GREEN DESERT, (sire of Windsor Park’s eight-times champion sire Volksraad and grandsire of triple Gr.1 winning miler Charm Spirit) one of the most influential sires of the past 25 years, has died aged 32.
The son of Danzig was put down due to the infirmities of old age at Nunnery Stud in Norfolk, his home since he was transferred from Melton Paddocks in 1990 and where he had been enjoying a well deserved retirement, having been pensioned from covering duties in 2011.
Green Desert was raced by Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum, for whom he won the 1986 July Cup and finished second behind Dancing Brave in the 2,000 Guineas, but was based throughout his stud career at Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stud.
The stud's director Richard Lancaster, whose association with Green Desert stretches back to when he was a yearling, paid tribute on Wednesday.
"Although small in stature, Green Desert had a big personality and was hugely loved and revered by everyone at Shadwell," he said.
"On behalf of all concerned with his management, I would firstly like to thank the stallion men who have looked after Green Desert throughout his time with us: Phil Vernon, Ron Lott and Bela Kristoff; their unwavering care for him and the excellent age he reached, is a credit to them.
"We also appreciate the support Green Desert received throughout his time at stud from breeders across the world. Although not owned by Shadwell, we have always thought of him as our flagship stallion and we are very proud to be a part of his legacy."
Lancaster added: "It goes without saying that this is a very sad time for everyone connected with Green Desert and we hope that people will remember him as an excellent racehorse, a ground-breaking sire and a lasting influence on modern thoroughbred racing and breeding."
A top-class racehorse combined with the allure of being one of the first sons of Danzig to stand in Europe, Green Desert was always going to prove popular at stud and covered a full book of mares at £25,000 during his first season.
He never covered eye-watering books - 88 was the peak in 2003 - but that did not stop him from being crowned leading first-season sire in 1990 after supplying 12 winners.
Green Desert is responsible for 12 individual Group 1 winners and more than 90 stakes scorers. Three of those top-flight winners - Cape Cross, Invincible Spirit and Oasis Dream - are excelling in their second careers at stud.
Cape Cross has supplied two Derby winners - Golden Horn and Sea The Stars, who has made a fast start at stud with the three Group 1 scorers - as well as Oaks heroine Ouija Board. Invincible Spirit has sired 12 top-level scorers, headed by star milers Charm Spirit and Kingman, while Oasis Dream is responsible for 14 winners at the highest level, including this year's exceptional sprinter Muhaarar.
Green Desert, whose fee hit a high of £85,000 in 2004 and 2005, has also confirmed himself as a leading broodmare sire, his daughters responsible for a host of Group 1 winners including Bracelet, Lucky Nine, Makfi and Was.