Cunco-Frankel’s First…

Back in January 2014, I wrote about Frankel’s first foal who was subsequently named Cunco (a town in Chile). As a yearling he was led out of the ring at Tattersalls in October as unsold at 280,000 guineas . He made history today by becoming the first runner for Frankel in a six furlong maiden at Newbury. Fans of Frankel will be encouraged by Cunco’s debut performance in which despite greenness he showed a nice turn of foot to win snugly  and afterwards he received some favourable comments from his jockey Robert Havlin and his trainer John Gosden. He should improve significantly for the run and I thought in light of his performance it was interesting to re-read my original article in which I wondered about the possible effects of so much inbreeding. No need to worry it seems !

The original article is shown below

 

Can you have too much of a good thing?

Frankel’s first foal was born on the 11th of January.  The dam Chrysanthemum was a Group 3 winner trained by David Wachman for Coolmore connections. In truth, in terms of racing performance and pedigree Chrysanthemum was no more than a middle ranking member of Frankel’s stellar first book of mares.

However what is far more interesting is the pedigree cross it represents.  We are by now, well used to seeing variants of the  Sadler’s Wells (and sons) by Danehill cross , the cross that reached its pinnacle with Frankel himself. It has proved hugely successful with Galileo alone having sired  8 Group 1 winners out of Danehill mares. Chrysanthemum is by Danehill Dancer out of a daughter of Sadler’s Wells and it begs the question can you have too much of a good thing?

Sadler’s Wells and Danehill are the giant names of European breeding in recent decades. Coolmore achieved considerable success with the likes of Horatio Nelson (Danehill ex Imagine), Peeping Fawn (Danehill ex Maryinsky and Chevalier (Danehill ex Legend Maker) bred on this cross.  Given the number of high class broodmares they possess with both names in the pedigree it is perhaps unsurprising that they are considering doubling up what has worked in the past.

They would have been encourage by the results to date for Teofilo (Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill) who is similarly bred to Frankel. Teofilo has made a good start to his stud career highlighted by Group 1 success for Parish Hall  (ex Halla Siamsa by Montjeu) and Irish Derby success  with Trading Leather who is out of a Sinndar mare and thus has another cross of Danzig as does Voleuse Des Coeurs (ex Vadorga by Grand Lodge). This new foal is just gone a little further in terms of duplication.

This foal will have Sadler’s Wells 3X3, and Danehill 3X3.  In the first 6 generations Northern Dancer’s name appears 5 times and he appears once more in the 7th generation. Given that Danehill features 2 crosses of Northern Dancer’s dam Natalma, her name appears 8 times in the pedigree! If this was  a human we would be appalled, even if it was a pedigree dog we would be concerned yet when it comes to our friends the thoroughbreds we just think it’s interesting!  As regards the question, whether you can have too much of a good thing,  we will obviously just have to wait until he finishes his racecourse career to answer that one…

Frankel's first foal
6 generation pedigree

Mawatheeq-far from the Height of Fashion

It’s probably a sign of old age, but I’m finding it harder to distinguish between many of the less famous Arabic named horses. Mawatheeq was one such horse (incidentally the name means treaty or treaties), however an impressive series of results for his progeny in recent weeks, had me revisiting the record books.  I suspect that given time, Mawatheeq will rise to a more prominent position in the stallion world from his current lowly position.

Recent Results

The table below show the last six runners by Mawatheeq all of whom finished first or second. It’s a brave or foolish person who ascribes too much significance to such a sequence in early season maiden races but it does offer hope of a profitable season. In particular Mulkeyya’s debut run at the Curragh was most promising. This 25 runner maiden was won by the 106 rated The Warrior, and Mulkeyya’s performance gave hope of black type before season’s end.

List of Mawatheeq’s Recent Runners in UK and Ireland

The performance of the three year old runners is in contrast to his first two year old runners in 2014, which consisted of only 2 winners (one in Italy and one in Hungary) for the season. In Britain there were no winners from 13 runners. However, bearing in mind his own race career and that his first book consisted of only 42 mares, that lack of success is less surprising.

