Sadler’s Wells was a fine competitor during his racing career, as he won the Irish Guineas and the Irish Champion Stakes during his tenure over the flat. However, his reputation as a racer has been trumped by his genes and the performances of his progeny over the last three decades. The American thoroughbred has had a decisive impact over the entire horse racing sport in both flat and jumps disciplines, such has been the quality of his pedigree that has been passed down his lineage.

Although Sadler’s Wells died in 2011, his impact continues to be felt in elite racing as his grandson Minella Indo will be pressing for his second Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2022. After winning the event with a fine run in 2021, Henry de Bromhead’s charge is a slight outsider in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting odds at 6/1 to win the event for a second time. He would join a select group of horses to win back-to-back Gold Cups and continue a brilliant run of success for the Sadler’s Wells line.

Sadler’s Wells was not a jumps horse. Therefore, it is surprising that his sires and grandsires have had such a good record at the Gold Cup among other leading events. Synchronised began the run as a sire of Sadler’s Wells in 2012 when the nine-year-old won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with an accomplished performance to beat out the rest of the field, delivering Jonjo O’Neill’s only victory in the race to date. Another triumph for the lineage followed in 2014 when Lord Windermere won the race as a 20/1 outsider, beating out On His Own by the narrowest of margins in one of the closest meets in the history of the Gold Cup.

Don Cossack was next up as a grandsire of Sadler’s Wells to make his mark in 2016, securing a first win for trainer Gordon Elliott and a second triumph for the Gigginstown House Stud group in the event. The run of success halted for five years before Minella Indo produced a stellar effort for De Bromhead and owner Barry Maloney and won the Gold Cup as a 9/1 outsider. Minella Indo could join Al Boum Photo and Best Mate among the recent generation of horses to win back-to-back Gold Cups, but he will not be the only grandson of Sadler’s Wells competing in the event.

Galvin presents Elliott with a great chance to win his second Gold Cup after a year removed from his suspension from the competition. The Irish thoroughbred beat the race favorite A Plus Tard in the Savills Chase in December at Leopardstown, and appears to have all the pedigree of a Gold Cup champion. Even if Galvin is off the boil at Cheltenham, another horse out of Elliott’s yard could still win the crown for the trainer in the form of Conflated, who distinguished himself in the Irish Gold Cup.

The list of successful progenies out of one horse is incredible, and even though he never raced over jumps in his career, the quality of Sadler’s Wells stock has defined an era in the National Hunt and Cheltenham Festival.