Curlin - Worth The Wait
Mark Smith - Wednesday September 11

Aside from giving the local industry a collective pat on the back after Lonhro's Group 1 winning daughter Bounding produced the US$4,100,000 session topping colt at Keeneland it's once again time to learn the lesson of writing off a stallion too quickly.

The colt's sire Curlin was twice voted Horse of the Year and belonged to a three-year-old crop universally recognised as one of the best in modern times.

Curlin, Hard Spun (USA). Any Given Saturday (USA) and Street Sense (USA) fought many titanic battles.

Of the four only Curlin did not shuttle to Australia. The other three stood under the Darley banner. All have since departed but Street Sense (USA) and Hard Spun (USA) in particular should be remembered more fondly than they are.

In five seasons, Street Sense (USA) left the Group 1 winners Politeness, Hallowed Crown, Dixie Blossoms and Sense Of Occasion as well as Group winners La Passe, Cosmic Storm and Sensible Princess and stakes-winners Thunder Down Under, Hard Stride and Champagne Cath.

Hard Spun (USA) had one more season than Street Sense (USA). He sired the wonderfully resilient triple Group 1 winner Le Romain the Group 1 SAF Cape Derby Stakes winner Ertijaal the multiple Group II winning, $1.4 million earner Gatting, Group winners Hard Empire, Pleasuring, Power Trip, San Nicasio, Tarquin, Text'n Hurley and Turnitaround and stakes-winners Arctic Angel, Crystal Web Late Change, Mihalic, Mirage, Spin Da Wheels Spinning Jenny and Western Blaze.

But this is not about Hard Spun (USA) or Street Sense (USA). It's about that majestic thoroughbred Curlin (image Hill 'N' Dale) who started his career in 2009 at a fee of $75,000 but was so slow off the mark that five years later he left just 40 foals that had been conceived at a fee of $25,000.

But that now seems a distant memory. With winners at the highest level including Good Magic, Exaggerator, Palice Malice, Keen Ice, Stellar Wind, Curalina, Connect and Off The Tracks, the son of Smart Strike is among the very top level of stallions in North America, commanding a fee of $175,000 at Hill 'n' Dale Farms.

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