Mawatheeq’s Race Record

The bare facts of Mawatheeq’s career are underwhelming,showing a solitary stakes win from a 9 race career. Trained by Marcus Tregonig, he was unraced at two (reportedly due to injury), won two of his four starts at three (a maiden and a handicap), before blossoming in the Autumn of his four year old career. After a disappointing four year old reappearance in April, he won a Doncaster handicap in September before making a big leap forward with an impressive victory in the 12 furlong Group 3 Cumberland Stakes. The upward trend continued when on his seasonal bow he finished runner up in the Champion Stakes to Twice Over. It wasn’t the strongest ever field for a Champion Stakes but he still had the likes of classic winners Sariska and Fame and Glory behind him. With such an improving profile, his five year old career promised much, but proved anti-climatic consisting of a solitary run, when well beaten in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes Stakes at Royal Ascot. A recurrence of his two year old injury, saw the end of his track career and he was retired to Shadwell Stud.

Stud Career and Sales

Mawatheeq’s initial stud fee was a modest £5000 which dropped to £4000 and is now listed as private (but not in the Galileo sense of the word- more the too embarrassed to disclose sense) so we know that the mares he was covering were a modest bunch. This lack of quality is reflected in a yearling average that was just over 6000 guineas for his first two crops. He has struggled for patronage possibly due to a bias against staying sons of Danzig,as conventional wisdom would have us believe that Danzig’s really good sire sons were sprinter/milers (eg Green Desert,Danehill, War Front). In the case of Mawatheeq there was no need for Shadwell to trumpet their restricted books as you can take it they didn’t need to turn away hordes of disappointed mare owners :). Incidentally the aforementioned Mulkeyya (ex Rifqah) might be one of the best bred mares that he covered being a descendant of Allegretta.

Pedigree

Mawatheeq’s pedigree is a match for any stallion’s. He is from the last crop of the great sire and sire of sires Danzig and his female line is dripping in black type.  His dam Sarayir (by Mr Prospector) was an unbeaten stakes winning two year old, rated highly enough to make her three year old reappearance in the 1000 Guineas. That she failed to add to her reputation at three hardly detracted from her paddock valley as she was a daughter of the Queen’s Height of Fashion. Height of Fashion was top rated British Two year old filly of 1981 with victories in the Fillies Mile, and May Hill Stakes to her credit and she added a Princess of Wales’s Stakes to her record at three (in which race she broke the track record held by her half brother Milford). She was sold for an undisclosed amount (but estimated at the time to be between 1.4 and 1.8 million) after the Princess of Wales’s Stakes to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, in whose colours she ran poorly in both the King George and Yorkshire Oaks. Ultimately though, she proved to be a real bargain for the Sheikh as she became the dam of dual classic winner Nashwan Gr1x4 (by Blushing Groom), Nayef G1X4(by Gulch), Unfuwain G2 (by Northern Dancer), Alwasmi G3 (by Northern Dancer) and Mukddaam L (by Danzig) all of whom had stud careers with varying degrees of success. This success was hardly surprising as Height of Fashion’s dam Highclere was herself a winner of a 1000 Guineas and French Oaks and Highclere’s grandam Hypercium also won the 1000 Guineas. Other branches of the family have provided the likes of Japanese superstar Deep Impact (a great grandson of Highclere).

Mawatheeq’s dam Sarayir did her bit for the family tradition by producing Ghanaati (by Giant’s Causeway) who also won the 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes. In addition she is the dam of Rumoush (by Rahy) who was a listed winner and a good third to Snow Fairy in the 2010 Oaks. This is undoubtedly one of the best family’s in the stud book.

