WHAT is a leading sire? Is it the stallion whose one-hit wonder won a Classic, Cheltenham Gold Cup or championship medal? Or from a handful of competition and racing age progeny produces the best strike rate? Or the commercial sire whose progeny are always in demand?

For decades, thoroughbred racing has employed prize money to decide its leading sires and browsing through the sire rankings in the bloodstock section of The Irish Field makes for equally interesting reading.

According to Hippomundo’s rankings, which use the same prize-money format, Cabri d’Elle, Chacco-Blue and Easy Game are the top-three eventing, show jumping and dressage sires of 2021.

No change for two out of three so from the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) dressage and show jumping rankings of last November, as Chacco-Blue and Easy Game were already crowned its leading sires.

The Selle Français sire Cabri d’Elle, a member of British Nations Cup teams with Scott Smith, has replaced Landos, the top eventing sire in Hippomundo’s 2020 rankings, in the latest results.

Easy Game, the Trakehner Verband’s ‘Stallion of the Year’, dethroned Glock’s Johnson TN in dressage, thanks to the phenomenal German, European and Olympic champion of 2021: TSF Dalera BB.

Which horses were Chacco-Blue and Cabri d’Elle’s top performers? No surprises that it was another Tokyo gold medallist Explosion W (€759,707) and the inaugural Maryland five-star winner On Cue (which netted €86,348 of her total earnings of €101,168 last year) that secured their respective sire’s titles.

Context, such as the competition levels progeny are competing at and progeny numbers, is always important when viewing sire rankings. For example, Diamant de Semilly (second) has 803 competition offspring registered on the Hippomundo database, over four times the number of seventh-placed Kashmir van Schuttershof (149 progeny).

Similarly, On Cue is Cabri d’Elle’s sole performer compared to four dozen for Birkhof’s Grafenstolz (seventh).

Luidam is the highest-placed (31st) show jumping stallion that was based in Ireland. Top of his earners is the Alan Waldman-bred Gemma W (KWPN. €274,550) followed by the Irish Sport Horse mare Javas Miss Jordan (€223,755) and another Judy Murphy-bred HHS Javas Gucci (€27,849) in fourth.

Incidentally, Luidam finished in fourth place too in the 2021 United States Equestrian Federation show jumping sire rankings.

VDL Arkansas, Courage II and Ramiro B are three more stallions that were based in Ireland for all or the majority of their stud career; all three appear in the top 10 Hippomundo eventing sires. Their best performers are Off The Record (Breeder: Peter Brady), Ballaghmor Class (Noel Hickey) and Cooley Master Class (John Hagan), respectively.

Four more Irish-based stallions in the top 20 include Womanizer (KWPN. €35,175. 18 progeny) in 11th place; Watervalley Cool Diamond (ISH (TIH). €27,519. One) in 14th; Camiro de Haar Z (Zangersheide. €26,435. Eight) in 16th, one place ahead of O.B.O.S Quality 004 (OLD. €25,576.65). O.B.O.S Quality also ended 2021 as the leading sire in the British Eventing sire rankings.

Belgian breeding dominates

Belgian breeding dominated the show jumping sires bloodlines with half of the top 10 stallions sporting BWP or sBs suffixes. German studbooks led in both dressage (six) and eventing (six).

All of the top 10 show jumping sires competed at 1.60m level and ironically, Chacco-Blue who had a more modest career compared to the likes of Diamant de Semilly, Casall or Cornet Obolensky, has to date proved the leading sire.

Chilli Morning’s five-star career, including a Badminton win in 2015 and Rio Olympics appearance, makes him the stand-out eventing performer. Grafenstolz is the other of the top-10 sires to have been performance tested in eventing.

Another additional feature of the subscription-based Hippomundo rankings are their useful dam sire rankings. Diamant de Semilly and Nabab de Reve appear in both the show jumping sire and dam sire top-10.

There’s a retro feel to the eventing dam sires with former WBFSH top-ranked stallions such as Master Imp (TB), Cavalier Royale (HOLST) and Heraldik (TB) seen amongst this top-10. Primitive Rising, On Cue’s damsire, rounds off three sightings of thoroughbreds on the leaderboards.

That once familiar sire ‘Not recorded’ makes an appearance, chiefly through the Rolex Kentucky winner and British team gold horse at Tokyo Ballaghmor Class (Courage II), whose dam line remains an unknown.