Death of iconic sire Sadler’s Wells

Sadler’s Wells, one of the most influential stallions of all time, has died of natural causes aged 30.

The son of Northern Dancer and sire of English Derby winners Galileo and High Chaparral died in his paddock at Coolmore Stud in Ireland on Tuesday evening.

Sadler’s Wells helped to carry Coolmore to a position of global influence during a career at stud that included 14 sires’ championships in Britain and Ireland.  He started with six individual G1 winners in his first crop and enjoyed unparalleled success until finally eclipsing Highflyer’s age-old record of 13 stallion titles.

His stranglehold on the title of champion sire was broken by Danehill in 2005, the same year that Sadler’s Wells was crowned champion broodmare sire.

A homebred for Robert Sangster’s Swettenham Stud, he was a high-class racehorse winning the Irish 2000 Guineas, Eclipse Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes.  He also ran second in the French Derby and King George.

He retired to Coolmore Stud in 1984 and among his many Group 1 winners, apart from the two English Derby winners, were In The Wings (Breeders’ Cup Turf), Salsabil (English 1000 Guineas, English Oaks, Irish Derby), Barathea (Breeders’ Cup Mile), Entrepreneur (English 2000 Guineas), Kayf Tara (Ascot Gold Cup twice), Dream Well (French Derby, Irish Derby), Imagine (Irish 1000 Guineas, Irish Oaks), Islington (Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf) and Yeats (Ascot Gold Cup four times).

As Sadler’s Wells grew older his sons came to challenge his dominance of the stallion ranks.  Galileo is the sire of red-hot English 2000 Guineas favourite Frankel who could carry on the legacy this Saturday at Newmarket.

Sadler’s Wells was retired from stallion duties in May, 2008 at the age of 27 due to declining fertility.  “We all feel privileged to have been involved with such a special horse,” Coolmore manager Christy Grassick said.

“He was undoubtedly the best sire Europe has ever seen and his influence looks set to continue for many years to come.”