Conclusion

As one of the last sons of Danzig from a stellar family, one might have thought that Mawatheeq would live up to his grandams name as the Height of Fashion. However his initial book of only 42 mares, despite a modest fee of £5000, tells you all about the market prejudice against late maturing types. In addition he didn’t correspond to the market expectation of a good Danzig sire being best at middle distances and standing 16 1 ½ . His solitary stakes success at no more than Group 3 level also counted against him. His results to date are still very modest with no stakes performers but the early results for his three year olds are relatively promising and it will be interesting to see if his offspring continue to improve with age. On pedigree he has everything you would like to see in a stallion and at such a lowly fee he might just prove a bargain for any patient breeders, not too concerned about the yearling market.

Mawatheeq’s Page

mawatheeq's pedigree

See below for a promotional video of Mawatheeq by Shadwell

 

 

2014 End of Season Awards- ‘The Victors’

Now that the European season is almost over, it’s time to hand out my end of year awards (The Victors)

1. Stallion of the year: Galileo who else? It’s easy to take for granted his year on year domination, but it really is extraordinary. This year so far he has sired another Derby winner in Australia, classic winner Marvellous, Group 1 winners Tapestry and Adelaide. Amongst his older horses Noble Mission has earned the right to stop being referred to as simply Frankel’s brother. More significantly the pipeline looks incredibly strong with Group 1 winning two year olds in Gleaneagles, Together Forever and Found and an even more exciting prospect in John F Kennedy. He does have all the advantages of the best mares and large books but he keeps producing the goods in a way few stallions in history could match.

2. Flop of the Year: Fastnet Rock. Just to show that Coolmore don’t always get it right. Sensational in Australia, Coolmore reverse shuttled him and patronised him with some of their elite mares. He had a slow start with his European two year olds in 2013 but we waited and waited for them to burst onto the scene in 2014 but it never really happened. The Coolmore boys recognised the game was up and sold a job lot of 9 of his yearlings to the Australian OTI syndicate. He has fallen far short of expectations (I would have expected at least 2 Gr 1 winners from that book of mares) and no tears will be shed if he doesn’t return to Ireland.

3. Breakthrough sire of the year: Kodiac. When he retired to stud in 2007 Kodiac had a modest race record with no Stakes wins to his name and his best run being a fourth in the Prix Maurice de Gheest. However he had plenty to recommend him on pedigree being a son of Danehill out of a classic winner in Rafha who was the dam of rising stallion Invincible Spirit. His initial fee was €5000 and that dropped in year 3 and year 4 to €4000. Plenty of winners started to follow and after a proliferation of two year old winners in 2013 his fee reached €10000 in 2014. This year, since the beginning of the season he has been an unstoppable force with his two year olds and more importantly some have demonstrated considerable quality notably. The highlight for Kodiac was the speed machine that is Tiggy Wiggy and for good measure Kodi Bear stepped up on his previous runs to come second in the Dewhurst. In addition the 3 year old Coulsty won a group 3 as did the 6 year old Jamesie. His recent sales results include a large number of six figure sales and he is set for a very significant and justified fee hike in 2015.

4. Second Crop Sire of the Year: Le Havre. Hard to call this award as it could have gone to Sea the Stars, Mastercraftsman or Le Harve. Sea the Stars had a huge amount to live up to being one of the outstanding horses of the era, being a half brother to Galileo and having covered an outstanding book of mares. He has not disappointed having sired a superstar filly in Taghrooda, and a scintillating winner of the German derby in Sea the Moon as part of a very impressive haul of 10 stakes winners. Mastercraftsman had a lesser book of mares than Sea the Stars ((althought not a bad book of mares given his initial fee was €20000) but surpassed expectations by delivering two classic winners in Kingston Hill and the Grey Gatsby. However my selection is Le Havre who despite having won a Prix du Jockey Club was retired at a fee of just €5000. He has repaid his supporters in spades with a dual classic winner in Avenir Certain, a Group 2 winner in Auvray and the high class Le Hoguette amongst 6 stakes winners. He has earned the right to much bigger and better books in 2015.

