CAPE Cross, the sire of outstanding performers Golden Horn, Ouija Board and Sea The Stars, has been retired from covering after suffering from fertility problems this season.
The 22-year-old son of Green Desert has been a stalwart of Kildangan Stud, having stood every season at Darley’s stallion base in County Kildare in Ireland since his retirement in 2000.
Cape Cross earned his shot as a stallion by winning the Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes and Celebration Mile for Godolphin.
Introduced to breeders at a fee of just Ir£8,000, he demonstrated he was capable of upgrading his mares by supplying a double-digit tally of first-crop two-year-old winners by Royal Ascot of 2003.
By the end of his freshman season he had four stakes winners along with a number of stakes-placed horses – including Ouija Board, who had finished third in the Listed Montrose Stakes.
As Cape Cross entered his sophomore season his fee was doubled to €20,000 from €10,000 and better was to come as Ouija Board established herself as an exceptional talent by winning the Epsom and Curragh Oaks and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
In 2005 Cape Cross had his fee increased to €50,000 and it was that year that the Tsui Family, inspired by Ouija Board, decided to send their iconic mare Urban Sea, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the dam of Galileo, to him.
The result of the mating was Sea The Stars, who lit up the 2009 season by winning the 2,000 Guineas, Derby, Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc.
Sea The Stars’ exploits no doubt encouraged Anthony Oppenheimer to breed his mare Fleche D’Or to Cape Cross, which created the third pivotal horse in the stallion’s career – Golden Horn, who also won the Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc last year.
In all, Cape Cross has produced 51 Group winners and 52 Listed winners, figures which could be improved by a Classic squadron for this year that includes the unbeaten colt Moonlight Magic out of Sea The Stars’ half-sister Melikah. He has plenty of runners in the pipeline, too, as he covered 114 mares last year, 108 in 2014 and 116 in 2013.
However, Darley’s director of stallions Sam Bullard said: “We are approaching the end of March and he has failed to get a mare in foal, so it has been decided that he should be retired from stallion duties.”