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Sire Giant's Causeway
Dam Helsinki
Grandsire Storm Cat
Damsire Machiavellian
Gender Stallion
Foaled 2002
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Dr. Phillip McCarthy, Fred Hertrich, John Fielding
Owner Richard Ketch (age 1 to 2)
Abdulla Buhaleeba (lessee for first two races)
Godolphin Racing
Trainer Mark Johnston
Saeed bin Suroor (at age 3)
Record 7: 6-0-0
Earnings £1,099,290
Shamardal is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Helsinki by Giant's Causeway. He was born around 2002 in the United States, and was bred by Dr. Phillip McCarthy, Fred Hertrich, John Fielding.
Major wins
Vintage Stakes (2004)
Dewhurst Stakes (2004)
Poule d'Essai des Poulains (2005)
Prix du Jockey Club (2005)
St. James's Palace Stakes (2005)
European Champion Two-Year-Old (2004)
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on September 18, 2007

Shamardal (foaled March 27, 2002 in Kentucky) is a Thoroughbred racehorse who competed in the United Kingdom and in France and was voted the 2004 European Champion Two-Year-Old.

Bred at Watercress Farm in Paris, Kentucky, he was sired by a son of Storm Cat, the 2000 European Horse of the Year, Giant's Causeway. He was out of the mare Helsinki, who had been only an average runner, but who was a full sister to Street Cry. Shamardal's damsire was Machiavellian, a son of the Leading sire in North America, Mr. Prospector.

In November 2002, his breeders put him up for sale at the Keeneland Sales but when the bidding failed to meet their reserve price they decided to wait until the following year to auction him again. In early 2003, the yearling began to exhibit a subtle lack of coordination and an abnormal clumsiness in his gaits. He was soon diagnosed with a Grade 3 level of Cervical Vertebral Malformation Syndrome, a spinal disorder commonly referred to by horsemen as the "wobbles." The disease means the horse will likely never race and usually results in them having to be euthanized because their condition can cause them to collapse without warning that could result in severe injury to a handler. Shipped to specialists at Ohio State University, x-rays and a myelogram confirmed the condition. As such, his breeder/owners filed an insurance claim and turned ownership over to the insurance company where the colt became a standard case for euthanasia.

Richard Ketch, a former show horse trainer and farrier, became involved with the case as an adjuster for the insurers. As someone very familiar with the disease, he believed that there were alterative treatments that might save the colt's life. On Ketch's initiative, an agreement was reached with the insurance company to turn the colt over to him and his associate Herwig Schoen, a self-proclaimed "energy healer." Some call their treatment program "voodoo medicine," pointing out that research has shown that in about ten percent of these cases within twelve to fifteen months a horse will recover on its own. Nonetheless, under Ketch and his associates the colt made a full recovery.

Certified sound by multiple professionals, Richard Ketch sent him to the October 2002 Tattersalls Houghton Yearling Sale at Newmarket in England where Sheikh Mohammed's Gainsborough Stud, acquired the colt they would name Shamardal. However, the string of bad luck continued as he was sold for the very small price of 50,000 guineas after an endoscopic test of his breathing passages had erroneously diagnosed him as have breathing problems.

Racing at age two

Because the Maktoum family has such large worldwide racing stables, they sometimes follow the industry practice of leasing out some of their horses and Shamardal was one of these. Leased to businessman Abdulla Buhaleeba, the colt was prepared for racing by trainer, Mark Johnston.

Shamardal first raced in 2004 at age two, winning a six-furlong maiden at Scotland's Ayr Racecourse in which he ran away from the field and won by eight lengths. He then was entered in the July 28th Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse in Chichester, England. He won that seven furlong race by two-and-a-half lengths and in the process defeated Wilko who would go on to win that fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile in the United States. Following the race, the lease arrangement between Gainsborough Stud and Abdulla Buhaleeba was terminated for reasons that have never been made public.

Racing under the Gainsborough Stud banner, Shamardal ran into conditioning problems that kept him out of racing until the October 16th Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. In what is considered England's most important race for two-year-olds, Shamardal easily won the Group One event by two-and-a-half lengths. Undefeated after three races, Shamardal's impressive performances led to him being voted the 2004 European Champion Two-Year-Old.

Competing at age three under the Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing banner, responsibility for Shamardal's conditioning was taken over by their head trainer, Saeed bin Suroor. The colt made his 2005 debut in the UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai but performed poorly in his first race on dirt. Sent to France, where he was back on grass, under jockey Frankie Dettori he showed great determination in turning back several homestretch challenges while winning the Group One Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp Racecourse. He then captured the important Prix du Jockey Club, another Group One race in which he won by a head over Hurricane Run who had run erratically in his charge to the finish line.

Returned to England for his next start at York Racecourse in June's St. James's Palace Stakes, Shamardal won his third Group One race of 2005, and the fourth of his career. While in training for his next scheduled start in the Eclipse Stakes, Shamardal suffered a fracture to a front fetlock joint and was retired having never lost on the turf. He is standing at stud at Sheikh Mohammed's Kildangan Stud near Kildangan, Ireland. As a stallion, he is the sire of Lope De Vega, Group I winner of the 2010 French 2000 Guineas and the 2010 Prix du Jockey Club.



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