Flagship Stallion Cape Cross Dies
Photo: Courtesy Darley
Cape Cross sired eight champions, 54 graded black-type winners, and 108 black-type winners

Cape Cross, a foundation sire of Godolphin and Darley's global breeding operation, has been euthanized due to the complications of old age. He was 23.

Bred by Sheikh Mohammed out of champion group 1 winner Park Appeal, the son of Green Desert was a group 1 winner in Godolphin colors when he won the 1998 Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes (G1) at Newbury. He added victories in the 1999 Queen Anne Stakes (G2) and Celebration Mile (G2) to his accomplishments before retiring to stud.

Cape Cross was a phenomenal success in the breeding shed. A champion first-year sire, he produced in that crop two-time Eclipse Award-winner Ouija Board, champion turf mare of 2004 and 2006 in the United States. 

European Horse of the Year and six-time group 1 winner Sea The Stars and Epsom Derby (G1) winner Golden Horn were also among his progeny. He was one of only 17 stallions to have produced more than one Epsom Derby winner.

Joe Osborne, managing director of Godophin, Ireland, where Cape Cross stood at Kildangan Stud in the Northern Hemisphere, said the stallion was hugely influential—particularly in Darley's formative years, when he became the flagship of the operation.

"He has been an integral part of the Godolphin and Darley stories, and an integral part of Kildangan," Osborne said. "He was our first major success as a stallion. He was champion first-season sire, making an immediate impact, and went on to sire a collection of outstanding racehorses, who left their mark in some of the world's great races.

"As an individual, he was the boss. You did it his way. He very much ruled the roost."

In 2000, Cape Cross started shuttling to the Southern Hemisphere, first to Sir Patrick Hogan's Cambridge Stud in New Zealand, then to Kelvinside stud in Australia. He was retired from stallion duties in 2016.

The eight champions by Cape Cross earned honors in England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. From 1,591 starters, he sired 1,061 winners. Among them were 54 graded black-type winners and 108 black-type winners.

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