 5m Northern Dancer, 5m x 5m Lalun (daughter of Djeddah(Fr)) through Bold Reason and Never Bend
Nick N Nick (Kylian x French Glory(Ire)) Ė 2m x 3m,4m Sadlerís Wells
Spin Spin Sugar II (Torsion x Right Combination) Ė 5m x 5m Nearco, 5m x 4m Lalun through Bold Reason and Never Bend
The Shadow Man (Kylian x Glint Of Gold(Gb)) Ė 2m x 3m Sadlerís Wells
Colonization (Titanic x Glint Of Gold(Gb))
Note that none of the above runners has fashionable pedigrees. Note also that†each of the five have something in common with another. Glint Of Gold(Gb) appears twice as DDS. Kylian appears twice as DS, and the cross of Bold Reason and Never Bend appears twice. It†seems that Fort Wood has an affinity for more Northern Dancer blood, even very close up as in the case of the two Sadlerís Wells inbreedings.
So far, Wonder Lawn and Nick N Nick look like sprinters. However, they have both just turned three and could build up some stamina. Spin Spin Sugar II was stakes placed over two miles and recorded seven of his wins over 14 furlongs on both surfaces but looks best on dirt. The Shadow Man, a turfer, likewise was stakes placed over two miles and recorded all of his six wins over 14 or 16 furlongs. Colonization was a sprinter miler, winning from 6 to 8 furlongs on both surfaces.
Given the chance with a decent mare or two, there is every chance that Fort Wood could produce a runner worthy of competing in the great races of the sim.