5. First season sire of the year: Lope de Vega. For most of the season I had the name Starspangledbanner pencilled in for this award. He looked like he had the makings of a fine stallion getting a pair of impressive Royal Ascot winners in The Wow Signal and Alexander Anthem from a depleted first crop (due to fertility issues). However although The Wow Signal added a Group 1, the lustre has slightly faded from this pair and no other stakes winners have emerged. In contrast the offspring of Lope De Vega have really come good as the season progressed and he can already boast of four Group winners headed by recent Dewhurst winner Belardo, backed up by Italian Group 2 winner Here Look and a pair of Group 3 winners in Burnt Sugar and Royal Razalma. In addition Endless Drama put up a most impressive performance when winning today at Naas as he towered over his rivals in every sense. Given that Lope de Vega was better at three when he emulated his own sire Shamardal by winning the French Guineas and Derby Ballylinch Stud must be hopeful that his momentum will continue. Lope de Vega retired at a fee of €15000 and stood for €12500 for the past two years but a big hike is to be expected.

6. Performance of the Year: Sole Power in the Nunthorpe Stakes. Sole Power is a standing dish in the top sprints and won the Nunthorpe back in 2010 (at which time I wrote about his pedigree (http://www.montjeu.com/archives/295). His winning performance in this year’s edition really had to be seen to be believed as he showed remarkable acceleration against high class sprinters.  Enjoy it for yourself here

 

2012 Stallion fees-where is the value?

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get” , said Warren Buffett the legendary stock market investor. He made his money through value investing, essentially he believed the market prices often overlooked intrinsic value and therein lay opportunity. I couldn’t agree more when it comes to 2012 stallion fees. Below are some stallions that I feel represent good value at their listed fees for 2012.

1. Manduro (2002 Monsun ex Mandellicht by Be My Guest) 2012 fee €10,000

Manduro was a superstar on the track, rated world champion in 2007 when he was unbeaten in five starts from 1 mile to 12 furlongs. That year he won 3 group 1s (the Prix d’Isaphan, the Prince of Wales and the Prix Jacques le Marois) and most likely he would have won the Arc only for injury. Although he was technically a champion German 2 year old, he was nobody’s idea of a two year old sire. It is therefore very encouraging that he sired a group 1 winner in Mandean (ex Summertime Legacy by Darshaan). Impressively he came very close to a second Group 1 winner in his first crop with Bonfire (ex Night Frolic by Night Shift). He retired to stud at a fee of €40000 and it was €15,000 in 2011 so it was very surprising to me that after such a promising start it was dropped to €10,000. I suspect it will not be available at such a price in 2013 and he represents real value and a good opportunity for most Irish breeders to tap into a different sireline.

2. Big Bad Bob (2000 Bob Back ex Fantasy Girl by Marju) 2012 fee €6000

There is no use in trying to understand how Big Bad Bob has become a successful stallion. A very modest race career of which the highlight was winning a Group 3 in Germany wouldn’t have breeders queuing for his services. The fact that his sire Bob Back ended up as a dual purpose sire also didn’t suggest that Big Bad Bob was destined for success on the track. He does possess plenty of quality links in his distaff side but it was still surprising that he found a berth at stud. He was effectively a private stallion for Windflower Overseas Holdings (Cristina Patina) and reputedly free outside covers were available. However his results to date have been very impressive considering his very limited books to date (in quantity and quality). His percentages for runners to foals, winners to foals and stakes winners are all more suggestive of stallions covering at a multiple of his fee. Trainers like him and this should be of benefit in the sales ring and he is one of the few Roberto line representatives available to Irish breeders. It is clear that he upgrades his mares, and he seems to deliver soundness judging by the numbers of his offspring that actually reach the track. Nothing succeeds like success and breeders should judge him on his results.

