Danehill Dancer, who rose from an introductory stud fee of only Ir£4,000 to become a champion sire and exert a deep influence on the breed, was put down at Coolmore at the weekend due to the infirmities of old age.
The son of Danehill, who had been retired from covering duty in 2013, was 24.
Bred by Larry and Kip McCreery in Ireland, Danehill Dancer certainly had the pedigree to excel, as a son of outstanding sire of sires Danehill out of a granddaughter of the brilliant sprinter and miler Lianga, who also features as ancestress of Group/Grade 1 sires Mr Greeley and Street Sense.
However, it took Demi O'Byrne a bid of only Ir38,000gns to buy him on behalf of Michael Tabor as a yearling at Goffs.
Sent into training with Neville Callaghan, he won the Phoenix Stakes and National Stakes, and finished second to Alhaarth in the Dewhurst Stakes at two.
DANEHILL DANCER'S TOP RUNNERS BY RPR
Choisir (ex Great Selection by Lunchtime) RPR 127
Won Golden Jubilee S-G1, Lightning S-G1, King's Stand S-G2, Emirates Classic-G2
Mastercraftsman (ex Starlight Dreams by Black Tie Affair) RPR 127
Won Phoenix S-G1, National S-G1, Irish 2,000 Guineas-G1, St James's Palace S-G1
Fast Company (ex Sheezalady by Zafonic) RPR 124
Won Acomb S-G3, 2nd Dewhurst S-G1
Planteur (ex Plante Rare by Giant's Causeway) RPR 124
Won Prix Ganay-G1, Prix Noailles-G2, Prix d'Harcourt-G2
Where Or When (ex Future Past by Super Concorde) RPR 124
Won Queen Elizabeth II S-G1, Somerville Tattersall S-G3
He scored in the Greenham Stakes on his three-year-old debut but was unplaced in the 2,000 Guineas and Poule d'Essai des Poulains, only to find his best form again when dropped back to sprinting, with an honourable third to Anabaa in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.
Danehill Dancer made an immediate impact with his early runners bred off a basement fee and his first northern hemisphere crop contained Where Or When, who memorably took the scalp of Hawk Wing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. His early results from shuttling to Australia included Choisir, who took Royal Ascot by storm in 2003 by winning the King's Stand and Golden Jubilee Stakes, and three-time Group 1 scorer Private Steer.
Although Danehill Dancer's fee dropped to Ir£3,500 before his first runners stepped foot on a racecourse, it rose to €115,000 in 2007 and 2008 as he produced a regular supply of top-class talents.
In 2009, the season his son Mastercraftsman won the Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes and daughter Again took the Irish 1,000 Guineas, he was crowned champion sire in Britain and Ireland, and in that year and in 2010 his fee was listed at private.
In all, Danehill Dancer has been represented by 21 Group/Grade 1 winners worldwide including Classic heroines Dancing Rain, Legatissimo and Speciosa, as well as last year's Coronation Stakes and Prix Rothschild Stakes winner Qemah.
Another of his Group 1-winning daughters, Lillie Langtry, is the dam of standout filly Minding, winner of the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2016.
Danehill Dancer is developing into a fine broodmare sire, as his daughters also produced last year's other multiple Group 1 winners Alice Springs and The Gurkha – like Minding, both by Galileo.
The stallion is also an important sire of sires, with sons Air Chief Marshal, Choisir, Fast Company, Mastercraftsman and Monsieur Bond all having supplied Group 1 winners. Among his paternal grandchildren are Classic winners Kingston Hill and The Grey Gatsby (by Mastercraftsman) and Jet Setting (by Fast Company), as well as multiple Group 1 winners Olympic Glory and Starspangledbanner (by Choisir).
Progeny of Danehill Dancer were often in strong demand at the sales. His most expensive yearling was Famous, a sister to Mastercraftsman who was Group 1-placed after being bought by Coolmore for €1 million at Goffs, while Oaks winner Dancing Rain lit up the 2013 Tattersalls December Mares Sale when sold in foal to Frankel to Sheikh Mohammed for 4,000,000gns.
Coolmore's MV Magnier paid tribute by saying: “Danehill Dancer was a wonderful sire and has left a significant legacy at Coolmore through his sons Mastercraftsman and Choisir and grandson Starspangledbanner, while The Gurkha is a very exciting sire prospect for the future.
“His brilliant daughter Legatissimo was scanned in foal to Galileo this morning and Minding and Alice Springs will be very welcome additions to the broodmare band once they finish their racing careers.”