One of the best value stallions standing anywhere is the Irish National Stud’s Verglas, who began his stud career in France and was the leading French first-crop sire of 2003 with limited numbers of foals (less than 70 foals in first two crops). The stallion was fortuitously moved to Ireland for the 2005 season because his owner, Lady Chryss O’Reilly, is the chairman of the Irish National Stud. He stood this year for €12,500 and finished third on the French general sire list behind Cape Cross and Anabaa with 11 black type winners, including a French and Indian classic winner. In 2010 he’ll stand for only €10,000 (approx. $14,756), which represents significant value for Europeans breeding to race or sell.
Verglas won only 3 of 14 starts, but he was placed in 7 other races, including the Group 1 Lexus Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh and the Group 1 Heinz ’57 Phoenix Stakes at Leopardstown at 2, when he also won the Group 3 Coventry at Royal Ascot over 6 furlongs. Verglas also had a brief campaign in California at 4 and was second in the San Marino Handicap at Santa Anita to Storm Trooper, a Diesis horse who also won the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Handicap that year and then was sent to stud in India.
This year Verglas has one of the favorites for the Indian 2000 Guineas at Mumbai Dec. 20 in undefeated Versaki, who is 6 for 6 and most recently won the Indian Group 1 Nanoli Stud Pune Derby. Versaki’s dam was purchased in foal to Verglas for €19,000 at Goffs in 2005 and was shipped to India, where Versaki was foaled in 2006.
Irish-bred Silver Frost, another member of Verglas’s first Irish-conceived crop now 3, won the Group 1 Poule d’ Essai de Poulians (French 2000 Guineas equivalent) at Longchamp this year and is the stallion’s second European Group 1 winner after Group 1 Prix Jean Prat winner Stormy River. Altogether, the stallion is represented by 22 black type winners (7 Group winners), including several Australian-conceived winners. He’s been well received in the sales ring, too, with yearlings making as much as €162,000 in 2009.
A son of Highest Honor, Verglas’s sire line has been prominent in France for generations and traces to Nasrullah through the speedy Grey Sovereign. Highest Honor, the sire of 59 black type winners, is a son of Kenmare, who sired 60 black type winners. Kenmare is by Kalamoun, who died at age 9 but nevertheless sired 20 black type winners. Kalamoun is by Zeddaan, a son of Grey Sovereign, who is by Nasrullah.
This branch of the Nasrullah line — as opposed to, say, the stouter Mill Reef branch in Britain — was particularly known for its Guineas horses (and many gray coats) and aside from Verglas (2nd Irish 2000 Guineas) includes Highest Honor (2nd French 2000), Kalamoun (won French Guineas), Zeddaan (won French Guineas), Kendor (won French Guineas; by Kenmare, by Kalamoun), Caro (won French Guineas; by Fortino, by Grey Sovereign), Nishapour (won French Guineas; by Zeddaan), Siberian Express (won French Guineas; by Caro), etc.