3.Kendargent (2003 Kendor ex Pax Bella by Linamix) 2012 fee €4000

If you are looking for the next Big Bad Bob it might just be Kendargent. He was a non-stakes winner and his best performance was when fourth in the Prix Jean Prat. However he got his chance at stud and he is making the most of it. With his first crop of two year olds he had only five representatives on the track but three won including Group 2 winner Restiadargent (ex Restia by Montjeu) and Group 3 winner Kendam ex Damdam Freeze by Indian Rocket). He is a legacy of the Grey Sovereign line and an outsource for most mares. I would hope that he might get enough chances to prove he is not just a flash in the pan and at the price it is hard to complain. Incidentally if you want to use a different son of Kendor with a much more high profile racecourse career then Champion Stakes winner Literato (ex La Cibeles by Cardoun) is also available for a very modest €4000- but of course he has yet to have any runners which greatly tempers enthusiasm.

4. Medicean (1997 Machiavellian ex Mystic Goddess by Storm Bird) 2012 fee £8000

It looked for a time like Medicean was about to become an important sire in the UK after early success with the likes of Dutch Art and Nannina. His fee reached £30000 for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Since then he has stumbled a little but his fee has reacted and at £8000 I think there are reasons to think he might represent some value at that price. Firstly the offspring of those heady days are now expected to make their mark, particularly as many of Medicean’s offspring (just like himself) improve with age. His son Dutch Art also just enjoyed a very good first season with his two year olds. His overall stats at 4% stakes winners are solid rather than spectacular but he is a decent stallion who might see a bounce in the coming years.

5. Discreet Cat (2003 Forestry ex Discreet Account by Private Account ) 2012 fee $12,500

I certainly don’t profess to be an expert on US racing but I am surprised by the fee for Discreet Cat which seems very reasonable. He was a really exciting horse who won his first 6 starts impressively before flopping as favourite for the Dubai World Cup and he was never the same again. He retired at a fee of $30,000 and had 11 winners with his first crop of two year olds, albeit from a large crop (107 named foals). However he has started 2012 very well with Out of Bounds (ex Unbridled Elaine) winning a Grade 3 and Discreet Dancer (ex West Side Dancer) winning a minor race impressively. Both horses are now quoted in top ten in the betting for this year’s Kentucky Derby. Even if neither horse graduates to major success he is fairly priced and there is very considerable potential upside in using him this year.

6. Birdstone (2001 Grindstone ex Dear Birdie by Storm Bird) 2012 fee $10,000

If Discreet Cat is about potential then Birdstone has been there and done that. A remarkable first crop saw him sire two classic winners in Summer Bird (ex Hong Kong Squall by Summer Squall) and Mine that Bird (ex Mining My Own by Smart Strike) and seven stakes winners from a crop of only 66 foals.  Since then he has gone incredibly quiet with only one other stakes winner and his stud fee which climbed to $30000 has dropped back to $10,000.  However his number of foals is modest by modern standards with a total of only 204 named foals in his 2006-2009 crops and his 8 stakes winners still leaves him on 4% stakes winners. He is recommended for anyone in the States who claims to want a shot at a classic horse on a budget. He was a triple Grade 1 winner,winning the Champagne Stakes at two, thwarting Smarty Jones triple crown bid in the Belmont and following up in the Travers. I suspect had he not won the Belmont over 12 furlongs he might have had a higher stud fee but such is the insanity of modern fashion. His sire Grindstone was a Kentucky Derby winner and his sire Unbridled was a Kentucky Derby winner. What more can US breeders want for $10000?

Arc day 2011- A new French fashion?

The French have a reputation for being fashionable. Sunday was Prix de l’Arc day- Europe’s finest single days racing with seven Group 1 races. The results were a breath of fresh air and a delight to those people who love to see diversity amongst the stallion ranks. We have come to expect top class European racing to be dominated by the Danzig and Sadler’s Wells branches of the Northern Dancer line. On Sunday, these lines were eclipsed by a less fashionable branch of the Northern Dancer line and even more pleasingly, five of the other winners were not from the Northern Dancer line.

Nijinsky- a better Arc day than in 1970

The Nijinsky sireline had a big day on Sunday. Nijinsky famously lost his unbeaten record in the 1970 Arc to Sassafras. He subsequently sired one winner of the race in Lammtarra and two of his sons Green Dancer (sire of Suave Dancer) and Caerleon (sire of Marienbard) sired winners of Europe’s premier all-aged race.  The impressive victory of Danedream (f. by Lomitas ex Danedrop by Danehill) saw another victory for his sireline as Lomitas is a son of Nijinsky’s Irish and French St Leger winning son Niniski.  Alas Lomitas died last year so he will not benefit from this victory.

Another grandson of Nijinsky sired a big winner when Kasbah Bliss (g. by Kahyasi ex Marital Bliss by Double Bed) won the marathon Prix du Cadran . In addition Nijinksy’s son Royal Academy is the broodmare sire of Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Dabirsim (c by Hat Trick ex Rumoured by Royal Academy). The cap off the day, Nijinsky’s grandson Generous was broodmare sire of Prix de L’Opera winner Nahrain (. by Selkirk eg Bahr by Generous). All in all it was a welcome reminder of the positive influence of the last triple crown winner.

Super Sunday Silence

Dabirsim’s win in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere was another reminder of the possibilities of the Sunday Silence line. It is mystifying to me that the major European studs have not acted to secure a truly top class son of Japan’s greatest ever sire to make available an alternative sireline.  The possibilities were already shown by Divine Light who sired Natagora winner of the Cheveley Park and 1000 Guineas.  Lanwades (in the UK)  stand Vita Rosa and Darley France stand Layman, but neither could be considered amongst the best of the Sunday Silence’s as racehorses.

Dream Ahead

Dream Ahead (c. by Diktat ex Land of Dreams by Cadeaux Genereux) won his fifth Group 1 when edging out Goldikova in the Prix de la Foret. It was subsequently announced that he will be retiring to Ballylinch Stud in County Kilkenny Ireland at the end of the season.  His sire Diktat is now in Spain but if properly priced Dream Ahead should prove popular. For people who care about these things it is significant that if you go back 22 generations you will find that Dream Ahead’s sire line traces to the Godolphin Arabian, so he represents a good chance to continue that line in Europe.

Tangerine Trees

Tangerine Trees (g. by Mind Games ex Easy to Imagine by Cozzene) was a somewhat fortuitous winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye as the fast finishing Sole Power looked to be the best horse on the day. Tangerine Trees represents another sireline that has fallen out of fashion namely the Forli line which was once so popular down around Ballydoyle. However the reason why Mind Games is unfashionable is that he was a truly dreadful stallion with terrible percentages.  Thankfully he is now retired from active service.

Elusive Kate- Can’t escape Mr P.

Elusive Kate (f. by Elusive Quality ex Gout de Terroir by Lemon Drop Kid), could hardly be considered unfashionable being a daughter of Elusive Quality who stands at 50,000 USD and who is a stallion who is popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Elusive Kate has Mr Prospector on both sides of the pedigree as Elusive Quality traces to Mr Pr via Gone West and Lemon Drop Kid is a son Kingmambo by Mr P.  The prominence of Mr Prospector is not nearly as pronounced in Europe as it is in the States.

Nahrain for Varian

Nahrain (f. by Selkirk ex Bahr by Generous) just defeated her half sister Announce (f. by Selkirk ex Hachita by Gone West) in the Prix de L’Opera. In winning she gave her trainer Roger Varian the first of what are likely to be many Group 1 wins. The veteran Selkirk is from the Sharpen Up line and has now sired 14 Group 1 winners, 10 of which are fillies and again although he could never be called unfashionable he perhaps never got the credit he deserved.

Conclusions

Sunday’s results do not mark the end of the domination of Europe by the Sadler’s Wells and Danzig lines.  However it is a useful reminder to European breeders and buyers that there are a lot more ways of breeding a top class racehorse than through the ultra fashionable sire lines. As the French might say vive la difference!